Do you prefer red or white? Would you like to have goose liver or roasted goose with potato pancakes? Or would you rather explore some of the largest cellars in central Europe? In the Small Carpathian region, just a few kilometres from Bratislava, you do not have to choose between these great options. Multifaceted wine towns and villages trail like a necklace along the foothills of the southeast slopes of the Small Carpathians from the Slovak capital up to Smolenice.
Aroma bar and drunk simulators
A good place to start your trip is the Small Carpathian Museum in Pezinok with the largest collection of wine presses in Europe. The museum’s interactive features, like the drunk simulators, the bottler and aroma bar will certainly entertain you when walking through the robust history of wine growing and wine making in this area.
The Small-Carpathian Wine Region is the most important and simultaneously the oldest wine-making region in Slovakia.
“It’s a region of white wines that are, thanks to the local terroir, light, fresh and fruity,” says Martin Hrubala, director of the Small Carpathian Museum.
You will learn more about your specific taste at the end of the tour as a glass of quality local wine is included in the ticket price.
If you would like to continue tasting, you can visit the Small-Carpathians during the Open Wine Bars programme from June to October and taste wines directly after their production. A few of them are open each week.
Towards Červený Kameň castle
On your way from Pezinok to the capital of wine making, Modra, visit the Elesko winery, which combines traditional production processes with state-of-the-art technologies. It also includes the Zoya Museum with a collection of Andy Warhol’s artwork.
Directly in Modra, enjoy local specialties in the award-winning restaurant and wine bar Vinum Galeria Bozen of the wine family Matyšák, located in a more than 300-year-old vineyard house.
Refreshed, set off for the Červený Kameň Castle towering above the village Častá. The original, old Gothic castle was rebuilt in the 16th century into a Renaissance fortress with extensive underground storage cellars, the longest of which measure up to 72 metres.
“Several trucks would fit in here and still would look like toy cars,” Peter Okoličný said after visiting the castle.
The cellars have six original floors. During the tour, take time to notice the remains of the beams on the high walls. There’s also the Pálffy library, castle pharmacy, the richly-decorated Sala Terrena and many other parts of the castle fabled with stories.
In the summer, the Small Carpathian Express, complete with a guide, will take you around the region with stops in the most important wine towns, as well as Červený Kameň Castle.
The kingdom of goose
On your way back to Bratislava, stop in Slovenský Grob for a local specialty: a golden-roasted goose with lokša, a kind of potato pancake, and stewed cabbage. More than twenty inns and restaurants offer this delicacy, making this village a genuine kingdom of goose. Since 2016, “her Majesty”, an almost three-metre high statue on the square, has ruled the kingdom.
Local housewives started breeding and roasting geese about one hundred years ago. To earn some extra money, they sold the roasted geese to people in Bratislava. But gourmands longed to enjoy a freshly roasted, still warm goose, so the housewives started serving them the golden-roasted speciality in festive rooms within their homes. This tradition has been preserved to this day, although the rooms had to be replaced by more spacious rooms to accommodate an ever-increasing number of visitors.
For an unforgettable gourmet experience, start with the goose liver, followed by the roast goose and a glass of Small-Carpathian wine.
If you are a holder of the Bratislava CARD City & Region tourist card, you will have access to the Červený Kameň Castle and the Small Carpathian Museum completely free of charge. The card can also be used on the Small Carpathian Express.