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Essence of Hungary | Győr and Pannonhalma

The top left corner of Hungary is a treasure trove of sights that make you think of the Little Hungarian Plain with affection. A romantic riverside, wildly colourful towns and a many-faceted history combine well together here. In Győr, the main city of the region which hosts a number of internationally acclaimed cultural structures, the visitor dives right into the baroque period. However, leaving the city, which also boasts a vibrant economy, you can find yourself in one of the most pristine towns from the Hungarian Middle Ages in less than 30 minutes. In the race for the earliest foundation, the Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma beats even Hungary’s statehood, and actually needs one less digit to write down its year of foundation. According to the chronicles, the foundation of the monastery, established in 996, preceded Saint Stephen’s founding of the state by 4 years. Interestingly, the monks here display an enviable resourcefulness in adapting to the winds and opportunities of modern times.

Apátsági Viator Étterem és Borbár – In the VIATOR, the reference restaurant and wine bar of the Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma, the centre stage is reserved for the abbey’s own wines. But the seasonal menu won’t pale in comparison either, offering a diverse range of finely made dishes. Quality trumps quantity here. The dishes on the wisely compiled seasonal menu are made using carefully selected ingredients. 

address: 9090 Pannonhalma, Vár 1 

Urban RoomsAs its name suggests, Urban Rooms offers its guests various apartments. “Nest” is a transformed villa with historic details and a large garden, the “Baross Boutique Apartman” features uniquely furnished, spacious premises right on the pedestrian street, while “Duett” awaits visitors with a community space and a meeting room. 

address: 9021 Győr, Árpád utca 11  

Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma – As a Benedictine monastery founded in 996, the Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma is one of Hungary’s most outstanding historical memorial sites. To this day, the abbey is inhabited by a community of monks who welcome those in search of a spiritual retreat, they run a boarding secondary school andperform cultural tasks, while maintaining a library, archives, museum, publishing house and also a winery, brewery and herb garden. 

address: Pannonhalma, Vár 1, 9090

Local Touch

Jazz Summer in Pannonhalma – We usually think of monks as drab characters, while, in fact, there aren’t many people around who know better how to jazz up life. The Benedictine monastic order of Pannonhalma loves – and knows how – to live: they brew beer, produce wine, run a fine dining restaurant, and even organise a jazz festival. Jazz Summer in Pannonhalma is a six-day series of concerts, which combines natural and artificial environments, renowned international performers and Hungarian stars, as well as wine and music. In addition to the major concerts of the event, Viator restaurant also offers a more intimate setting for musical and culinary experiences at its ‘Jazz Dinners’.

address: 9090 Pannonhalma

illustration: Dóra Vincze

Szigetköz – Although it is completely landlocked, Hungary still has a large island, thanks to the Danube and the Moson-Danube. Going by car will spoil the experience. If you have the option, it’s better to discover at least one corner of the vast area on bike and/or by canoe, to overnight at a campsite or a guest house and start again the next morning. Luckily, these means of transportation are available to rent in multiple places, and you can also easily find yourself a local to be your tour guide. It’s wise to set off with someone who knows this country like the back of their paddle-hardened hand, as they can guide you to secluded backwaters and lagoons that you couldn’t otherwise find, if you were left to your own devices. But those who prefer to drop anchor in one place will also find breathtakingly quiet fishing spots. 

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