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The Danube Route: Pannonhalma, Győr, and Neszmély

Pannonhalma and the village below it

The Pannonhalma region is best known for the Benedictine abbey, a UNESCO world heritage site, where Hungary’s first Christian community was established. The setting is gorgeous—lush, rolling green hills checkered with patches of lavender (which the monks harvest and turn into oils and soaps) and grape vines, topped off by a the abbey perched on a hill. The Pannonhalma Abbey also holds a fine state-of-the-art winery which produces lovely wines, including welschriesling, sauvignon blanc, riesling, and pinot noir. A day trip to the Pannonhalma region could also include other locations along the Danube. In the Neszmély wine region there is a large winery overlooking the Danube (with views across the river to Slovakia) where we can stop for a tasting, and perhaps lunch. Also nearby is Győr, a town where the Mosoni-Danube, the Rába, and the Rábca rivers meet. The Baroque town center—which has a cathedral, a castle, a few historic churches, and several museums—is a lovely place to explore. We could visit the basilica in Esztergom, or head to Komárom to check out its 19th-century fort. Though this is a low-profile wine region, it is a region full of important historic sights, gorgeous Danube scenery, and well-made wines.

In Pannonhalma we offer private Wine Day Tours, which are customized to suit your interests.

• The route to Pannonhalma could include visits to several wine regions, including Etyek, Neszmély, and Mór. These regions are all very different, and mostly produce white wines. In Pannonhalma wine is made at the 1,000-year-old abbey. While in Etyek there are numerous small family wineries, as well as a pálinka distillery. In Neszmély a large winery is located on a hill with views to both sides of the Danube.
• Győr is a pretty town with cobblestone pedestrian streets and a center which holds a basilica, a palace, and several churches and small museums.
• The most obvious reason to come to Pannonhalma is to see the Benedictine abbey, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. The original church was consecrated in 1002 with King István present. The grounds are gorgeous, and the library is like something out of Harry Potter.
• The town of Komárom was split in two with the Treaty of Trianon: the southern side is in Hungary and the northern side is the Slovakian town of Komárno. A bridge over the Danube connects the two sides. The most outstanding sight in Komárom is the massive 19th-century Fort Monostor, which claims to be Central Europe’s largest military fortress.
• Esztergom is one of Hungary’s oldest towns and most important historic cities. It has a palace, a synagogue, and a basilica which is the largest church in Hungary. The Danube winds in front of the basilica and several ranges of hills are visible. A bridge connects the city with Slovakia.

Pannonhalma is about 130 kilometers (a 1.5-hour drive) from Budapest.


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