Winter Markets on the Lower Danube
With an extended Christmas period that lasts until January and a high probability of a dusting of snow, Winter Markets of the Lower Danube region (along the Danube River southeast of Budapest, Hungary) rival those throughout more frequented parts of Europe and are a wonderful place to enjoy the magic of the festive season.
Cities such as Bucharest, Romania and Vukovar, Croatia are beautifully decorated and there are concerts, theater plays, ice rinks and various fairs, including wine, cheese and honey fairs. Many performances are even free of charge.
Navidad in Novi Sad
Winterfest in Novi Sad, the second largest city in Serbia and the capital of the Province of Vojvodina, is the first and oldest Christmas Market in the country. The top attraction is its big Singing Christmas Tree, where youth and adult choirs perform every day in 10 different languages (Serbian, Hungarian, Slovakian, Ruthenian, Croatian, Ladin, Yiddish, English, German and Russian).
Around 50 wooden chalets are set up in the historic center – Liberty Square. After 30 years, organizers of Winterfest have returned fijaker, horse-drawn carriages, to the streets. Danube Park is at the city’s heart, where you can find the Ice Forest, an ice skating rink covering an area of 1,300 square meters. It is festively decorated and boasts Snow City, a winter bazaar featuring the work of local artists and craftsmen, as well as gastronomic specialties and winter delights.
Best Local Delicacies
Winter on the Lower Danube not only announces itself with snow and awe-inspiring Christmas decorations but also with the smell of donuts, candies, mulled wine and rakija (Serbian brandy). Licitar hearts, colorfully decorated biscuits made of sweet honey dough, are unique to this part of the world and take nearly a month to make from start to finish.
Visitors can also buy and taste honey, BBQ, grilled meats, various cakes such as kürtőskalács (a spit cake specific to Hungarians from Transylvania) and gugelhupf (a prestige pastry by Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria and popularized in France by Marie-Antoinette).