Perfect Pitch: Capitals on a budget

Three east european classics go head to head. Budapest: Prague and Riga; which will you choose?

Budapest, Hungary
Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary

Why?

As well as being one of Europe's best-value-for-money destinations, its striking landscape, fascinating architecture, thermal spas and reputation for serving some of the best food on the continent makes planning an event easy.

Hotels

The Hungarian capital will add to its luxury property portfolio when the 192-room Ritz-Carlton Budapest hotel opens its doors in the second quarter of this year. The property is on the edge of Erzsebet Square, close to the legendary Buda Castle.

Activities

Budapest is very bike-friendly and there are many options for exploring the city on two wheels. Budapest is also known for its thermal spas where groups can enjoy a bathing pastime that dates back to the 16th century.

NEED TO KNOW

Flight time: 2hrs 15m
Time difference: GMT+1hr
Recent visitors: Inmarsat, L'Oreal
Don't Miss: Check out the dozens of Ruin Pubs across the city, made up of a hodgepodge of recycled furniture in abandoned buildings.

Prague, Czech Republic

Why?

The Czech capital has been a C&I favourite for some time, and with an ever-increasing number of flights from the UK, Prague is primed to flourish in 2016.

Hotels

The city has an abundance of high-quality hotels with links to its alluring history, none more so than the five-star Mandarin Oriental, Prague. Built within the walls of a 14th-century monastery, the property offers 79 rooms, with an additional 20 individually decorated suites, and a private dining room for 20 guests hidden below the main restaurant.

Activities

Walking tours might seem like old news for experienced event planners, but they are a great way to get under the skin of the city, whether hiking up to Prague Castle and the court of Rudolf II or bar-hopping to sample some of the best beer in the world.

NEED TO KNOW

Flight time: 2hrs
Time difference: GMT+1hr
Recent visitors: VM Ware
Don't Miss: Prague's oldest pub, U krale Brabantskeho. The 14th-century inn was the haunt of some of the city's darkest characters.

Riga, Latvia

Why?

The largest of the Baltic capitals, Riga has built itself a reputation as an exciting 'wildcard' destination. Its cosmopolitan nature, thriving art scene and quirky nightlife show that there is plenty in the Latvian city ready to be explored.

Hotels

Groups can choose from classic to contemporary when it comes to accommodation in the city, from the five-star Grand Palace Hotel to the sophisticated, 571-room Radisson Blu Hotel Latvia Riga. The former was once the Central Bank of Latvia, but since its renovation in 2000 it is now one of the city's best offerings for high-end meetings and incentives.

Activities

Food and drink play a pivotal part in Riga's incentive offer, with trips to Northern Europe's largest food market, traditional Latvian cooking classes and a discovery tour of the famous Riga Black Balsam liquor all interesting options.

NEED TO KNOW

Flight time: 2hrs 40m
Time difference: GMT+2hrs
Recent visitors: Coca-Cola, KPMG, Eurofi
Don't Miss: If exploring the Old Town, try and spot the Black Cat of Riga, spookily perched atop a rooftop turret.

More:

Czech Airlines to launch Birmingham to Prague flight

5 things you didn't know about Budapest

Riga enters AMEX top 10 European meetings cities list

Perfect Pitch: Arctic Adventures

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