Why to visit Czech Moravia?
When thinking about wine destination, would Czech Moravia be your first indication? Well, most probably not. But did you know that Czech Republic is famous not only from beer but also from wine? Although the country has garnered worldwide acclaim for its beer making and consumption, in the Moravian region wine is the actual king.
Along the Austrian border the region nicknamed is “Sunshine Triangle”. It features beautiful, miles long vineyards that cannot be ignored when talking about wine destinations. I must say that beautiful vineyards make the landscape quite similar to Tuscany. Just instead of Tuscany’s classic cypresses you will find here poplars, elms and chestnut-lined avenues and instead of iconic Italian villas – scenic chapels, usually surrounded by trees.
If you have never considered to explore this part of Europe, you definitely should. Even if you are not particularly interested in wine, this region offers cultural and natural heritage placed among the most interesting and well preserved in Europe. Impressive castles, beautiful old towns or historical churches, just to name a few. Add to this picture mild climate and great local cuisine and you will find yourself in a perfect place to spend couple of nice days and recharge your batteries.
When is the best time to visit Czech Moravia?
Anytime of the year is great to visit Czech Moravia but the landscape is the most impressive with all its colors variety in the late spring and early fall. Also, fall season is full of interesting wine festivals that beyond great wines and festive atmosphere offer a unique view into the vibrant culture of this region. Throughout the whole September Moravia celebrates wine harvest and start of the wine-making season. The most famous festival is the Pálava Vintage, when wine connoisseurs can enjoy tastings of the highest quality wines with a visit to the the National Wine Competition of Mikulov Region. Another great option is to visit the UNESCO chateau of Valtice and its smaller vintage wine festival, where Moravians show off traditional dress in the morning parade and musical groups perform throughout the day. It will surely be a great highlight of your visit.
What you probably don’t know about Czech wine
When you name the most famous wine regions around the world, I guess that Czech Republic will not be among them. And the most true explanation for this is quantity, not quality. The Moravia wine region stretches from the Morava river to the west of Brno. It covers almost 96% of all the vineyards in Czech Republic but winemakers are able to produce only one-quarter of predicted annual wine consumption. This of course impacts the volume of exported wine and is the reason why it will be hard to find Czech wine in your local store.
During the past 20 years wine production in the Czech Republic has been transformed significantly. Winemakers have bought and started to employ the most modern technology available. You will find here wonderful white wines with an interesting spectrum of scents with typical minerality, but also red wines are changing and becoming smoother and more balanced. What is also worth mentioning is that many of Moravian wine makers successfully adopted environmentally friendly viti-vinicultural practices.
What else to explore in Czech Moravia?
Even if you are not a wine enthusiast, you will not get bored for sure. There is twelve architectonic sights in the Czech Republic that are listed among UNESCO World Heritage and two of them are located in the South Moravia.
The first is the Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape, referred to as the Garden of Europe. This metaphor is not exaggeration at all, as in fact, it is the largest landscaped park in the world. Besides exploring the famous place of residence for the Liechtenstein family, you can also find in Lednice and Valtice more architectural treasures like chapels, colonnades, ruins or even an arch of triumph.
The second UNESCO sight is exceptional for its young age as it is not a historic monument. Tugendhat Villa was built on a slope below Černopolní Street in Brno in 1930 by the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. This architectural gem soon became an icon of modernism that is now open to visitors. The time schedule for visiting this impressive villa you can find here.
Places I recommend
I will not share with you the first place we have stayed in in Valtice, as I do not find it worth recommending. But there are two other that really earned my trust:
Vinařství Obelisk in Valtice – We did not stay in this one, but have been passing by and stopped to explore it amazed by a unique architecture. It’s a modern style building overlooking the vineyards that surround the place. You can taste wine, admire the landscape and stay for the night in comfortable and beautifully designed rooms.
Stajnhaus in Mikulov – We stayed in this comfortable house from the 16th century that has been reconstructed and transformed into a guest house with 5 beautiful apartments. It’s a truly unique place located in the heart of Mikulov but on a quiet street what introduces relaxing atmosphere. There is also an inner patio available for guests and wine cellars under the house, which have also been restored and brought back to their original use. No food service is available but all apartments have fully equipped kitchen and there is lots of nice cafes just nearby.
FOOD AND WINE IN VALTICE
I would avoid eating international food like pizza, pasta or other more exotic dishes. This kind of food in Moravia is usually overpriced and the quality leaves the space for improvement, saying nicely. The best option is to eat more like a local and search for places where locals eat and drink.
Zahrada café Valtice – super cool place for a coffee with cake or a nice glass of wine. Located in a modern but cozy decorated container placed just next to the church.
Valticka Rychta – local restaurant serving simple, typically Czech food with lots of meat options but also vegetable dishes, regional fried cheese and soups. This is the place where locals go and it’s located in the beautiful, more than 100 years old corner house.
Chateau Valtive – a must visit place for a wine tasting and wine shopping in the cellars of Valtice castle. At the time of our visit the main restaurant was closed but we could still enjoy a really nice wine testing. In my opinion, this was the place with the best wines in the region.
At The Sommelier Wine Shop – great wine place for wine testing accompanied with cheese or meat boards. Located in the main city square and really worth visiting for the atmosphere and variety of local wines.
Valtice 1100 – new place on the culinary map of Valtice with modern interior and impressive choice of wine. Ideal for lunch, dinner or just a glass of wine. Behind the glass wall in the main part of the restaurant you can admire exposed wine barrels and wine tanks. Wine testing guided by a certified sommelier is available on demand.
FOOD AND WINE IN MIKULOV
Cafe Pala – highly recommended place for breakfast or lunch. Offers variety of home made cakes and the most delicious pancakes. Hidden in the inner patio just next to the main square.
Bistro KUK – great hip place for a nice breakfast or lunch. Perfect if typical Czech cuisine is too heavy for you as here you will get lighter meals like granola, yoghurt or freshly backed pastries.
Cafe Barta – simple wine place located in the basement. Offers good and cheap wine accompanied by homemade wine snacks. Great atmosphere and really nice service what is not an obvious thing in Czech.
Family Winery Mikulov – another wine place that belongs to the same owner as Stajnhouse apartments. Great interior and really good wines. During weekends may be fully booked for group events.
Vinoteka Lavander – originally located in the house with beautiful garden, now due to technical issues temporary moved to a cozy place in the center of Mikulov. Offers great wines and nice, casual atmosphere.
Cafe Dolce Vita – Easy going place for wine or coffee with a perfect view of the main city square. Beautifully located under the arcades overgrown with grape leaves.
The easiest way to get to Czech Moravia
The easiest way to get to Czech Moravia is to take a plane to one of the three closest airports: Vienna with only 1 hour drive, Bratislava with 1,5 hours drive or Prague with 3 hours drive. There is also an airport in Brno but as of writing this article the only flight connection possible is from London Stansted and Milan Bergamo.
Have a wonderful stay in Czech Moravia!