February 17, 2018

A Budapest Wine Adventure

After my Beer Extravaganza in Bamberg Germany I figure it will be time to look for something else to drink.

Doing a little digging, I found that Hungary has quite a wine history.  Bingo, looks like wine will be on the menu while in Budapest!

Tokaji Wine Hungary

Tokaji Wine by Uzo19

Hungary’s wine history goes back to Roman times and has had some very tall highs and some very low lows.  The wines of Hungary are indeed legendary and were favorites of Popes, Royalty and “stars” of the time like Schubert, Goethe, Haydn and Liszt.  In fact, Tokaji wine was the first wine to receive a formal classification and this was even before France!

With all this popularity, when did it change?

Hungary’s history has included a lot of turmoil but none affected the wine industry as much as the events after WWII.   With the end of World War II, communism took over governing Hungary.  During the communist rule, the government claimed all vineyards and turned them into state owned farms.  With competition gone, the goal was quantity not quality.  This is when Hungarian wines went from being revered to trash.

A breath of fresh air was pumped into the wine industry with the collapse of communism. Since then, Hungarian wines have been trying to restore their once held supreme status.  The process of reclaiming this wine producing area has been slow but Hungarian wines seem to making some headway!

If you’re able to spend some time in Hungary then visiting the countryside including the regions famous for wine would be a great way to get to know Hungary and its wines.

Vineyard near Eger

Vineyard near Eger by Themightyquill

The Lake Balaton region is about 2 hours from Budapest and is famous for its white wines and outdoor activities.  This large, shallow lake is home to many recreational pursuits including windsurfing, golf, and horseback riding but this summer resort is also known for its sandy beaches, thermal baths, medieval ruins and Festetics chateau.

Lake Balaton Views Hungary

Lake Balaton Views BlackTigerHUN, on Flickr

Since Eger is only about 30 minutes from Budapest, it is a very popular day trip.  This beautiful Baroque city is home to a Prison museum, castle, thermal baths and the most northern Turkish minaret.    This region is famous for its red wine known as “Bulls Blood” but now days is also producing some very nice whites.

Eger Hungary

Eger by Aqwis

Villany is known for its rural atmosphere which is full of picturesque villages and rolling hills as well as its superb red and rose wines.  There is a Wine route which make it’s very easy to taste the wine and some vineyards also offer overnight stays.  Other than the thermal baths, medieval castle and pilgrimage church make sure to spend some time in Pecs where you will find Baroque houses, medieval monuments and Roman burial vaults.

Villany Vineyard Hungary

Vineyard hills of Villány by access.denied, on Flickr

The Tokaj region is a UNESCO World Heritage region due to its formal classification received in 1770 – 100 years before Bordeaux!  This is the most famous wine region in Hungary and is up in the far northern part of the country.  The city of Tokaj is at the confluence of the Tisza and Bodrog rivers and offers many architectural wonders from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Vineyard in Tokaj Region Hungary

Vineyard in Tokaj Region Hungary by Susulyka

During my trip I will not be able to visit the Hungarian countryside but I will be enjoying a Budapest Wine Adventure just from a seat in a tasting cellar!


Have you had Hungarian Wine?

Suggestions for a wine cellar to visit?

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  1. Hello! I’ve been reading your website for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic job!

  2. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful wine blog. Hope to hear more from you. Cheers!

  3. robin says:

    I LOVE Tokaji wine 🙂
    robin recently posted..Playa

  4. Katherina says:

    You’ve just given me another great idea for a trip!

    I haven’t been to Hungary yet, but have been wine tasting in Lanzarote and Lebanon, and went sherry tasting in Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain, too!
    Katherina recently posted..Photo Essay- Why I Love Portuguese Architecture

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I’m looking forward to trying Hungarian wine. Its a surprise to find out that it is supposed to be so good!

  5. senafp says:

    I loved your wine blog in Budapest. Although I was never there and would like to travel to Hungary one day, we did have a private tour at a winery in Germany in Bingen on the Rhein, was call Pieroth. The owner gave us a private tour and did we get drunk..and we didn’t know it until we came out of the wine cellar..we must have had 15 different wines tastings..then we had to drive down the mountain..I think we got back to the hotel ok..LOL! Thanks for the memory on wine.
    senafp recently posted..History on The Statue of Liberty

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Wow, 15 wines is a lot to taste in one sitting! Wine tours and tastings are great fun.

      • senafp says:

        I know..he had it all laid out..all I saw were bottles and our wine glasses. It was dark in there and he gave us a tour of all the different German wines and what the labels meant when they picked the wine, early, late and so on. It was really very interesting. We missed the tour and had a private tour with the owner..
        senafp recently posted..History on The Statue of Liberty

  6. I love learning little bits of history like this! I’ve never had any wine from that region, but I’ll be excited to hear how your tastings go. 🙂
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..The Sea Spirit House in Yachats- OR

  7. I enjoy your alcohol-themed posts. Keep ’em coming 🙂
    The Travel Chica recently posted..Learning to Cook in Buenos Aires

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Oh gosh. . . that is funny! I was telling my husband that everyone probably thinks I’m an alcoholic 🙂

  8. I need to get educated on this stuff. I know nothing about wines and usually choose one based on the coolest-looking bottle.
    Scott – Quirky Travel Guy recently posted..9 Things You Didn’t Know About Yellowstone National Park

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I don’t know anything either. If I like it, I drink it. If I don’t, I still drink it 🙂

  9. jade says:

    Wine tours with wine tastings at the end are one of my favorite things to do while visiting a new country. I feel like you get to taste the culture and meet local people who are passionate about their work. The photos are really inviting!

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Can’t disagree with you at all! I am looking forward to trying some Hungarian wine.

  10. Oh, I remember drinking Egri Bikaver the first time I was in Hungary. Very nice wine.

  11. Leigh says:

    Always wanted to try the famous but very sweet Tokaj wines. I do but the occasional bottle of cheap Hungarian white wine – and for the price it’s decent.
    Leigh recently posted..Notes from the Trail- Hiking the Camino de la Plata – Week 1

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I have never seen Hungarian wines in the US. I will take a closer look but somehow I think I might like them better while in Hungary 🙂

  12. AWESOME!!! Before I even read this, I was thinking of the bottle of Tokaji wine I had there in Budapest. It was so delicious! I still have the bottle at home!
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..Changing lives around the world through volunteer travel

  13. Laurel says:

    I had no idea that Hungary had vinyards, let alone good wine. Your photos are beautiful. Sigh, another place I would like to visit.
    Laurel recently posted..Things to Do in Winchester

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Me either until I started looking into it! Now I am really excited about trying them 🙂


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