A journey to the WINE country
There can be no more delightful an
odyssey then to travel from Budapest to the ancient wineyards of Hungary,
stopping along the way to taste the food and wine that make Hungary justly
famous. The first place to aim for is Eger, the beautiful old Baroque town that
gives its name to the local, but internationally famous, wine. Even before you
get there, you will be thrilled by the 5-star neoclassic Parádsasvár Palace,
built in 1827, now a hotel where you may choose to spend a romantic evening.
THE BAROQUE TOWN OF EGER
The center of the historical
wine-producing region of North-Eastern Hungary is Eger. Its fort, which was
defended by heroic warrioirs during European conquests of the Turks in the 16th
century, offers an excellent view the beautiful downtown. The city, with its
glorious historical past, minarets and palaces is a place of thermal baths, good
food, wine and of course, good cheer.
The Eger red wines - such as the
renowned Egri Bikavér (Bull's Blood) - are characterized by attractive color
and pleasant tannin acid content. During the several years of aging in large
wooden casks in the cellars, these wines become fullbodied wines rich in aroma.
Aside from quality wines, there is
a fine equestrian tradition in the region. Near Eger, at Szilvásvárad the
riding farm where Lippizzaner stallions are stabled is well worth a visit.
Since the middle of the 16th
century, thank to the Aszú wines, Tokaj-Hegylja has been famous the world over
for the quality of its wines. "Winum regnum rex vinorum" - "The
wine of kings, the king of wines" - exclaimed Louis XIV when first tasting
Tokay Aszú, which became popular wine speciality of royal, papal and
aristocratic tables through the centuries.
At any time of the year you can
wander from wine cellar to vineyard, tasting different vintages and learning
about the production of Tokay. Only four white grape varieties are permitted:
Furmint, Hárslevelü (original Hungarian varieties) Muscat Lunel and Oremus,
from which seven wine types are produced: Aszú, Szamorodni (dry or sweet),
"Fordítás", Aszúesszencia, Natúresszencia (Nectar) and champagne.
In October you can help in the
actual making of the wine - very enjoyable excursion.
On the same trip, don't miss
medieval Hollókő, at he world's first village to be listed as a World Heritage
site and preserved in its entirety. The curch is the centerpiece of the village,
which nestles in the Cserhát Mountains. Hollókő's 65 white - washed buildings
- among them the kindergarten, the post office, the weaver's cottage, the Csárda
(country inn) - give a fascinating glimpse of pastoral Hungary in centuries
past, and the village has a lively tradition of folk art to this day. In the
village museum you will see exhibits detailing the traditional way of life which
involves three generations living together. The picturesque 13th century castle
on the hilltop overlooking the village has recently been restored. In some of
the old cottages, you can stay overnight.
Read our art
and wine itinerary featuring Hungary's mediterranean, Southern Transdanubia.