living in central europe, autumn conjures up feelings of, among other things, harvest with plentiful beer and wine. i am fortunate to live in a country that currently does both quite well, but you have to travel a little bit to get to the wine part, which is the south moravian region; essentially, the southeast corner of the country bordering austria and slovakia.
after we returned from the united states, it was time to kick trip planning for the rest of the year into high gear, and i somehow managed to find a couple nights’ accommodation on late notice in an area we’ve been wanting to see for a little while now: znojmo and the podyji national forest. south moravia is where basically all czechs want to head in september and october to take advantage of all the fun wine festivals (vinobrani) this time of year. we first got into this last year with our visit to mikulov, which is from what i can tell, the absolute jewel of moravia. but everytime we told someone we were going to mikulov, they’d tell us to go to znojmo (in southwestern moravia) instead! of course when i told people we were headed to znojmo this year, they said “go to mikulov”, so it’s just like this.
train connections to znojmo from south bohemia are relatively good, with only an easy transfer in okříšky. (which reminds me of the czech word for nuts, oříšky)
it was so amazing to stay right on the square in little znojmo!
of course the first thing we had to do was roll around on the bed and sit on every chair and couch. really get our money’s worth, you know? after going back to the states this summer and realizing mtv doesn’t even play music videos anymore, we probably clocked a good couple hours of očko (czech mtv) – one of our newfound favorite hotel stay pastimes.
then, you’ve got to walk around and get your bearings. i was pleasantly surprised at the amount that autumn had already graced little znojmo by the end of september! fantastic weather & foliage means you can’t go wrong. (did i mention autumn is my favorite travel season?) i enjoyed how the city is surrounded by medieval walls – it can make for a pretty interesting wander.
we made a quick reservation at hotel lahofer’s vesela 13 restaurant (located on vesela street, below), and came back after a quick pop around to dine on sea bass and wild boar (respectively) while ferdie sprawled out in a corner. it’s always nice to have a table off to the side when your dog is tagging along!
still can’t get over how cute this little outdoor vinarstvi cafe is! below…
the next morning we slept in a little tooooo late (at least for a breakfast menu at any local restaurant – cry) and headed out of town after an early lunch for our big wine hike, south of znojmo on the wine trail, dipping in and out of podyji national park. there are some pretty interesting natural areas only a kilometer or two out of znojmo – one area in particular has the most similar to high desert climate i’ve ever seen in the country with heather growing up on the highlands – a plant i only usually see in scotland or iceland.
cynthia: ohhhhhh, i love the vegetation around here so much!
(typical trip discourse)
the weather was gorgeous and warm – as if we couldn’t have planned this trip any better. you can see me hiking in only a short sleeved dress!
eventually we made our descent into the podyji area near our destination: the famous
šobes vineyard area and winery. the vineyard has a rather unique location of being located on a “peninsula” as the beautiful dyje (thaya) river curves around it on three sides, with green hills all around! the area has been called the “czech rhein” as the climate is said to be very similar to germany’s rhein river valley. meaning? perfect for rieslings! (or rizlink, in czech, to my delight)
when we finally arrived at the winery, we felt like we had arrived in some sort of paradise. i was expecting some larger winery manor with tours… but i should have anticipated it would be in the typical low-key czech style: all that exists is a simple stand selling glasses upon glasses of different local varietals (many from this very winery) and rows and rows of growing grapes being kissed by the sun. you could definitely while away an afternoon here! we spent hours without even realizing it, just wandering around and queuing for our next glass.
i felt so unbelievably grateful to have this experience at
šobes… it’s been on my europe “to-do” list for a long time to visit a vineyard and actually drink wine from said vineyard on-site. achievement unlocked at long last! the znojmo region is the perfect place to go if this is also your goal and are relying solely on public transport.
southern moravia is indeed a truly special place. i love all of the small cellars and vineyards covering every acre of farmland…possibilities for wine tourism here are practically endless. all my wine fantasies were satisfied. the next day, we hopped down to retz for the morning… (that post soon to come!)
if you go…
it’s about a 9km hike from znojmo city to šobes winery through the gorgeous podyji national forest, then another 3km to the nearest bus stop.
what is your dream wine / beer trip destination?
this post is a part of wanderful wednesday with van, marcella, isabel, & lauren.