Let's Go / Best Bets
Geneva dealsGeneva is offering Friday-to-Monday packages until the end of the year.
Prices for the deals, which include lodging, breakfast, city tours and discount coupons, start at 89 Swiss francs (about $75) in a two-star hotel (213 Swiss francs for a three-night stay), 100 Swiss francs in a three-star hotel (249 Swiss francs for three nights), 131 Swiss francs in a four-star hotel (340 Swiss francs for three nights) and 183 Swiss francs in a five-star hotel (496 Swiss francs for three nights).
The deal is also available for single rooms, with a single supplement ranging from 26 to 72 Swiss francs per night.
Tour options include bus, walking tour or a cruise on Lake Geneva. Find details at www.geneve-tourisme.ch; there is an English version.
AustriaIf you are in Vienna for this month's Christmas markets and too much Glühwein causes you to sleep late and miss the hotel breakfast, fear not. The city's tourist board recently sent out a list of suggestions for places to get a late breakfast. They include:
Blue Box at Richtergasse 8 near the city's shopping mile on Mariahelfir serves breakfast until 5 p.m; telephone (+43) (0)1-523- 2682, e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site, www.bluebox.at.Café Stein on Währinger Strasse 6-8 near the university serves breakfast until 8 p.m.; (+43) (0)1-319-7241; e-mail, email@example.com; Web site, www.cafe-stein.com.Blaustern at Döblinger Gürtel 2 serves breakfast all day; telephone (+43) (0)1-369-6564.Steindl at Stumpergasse 59 serves breakfast until 5 p.m.; telephone (+43) (0)1-596-5276; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.Café Drechsler, Linke Wienzeile 22 at the Wiener Naschmarkt, opens at 3 a.m. and serves throughout the day; telephone (+43) (0)1-587-8580.Dutch treatsThe Dutch tourist board offers several city packages to encourage tourists to visit this winter.
Gouda has a deal for visitors that costs 89 euros per person, double occupancy. It includes two nights in the AC Hotel, a three-course meal, free entry into the St. Janskerk church and museum, and a packet with information on the city. Information and reservations at (+31) (0)18- 251-1300. The booking code is DE-OG-CB06.
Maastricht offers a package until the end of the year. It costs 118 euros per person, double occupancy, and includes two nights in the Hotel Du Casque, breakfasts, map, coupon for a drink in a famous café and free entry into the Holland Casino.
Details and reservations at (+31) (0) 43-325-2121. The e-mail address is email@example.com.
Those interested in architecture and art may be interested in a package in Groningen, nicknamed the "most Italian city north of the Alps." Its museum was designed by the Italian architect Mendini, and several buildings in the city center were designed by architects Natalini and Grassi.
The package starts at 89 euros per person, double occupancy, and includes two nights’ accommodation, an architecture tour and entry to the Gronigen Museum. Details at (+31) (0)50-313- 9741. The Web site is www.groningen.nl/tourismus.
The Chamber Music Festival takes place in Utrecht Dec. 26-30, and several hotels are offering special arrangements for the occasion. Among them:
• The NH Utrecht Hotel offers a two-night package for 72.50 euros per person, double occupancy, which includes breakfasts, dinner and drink, information packet, entry to the fitness center and solarium. Details at (+31) (0) 30-297- 7988, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Best Western has a one-night deal for 49.50 euros per person, double occupancy, including breakfast, free coffee and tea and information packet. Details at (+31) (0) 30-233- 1232 or e-mail email@example.com. Mention the Chamber Music Arrangement.
Best BetsEscalade, Geneva
In 1602, Geneva, Switzerland, successfully defended itself against the army led by the Duke of Savoy. Centuries later the city celebrates the event with its annual Escalade, pictured above, which runs Saturday through Monday. Wander the streets among costumed inhabitants, but watch out for members of the Company of 1602 on horseback carrying pikes and lances. Take a tour of the Passage Monetier, a walkway leading to the remains of a Roman fortification and open only once a year. A grand parade takes place Sunday at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. with 800 participants, 60 horses, cannons and other attractions.
Arosa Humor Festival
Also in Switzerland, the air fills with laughter at the 15th Arosa Humor Festival, one of the country’s foremost annual comedy events, which begins Friday.
About 70 stand-up comedians, actors and cabaret artists will take the stage, with improvised comedy performances taking place alongside appearances by international stars. In the afternoon, comedians perform under a circus tent in the midst of a snow sports arena; at night, they go on stage at the Kursaal movie theater in Arosa. An award will be presented to the best all-around comedy act on the final night, Dec. 17.
More information is available by telephone at (+41) (0)81 378 70 40, by fax at (+41) (0)81 378 70 21 or by e-mail at arosa@ arosa.ch. The festival Web site is www.humorfestival.ch (in German).