Country Break Hungarian Style – 2 Nights in an Outstanding Spa Hotel

Andrassy Rezidencia very fun cave spa

Hungarians love their bathhouses and a country break to a hotel that has it’s own spa sounded like a perfect plan for our break from cities. We stayed in 2 different spa hotels, the first in Tarcal in the wine country region near Tokaj, and the second in Tiszafüred in the northern Great Plains near Hortobágy National Park.

Tarcal

Top Experiences in Tarcal

  • The cave spa at Andrássy Rezidencia Wine & Spa
  • Fresh local fish at a roadside stand in Tokaj
  • Driving through the Hungarian countryside between Boldogko and Sarospatak

Hungary Map

Tokaji delicious sweet wine in our luxurious room at Andrassy Rezidencia

Tokaji sweet wine

Andrássy Rezidencia Wine & Spa, 2 nights in a luxurious standard room, breakfast included.
After 18 nights in 3 different apartments we opened the door to our room at the Andrássy and said YES! The standard room I’d booked through Booking.com was terrific and we were ready for some pampering and daily maid service. Too bad it was only 2 nights.


Tarcal is about 1.5 hours from Eger, the countryside is a patchwork of bright yellow canola fields and we opted for the smooth, flat, most direct route rather than than the longer way winding over the hills through the Bukki Nemzeti National Park.

Fields of yellow canola alternating with green in the Hungarian countryside

Fields of yellow canola alternating with green in the Hungarian countryside

Even though it was the May 1 Labor Day holiday weekend, apparently it was still off season in this part of Hungary. We were able to check in early and head out to Tokaj, the renowned wine town 15 minutes down the road from Tarcal. But we wouldn’t be tasting any wine, there is ZERO tolerance for drinking and driving in Hungary.

Fish Stand Halsuto ez Palacsintazo

Fish Stand Hidfő Büfé (Bridgehead Buffet), called Halsuto ez Palacsintazo in TripAdvisor

Relaxing Sunday in Little Tokaj

Tokaj is a very pretty little town on the Tisza River, quiet on Sunday after a big bus of tourists left. A little café for doppio espresso, a little visit to the little museum across from the café, then we were ready for a little lunch. What do we find? A little fish stand on the main road with a line of people standing at the window to order. Of course we want some! So we stood in line and tried to figure out what and how to order.

One of the 2 ladies in the fish stand helped as best she could – I said the names of a couple of different fish (the names were on the pictures on the side of the stand, not that I had a clue what they were except fish and they looked good) and she held up the fish for approval. OK! Then she said “pomme frite?” Ah yes, french fries are the same in any language! We had Süllő and Hekk, Süllő my favorite – delicious! Behind the stand overlooking the peaceful river are covered picnic tables to enjoy the meal.
Tip: You pay for the fried fish by the kilo, our 2 huge fish and 2 orders of french fries were about $20. It was a late lunch – and dinner! The other offerings on the sign that plenty of people had were Döneres, (Döner kebab, döner pita) which is meat like Gyros, that was a fixed price.

Tip: English isn’t widely spoken in the local places, but everyone we ran into was very friendly and did their best to help us communicate. A big smile, pointing and pantomime goes a long way.

Andrassy spa time

Andrassy Spa

Spa Time at Andrássy

Off to the Spa! The spa at Andrássy spoiled us. There were only a few people in the hotel and we had the Cave spas practically to ourselves. When we emerged and actually walked behind the main pool we discovered the steam and sauna cabinets. This spa scene is the way to relax, those Hungarians really know their stuff.

Day Excursion to Boldogko Castle and Sarospatak

A lot of Hungarians seem to stay put in the spa hotels relaxing and “taking the waters”, but nope, not us. We had the car for a reason and seeing the Hungarian countryside was a big one. This day our destination was Boldogko Castle 35 minutes north of Tarcal.

Boldogkő Castle, literally 'Happy Rock' Castle

Boldogkő Castle, literally ‘Happy Rock’ Castle

When you first catch sight of the castle ruins perched on top of the hill you feel like you HAVE to stop and take a picture. The castle itself is good for a clamber around and the beautiful views but doesn’t take long to visit.

 

Lookout point at Boldogko Castle

Lookout point at Boldogko Castle

 

With the rest of the afternoon before us, how about heading east to Sarospatak? We set the GPS for that destination and ended up on some pretty interesting tiny roads to get there. Through woodlands and rough roads next to fields on short cuts the GPS chose, about 45 minutes later we arrived at Sarospatak castle – to find it closed. Oh well! The restrooms were open and we walked around the beautiful grounds.

Last Spa Night at Andrássy

One last delicious spa night and dinner at the hotel, the next day we were headed to the Puszta (the northern Great Plains), and Tiszafüred for 3 nights.


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3 Comments

  1. Frank

    Hi Rebecca!
    Lissette mentioned needing a vacation and I remembered about Spas on your blog. So I came here 🙂
    I’m a little confused by all the different options on the Andrassy website. I’m thinking of a place where we have baths (as they do), a nice restaurant (as they have) as well as things to see in the surrounding area (that castle sounds nice). But I’m wondering if its feasible without a car, either getting there or getting around the area. And do you remember if packages were reasonably priced or is this definitely high-end?
    It all sounds good but just wondering if we need something closer to home in Budapest. Any recommendations, either with the above and elsewhere much appreciated!
    Frank (bbqboy)

    Reply
    1. Rebecca

      Hi Frank!

      Andrassy was a little over $130 per night, not bad for luxury! But it would be difficult without a car. An option easily reached by public transportation is historic Eger. While breakfasting at the Senator House Hotel in Eger we met a Canadian couple (!) who had come by bus from Budapest just for the weekend. Aside from the wine caves, they were headed to Eger’s thermal spa. We didn’t have time for it so can’t say personally how it is but it’s very popular. Eger’s a great getaway!

      Reply

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