Fairy-tale castles, fields of white, moonlight legends, secluded chalets with a fire burning late at night, we all secretly long for romance. And if that’s what you want for your winter holiday, you’re in luck: Eastern Europe isn’t short of romantic getaways, as long as you know where to look. Here are five Argophilia staff favorite romantic destinations in Eastern Europe for your 2011-2012 winter vacation.
Winter Dreams in Montenegro
In the heart of Europe, only about 50 kilometres from the coast of the South Adriatic Sea, the pristine wilderness of the Montenegrin mountains awaits, with thousands of slopes that challenge even the most experienced skiers, but also, with beautiful, welcoming chalets, luxuriously furnished to satisfy some of the most demanding exigencies. On the foot of Bjelasica and Sinjajevina mountains, air spa city Kolašin is one of the most popular year-round getaways for romantics, and not only. But in winter, particularly, those who want to enjoy a quiet retreat in a unique, ethnic-style chalet, may find Log House Tara more than appealing.
For those looking for a more luxurious getaway, Bianca Resort & Spa is perhaps the best choice. A premium resort, the prices are, however, affordable for every budget. A Christmas package this year begins at 272 EURO per person, for accommodation, Christmas Day gala diner and more.
Christmas Magic in Latvia
Latvia claims to be the home of the world’s first Christmas Tree, and whether you believe the claim or not, one thing is for sure: Christmas doesn’t get better than in Riga (featured below, courtesy 2010 Patricia LTD, Riga), where this year, the Christmas Market opens Sunday 26 November 2011, with the Christmas Tree Lighting at 17:00; and remains open til 8 January 2012 — daily from 10:00.
Aside celebrating Christmas and the tradition of decorating Christmas Trees, the market offers a unique opportunity for tourists to explore the culinary traditions of the season, as well as to find priceless artistic treasures on display, many hand-carved in wood and sold as souvenirs.
Christmas in Latvia is a playful time, with singing, dancing, and fortune telling. For those who want to learn even more about Latvia’s Christmas tradition, the Latvian Ethnographic Open-air Museum is a treasure trove of culture, traditions, and good times.
Hungarian Christmas in Budapest
If you want a place that exudes Christmas spirit, Budapest is one of the top winter favorites in Eastern Europe. Yes, there is a popular Christmas Market in the center of the town to keep you busy, but the true appeal of the city is given by its spa-baths – in Budapest a way of life for tourists and locals alike. At the foot of Gellért Hill, next to Szabadság Bridge, the first lady of Hungarian tourism, Hotel Gellért is the absolute favorite. The Gellért fürdő or Gellért Baths are beyond romantic: stunningly beautiful, the thermal baths boast Gellért hill’s mineral hot springs.
Carols in Hunedoara County
Straja tourist complex in Hunedoara County is not necessarily romantic, but it does have its appeal for skiers – especially on the night slopes. The breathtaking scenery is the perfect set for romance as well,
And those who want to experience different Christmas traditions are in luck too – the villages in the neighborhood still keep their traditions alive, with ceremonial pig slaughter on Ignat Day, carols and other customs the first and second days of Christmas – particularly the Stag Dance.
Slovenia’s Winter Wonderland
Slovenians take fairy-tales rather seriously, and winter activities revolve around a number of customs that bring to life stories of witches and wizards, boogeymen, and other fantastic creatures. At Kranjska Gora you get to explore the mystical past of the Zgornjesavska valley – and the experience gets richer with every new discovery. November and December are rich in events, with concerts in the snow, enacting of nativity scenes, Christmas rituals like the blessing of the horses, and much more. And if the fairy tales are not your idea of romance, the nature around Kranjska Gora will certainly seduce you. Top the experience with local cuisine, and spa services at international standards – all for a price you can afford.