5 great tips for winter programmes in Hungary
5 great tips for winter programmes in HungaryCold and snow shouldn't put us off: winter Hungary offers just as much exciting amusements as in summertime! We have selected some great ways to explore the country outside Budapest – from gastronomy to thermal baths, cultural heritage to winter sports, possibilities...

5 great tips for winter programmes in Hungary
Cold and snow shouldn't put us off: winter Hungary offers just as much exciting amusements as in summertime! We have selected some great ways to explore the country outside Budapest – from gastronomy to thermal baths, cultural heritage to winter sports, possibilities are endless.

Healthy and relaxing: thermal baths of Hungary
Hungary is abounding in thermal waters. If Budapest is the City of Baths, than the country is definitely a country of thermal waters, as it is located over a very active geo-thermic area and has over a thousand thermal water springs. No matter which direction you travel, it's sure you find a great thermal bath. Lake Hévíz is one of the most well-known: it's natural pool is the second largest thermal lake for bathing, where you can relax between wonderful water lilies…

Hajdúszoboszló, Egerszalók, Cserkeszőlő, Sárvár, Eger, Mezőkövesd-Zsórifürdő, Kehidakustány and many other Hungarian cities and towns have their own thermal bathas, definitely worth exploring, no matter you are looking for a cure or a wonderful relaxing or sports experience.

Winter sports from skiing to skating
Well, Hungary is definitely not the country of mountains, but it doesn't put off Hungarians from being fond of skiing. An interesting fact that pioneer of skiing in Hungary was István Chernelházi Chernel, an ornithologist, who is the author of the book called „The Handbook of Foot-Sleighing", the first book on skiing in Hungary. There are 14 major sky facilities with skylifts and many have lighting, and in the case of lack of snow snow guns are operated. Alpine hütte feeling is also evoked, restaurants offering goulash and also authentic poppy-seed steam dumplings. Bánkút, Eplény, Mátraszentsitván, Kékestető, Szilvásvárad, Dobogókő are some of the biggest skiing resorts in Hungary.

Skating is also traditionally popular among Hungarians. Városligeti Műjégpálya (Ice Rink of City Park) is the most popular, offering a wonderful background with Vajdahunyad Castle. Bálna Budapest also has a skating rink, with a full panorama on Danube banks and Budapest, but many smaller ice rinks offer also a great enertainment in winter!      

Hungary is one of the most attractive destinations for hunters, mainly because of it's rich stock of games. Red deer, fallow deer, wild boar, mouflon and roe can all be found (and hunted) here, just as the European hare, the pheasant, the grey partridge, the bean goose, the greater white-fronted goose, mallard, Eurasian teal and the Eurasian woodcock.

However, hunting is allowed outside reproductive seasons only. Note however, that even during hunting season you cannot shoot just any animal – a professional attendant takes care that only those animals that are killed are from stock in abundant numbers. The compulsory hunters' exam serves the protection of the animals as well. Hunting Lodges are often good places to get information on local conditions and game. Here is a countrywide list.

From festival to festival: explore Hungarian cousine!
Hungarians love to eat, so no wonder gastro fetivals are also very popular, and the country offers a really wide selection of them. Cold winter weather is not at all an obstacle, so it is worth checking out the actual events. February 2016 brings quite a few of them.

                                          Photo © Fish Festival Budapest

In Budapest 4th Fish Festival at Millenáris (12-14 February), the bigges of it's kind in Europe will be held, but 9th Mangalica Festival (mangalica is a unique Hungarian breed of domestic pig) (12-14 February Szabadság tér), 11th Great Restaurant Day (11 February, countrywide), 9th Bácska Wurst & Sausage Festival (6 February, Baja), 7th Sausage Festival of Fonyód (5-7 February, Fonyód) or Lentil & Wurst Festival at Nemesvámos (13 February) all are great possibilities to get a thorough insight into culinaria Hungary! Not to mention 8th Hungarian Doughnut Festival at Nagykanizsa (6 February), which crowns the series with every possible version of this traditional sweet treat!       

Castles, fortresses and castle hotels
Hungary has many beautiful edifices being the former homes of the Hungarian aristocracy. There is a programme going on, aiming to refurbish these wonderful buildings. Andrássy Castle at Tiszadob has just opened it's doors in December 2015 and Castle of the Archbishop of Eger in January 2016, Esterházy Castle at Fertőd and Batthány Castle at Bicske have their parks renovated, but there is also a programme for renovating fortresses like Füzérradvány.

                                                      Photo © Wikipedia

Gödöllő Castle, favourite of Queen Sissi or Nagycenk Castle, home of legendary István Széchenyi, Fertőd Castle and Keszthely Castle are already well-known destinations among tourists for decades. There are also castles which were turned to be luxury hotels, like Parádsasvár (Castle Hotel Sasvár), Zalacsány (Batthyány Castle), Fenyőharaszt (Podmaniczky Castle) or Kőkapu Castle.


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