Trying out local cuisine is a fantastic way of exploring and discovering a new culture. Who doesn’t love to taste something exotic, exciting and different? You might discover a great new dish…. or find out that that dish is really not your thing! We, at Nova Fairy Tales, have gathered together some of what we think are the must-try dishes in Budapest and we hope that you will get a change to try them out. We have gathered some insight information from our local guides about the best places to get these delicious dishes. Don’t let the appearance of the food fool you; some of the dishes do look strange but we can assure you they taste absolutely heavenly. You’ll see these dishes prepared everywhere, from fancy restaurants, to cafes to street food stalls. Don’t hesitate and just dig in!
Enjoy our tasty recommendations and don't let their appearances fool you!
Here we‘ll offer a few YouTube videos on some of the most popular Christmas songs in our destinations. They might be a bit different from what you're used to but we‘re sure you‘ll enjoy them all the same. We‘ll give you a little introduction to the origin of the languages, some of them might be hard to learn whereas others might be easier. It depends on where you come from and how quick you are to pick up these exotic new words. Let‘s see if you can learn the lyrics and sing along, loud and clear for all to hear!
Finnish, or Suomi, is spoken by the majority of the people of Finland and about five million people speak the language, most of them reside in Finland. FInnish is a member of the Finnic group, that is part of the Uralic family of languages. Included in the Finnic group is Estonia (see below) and other Baltic countries. The language is believed to be originally a Proto-Uralic language from the boreal forest belt around the Ural Mountains region or the end of the middle Volga. This is thought to be the case because there are many similarities in the structure and the grammar.
Have a listen to this wonderful Christmas song. It is sung by Katri Helena, one on Finland’s best-selling female soloists.
Merry Christmas: Hyvää joulua!
Swedish is a North Germanic language and it is the official language of Sweden. There are around 9.6 million people that speak the language natively and it is very similar to Norwegian, and to some extent with Danish. The North Germanic language is part of the Indo-European language group and is the most spoken language out of the North Germanic languages. The origin of Swedish can be traced to Old Norse, from the Viking Era. The Old Norse evolved into two similar dialects: Old West Norse and Old East Norse. The Old East Norse covered Sweden and Denmark.
Today, Swedish has many traces of the English language, so if you speak English you might be able to catch some of the words that are being sung in this popular Christmas song; Mer Jul. The song is written and sung by the band Adolphson & Falk.
Merry Christmas: God Jul!
Danish is, like Swedish, a North Germanic language and is a descendant of Old Norse. Dansih is the official language of Denmark and around six million people speak the language, it is also spoken widely in Greenland and the Faroe Islands due to the fact that the two countries are an autonomous constituent of Denmark. Well into the 17th century, German and Latin were the most important written languages in Denmark and that is why traditional Danish dialects have almost disappeared completely. The language has changed between generations and today it only has remnants of a former case system. Danish is often considered a difficult language to learn because of the vowels, difficult prosody and “weakly” pronounced consonants. We encourage you to try out some of their pronunciations.
This video is a private recording of the Danish folk star Lars Lilholt - a master of the Danish language :-)
Merry Christmas: Glædelig jul!
Hungarian is a Finno-Ugric language but it’s no longer certain that it is a valid group for Hungarian. Hungarian is the official language of Hungary, and it belongs to the same family as Finnish and Estonian; the Uralic language family. However, throughout the 18th and 19th century there have often been debates on whether the language might be more related to the Turkic language. Today, Hungarian is part of the 24 official languages in the European Union.
In this Christmas video, you are able to see the lyrics, which might make things easier for you, but we will not promise anything. The band, T.N.T, is a pop band that gained a large popularity in Hungary in the 90s.
Merry Christmas: Boldog Karácsonyt!
Estonian is a Southern Finnic language and it’s the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1.1 million. The language is in the branch of the Uralic language family, closely related to Finnish, and the interesting thing is that they are not related to their nearest geographical neighbors and Indo-European language speakers; Swedish, Latvian and Russian. Estonian has borrowed up to one-third of its vocabulary from Germanic languages, even though they are not considered to be related from that origin, and from the Russian language. Estonian, Hungarian and Finland are three out of four official languages of European Union that aren’t from the Indo-European origin.
In this Christmas video, you’ll hear the wonderful song Jõuluingel, which mean Christmas Angel. It is a popular Christmas song in Estonia and has been performed by many artists.
Merry Christmas: Häid jõule!
Christmas is around the corner and many are planning where to be, what to eat and what to do during this wonderful holiday. If you are traveling to Europe, you should know that every country has their own Christmas traditions, especially when it comes to food. But there is one thing that all European countries have in common; friends and family get together and eat great food and enjoy each others company. Here we will introduce some of our destinations favorite food traditions and share with you their recipes. It’s the season to eat and be jolly!
