Transcarpathia educational and gastronomic tour

Duration: 5 days
Location: Transcarpathia

Transcarpathia has many interesting places that have no analogues in their uniqueness.

Transcarpathia tour is an amazing journey into the magical world of nature and national heritage. Mysterious medieval castles will transfer you to the world of amazing legends. Aromatic Transcarpathian wines and unusual, varied dishes of local cuisine will present in everyone’s recollection as unforgettable delicacies of Transcarpathian gastronomy. Exceptional folk traditions and rituals combined with a rich culture will create an atmosphere of mysterious authenticity.

Day 1: Arrival to Uzhhorod

This is a distinctive city that has absorbed elements of many cultures – Hungarian, Austrian, Czech and Ukrainian. Uzhhorod has an interesting medieval castle, Transcarpathian Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Life, a mysterious Horianska rotunda with unique frescoes of the 14th century and a huge layer of interwar Czechoslovak architecture, which is more here than anywhere else outside the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Checking into “Old Continent” (Gold) hotel or into “Emigrand” art hotel (Silver).

“Old Continent” hotel (Gold)
“Emigrand” art hotel (Silver)
Day 2: City tour

Our tour will start with the very Uzhhorod castle, which proudly rises above the historic city centre. According to the traditions and logic of the construction of military fortifications, it is located on the castle hill and surrounded by a moat. Once a formidable fortress, today it serves as a museum of local lore, where archaeological exhibits are displayed and complete information about the geography, fauna and flora of the Transcarpathian region is collected.

The biggest attraction of the museum is certainly the fortress building itself. The northern part of the construction is located on such a stunning hill that the enemy never tried to attack it from this side. However, Uzhhorod castle is a real battle stronghold, which has seen many battles and sieges. This austere building has only two floors, it is guarded by formidable square towers, and the openings of the loopholes gloomily gaze at the tourists from above. The thickness of the walls reaches 3 m, and the fortifications are designed with the ingenious care. Even if the enemies managed to overcome the strong castle wall, the defenders of the fortress could continue to hold the line.

During the tour of the city, you will also see the unique building of the former Hasidic synagogue, the ancient Catholic church of St. George and a real masterpiece of architecture – the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Catholic cathedral. You will also have an unforgettable walk along the longest lime alley in Europe.

The tour will end with a master class in cooking Transcarpathian dishes in the open air from the colourful Transcarpathian chef Anatolii Pasevych.

For dessert, we recommend a visit to the unique confectionery “Shtefanyo V&V”, to taste coffee and original cakes there, as well as a sweet showpiece of the city – “Uzhhorod cake”. The brand “Shtefanyo V&V”, known all over Ukraine, is home production of confectionery products following the unique recipe and technology of its founder and ideologist Valentyn Shtefanyo.

Transfer to Mukachevo

Modern Mukachevo is a neat and cosy town on the banks of the Latorytsia River. It is located on a flat plateau, and only the castle hill rises majestically over the ancient streets. Palanok castle can be seen from anywhere.

Checking into Star hotel, which was previously called “Csillag” (translated from Hungarian “By the Star”), is located in the very centre of Mukachevo, near the town hall. The building itself was constructed in the 18th century and served as the residence of the Austro-Hungarian Count Schönbern.

Dinner at the ethno-restaurant complex “Decent Gazda” at the foot of the castle hill and the Palanok castle. This establishment has its own brewery, cheese factory, bakery and a butcher (recommended).

You can also attend a unique tasting of craft products, which takes place in the tunnel under the Palanok castle.

The Palanok castle night tour

The castle is located on a mountain of volcanic origin, which is 68 m high. The size of the ancient building is also impressive: its length is 248 m, height is over 100 m, and the total area of the architectural monument is 13,930 square meters. The castle itself was built in the best traditions of medieval defensive architecture. The city was actually built around an impregnable fortress on the plains. Such medieval buildings are more than just a prince’s residence or the property of a wealthy baron. The castle can be compared to a small settlement, behind the wall of which aristocrats, soldiers, masters, servants and others used to live.

The fortress has three terraces with three levels, which characterize the significant age of the building: Upper, Middle and Lower castles. The first of them is the oldest building. A younger terrace is built 6 m below. And the Lower Castle was built back in the 18th century and is 10 m under the Middle. The latter functions as a museum now. The castle has many secret passages and basements, where earlier during the siege the peasants with their cattle hid.

The monk-chronicler will lead you through a sleeping castle at night, lighting the way with a torch, telling about events and people, about destinies and accomplishments, about victories and defeats, about the revival of glory and disgrace.

Mystical quest tour with torches in the night castle, full of secrets and danger. The uninvited night guests will have to unravel its mysteries, to find the right path on the historical pages, to save and render assistance, to commune and to perform other tasks. The Monk, the Princess and the Executioner are counting on you.

If you wish, you can also order a photo session in medieval clothes.

Day 3:

Breakfast at the hotel.

Transfer to Berehove

The town of Berehove lies on the banks of the small Verke Canal, at the foot of the mountains, the slopes of which are planted with vineyards. It is known for its ancient traditions of growing grapes and wine production. Berehove is considered the wine capital of Transcarpathia, which you will see for yourself during your visit.

