Day trips from Budapest: wine tasting in Hungary
What do you think of when someone says “Hungary”? Most people think “Budapest” or “Princess Sissi” or “goulash”. While YES – Hungary is also all those – nobody seems to think about the stunning places that are just outside of Budapest. Hungary has some great wine regions – Eger, Villany, Tokaj and Balaton – to name a few. And on top of that, it has a beautiful lake nicknamed the “Hungarian Sea” (a.k.a. the biggest lake in Europe).
So what if a told you that while you spend your time in Budapest, you should DEFINITELY reserve one day to completely relax on Lake Balaton? A day where you can sail on the turquoise waters of the “Hungarian Sea”, or pamper yourself in four/five-star luxury spas and indulge in wine tasting in beautiful wine estates overlooking the lake? Sounds like a plan, right?
“Yes but how do I do that?” Most of you may be asking. Usually, this would require renting a car for the day, paying for insurance and gas, hiring a sail boat along with a skipper, getting the car and going to the wineries, (which wineries to begin with), and going BACK! Plus, Hungary has a zero tolerance policy on drinking and driving, so the driver would either have to be a non-drinker (why are you friends with those), or practically give up on the whole wine tasting experience(that sucks).
The thought of all this planning will probably just make you give up on the whole idea of a day trip to Balaton Lake. BUT DON’T, because I’ve found the absolute PERFECT service that can do all this for you, and more!
It’s called Wellness & Wine and it’s run by a young gentleman called Janos! I came across his Facebook page and fell in love with all the itineraries. Wellness & Wine offers all-inclusive wine tasting tours in the different Hungarian regions, spas in luxury hotels like Anna Grand Hotel & Spa and sailing on Balaton Lake! Of course, transfer to and from Budapest is all included.
And no, with Wellness & Wine you won’t be part of those huge tour groups with the flags going around vineyards getting drunk! Wellness & Wine is catered just for you and your small group of friends/family, around 6 -10 people is perfect! And the service is, I can assure you, premium!
The tour I went on was on Sunday, June 18th, and it was along 8 other people whom I had never met. We had a BLAST!
The whole trip started in Budapest, we met at Blaha Lujza ter at 8.45am and drove for 1 hour and 30 minutes to Alsöörs Marina in Balaton Lake. From there, we were taken to our sailing boat and it was so pretty!
I have to say that the weather was not the best that day, it was very cloudy but also very windy, but PERFECT for sailing! We got out of the port and put the sails up and just started relaxing.
The sun rays reflecting on the turquoise waters, the sail boat cutting the waves, the lake breeze, it was already spectacular! Then Janos opened a nice bottle of Hungarian Garamvár Classical Brut and we had our first cheer!
After two hours we arrived to beautiful Balatonfüred, which is the most popular area of Balaton and also the one with all the restaurants and bars! We arrived to the port and walked for a couple of minutes until we got to our restaurant!
It was a typical Hungarian restaurant and I had the Hungarian fish soup which is served in cute kettles under a charcoal that keeps the soup warm! After a whole Hungarian fish soup and an espresso later, a van picked us up and we started heading towards the hills.
Perched up on a hill, we arrived to beautiful Koczor, a family-run wine estate with beautiful views of Balaton Lake. The architecture of this place is too cute! The views wonderful and the whole atmosphere is relaxing.
Here, we started our wine tasting journey. We were served four different types of wine, Olaszriszling, a Pinot Gris, a Rosè and a Merlot. All four outstanding, but you must know that Balaton is mainly known for their white wine production!
We also had tasting plates with local produce such as cold cuts and cheeses, while the lovely daughter of the owner was explaining everything about the origin of the different wines we were tasting!
Truly a place not to forget!
Four wine tastings later our van came to pick us up to take us back to the sailing boat. By this time, the weather had completely changed: few clouds and the sun was out! Some of us got into our bathing suits and soaked up under the sun as the sailing boat soared through the waves.
The breeze was perfect and the music was playing and floating in the air. It was so relaxing. After a bit, Janos came with a bottle of Krenbacher Classical Brut and we cheered again!
Right this instant is when I thought: “I definitely need to write this on my blog!”
Once we arrived to Alsöörs Marina, we went to our last vineyard: Homola Borterasz. Homola is a stunning wine estate with a wow view. You overlook the vineyards and the lake and feel the perfect summer breeze. It’s such a chillout place! There’s a house/barn with chairs and tables and super cute wine barrels.
Here we tasted other three wines: a Pinot gris, Olaszriszling and a Rosè! All amazing, accompanied by tasting plates with cheeses, olives and cold cuts! Truly spectacular!
After the explanation of the production of the wines, me and two of the girls took our glasses to the deckchairs on the grass. As we were talking I told them I never had palinka in my life (you know, the super strong Hungarian liquor), they were so shocked that they went to get me some and we cheered to that! Hungarians can definitely handle their alcohol!
After more than an hour chilling and relaxing in beautiful Homola, we headed back to Budapest where we arrived at 8.30pm.
I have to say, two days later I came back to Rome and I honestly don’t think that I could’ve ended my stay in Hungary in a better day. The day was amazing, planned to the last detail and everyone in our group was wonderful. One of the people in the group is named Jorge de Reval and turns out he’s a Spanish photographer based in Budapest, check out his Facebook page here!
So, who is Wellness & Wine for? I think everyone who wants to explore Hungary – for wine lovers and sail boat enthusiasts and in general for people that like to ENJOY life!
Perfect for foreigners who want to immerse themselves in the different Hungarian regions wine tasting and relaxing, but also for the locals, who want to have an incredible care-free day!
Tours are all year long and you can check the different ones on Wellness & Wine’s website! Or by clicking the button below!
ENJOY (I know I did)!