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What $500 Buys in Budapest

© Bruce Hutchinson

Budapest is known as the city of spas, and there’s perhaps no better time to visit its abundant steam baths than during the chilly winter months. In December, the famous Budapest Christmas Fair takes over Vörösmarty Square and is a great place to try traditional Hungarian foods like stuffed cabbage and kürtos kalács (cylinder-shaped pastries with coatings like sugar or walnut).

Two nights with breakfast at the Iberostar Grand Hotel Budapest, a stylish 50-room boutique hotel that opened in August and is walking distance from the Danube River in the historic Pest area. The best rooms have beds with floating, cloud-like canopies. iberostar.com.

A Roman-inspired printed silk dress and a Joan of Arc leather shoulderpiece by Hungarian designer Dóra Mojzes at the Ourstyle Boutique pop-up store, running until January 2012 on the second floor of Mammut department store in Buda. ourstyle.hu.

Four tickets to “Hungary in Depth,” a daylong class on the country’s remarkable wine culture—its noble grapes, like Hárslevelu and Irsai Oliver, come from appellations as ancient as Tokay or Villány—at the impressive year-old Central European Wine Institute. cewi.hu.

Fourteen tickets to the November 18 opening of Budapest-born painter Rita Ackermann’s show of waifish bohemians and other ominously dreamlike creatures at the Ludwig Museum, as well as six copies of her eponymous new monograph by Rizzoli. ludwigmuseum.hu.

Enough Magyar-pintxo-style small plates, like heritage mangalitsa pork, for 12 at MAK. The buzzing Hungarian-Basque bistro is chicly casual, with 19th-century Thonet chairs and a white-brick vaulted ceiling. makbistro.hu.

As of September, 1 Hungarian forint = 0.005 cents

Compiled by Candice Chan and Adam Gollner