Winederlust through Mikulov
More often than not, when you speak with people about traveling to the Czech Republic, the immediate thought is a trip to Prague. While we love Prague, there is so much more to the country that deserves visitation and time. And if you’re willing to rent a car and stumble through some language barriers, venturing beyond the big cities will be well worth your time. Promise.
The Moravian wine region should be on your list for sure and although the area is quite large, a great place to start is to book a few nights in the town of Mikulov. Not only does Mikulov offer a number of nice options for accommodations and dining, it is also a great jumping off point for visiting the regional wineries and many historic sights. The Mikulov Castle, for instance, is a beautiful and imposing sight right in the center of town. The Palava hill and Thaya lake are north of town and are worth the short drive. Wineries across the lake including Sonberk and Gotberg are beautiful modern buildings boasting both great wines and views of the lake and the hill. These wineries not only produce beautiful wines, but are exemplary representations of the merging of the history of wine making in the region that goes back forever (interrupted briefly by communism) with the modern, proactive approach to wine making. They both offer a great opportunity to enjoy a tasting and take in the beauty of the Moravian landscape.
If you’re in the mood for a little more history and a little less wine, be sure to visit the stunning Lednice Castle and surrounding Botanical gardens. It’s part of the Lednice-Valtice cultural landscape which is a UNESCO world heritage site. It’s a short drive to the east from Mikulov and is a really grand sight and definitely worthy of a visit.
Also in the region, slightly further south in the town of Valtice is the Wine Salon of the Czech Republic, located within the old cellar of the Chateau Valtice (worth a quick tour also), the Salon has many of the region’s top wines showcased for tastings and purchase. It’s a fun way experience a lot of what the region has to offer, but is a little more commercial than what you’d find if you just visit the local cellars on your own.
And you should make a point to visit cellars on your own. Depending on when you visit, many towns host “open cellars” where local wine makers (and there are hundreds of them), open their cellars for tastings. It is a brilliant way to taste some really wonderful wines and also to interact with the local people - who happen to be some the nicest, most genuine people we’ve had the fortune of meeting and spending time with. There are also wine trails that will map walks or bike rides through the cellars making it easy to visit a number of cellars.
There is so much to do in the region, that it would be easy to fill a few days with wine, culture, and some good food too!
Dining options that we’ve enjoyed in Mikulov include: SOJKA & SPOL, Hotel Templ, and Hotel Tanzberg. Beyond Mikulov to the north in the town of Kentnice is Cafe Fara with a beautiful view of the Palava hillside. If you venture out to Lednice to visit the Lednice Castle and the surrounding Botanical gardens (which are well worth a day’s visit), there are many dining options just off the grounds that will sustain you for your visit. If you’re looking for more dining experiences, the city of Brno, about a 45 minute drive to the north, has a vast number of enticing culinary options as well.
Enjoy your visit!