Tokaj, Hungary

Tokaj, Hungary

The ancient small town of Tokaj nestled comfortably at the foot of the Tokaj Hills at the confluence of the Tisza and Bodrog rivers. And despite its rather modest size, the name Tokaj is known all over the world and is even mentioned in the national anthem of Hungary, and such an honor is given to a rare city. The secret of the popularity of the Tokaj region is in its amazing climate, which allows growing unique grapes, from which wine is valued all over the world. Check clothesbliss for how to get to Hungary.

Despite its rather modest size, the name of the city of Tokaj is known all over the world and is even mentioned in the national anthem of Hungary, and such an honor is given to a rare city.

How to get there

It is most convenient to get from Budapest to Tokaj by car along the M3 highway (there are paid sections on the road), the distance is about 230 kilometers, and the travel time will take about 2.5 hours. You can also use public transport.


The first mention of Tokai dates back to the 11th century, as evidenced by the materials of historical chronicles that have survived to this day. A fortress was built here, which was later destroyed during the invasion of Europe by the Tatar-Mongols. Later, a fortified stone stronghold was erected in its place, the ruins of which have survived to this day.

Tokaj has been an important transport hub for a long time, two major roads connecting large regions of Hungary converged here, and there was also a crossing over the Tisza, the first mention of the operation of which dates back to the 11th century.

Since ancient Roman times, winemaking has flourished in Tokaj. According to legend, it was the Roman colonialists who brought the vine here, and the very next day they received the first fruits. Well, when you are in blessed Tokaj, this legend is easy to believe.

All these factors determined not only the rich wine-making history of the region, but also a fairly rich geopolitical history. The magnificent Tokaj lands changed many owners and were conquered more than once, but the town stubbornly stood, and the vine bore fruit. In 1556, Tokai received the status of a royal estate, but even after that it changed owners many times, which, however, did not undermine its economy at all. And soon Tokai became not just a rich village, but became world famous, of course, thanks to its wonderful wine.

Emperor Peter the Great, who undoubtedly knew a lot about intoxicating drinks, appreciated the local drink on merit.

Over time, not only wine was produced in the region, but quarries were also opened, which further increased the well-being of local residents. But the First World War broke out, and a period of decline began in Tokai. The next severe test for the wine region was the severe frosts that occurred in 1929 and destroyed almost the entire grape harvest. It is not difficult to guess what a strong blow these shocks were for Tokaj, and soon a new world war began. After the end of the Second World War, over time, Tokaj returned to its former positions in the winemaking world, and its famous wines regained many admirers not only among the representatives of the socialist camp, but throughout the world.

Today, Tokaj remains the capital of Hungarian winemaking and rightfully occupies a worthy place among the world’s wine brands, and in addition has the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The history of the city of Tokaj is inseparable from its wine-making history, which is extremely rich and has many legends. As mentioned above, according to legend, the Romans brought the first vine to these places. Another legend tells us how the locals guessed to harvest after the grapes ripen and turn into raisins. During the Tatar invasion of Central Europe, the locals fleeing the wild hordes left their homes. Upon returning, after the nomads had subsided, they found that the entire grape harvest was already overripe and turned into raisins. But there was nothing to do, and the Tokaj gathered overripe grapes and made wine from it. What was their surprise when they felt an incredibly pleasant, subtle and unlike anything taste.

And Tokaj became known all over the world thanks to the Polish merchants, who were the first to present this wine to the court of Europe.

Tokaj wines were worthy competition, and by that time they had become world recognized on an equal footing with French, Spanish and Portuguese wines.

Wines from Tokaj were appreciated by many august persons and popes. So, Emperor Peter the Great, who undoubtedly knew a lot about intoxicating drinks, appreciated the local drink on merit. And with the aim of timely deliveries of wine to the royal table, he established a Russian trade mission here. Vineyards became so popular that the Hungarians eventually had to introduce a protectionist law that only Hungarians could own grapes.

Entertainment and attractions of Tokaj

Tokaj is sometimes called multi-storey, although it is quite small. The secret of its multi-storey structure lies in the huge number of cellars, which are under almost every elegant house here and are interconnected by a network of underground passages. In the atmosphere of “noble mold” the very magical drink that has conquered many matures. The inhabitants of Tokai generally treat winemaking with great respect and sacredly honor the traditions associated with it.

In addition to the magnificent Tokaj vineyards, the town is also rich in architectural sights, among them: the palace of Prince Rakoczy, the building of the former synagogue, the town hall, the palace of Janusz Shapolai. Lucky for those who get to the harvest festival, when the streets are filled with knights, hussars and beautiful ladies. These days in local shops you can get acquainted with the secrets of traditional craftsmanship. And, of course, do not forget about the main hero of the occasion – delicious Tokaj wine.

Tokaj, Hungary

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