Contrary to a report by state-owned broadcaster MTV, the world’s largest travel guide book and digital media publisher does not consider Budapest to be the number one winter destination, but it is one of three European locations worthy to visit as a cold-weather getaway.
Budapest was the first to be listed in a roundup of destinations by Lonely Planet but the editorial was not a ranked list, only a compilation of suggested destinations. This detail did not stop MTV from claiming a victory for Budapest
However, the Hungarian capital – which was included from Europe along with Lapland and Iceland – apparently does winter the best in Eastern Europe. “Once you’ve braved the bracing banks of the Danube and had your fill of coffee and cake in the city’s legendary cafes there are hot baths all over the city to warm up in,” Lonely Planet author Tom Hall said in a November update of an article first published in 2010. “Make like a Magyar and settle in at these city institutions for the day. Don’t forget your (compulsory) swimming hat.”
Back to promoting baths
“Budapest; the hottest choice of the winter” is the title of the recently launched advertising campaign of Magyar Turizmus, the Hungarian Tourism Board. “There is no other European city – let alone capital – with as many healing warm water springs as Budapest,” Hungarian Tourism Board communications and marketing director Gábor Maráczi told the nightly TV news programme, stressing that this unique reason was behind launching a campaign promoting the baths of Budapest.
Hall told this newspaper: “I decided on the best winter destinations by choosing places that offered something distinct and unique – a thing to see that only exists in winter, or attractions especially suited to the cold. Budapest stood out for its steaming baths and classic central European city scenery. The list is not in order – it is a collection of recommendations.”