I have taken numerous over the years, but each one always seems better than the last. This is especially true for my vacation in Hungary. I spent a couple days exploring areas around Pecs, including time at the Egg Museum. But it was an entire day in the Villány Wine Region that really took my vacation in Hungary to the next level. Yes, it was a full day, but the day flew by since we were having such a good time.
The Villány Wine Region happens to be the number one area to go wine tasting in Hungary. However, it is also where multiple traditional and cultural treasures are located. Therefore, do not think I spent my entire day in wine cellars simply drinking wine. While that was part of my adventure, my day was filled with so many other things to do.
The beginning of the day had us stopping at Máriagyűd. This pilgrimage location dates back to the 12th century. The very first church was constructed on this property in 1147. But the 18th century is when this site became the center of the cult of the Virgin Mary revival. However, Joseph II closed the pilgrimage for a short time and had numerous objects confiscated in the late 1700s. Thankfully, Pope Piu VII acknowledged this area as a pilgrimage once again in 1805.
Over the years, Franciscan monks offered mental care at the church for anyone who needed it. I was able to see inside the church, as well as the statue of Mary, which was placed there in 1712. Not too far from the church is the Holy Well. Pilgrims arriving at this site used to take the water home with them.
Our next stop of the day was at the Siklós Fortress. This castle was first mentioned in 1294 and it has been well preserved over the years. While Siklós Castle has had multiple owners, it is now considered a national monument and is owned by the Baranya County Council. The goal is to continue to maintain and restore this castle, so future generations can appreciate its beauty.
After seeing two extraordinary attractions within the Villány Wine Region, it was time to do a little wine tasting at a wine cellar. There are fifty-one cellars to choose from in this wine region, so honestly, we could have been here for days if we wanted to try them all.
It is important I mention that while this area was known for both white and red wines in the past, only reds are produced in Villány now. Therefore, be prepared to taste bold wines that include Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon if you take the time to visit.
I didn’t think my day could get any better after my wine tasting lunch, but I was wrong. Our last stop of the day was at the Harkány Spa. This thermal spa has been around for almost two hundred years now. The temperature of the thermal water is 62 degrees Celsius, which is approximately 142 degrees Fahrenheit.
As soon as I arrived, I could smell the sulfur from the water. It is quite potent, which isn’t surprising since that sulfur water also contains sodium, hydrogen carbonate, and calcium. Soaking in the water was definitely an excellent way to end my day exploring the Villány Wine Region!
I was just bummed that my visit to the spa didn’t coincide with any of their special events held during the year. A few of those events include:
Maybe next time I am taking a vacation in Hungary, I can time it to include one of those events. Especially since returning to the spa is on my must-do list!
As you can see, a day in the Villány Wine Region can be quite busy. But it is worth it to experience the authentic traditions and cultures of the area.
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