Visiting Tokaj wine region in Slovakia – relaxing holidays full of tasty wine, cycling, boating…
Tokaj wine region in Slovakia is a guarantee of relaxing holidays full of tasty wine, boat cruise, cycling and more… Tokaj is primarily known as the name for Slovak famous wine, whose production has been strictly controlled for more than 300 years. However Tokaj is not only a premium wine that you can buy anywhere in the shops, it is also a region that can be compared to the more famous wine region – Tuscany.
The low hills and river valleys are here completely covered with vineyards, wineries, and villages where you can find peace and tranquility, excellent food, easy biking trails, a unique view tower in a shape of wine barrel, a lot of historic sites, and you can even enjoy a boat cruise that takes you through the lowest point of Slovakia over to Hungary!
If there is anyone in the world who has never tasted Tokaj wine from this small Slovak region, yet, he or she should change it immediately. And what else can be better than tasting it right in the region where this wine is produced!? Its center is made of two main villages – Malá Tŕňa and Veľká Tŕňa!
Tokaj is the Slovak smallest wine-growing area, but this area further spreads to Hungary, where it covers 5 times more the territory and is even listed on the UNESCO Heritage Site list. The Slovak part is still awaiting registration in this prestigious list, so hopefully, it will enhance UNESCO as soon as possible.
But until that happens, there is no reason to wait any longer! And since I just came back from there and I am full of impressions, let me invite you to taste this region. I’m sure you’ll like it and you decide to go there for a weekend or for a week. It really pays off! 🙂
Wine tasting in the medieval wine cellar at Tokaj Macík Winery
Let’s start with wine tasting as this is one of the main reasons why people visit this region every single year. You can taste the Tokaj wines in countless cellars that you can find in the area.
Everyone in the field grows grapes here, not for eating though but for making wine. And everyone who produces wine has to have a wine cellar. So they are literally wherever you turn. Just choose the first one you see or the one you like the most!
We were here a year ago for the first time, and for the wine tasting, we chose the first cellar we encountered. This year, we chose Tokaj Macík Winery because here you can also produce your own wine! What a great idea to produce your own world-famous wine, isn’t it!? 🙂
Unfortunately, we were late on arrival and have planned a boat cruise on Zemplínska Šírava water reservoir later in the evening. So, this time, we did not have enough time to produce our own wine. No worries, we will come here once again for sure! And we won’t be late!
Unforgettable gourmet experience
Nevertheless, we managed to taste several amazing wines as well as great gastronomic specialties with this elite winery. It was really an unforgettable gourmet experience!
It is advisable to prepare yourself for wine tasting and one of the best options is to eat. I must admit that, in addition to the fact that the locals make good quality wines, they also are excellent cooks.
Pheasant soup and pork tenderloin roasted in bacon with amazing redcurrant sauce and mashed potatoes…. Then pudding cake (pudingáč) and rosé fizz… Anyone still hungry here? 🙂
Lunch was served within the premises of the original part of the complex, where the original inhabitants once lived. So in addition to the excellent food, we also had a nice historical experience.
Medieval wine cellars
After a substantial meal, we were ready to enter a medieval wine cellar carved into volcanic tuff rocks, which is 750 meters underground.
This is, of course, filled with barrels of all sorts of wines, as well as with the display cases with bottles of old wines. Some of the bottles have already grown with a mold during the long years so that they can not even be seen!
The tasting of the wine lasted for about an hour and a half (it is necessary to dress properly because in the cellar is constant 10°C). During the tasting, we’ve learned about wine producing and Tokaj wine region really a lot!
It was really informative and memorable wine tasting and we are already looking forward to coming here again. For more information visit Tokaj Macík Winery official website.
Tokaj Doors Open Days festival
Perhaps the best time to visit Tokaj wine cellars is during the Tokaj Doors Open Days festival when major wine producers have their cellars opened to the public and offer their excellent wines!
The festival takes place here regularly every September. This year it is on September 23, 2017, so you still have a time to book a trip!
What to see and visit in the Tokaj Wine Region
If you’ve already tasted top-quality wines and traditional homemade meals, do not leave the region but go for a trip around. Tokaj region offers beautiful scenery, very similar to the one you could see in a movie “Under the Tuscan Sun.”
Tokaj Observation tower
It was definitely perfect decision to built here a view tower overlooking Tokaj vineyards with Zemplínske vrchy hills behind! It was definitely the best option that the region could do to attract more tourists to this area. Even we came here for the first time to enjoy the tower-view a year ago.
