One week in Tokaj
As I mentioned in the first part, Tokaj here means the Tokaj Wine Region, and now I’ll tell you about a magical, peaceful village in the centre of the region: Erdőbénye. Like most of the towns and villages in the wine region, this former market town has retained its 19th-century look. Impressive houses of the middle class and attractive dwellings of the peasants are assembled on the streets running up the slopes. From the nearby hills embraced by hills with vineyards and forests a wonderful panorama opens before you; the silhouette of the two distinctive church towers, surrounding pasture lands, vineyards and trees give a great impression as you approach. As you get closer you can enjoy peasants houses which are beautiful even if some are neglected, beautifully renovated town houses with attractive gardens and the two mansions as well as the carved wooden columns. It’s definitely worth spending a week here!
The stunning landscape calls you to discover it – and its perfect for walking/hiking, biking and rowing. The nearby villages and former market towns retain their charm and history; centuries-old houses some superbly restored, some somewhat crumbling. This UNESCO World Heritage wine region offers much to explore.
Sport – active holiday
Running: the paths and tracks through the vineyards and up into the forests are also great running routes. You can choose your distance from our house according to mood. For example, the Béres Vineyards and Estates 1.6 km from us can be the final stop, or a stop on a longer run. Those wanting to run further can carry on straight at the last bend and join the network of roads through the vineyards or the forest path leading to Pokol-kút spring. A 5-km run (150-m height) by the main road takes you to Liget (a pasture with small copses); the village of Tolcsva is 6.5 km away. The fairly good condition road by the Mulató hill is 3-4 km. Whichever direction you choose to take, you’ll find yourself in beautiful countryside, a real close to nature experience!!
By bike up hills, through valleys. There are two ways to bike around Erdőbénye: on the road or in the forest. Since our lovely village is in the centre of the Tokaj Wine Region there are many great destinations within 25 km: Boldogkőváralja, Vizsoly, Encs, Regéc, Tarcal, Tállya, Mád, Sárospatak, Háromhuta – roads with less traffic take you through stunning landscapes to these villages in under two hours. Those who prefer longer distances can make a circular tour and go up into the heart of the Zemplén mountains to Regéc and Boldogkőváralja – and see two beautiful castles and castle ruins – on a 65 km circle coming through the Aranyosi-völgy valley back to Erdőbénye.
Experienced tourers can cross the northern part of the Zemplén from Háromhuta and – perhaps taking a detour to the former hunting lodge Kőkapu – go through Telkibánya for an amazing 102 km tour. The southern circle through the villages of Abaújszántó, Tállya, Mád, Tarcal, Bodrogkeresztúr and Szegi is 60 km.
Walks and hikes on forest path:
Unfortunately at the moment only one signposted walking route crosses Erdőbénye. The red markings lead you on a good quality path to Tállya or Boldogkőváralja and can be walked or cycled. But Erdőbénye has many other hidden possibilities… There are many forestry roads so, with a good GPS and map, you can explore fantastic forest atmosphere around Erdőbénye. The reward is the experience of discovery!
If you choose the red route, you will return to Erdőbénye after going past the Sólyomkő and Szokolya peaks through the open pasture called Liget (Fás Legelő). If you carry on, you can turn off at Hidegkút (lit. Cold Spring) to go towards Mád or the Aranyosi-völgy valley.
But we don’t have to leave to the southwest only. North of the village also has cycling and hiking forest roads. If you leave the village going towards Encs, going north of Erdőbénye through the Messzelátó dűlő, you’ll reach Rókabérc, and from there Sima, Baskó. Or in the other direction to Erdőhorváti. But you can also go through a beautiful gorge, the Pokolkút- valley to come back to Erdőbénye via the Béres estate. Long-distance tourers can go up the Szokolya peaks to do a 40-50 km route around Erdőbénye..
The “Bényei” tours are interesting as while you are in the valley you see the village view of the surrounding pastures, vineyards, a centuries-old cultural landscape unfold before us, but as soon as you climb the nearby ridge, looking to the other side as far as you can see you find yourself in an almost find Carpathian setting. Therefore, when planning your route, you should take into account that the village lies in a valley where every forest road starts steeply up the hill!
We are working on a signposted network of forest paths around Erdőbénye. In the meantime we are happy to offer suggestions and give ideas about which direction to take.
Row on the river Bodrog!
The river of the Tokaj Wine Region, the Bodrog, has the Zemplén mountains on one side, one of Central Europe’s largest floodplains on the other. The river winds slowly from the border with Slovakia down to the town of Tokaj where it flows into the Tisza. The 52-km stretch in Hungary is bordered by floodplain forests, hills and sand bars. There are several protected nature reserves by the river, rich in bird and plant communities. For example Long-erdő and Tokaj-Bodrogzug Tájvédelmi Körzet. As it’s a peaceful river, it is also perfect for beginner rowers and canoeists.
Canoe / kayak rental:
- Sárospatak Lábasház
- Sárospatak Reformed College Boat House (Sárospatak Református Kollégium Csónakháza) – Pásztor István +36 20 572-5423 firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Bodrogolaszi Bodrog Research House and Water Tour Base (BODROG-PARTI KUTATÓHÁZ ÉS VÍZITÚRABÁZIS) – Brádafalva u. 31-33. Telephone: +36 20 9556-758 Email: molnar.antal[kukac]bodrogmenti.hu
- Tokaj Kék Cápák
- Tokaj Únió Vízitelep
If you’re touring during the day, then be sure to find an exciting winery and eat something delicious in the evening!
