About an hour north of Vienna and two hours south of Prague lies one of the Czech Republic’s best-kept secrets. The Moravian wine region is relatively unknown outside of Austria and the Czech Republic by anyone other than sommeliers. It’s directly on the driving route between the two famous capitals, yet most travelers opt to fly and miss out on this remarkable place full of historic charm, authentic culture, gorgeous vistas, and spectacular wine. It’s the perfect breath of fresh air between the bustling cities.
Here’s why the Moravian wine region is a can’t miss destination:
It’s a cycling paradise.
The area boasts a network of greenways and trails that connect the vineyards. The main trail, the Greenway Moravian Wine Trail, winds through 70 winemaking towns. You can cycle in UNESCO protected areas with beautiful lakes, through nature reserves, and most importantly, through all of the surrounding vineyards. One of my favorite experiences traveling was biking through the vineyards of the Burgundy wine region. To top it all off, the bike trails go by historical sites and castles. You can combine physical activity, wine tasting, and sightseeing all at once. Pick any trail and you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable ride! And if cycling isn’t your cup of tea, you can enjoy the same trails on foot.
You can taste wine without the crowds.
Though there is some infrastructure set up for wine tourism, the region is still a relatively hidden gem in the wine world. That means you’ll get an authentic wine tasting experience without lines and tour groups. During the summer months, you can visit one the wine alleys, streets filled with traditional wine cellars. From June to September, a few wine cellars in each town are open for anyone to come in and taste their wine. There are different wine cellars open each week, so if your visit spans two weeks you can get a good taste of the styles of different winemakers and grapes.
In general, the region produces more whites than reds. There are many recognizable varietals like Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, but there are also unique local grapes like Welschriesling, Grüner Veltliner, Blauer Portugieser, and Saint Laurent. You’ll be able to taste a nice mix of the familiar coupled with exciting new flavors and styles.
The well-preserved history allows you to step back in time.
If you’ve come to Europe with sights set on castles and history, look no further than the gorgeous baroque architecture of the Moravian wine region. From the historic churches and synagogues to the 17th century Lednice castle and the 13th century Mikulov Chateau, history buffs will get their fix. You can also stroll through the historic Jewish quarter in Mikulov that dates back to the 15th century and visit the Museum of the Jewish Community to learn more about the largest and most important Jewish community in all of Moravia. Lastly, don’t miss the hike up to Zricenina Divci Hrad, the ruins of an old castle in Pavlov, to experience amazing view over a lake and vineyards.
If Prague and Vienna have always been on your bucket list, why not rent a car and take the scenic route by stopping in the Moravian wine region? The gorgeous towns of Valtice, Mikulov, Znojmo, and Velké Bílovice are all excellent bases to explore the region. If you’re a wine aficionado, visit in September during open cellars and to experience one of the famous wine festivals. Alternatively, you can also visit in early April for the annual “Ze Sklepa do Sklepa,” the largest wine festival in the Czech Republic.