This has been the most severe winter of the decade in many countries of Europe, so has it in Hungary with minus degrees Celsius continually. The best solution to survive until the bear comes out of his cave is to escape to a place with healthy hot spas and healthy great wines. Thanks God Hungary has several wineries offering these two attractions in one place. Here is a bunch of them.
Villány, the centre of red wine production of Hungary is a small town with not much infrastructure, but if you enter Hotel Crocus, you will find yourself in another world. Every single detail of the wellness hotel is elaborated in a stylish way, the whole interior is subtle and elegant. Indulge yourself in the grape treatments to rejuvenate the body – and then treat your renewned body with the suberb Gere wines at dinner in the hotel’s Mandula restaurant.
Another highlight of Villány is Hotel Ermitage, the hotel of József Bock, another great winemaker of the wine region. Bock is a passionate hunter – you bet, you will find plenty of delicious game dishes on the menu of his restaurant called Óbor (literally ‘old wine’). Bock is also famous for his grape seed products, the winery even has its grape seed mill to be launched very soon. Hotel Ermitage is a four star, comfortable hotel with a great spa resort – there is even a private spa for couples with romantic illumination.
Mád is a village with the most precious vineyards of Tokaj. Zsirai is a young, ambitious winery with fabulous wines – sweet and dry as well –, and they have a small guest house for a maximum of 9 guests. The famous cave spa, Miskolctapolca is only 45 minutes drive from Mád, and with the quiteness of the village Mád the holiday would be a soul renewer one!
Szászi Estate – spectatular view of frozen Balaton from near the fireside
(The website is in Hungarian, but we are happy to help booking.)
Lake Balaton, the largest lake of Europe is wonderful in winter (click on our report on the Grand Sliding). Endre Szászi organic winemaker has two small guest houses with breathtaking view of the lake, built in the authentic architecture style of rural North Balaton. The cosy rooms with fireplace offer undisturbed relax with great Kéknyelű, Olaszrizling, Chardonnay and other wines made by Szászi on the volcanic soil of Szent György hill, and hot spas are within easy reach in every direction (Zenit Hotel and Bonvino Hotel are both 10-15 minutes drive from Szászi).
The family winery of the Thummerers is situated in a cellar carved in the volcanic tufa rock – it has a unique atmosphere and it is ideal for aging wines (Thummerer Bikavér has recently been chosen the Best Wine of the Winewriters) – even the family lived in a cave flat at the beginning of their enterprise. The winery is situated in the small village of Noszvaj near Eger, and the winery also runs a restaurant, Magtár vendéglő (’Cropstore inn’) with home made dishes. Egerszalók is another famous village very close to Noszvaj where a unique salt spa can be found (the other salt spa of this kind of Europe is in Turkey).