Christmas, or Jul, is the main family event of the year and in Sweden, people travel all around the country to be with their loved ones. Over the last decades, Swedish Christmas traditions have been changing and become somewhat more modern, they have taken up foreign traditions and blended them in with old traditions.
A typical Swedish Christmas table is usually a gathering of; bread, potatoes, ham, meatballs, salmon, and herring. What makes their Christmas table different from others is their amazing Gravad Lax. This delicious raw salmon is a Nordic dish and it is cured in salt, sugar, dill and different spices. It is usually served as an appetizer and is accompanied by gravlaxsås (a dill, mustard sauce) on top of a bread or with boiled potatoes. Here is a recipe for Gravad Lax and the sauce:
The Fish (for 6):
Start by scaling the salmon and remove the small bones, but leave the skin on. Make a few cuts in the skin so the marinade will penetrate from below. Mix salt, sugar, and pepper and sprinkle it beneath and on top of the salmon filet along with plenty of dill. Place a weighted cutting board on top of the salmon filet and let it marinate at room temperature for 2–4 hours. Then refrigerate for 24−48 hours, turning the salmon filet a few times. Rinse the salmon in cold water. Cut into thin slices without getting too close to the skin, so the dark salmon is included.
Gravlax sauce is served alongside the dill-cured salmon. Mix the mustard, sugar and vinegar and season with salt and fresh-ground pepper. Stir vigorously, while pouring on the oil in a steady, thin stream. When the sauce has attained a mayonnaise-like consistency, stir in the chopped dill.
Just like in Sweden, many of their Austrian traditions have been influenced by the countries the countries around them, especially those they have borders with. Vienna is well-known for their beautiful Christmas markets and you will find so many great Christmas decorations being sold, yummy food and candy stalls and so much more. But, there is one thing that you must try, and it will be sold in so many stalls all around, and that is Glühwein. Although Glühwein is originally from Germany, it has really made its name in Austria and you will not be disappointed!
To get the drink right you need the right mixture of wine, cinnamon, sugar and spices and it is sold in Christmas markets all over Europe. We will give you a great recipe for Glühwein but remember that the recipes differ depending on family traditions and countries. Try this one out and add or take out ingredients depending on your taste-buds.
Glühwein (10 servings):
Put all ingredients in a pot and bring it close to boil. For additional taste, cut 2 oranges into bite-size pieces and add to the wine. Let simmer but not boil. Remove cloves and cinnamon sticks before serving it into lightly pre-warmed glasses. Decorate glasses with an orange slice.
Enjoy and remember to drink responsibly!
Hungarians love food, they love to eat, and Christmas is just the season to do that. Their Christmas tables are decorated with green fir twigs, Christmas confectionery, oranges, and red apples. The red apples represent culture, health, and love. Although there are many dishes on the Christmas table there is one in particular that will NOT be absent on Hungarian tables; Halászlé. Halászlé, or Fisherman's soup, is a traditional Hungarian fish soup that was originally prepared by fishermen along the river of Danube and Tisza. However, every region in Hungary have their own fish soup recipe but the soup, in general, consists of a good amount of hot paprika and mixed river fish.
Halászlé (Serves 4):
Cut fish into 3 cm pieces and refrigerate. Heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-low heat, add fish heads and bones and cook, turning once, for 2 minutes. Add 3 litres cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve lined with muslin, discarding solids.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and capsicum, and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until softened. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 5 minutes. Add paprika and stir for 1 minute or until fragrant, then return strained stock to the pan. Simmer for 40 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Add fish pieces and simmer for 10 minutes or until just cooked. Season again.
We recommend topping the soup with sour cream and parsley. Enjoy!
If you get a change to try these recipies, we would love to get your feedback on them. Were they tasty?
´Tis is the season to be jolly! There is nothing better than the smell of Glühwein, roasted chestnuts and Christmas carols to get one in the Christmas spirit. These, and so much more, can be found in our favorite Christmas markets in our destinations across Europe. Here, we have gathered some of our favorites and we hope that you‘ll be able to enjoy them as much as we do.
The city of Vienna is well known for its christmas markets andIt’s no wonder!. The christmas markets are an old tradition that can be traced all the way back to the year 1298!! Unsuprisingly, these markets have really changed since then (although still have a traditional vibe!) and nowadays you can find over 20 christmas markets in the city. Our favorite market is The Viennese Dream Christmas Market in front of the City Hall. Inside the City Hall you will find an area dedicated to children, where they can learn how to bake christmas cookies and make candles. Another great market is the Christmas Village in the Former General Hospital. This market is smaller and has a very traditional Viennese atmosphere to it and this is where you will find amazing Glühwein.
