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Invade BudapestAccording to the Budapest tourist board’s Web site, everyone stays longer in the city than they planned: “Romans for 400 years, Ottomans for 150 years, Soviets for 45 years — and you for one extra night.”

Through March 31, 45 hotels in the Hungarian capital are offering a special deal none of the other visitors received: four nights for the price of three.

The site invites visitors to make reservations online. Its address is www.budapestwinterinvasion.com.

Women visiting the city during these cold months might want to take advantage of a women-only, no-bathing-suit-required day in a thermal Turkish bath at the Rudas Health Spa. Every Tuesday the special deal is available from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For information on the Rudas spa and others in the city, go to www.budapestspas.hu.

The city Web site is www.budapestinfo.hu/en.

Zurich specialThrough March 31, Picasso Travel is offering a five-day, four-night Zurich Special stay in the Swiss city starting at $379 per person. The package includes accommodations in a three-star hotel, breakfasts and free admission to the Christmas Stroll. The offer is not valid between Dec. 17 and Jan. 4.

Details available by telephone at 800-995-7997 in the States or at www.picassotravel.com.

Normandy beachesEssential France offers tours from Paris to the Normandy landing beaches with an overnight in Bayeux.

The company offers two trips. The first costs $250 per person, double occupancy, and includes round-trip rail transportation from Paris to Bayeux, one night’s accommodation, breakfast and a half-day Normandy beaches tour, plus free time to explore Bayeux.

The second option is $299 per person, double occupancy, and includes round-trip train tickets between Paris and Bayeux, one night’s accommodation at a hotel, breakfast and full-day tour of the beaches in a minivan.

You can also reserve a one-day tour from Bayeux at $55 per person. Details at www.essentialfrance.com.

Download FranceInterested in information about France but don’t want to wait for brochures through the mail?

The tourist board offers a variety of brochures with themes from “France for Young Travelers” to the “Jewish Traveler Guide” to specific locations that can be downloaded from its Web site. They are available at http://us.franceguide.com/brochures.

Provence on horsebackIf you enjoy horseback riding, you might want to spend part of your holidays on an equestrian trip in Provence, France, with Cross Country International. And if there are two of you who want to go before March 27, the second person goes for half-price.

The price is $1,850 per person, double occupancy (half for the second one) and includes six nights’ accommodations at guesthouses, all meals, five days of trail riding, horse, tack, guide, transfers to/from airport/train station at a pre-set time, and tax.

For details on this and other horseback riding vacations, go to www.equestrianvacations.com.

Best BetsAustria

If you’ve been a bad boy or girl this year, watch out for the annual Krampus run through Salzburg, when costumed characters modeled after St. Nicholas’ companion, Krampus, dash through the town to punish wicked children by beating them with twigs. Meanwhile, good children receive gifts from St. Nick. You can see them at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Gnigl district; at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Oberndorfer Schöffleut Pass in the old city; at 5:30 in the old town on Siegmundstor and Getreidegasse, and at Schloss Aigen; at 5:30 p.m. Monday between the Fest- spielhaus, Christkindlmark, Alter Markt and Bürger-spitalsatz; and at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Linzergasse. For details, see Salzburg’s Web site, www2.salzburg.info.

England

Skipton is the site of a medieval Yuletide festival Sunday and Dec. 10, during which High Street will be lined with a period market selling a variety of gifts. During the day, there will be knight jousting re-enactments, folk dancers and musicians, falconry displays and other entertainment to create a medieval atmosphere. The market opens at 10 a.m. with Santa Claus arriving by canal boat at 11. The day ends about 4 p.m. with a lantern procession and Christmas caroling in the church. For more information, call the city tourist office at (0)1756-729-809.

During Grassington’s annual Dickens Festival — Saturday and Dec. 9 and 16 — the village square and streets will be filled with traditional markets and sellers in period dress while musicians, dancers and other artists entertain. On Dec. 9, four adult Cairngorm reindeers and a baby will make an appearance. Evening theater also is on the program. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For details, call the Grassington Tourist Board at (0) 1756-751-690.

Germany

Chocolate lovers: Head to the old town in the university city of Tübingen Tuesday through Dec. 10 for its first outdoor chocolate festival. Chocolate manufacturers from Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium and Switzerland will set up stalls in the city center. The fest runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Details at www.chocolart.de (in German). Tübingen’s Web site is www.tuebingen.de.

— Jayne Traendly


Stripes in 7



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