Magyar Magyar

5 special tours in the land of winegrowers

SzekszárdPécs region

Hungary is divided into six larger wine regions, which consist of 22 smaller wine districts. Each wine district is distinguished based on their specific properties related to climate, terrain, soil and history. Every wine region has something unique and interesting to offer that makes a visit worthwhile. 

Tour on the Bodrog in Tokaj

You can rent summer boats in Tokaj which you can then sail up on the River Bodrog, which is one of the major tributaries of the Tisza. On the way from Tokaj, through Bodrogkeresztúr, Olaszliszka and Bodrogolaszi to Sárospatak you will find many winegrowing towns and villages. You may even want to rent bikes and visit some of the villages farther away from the shore. Fortunately, these villages lie in valleys, so there is not much of a difference in altitude to conquer with your bike or other local means of transport. In this wine district, grapes are grown by 27 villages and towns on about 400 vineyards.

From Tokaj to Keresztúr

In Tokaj, you can visit Kopaszhegy, the World Heritage Wine Museum, the former synagogue turned into a Cultural Conference Centre, and the best café near and far, and of course, you can sit or walk on the bank of the Tisza. The hillfort of Szabolcs is close by, while the palace in Tiszadob and its beautiful English garden is also just a stone’s throw away. Should you feel like eating fried fish for dinner, visit the fish fryers in Timár or Tiszabercel, both located right on the bank of the river. There are many noteworthy wineries both in Tokaj and Bodrogkeresztúr, but you should also visit Mád and Tállya, which are further away from the river.

Mád, Wine district

From Olaszliszka to Sárospatak

The next village is Olaszliszka where, if you climb up into the tower of the church, you will see the region around you, or you could visit the ruins of the synagogue, which is one of the stops along the Footsteps of the Wonder Rabbis. The village was named after the neo-Latin speaking Walloons/Italians who introduced viticulture to the region. Later on, thanks to the Jewish tradesmen who settled here, the goods were sold before the next harvest began, and there was a growing demand for them. When you are in Olaszliszka, you should take the opportunity to visit Erdőbénye, not only because the villages have buildings and structures from hundreds of years ago, but also because it is home to one of the most intellectual winemaker communities. But we’ll let you decide that for yourself. After you are done visiting the cellars in Bodrogolaszi, pop over to Tolcsva. Your last stop will be Sárospatak, with its must-see Renaissance castle and the famous Reformed College.

Renaissance castle ,Sárospatak

Pannon wine region – Szekszárd and Gemenc

The Pannon wine region actually comprises four wine districts: the vineyards of Tolna, Szekszárd, Pécs and Villány. Its typical grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, while its specialities are Cirfandli (Zierfandler), Zweigelt and Kadarka. The vineyards here enjoy much more sunshine than any other wine regions in the country. In some places, you will even find that the mesoclimate is Mediterranean. Among many other things, this is one of the reasons why the red wine made in this region has a higher tannin content. Szekszárd’s typical wine is the Siller cuvée, which is slightly darker than a rosé, but lighter in colour than reds. This particular wine combination, which has a fox-like colour, is called Fukszli by the locals. The white wine made here is less vibrant, softer and milder than those made in the wine subregions north of Lake Balaton. Apart from the wine, the natural environment of the region is also worth discovering. You will find a fantastic Gingerbread Museum in Szekszárd, and if you come in the summer, you can even eat ice cream made from Kadarka. You can also go on a wine tour in a Jeep, of course, with your own private driver.

Szekszárd, Wine district

Set sail for the Danube

After the visits to the cellars in Szekszárd, you should also visit the Fekete Gólya House in Báta. If you want to discover Gemenc, you can get on the narrow-gauge railway that leaves from the nearby Pörböly Ecotourism Centre, or you can even rent a bike, canoe or kayak. This railway line is special because it is the only one in the country that crosses a floodplain forest. It runs for 30 kilometres and follows the riverbeds of the Danube and the Sió. The Centre has a wildlife observation hut which you can visit to study the habitat and behaviour of deer and wild boars. There is an arboretum and a beekeeping collection right next to the Centre. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can discover Gemenc on a horse-drawn cart or a hunting carriage. In the castle in nearby Karapancsa, you can even sleep in the same room where Franz Joseph I slept in the past. The hunting castle in Cserenc is a similar place of interest. The building is home to a collection of fishing and hunting trophies and relics collected from around the region. The walk in the park of the castle is a pleasant one, since the huge walnut trees provide cool shade in the summer heat. There is also a small wildlife park near the building.