Villány is the most important and well-known red wine region of Hungary. Although white wines are also offered in some areas of the region, it mainly became known for its incredible reds. What is more, this was the first place in Hungary where wines were offered as “wines of protected origin.” It is a great place to spend a long weekend with excellent wines, great food, and nice people, not to mention the beautiful landscapes in the area, which the more adventurous can best enjoy during a day bike tour.
The first official wine route was established at Villány-Siklós, where the official wine-growing area covers a total of 2,100 hectares. The listed historical cellars, which are among the greatest treasures of this landscape in the region, include the ones of Palkonya, Villánykövesd, Villány, Nagyharsány, and Kisharsány.
For those who not only visit Villány to try the incredible wines and nibble on some wine biscuits, it is also easy to get around the area on bike and discover the region and admire the beautiful landscapes, as there is a long bike path available.
The historical Siklós Castle, one of the best-preserved historical monuments in the country, is about 12 km from the centre of Villány. It is first mentioned in an official document in 1294, when it still belonged to the Suklosi family from the Kán tribe. Since then, the castle was the residence of the most important noble families in medieval Hungary, such as the Gara, Perényi, and the Kanizsai family. Later it belonged to the Batthyány family, of which one of the most well-known members was Lajos Batthyány, minister of the Szemere government in 1849. Nowadays, the Siklós Castle awaits its guests with children’s programs, festivals, exhibitions, and many other experiences.
Another great place to visit in the region is Villánykövesd, a cellar village which is a highly popular place among tourists. The most famous sight is the “cellar row,” which is listed as protected national values and is one of the most spectacular monument groups in Hungary. The distinctive colored gates are open to visitors year round, where they can see the current phases of wine processing, the tools used for it, and can enjoy the taste of the incredible Villány wines.
Palkonya, one of the villages of the historical wine region, has preserved the building culture of the German winegrowers who settled in the 18th century to this day. The most important architectural monument is the beautiful cellar lane, consisting of 53 wine press houses, located on the hill on the edge of the village.
Villány, the village that loaned its name to the area
In the cellar lane of the small town, specialties from several famous Hungarian wineries are offered. It is better if you taste at least a couple with some nibbles and also visit the wine museum, which showcases the history and the present state of the wine region.
Gere Tamás & Zsolt
The local winemakers are not just notable and popular in Hungary, but they also regularly win prizes at prestigious international wine competitions. The portal villanyiborvidek.hu also draws attention to the fact that “in the numerous well-known and famous wineries, the second generation is now successfully following in the footsteps of their parents. These young people hold the future of the Villány wine-growing region in their hands!”
translated by Fanni Kaszás from the original German article on our sister site, Ungarn Heute
featured photo: Tamás Sóki/MTI