Central Europe: Visiting Four Countries in One Go

The Visegrad Group celebrates 43 years of diplomatic relations.

Four European countries — the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia — recently held their tourism roadshow presentation at the New World Hotel in Makati City to showcase the best of these countries to Filipinos.

The four countries are part of the European Quartet, also known as the Visegrad Group or V4. This year’s presentation was called “Discover Central Europe: the 43rd Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations of Visegrad 4 Countries.”

Opening the event were three of the countries’ ambassadors to the Philippines: Czech Republic Ambassador Jaroslav Olša, Jr., Hungarian Ambassador József Bencze, and Polish Ambassador Marcin Kubiak.

Presented in partnership with Turkish Airlines, the event had tourism representatives from each country give highlights of what visitors would be able to see.

For the Czech Republic, CzechTourism representative Michal Procházka cited a handful of reasons to visit the country, ranging from the beautiful capital of Prague to the authentic 17th century castle of Český Krumlov, the Christmas markets of Olomouc, and the resort town of Karlovy Vary.

cesky-krumlov

Procházka pointed out that another thing that binds the Czech Republic and the Philippines was Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal’s visit of the Czech town of Litoměřice in 1887. At that time, Rizal visited his good friend, Professor Fernando Blumentritt, and made a good impression with the people there.

For Hungary, Hungarian Tourism Agency representative Zsuzsa Vincze detailed the beauty of the city of Budapest, from its architectural heritage to being the spa capital of Europe, with its numerous thermal baths and springs.

budapest

Vincze also noted Budapest’s café culture as well as Lake Heviz, a “biologically-active” volcanic lake with medicinal properties and considered one of the largest thermal lakes in the world.

For Poland, Polish Tourist Organization Emilia Kubik listed three cities that every visitor to Poland should see: Kracow (the former capital of Poland which has the impressive Wieliczka Salt Mine), Warsaw (the country’s capital and a UNESCO site that was reconstructed after the destruction of World War 2), and Gdansk (a well-known port city on the Baltic coast).

salt-mine

Outside these cities, Kubik pointed out the red brick-featured Malbork Castle and the country’s primeval forest, the home of the European bisons, as places to visit.

Lastly, for Slovakia, Slovak Tourist Board representative Lenka Považanová enumerated a number of sights to see like the impressive Bratislava Castle near the Danube River, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Banská Štiavnica (or Silver Town), and its many caves like the Ochtinská Aragonite Cave and the Dobšinská Ice Cave.

bojnice-castle

Považanová likewise recommended the fairy tale castle of Bojnice, which holds an international festival on ghosts and spirits.

All of the representatives cited the shopping and dining opportunities available in each country. Visitors can also buy Hungarian Tokaj wine and Herend porcelain, as well as Polish amber. For those who prefer something more sporting, tourists could also try a little golf tourism in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic.

After the individual presentations of each country’s tourism agency, there were presentations by the Turkish Airlines, Rail Europe, and other European suppliers. There were also B2B workshops held in separate meeting rooms in the hotel.

Capping the event was a networking reception that included guests like Ritz Azul and Yana Asistio, stars of the upcoming ABS-CBN drama teleserye The Promise of Forever (which had been filmed in Prague earlier this year).