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Hungary’s tokaj wine (pronounced tock-oi) is justifiably respected all over the world. And tokaj wine growers have always known their stuff. They were the very first to classify wine based on its quality back in the 1600s. The Russian tsars loved the wine so much they kept a Cossak regiment on standby to escort the tokaj shipments from Hungary to their court!
The Tokaj Wine Region, with its 27 settlements, has been a World Heritage Site since 2002. Apart from visiting numerous wine cellars, there is much to do in and around the picturesque main town of Tokaj. Boat trips, canoeing, horse riding, and forest walks are all readily available. There is a range of places to stay as well, from a room in a private house, as cheap as HUF2000 (€8.10; $11) per night to the Toldi Wellness Hotel, where for HUF7000 (€28.30; $28.40) each you can enjoy the hotel spa, elegant bed and breakfast accommodation and garden terrace.
An especially fun time to visit is from May 25 through 28, when Tokaj holds its wine festival. Concerts, wine tasting, a folk fair, and even a fish soup cooking competition are scheduled during the festival. The town can be reached from Budapest out of Keleti (East) Station. The trip takes 2 hours 35 minutes and costs HUF4840 (€19.60; $26.60).