For more information on opening hours and markets: https://www.austria.info/uk/things-to-do/skiing-and-winter/christmas-markets/christmas-markets-in-vienna
In Prague, Christmas markets can be found almost everywhere across the city, from the famous Old Town Square to Náměstí Republiky. The biggest and the most popular market is by far the Old Town Square. There you will find daily carols being sung, stalls selling traditional Czech crafts and of course a huge Christmas tree. If you are a foodie and want to try Prague‘s festive food we recommend that you check out the market at Náměstí Republiky. Remember to try Becherovka, a herbal liqueur that is usually mixed with coffee, and Pražská Šunka, prague‘s famous Christmas ham.
For more information on opening hours and markets: http://www.myczechrepublic.com/prague/christmas-markets.html
This beautiful city transforms into a winter wonderland during the Christmas season. Our favorite Christmas market is The Basilica Christmas Market which is located on the square in front of St. Stephen‘s Basilica. You will find more than 150 stalls with beautiful hand-made products, especially those made by the skillful members of the Hungarioan Folk Artists. You will have to try a Hungarian delicacy called the Chimney Cake in English, which is sold in many of the stalls in the market and is wonderful to eat while you stroll through the market! Right in the middle of the market there is an ice-skating rink that is wonderful for the children to try and is free for those under the age of 14.
For more information on the opening hours and markets: http://budapestchristmas.com/budapest-basilica-christmas-market
If you are visiting Copenhagen in November or December you must visit Copenhagen‘s famous Tivoli Gardens. The theme park transforms into a winter wonderland and inside you will find a Chrismas market, incredible Christmas lights displays, trees covered in snow, Glühwein sold on every corner and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a reindeer or two! The market itself has over 60 stalls that sell gifts, decorations, arts and crafts and yummy snacks that will get you into the Christmas spirit. This year, the Nutcracker will be shown in the Tivoli Concert Hall and it is a show that is not to be missed.
For more information on opening hours, prices and events: https://www.tivoligardens.com/en/saesoner/jul
Budapest is a great city to explore by bike! The number of cycle lanes and cyclists have really grown in the last couple of years. Biking has become a fashionable and sustainable way to get around the city.
There are over 250 km of bike paths crisscrossing the city and bike-friendly areas are becoming increasingly common. Bike paths are usually detached from the sidewalks with markings or poles, and they are often separated from car traffic.
Where to bike
If you are going to rent a bike on your own, we recommend biking along the Danube, which is part of the EuroVelo route, stoping for a nice cup of coffee in one of the bike friendly cafés along the way. However, the Danube does split into two; Pest, fairly hilly trails in the west and Buda, a flatter terrain in the east. Pest is where you are more likely to find popular tourist sites, yummy cafés, and restaurants.
Some of our other favorite places to bike are Margaret Island (cars are banned from the island which makes biking a dream) and the City Park. Margret Island is a beautiful little green island where you can really enjoy the open space and escape from it all. We recommend that you take your lunch with you and enjoy a picnic.
If you want to bike away from the busy city we can recommend two paths to take. One of them goes along Szilas Creek and it will lead you to Lake Naplás, a stunning place which is home to a variety of flora and fauna, especially birds. Lake Lupa is another great spot to visit and you should absolutely take the ferry to Lupa Island. There you will find a quiet white sand beach, palm trees, parasols and cocktails.
If you are really into biking, you should follow the EuroVelo route even further and visit all of the 10 countries the route goes through…. just an idea :)
Nova Fairy Tales bike tours
Although beer biking has become increasingly popular across Eurpoe (who doesn’t like the combination of two such popular hobbies?!), but most districts in Budapest have now banned beer bikes). So we recommend that you try and keep beer and biking separate, for now, and join our bike tours! With us you can explore this fantastic city and at the end of your 3 hour adventure with us we can recommend some great bars to enjoy a beer or two…... or five! We always say: bike responsibly! Leave the beers till last!
On our 3-hour bike tour you will get to see many of Budapest’s main attractions that are difficult to discover on foot in one day. If you are not very comfortable about stepping on a bike in the city, not to worry! You guide will go over the bike rules and help you pick the right bike for you. It is a great way to enjoy the lovely city of Budapest. The tour starts off by riding along the Andrássy Avenue where you’ll find some amazing Hungarian architecture, at the end of the avenue you will reach Heroes Square and the City Park. You will also get a chance to see the Parliament of Hungary, the Opera House and the House of Terror museum. You will also get a chance to ride along the beautiful Danube riverside where you can admire and take pictures of the beautiful bridges and the thousand years history of the city. As well as the main sights of Budapest, our tours will also help you find some hidden gems that you might not otherwise stumble across.
Our bike tours will let you explore the best of Budapest in a fun (and fast) way!
On our blog you will find travel tips and inspiration across our destinations. You'll find anything from food and drink recommendations to must-see attractions, hidden gems and seasonal events.