There are also many springs and pools with thermal waters, swimming in which is possible not only in summer but also in winter. The water from a depth of 1,080 m is considered medicinal, silicon-nitrogen-carbon dioxide-chloride-sodium, high-salinity.

Berehove is a small Hungary in Ukraine, because until 1944 the town belonged to Hungary. Even the signs are still written in two languages.

Guided tour with wine tasting in Chateau Chizay

Chateau Chizay wine company was founded in 1995 in the Chizay tract, which is 272 hectares of grapes on the perfect terroirs of Transcarpathia. This is 1.3 million bottles a year. This is 120 barrels in the cellars. These are masters who respect local traditions and have learned modern winemaking in Europe. They are inspired by history and carry their energy for the future. This is all added to the bouquet of these wines.

The tour includes:

  1. Excursion through the territory of Chateau Chizay.
  2. Attending the wine warehouse, where you will learn how wine is made in the modern world.
  3. Attending the Museum of Winemaker Chiz.
  4. Wine tasting with a professional sommelier.
  5. Moving to Chizay tract (5 km) and climbing to the vineyards.
  6. A colourful and delicious lunch on fire in a gazebo among vineyards.

We recommend that you further enjoy Transcarpathian wine and dishes at “Chizay Mala Gora” restaurant, the only restaurant in Ukraine, which is located in the middle of a vineyard.

Return to Mukachevo.

Day 4:

Breakfast at the hotel.

Transfer to Vynohradiv

Cheese tasting tour to the largest Transcarpathian buffalo farm “Carpathian buffalo”, which is located on the outskirts of Vynohradiv.

Tasting at the “Carpathian buffalo” farm begins with coming up to animals, then you will taste the proposed set on an authentic round wooden plate around which, counter clockwise, there are numbers (to virtually transport you to the past, when buffaloes were the means of survival of people of Carpathian region).

Buffalo products are tasted in the following order: milk, “Panir” cheese, homemade processed cheese, mozzarella, butter, sour cream and cheese. Seven positions are constant, but the eighth one varies depending on the availability of the resource: it may be bryndza, sheep or buffalo hard cheese. As for the drinks, mulled wine is made in a tub outside in winter, and in summer, you will be treated to compote or cold uzvar (compote made of dried fruits and berries).

Excursion to the “Plum Jam Museum”

To experience the taste of Transcarpathia even more fully, you will visit the village of Botar, near Vynohradiv. There is a unique “Plum Jam Museum”, one of a kind in Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

You will recognize the farmstead immediately. An original bridge made of large spoons leads to the entrance. However, in front of the entrance you will be greeted by two statues – “Hungarian Mangalitsa Pig” and “Organic Plum Jam”.

For Transcarpathia, plum jam is a traditional dish. The recipe is kept secret and passed down through generations. It is boiled in a huge cauldron for 8-24 hours, without sugar, until the mass thickens. Each family member is involved in the process; everyone stirs it with a wooden spoon in turn.

The museum has dozens of types of marmalade and jam made from various berries and fruits. Plum, blueberry, blackthorn, and elderberry – everything is tasty, natural, grown on the home farm, does not contain preservatives or flavours. In the tasting room, you can taste not only sweet dishes, but also meat products from the Old Hungarian Mangalitsa pig. You will also be treated to juices, syrups and various drinks.

Return to Mukachevo.

We recommend finishing the trip in the “Celtic court”.

More than 2,000 years ago, on the slopes of the Galish and Lovachka mountains on the outskirts of Mukachevo, there was already a large settlement with defensive stone walls – the Celtic oppidum. The proto-town was the military, craft and political centre of the Anarti tribe. After the downfall of the settlement because of the soldiers of the Dacian leader Burebista, it fell into disrepair, and in medieval times, the old walls were dismantled for the construction of terraces for vineyards, the castle and the first stone houses. However, today under the mountain Lovachka you can still see the remains of old walls, houses and household pits. Given this extraordinary story, in the farmstead “Celtic court near Lovachka”, they began to recreate some episodes of life and daily routine of the Celts, namely drinks and food.

What do they serve in “Celtic court”?

  1. Exclusive alcoholic beverages following ancient recipes: rum, grappa, orujo (grape brandy), calvados, sloe gin, honey vermouth, gruit. Only here you can taste the drinks that the Celts drank: several types of ale, honey beer, fraoshan, mulled honey drink, cider, graggert. Drinking honey from “Celtic court near Lovachka” is a historical reconstruction. As for fragile women, there is creamy coffee liqueur “Goddess Brigitte” (in honour of the Celtic warrior goddess, who found the perfect balance between femininity and stunning power).
  2. Homemade cheese: this agro-ethno-farm produces elite cheeses such as Camembert, Dorblu, sheep Feta, goat Poitou.
  3. Tea grown right here. The owner already has his own plantation of more than 700 bushes. “Celtic court” offers to try Transcarpathian yellow and red oolong.
  4. Black sourdough bread without yeast we are used to. The owners bake the scented rye bread in a mud brick oven and use the water that is condensed in the cellar.
Day 5:

Transfer to Uzhhorod.

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