When it comes to the idea of spending a relaxing weekend somewhere, can you imagine anything better than a refreshing bathing combined with reposeful massage, a purifying sauna, followed by a pleasant dinner with great wine? Termafurdo.hu is the specialist of thermal baths and also knows that in vino veritas, so it collected some wine tour routes that can be connected with bathing in the famous spas of Hungary.
Tourists visiting Hungary are usually drawn to the Carpathian Basin by three factors besides historic sights: food, drinks and bath centres refreshing the soul and the body. If you can, connect the best things and choose a thermal bath that is close to famous wine-district. Listed below are some examples for these ‘interconnections’.
Bükk wine-district – Miskolctapolca Cave Bath
We have evidence of the cavemen’s gathering economy in the region of Miskolc and that locals occupied more and more lands in the neighbouring hillsides with the growth of the population. Just like the wineries of Eger and Tokaj, wine is kept in – a lot of the times enormous – cellars deepened into liparite tufa. Some have walls, columns, decorated with the valuable work of folk stone-masons. It’s worth visiting some of them when relaxing in the popular Miskolctapolca Cave Bath.
Zala wine-district – Zalakaros Bath
This region’s winery traditions are more than 100 year old, as it is proved by the rows of cellars at the Zala vineyard and the south western point of Lake Balaton, which are not too far from the Zalakaros Thermal Bath. Folk architecture doesn’t only serve our gustatory buds but also our eyes with the unique buildings that can only be found in this region. The cellars were carpentered with timbers and pugged with clay. Let it be a night out after bathing, a hike or a bicycle excursion, the region offers fantastic programmes for bathers in Zalakaros.
Villány-Siklós wine-district – Harkány Thermal Spa
Villány is the most southern wine-district and Harkány is one of the oldest thermal baths in Hungary, and they are only 20 kilometres away. The wines of Villány have reached America and Brazil already in the 19th century, while almost all nationalities have represented themselves in the pools of Harkány. If you plan on to relax in the thermal baths of Harkány or Siklós, then you shouldn’t miss the wine-cellars of Villány, where you can also take part in fantastic gastronomic experiences as well as drink great wines. Villány was already populated in prehistoric times, which is proved by Bronze Age findings. The tradition of viniculture probably originates from Roman times.
Eger wine-district – Eger thermal baths
Eger is a wine-district with a rich medieval past. It was the northern drag region of the Ottoman Empire, where old white wine grape varieties were grown on the southern downhills of the Bükk Mountains. Ottoman traditions connect the wine and bathing culture as the city’s Turkish bath has been functioning alongside the thermal bath. The cellars of the Szépasszonyvölgy don’t only offer gastronomic experiences; the spectacular cellar labyrinth also attracts the attention of visitors. It’s amazing how you can go through the whole city under the ground as well. According to termalfurdo.hu, parts of the caves are of natural origin, but the majority of them are artificial and are decorated with carvings.
Etyek-Buda wine-district – Budapest thermal baths
The visitors of Budapest baths obviously have programmes in abundance, since the capital city always has a wide variety of sights and novelties to offer, even to ‘aboriginals’. However, if you get bored of the bustling city and desire the calmness of the countryside and the closeness of the nature, then it is worth visiting the wine-cellars of Etyek. Even though the region only counts as a wine-district since 1990, viniculture has a tradition that goes back to long centuries. The most typical beverage of the region is the sparkling wine. The famous Törley champagnes were made here from the end of the 19th century. You can also visit the beautiful Schwab houses in Etyek, which are decorated with old, valuable winery equipment. Make sure to visit one of the wine festivals in Etyek!
Balaton Uplands wine-district – Hévíz Spa
When relaxing at the unique Lake of Hévíz, it is advisable to go on an excursion and discover the Balaton Uplands wine-district, the villages of the Káli Basin or Badacsony. This wine-district is not only a pleasure for the gustatory buds but also pleasure for the eyes. Magical downhills, rocky peaks and the blueish water of Lake Balaton… how great musing with a glass of wine in your hand must be! The 2000-year-old relics of the Roman times are quite ordinary around Balaton. The Veszprém Diocese already had expanded vineyards there in the 1300s but Celtics probably also grew grapes way before. Royal properties and noble vine-lands propagated the excellent wines of the region throughout centuries. The Esterházy family’s dukes and counts owned most of the lands in the region; their 18th century tithe cellar still stands above the church in Szentbékkálla.
Sopron wine-district – Sárvár and Bükkfürdő thermal waters
The Sopron wine-district is one of the oldest viniculturist regions in the country and it can be easily approached from Sárvár or Bükkfürdő. In former times, almost every family had vineyards and wine-cellars in the region along with wine-licence. If a fresh pine branch hung on a pole in front of the house it signalled that the house had new wine. If they had a stack of straw hung up it signalled that they had mellow. Red and white wine were symbolised by red and white ribbons. This lovely habit is currently in reviviscence on the streets of Sopron; accepting their hospitality is rewarding.
Photos: www.facebook.com/etyekipiknik, www.facebook.com/zalakaroshivatalosoldala, www.facebook.com/harkanygogyfurdo, www.barlangfurdo.hu, Wiki Commons By txd, www.facebook.com/BükfürdőGyógy-ésÉlménycentrum
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