Erdőbénye: wine and gastro:
- 14 wineries Erdőbénye
- Magita Hotel Restaurant,
- Gonda Family Artisan Cheeses (Családi Sajtműhely),
- Völgyzugoly cheese / meet the animals +36 70 540 4390
Sights in Erdőbénye:
- Reformed church: speak to the minister to visit,
- Catholic church: ask master cooper Attila Hotyek +36-30-228-4000,
- Budaházy-Fekete Kúria / an early Baroque mansion that is now a winery and can be visited for tastings,
- Szirmay mansion: this neoclassical building on Kossuth utca is an old people’s home and is not open to tourists,
- Old cememtery – memorial: At the junction of Kossuth utca and Mátyás király utca go 100 metres on the way to Encs,
- Mulató-hegy hill: just 3-400 m from our house. A superb view opens over the village and the Erdőbénye basin,
- Jewish cemetery (Zsidó temető): on Mulató hill, 300 m from our house,
- Cholera column: On Mulató hill, 400 m from our house,
Other places of interest: Regional House Museum (Tájház), Blacksmiths (Kovácsműhely), Szepsy Laczkó Máté Memorial House (Emlékház). All three are on Kossuth utca, each has a local history exhibition. To visit please contact the Cultural House (Művelődési Ház).
Recommended destinations in the Tokaj Wine Region near Erdőbénye:
Tolcsva /road 8,3 km/
Gastro: Ős Kaján Restaurant www.oskajan.hu
- Szirmay-Waldbott mansion
- Rákóczi mansion – Heritage building lovers will probably love this early-Baroque mansion. Owned by the state-owned Tokaj Grand winery. Some sources say it has a museum, but to visit you need to persevere.
- Kurucz mansion – Oremus winery – the winery can be visited by appointment
- Dessewffy mansion herbal house opening summer 2016 – Helia-D Herba-kastély [kc1]
- Cellar row in the northeast of the village. The entrance to Tokaj-Oremus is here too
- Interesting fact: birthplace of William Fox / Fried (Fuchs) Vilmos, founder of 20th Century Fox studio was born in Tolcsva in 1879. The house is at the entrance to the village but is quite neglected.
- The seat of kings, a stone sculpture by local artist with a fine view over to Tokaj hill. Located between Kutpatka and Szentvér vineyards (off the road to Erdőbénye)
By road through Tolcsva – Háromhuta 26.5 km; by road through Boldogkővárlja: 35.7 km; by bike past Baskó on forest paths: 20 km
By road through the Aranyosi-völgy valley: 21 km; towards Baskó on forest roads 21 km; red signposted track through the forest: 17.3 km
Anyukám mondta Restaurant
By road: 23 km. Booking recommended
Közúton Abaújszántó felé 23 km; piros jelzésen az erdőn át: 12,5 km
Gasztro: Oroszlános Étterem
Sights: Atmospheric streets, many splendid buildings once home to nobles and wealthy residents
By road via Szegi: 21 km; by road through the Aranyosi-völgy valley: 31 km; on forest paths: 17 km
Gasztro: Gusteau Étterem
Sights: The centre of the village shows its past as a commercial centre with houses of nobles and pleasant streets, the 18th-century synagogue and rabbi house.
By road 20 km; by nike: Szegi – Szegilong – Bodrogkisfalud
Gasztro: Andrássy Kúria Esszencia étterme
Sights: Jesus statue – panorama!; Quarry lake (Bányató); 18th-century baroque St Theresia Chapel (Szent Teréz Kápolna)
By road: 23 km
Gastro: Tokaj Coffee Roasting Company and Café (Kávépörkölő Manufaktúra)
Sights: Old town, Bodrog and Tisza banks, viewpoint
- A Boros
- Grill Gödör,
- Heizmann cukrászda
- Collegno Pizzeria Sárospatak, Szent Erzsébet u. 6, 3950 Telefon:(47) 314 494
- Sárospataki Rákoczi Castle,
- Reformed School (Református Kollégium) ,
- Castle Church (Vártemplom / Szent Erzsébet templom)
- The parallel main roads of Kossuth utca and Kazinczy utca with old houses,
- Szent Erzsébet walk in the Castle District,
- Water gate, the grassy area and stage between the river and the castle walls (Vizikapu),
- Bodrog river and banks,
- Castle garden.
Bathing, swimming, wellness, extreme sports in the region
Bathing / jakuzzi / sauna:
Bowling: Magita Hotel
- You can swim in the Bodrog at the beach in Sárospatak – which is opposite the castle! – but you can also take a dip if you’re canoeing where you find a sandy beach that tempts you into the water.
- Mád: Bortó
- Sárospatak: Végardó Baths (Fürdő)
- Szerencsi Baths (Fürdő)
- Miskolc Cave Baths (Barlangfürdő)
Sátoraljaújhely Zempléni Kalandpark:
- summer bob,
- ski lift,
- climbing wall,
- 2 zipwires – over 1300m long,
- ski slope