The 12-meter high tower was built and opened in 2015 and from that time, countless visitors came here to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding area. The tower is sophistically built in the shape of a wine barrel. There is also an orientation map with the names of hills and the location of the cities, such as Budapest, Prague and more.
Clever designers didn’t forget either of the smallest ones, neither they will be bored here! Next to the tower is a great playground. Oh, what silence and tranquillity we’ve enjoyed here!
Bodrog river Boat Sailing from Viničky to Hungary
There are not many places in Slovakia where the river can be floated by boat. And even less are those which can take you to the neighboring country. Tokaj, however, is not that case! A private company has been operating boat trips over Bodrog river to Hungary for a long time now.
Discover the untouched beauty of the Bodrog River surroundings, including the lowest point of Slovakia (94 m above sea level). It is really an unforgettable experience! The boat takes you over the borders to the peaceful medieval Hungarian town of Sárospatak, where you can walk around the town, take a dip in the thermal waters or visit one of the most beautiful castles in Hungary.
Cruises take place every Sunday and, exceptionally, on Saturdays and it is necessary to book a trip a few days in advance. Cruise starts at 9:00 AM in the village of Viničky and takes 1.5 hours, the boat leaves Sárospatak at 15:00 and a trip back to Slovakia lasts 2 hours. For more information, visit the operator’s website: lumixtrade.sk (in Slovak only)
House of Folk Traditions in the village of Čerhov
In the village of Čerhov you have to visit the House of Folk Traditions, where you will definitely find something that you may have seen earlier at your grandmother’s home. You will see how our ancestors once lived, what costumes they used to wear and how they spent the evenings when the internet wasn’t either in their minds.
House of Folk Traditions in Čerhov, Tokaj, Košice region, Slovakia / photo: tokajregion.sk
Chateau of Francis II Rákóczi in Borša
Tokaj is an ideal place to visit even for those who love the historic sites. One of the most important and valuable is the 16th century Renaissance mansion in Borša, the birthplace of Francis II Rákóczi. He was a leader of the last Hungarian anti-Habsburg uprising back in 1703-11.
You can visit the park surrounding the chateau, which is freely accessible. You can also get into the manor house but you must book a visit in advance. For more information, visit terraincognita.com.
Cycling around Tokaj region
Besides the wine, Tokaj is also a cycling paradise. Tens of kilometers of cycling paths take you through all of the corners of this small viniculture region.
Enjoy the unique nature of the region and the breathtaking scenery of vast vineyards! Cycling paths are well marked here both in terrain and on the online Google maps: Click here to check it.
Park, manor house, and Mausoleum of Count Július Andrássy in Trebišov
Tokaj lies in the Trebišov district, so it is also important to mention its main town Trebišov. It would really be a great shame not to pay a visit to this small cozy town! In the center of the town, there is a beautiful manor house, which today serves as Museum and Cultural Center of South Zemplín.
But that’s not all! The manor house is surrounded by a large French and English park where, besides trees and nice walkways, you can also find a lagoon with water lilies and an island reachable by the bridge.
Adjacent to the pond is a magnificent Neo-Gothic building – Mausoleum of Count Július Andrássy from the 19th century and also the ruins of the 13th-century Parič water castle! There is also a church and Marianske sculptural group, which also worth a visit.
Latorica Protected Landscape Area
If you stay longer in Košice region, you should definitely visit one of three protected landscape areas of Eastern Slovakia. Latorica Protected Landscape Area is home to a lot of birds, it is full of water, marsh, wetlands and flooded forests.
You’ll hardly find such a scenery anywhere else in the world, so why not to enjoy it here!
Latorica Protected Landscape Area, Tokaj, Košice region, Slovakia / photo: sopsr.sk
If you like to go fishing there is no better place to go in Tokaj region than to the dead part of Bodrog river. The river creates a pond here in a shape of the horseshoe where you can also rent a boat, or just sit and relax at its shores.
Podkova Pond, Tokaj, Košice region, Slovakia / photo: tokajregion.sk
Gothic stone bridge in Leles
Not far from the town of Kráľovský Chlmec, in Leles village, you have the opportunity to walk through the 600-year-old monument! The Gothic stone bridge was built here at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries.
Although it initially crossed the river, the water is here only exceptionally in these days. But if you walk through the bridge, it will bring you to other wonderful parts of this region!
Gothic stone bridge, Leles, Košice region, Slovakia / photo: terraincognita.sk
So, hopefully, these attractions inspired you and you will also decide to visit this peaceful destination. And if you’ve already been here before and have seen something interesting that I didn’t mention here, let us know below in the comments, please.
And if you want to stay a little longer in eastern Slovakia, check these articles:
or visit kosiceregion.com.