The Tasting Panel magazine

January / February 2018

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Page 41 of 124

Winter in Hungary offers snow-capped views and a chance to explore seasonal activities in the capital and beyond. january/february 2018  /  the tasting panel  /  41 Those seeking more winter adventures should also pay a visit to one of the largest cultural hubs of the capital city: the Budapest Palace of Arts (Müpa). Located in a magnificent contemporary building on the scenic Danube bank, this stun- ning establishment hosts an abundance of events, including the Winter Open Air festival with its lineup of concerts, children's programs, and theatre and circus performances. There is also the neo-Renaissance Hungarian State Opera House, which opened in 1884 and is considered one of the best opera houses in the world due to its excellent acoustics. The venue hosts both operatic and ballet performances, as well as guided tours. Another highly sought-after experience in Budapest during the winter season is ice skating in the picturesque City Park Ice Rink, located right next to the Vajdahunyad Castle. One of the largest and oldest ice rinks on the continent, it actually turns into a boating lake once the weather gets warmer. Numerous outdoor ice-skating rinks can be found throughout the city, allowing visi- tors to feel the crisp winter air while enjoying the scents wafting from the nearby stalls or restaurants. Warm Coffeehouses and the Hills of Buda Those looking to warm up after exploring the city all day can purchase a steaming hot beverage from one of Budapest's numerous coffeehouses. Many of these places offer a variety of artisan coffees or gourmet hot chocolate specialities, while cozy teahouses dressed in vibrant hues welcome you with colorful beanbags and fluffy pillows, as well as, of course, a wide selec- tion of teas. Visitors to Budapest definitely should not miss out on the experience of taking a walk along the Danube (the beautiful banks from Gellért Hill to Margaret Bridge have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site). If you're lucky enough to catch a snowstorm while you are in the city, you can also wander around in the hills of Buda. Normafa is one of the must-see places here, not only because of its spectacular view over Budapest, but also because it's a favorite sledding spot for local families. Take in the merry atmosphere as children ride past you—or, if you're up for it, bring a sled and hit the slopes yourself! The Hungarian State Opera House is renowned throughout the world for its excellent acoustics. Food stalls in Budapest offer hot snacks like spicy sausages or chimney cakes (pictured).

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