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New Year's Eve in Budapest

Welcoming 2011 in Budapest

If you plan to come to Budapest for New Year's Eve you will definitely not be bored. There'll be plenty of programs to entertain you wherever you would like to go and whatever you would like to do.
Hungarians are very good at partying, a people who look for every occasion to eat and drink well; one of these special occasions is the last day of the year, Szilveszter in Magyar language. People start preparing for New Year's Eve several weeks before, so be aware: in some of the most popular entertainment places you have to book your New Years programme months before the actual date.

You have many options if you are wondering where to say good bye to the old year in the Hungarian capital: from an exclusive ball to elegant restaurants and trendy bars, or even a boat on the Danube.
You have to book well in advance, especially in popular places; if you have no reservation, go early and you might get in with some luck. On the menu there's usually a substantial dinner that includes special international food and tasty local dishes; champagne is usually included in the price to clink glasses at midnight. Then the New Year starts with more eating: frankfurter sausages with horseradish and mustard, lentil soup, roast pig and other traditional Hungarian New Year dishes are served after midnight.
You can also say farewell to the old year from a boat on the Danube where talented singers, dancers and musicians of the Hungarian State Opera House and the Operetta House always perform classical masterpieces; programs also include belly-dancing, step dance and Hungarian folk dances. A fine dinner and beautiful panorama of illuminated Budapest can make the night unforgettable - this is a really classy way to celebrate the New Years in Budapest.

Making no specific plans might be a good idea as well: Budapest is beautiful at night and celebrations on the street are quite common. Three major places are the focal point of outdoor festivities each year - if you just happen to drop by, you can be sure something fun will be happening. On Vorosmarty Square, near the famous Vaci street and the surrounding pedestrian area, winter celebrations take place from well before Christmas time up until the first days of January - including, naturally, the New Year's party. Live concerts with bands from all over the world, theatre performances, and a large arts and crafts fair with all kinds of local artisans and products will be ready to make your winter holiday a bright one.
On Nyugati Square and Oktogon Square there will be pop and rock concerts as well, mostly local singers and DJs will perform there but many foreign tourists are in the audience each year. Even quality champagne is cheap in Hungary and spectacular fireworks welcome the New Year in the capital so don't miss out on the fun. (Luckily, beginning with last year, the government has banned the use of firecrackers, so celebrating will be safer in the crowded streets, than it used to be.)

Most Budapest hotels offer special packages for the New Year's period. Usually you have to stay for at least 2-3 nights and sometimes a festive dinner and entertaining programs are included in the price as well. Choose a hotel in the city centre and you'll find many places of entertainment within walking distance where you can join a colorful and happy crowd.
Some of the most popular accommodations for these special days (including New Year's Eve) are the following:
Hotel Gellert**** within the amazing traditional building of the famous Gellert Thermal Baths
Hotel Charles*** offering studios with excellent prices close to the city center
Elite Studios & Appartements*** with fully equipped apartments in the heart of the capital
Danubius Hotel Erzsebet*** with accommodation near the central pedestrian area
Danubius Hotel Astoria**** offering quality services in the old historic center
Sofitel Hotel Budapest***** awaiting all with luxury and glamour
Find our accommodation finder search panel below - enter tha date of your arrival and departure and you will see the complete list of Budapest hotels that still have available rooms for the period of your stay.

Things you definitely need to know for a traditional Hungarian New Year's celebration:
Having lentil or bean dishes on New Year's Day will bring you wealth and money.
Pigs root out your fortune, while poultry scrapes it away, so avoid ordering the latter.
Eat roast pork on New Year's Eve and you'll be lucky throughout the year.
For hangover there's a special wonder-soup (korhely leves) made from sour cabbage and sour cream.
Washing and hanging out the clothes to dry is forbidden, because it attracts death.
Finally: according to local common belief, the whole New Year will resemble the way you behave on the 1st of January, so don't sit at home and be depressed the old year is over - visit Budapest and make sure the new one will be a much better one!

Happy New Year - or "Boldog Új Évet" (in Magyar)!

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