Discovering Tirnavia

As you know, Slovakia is a pretty small, pocket-sized country. Wherever you want to go, it doesn’t take more than 7 hours, even if you cross from the East to the West. But for me, it’s always the closest places that I visit the last, for some reason. I think that we always say to ourselves – oh that’s just around the corner, we can go there any time, let’s make a bigger trip today. And we go further. So it happens that even though I visited Trnava city center a couple years back and a few times since, I never visited the region surrounding it. Until now.

There are so many beautiful places worth visiting just a few miles from Bratislava. Cities, castles, wineries, chateaus, parks and sights… So I let Tirnavia Region tourism agency show me around a little bit. I’ll be posting some tips for places to visit throughout the Summer, but here’s a little overview of what I managed to visit in 2 days.

Trnava is a city of 65 000 people about 50 km far from Bratislava. You can get there easily by car on a highway, by bus or by train, which takes about 20-30 mins. If you love history, coffee and wine, you’ll probably love this city just as much as I do. What I like most about Trnava is the lively historical center full of young people (strange for this part of the world, where most youngsters hang out in shopping malls!) and the cafes which are turning the city into a hipster heaven. In a good way. There’s really good coffee on every corner, but I especially like three places – Synagoga Cafe which transformed a beautiful old 19th century synagog into a stylish place for locals and visitors, preserving all that was good about the building from the past and adopting it to the present flawlessly. I also especially love the Thalmeiner cafe below the city tower, overlooking the square. It’s incredibly chic and I love how the owners fit it into the old town house. Every room is different and each one is more pretty than the last. Its lovely garden will even be prolonged and transformed into a new community space for events, concerts or public discussions. The third cafe is my favourite because it belongs to my good friend, but mostly because it serves perfect coffee to go – a mobile Fefe Cafe, set up in a cute little black old Italian truck standing in front of the city Theatre.

During our trip we toured several villages around Trnava – we visited a beautiful old Chateau in Dolna Krupa famous for its connection to Ludwig van Beethoven and roses; Smolenice and its fairy-tale castle, museum and a honey wine factory, winery called Mrva & Stanko on the outskirts of Trnava, beautiful winery Terra Parna in Sucha nad Parnou and another one in Dolany. Trnava region, or Tirnavia, which is its historical name, is a very old wine producing region full of wonderful smaller and bigger wineries and besides classic grape wine there are also several honey wine-making companies, which were completely new for me.

Honey wine is a renewed historical tradition in Slovakia. The biggest honey wine winery, Apimed, is in Dolna Krupa and it makes some of the best honey wines in the world (there is a special world competition for wines made from honey every year). This family company was founded in 1997 and I’m planning to go to one of the events they co-organise with the chateau in the village, surrounded by a huge English park. It’s a great experience to taste the sweet drinks in the romantic setting where you can imagine what it must have been like here 300 years ago.

The second honey winery we visited was in Smolenice, right below the beautiful picturesque castle on top of the hill. It’s called Vcelovina and I think I liked it even more. It’s more modern, hip and I must say, reminded me of the recent Gucci collections with all the bees everywhere. Once a fashionista, always a fashionista, right? They created a wonderful concept for this space with inspiring design which I loved, and the wines were perfect, too. Since I generally like sweet wine and drinks, I bought some for home and I switch between our favourite Tokaj and this every now and then.

Trnava itself is becoming a great city for young people to live in and visit. It’s mayor, generally described as a modern hipster, rides a bike to work – he even got himself a „work“ bike instead of a car, painted in the official city colours. In fact, the city hall bike parking space is full of bikes, so he probably inspired the other employees, too. As the first city in Slovakia, Trnava got its own hashtag sign in the center of town, designed by young local artists here. There are events happening in the city all the time – parties, concerts, festivals and the main street in the historical center has been closed off and reserved mostly for cafes and restaurants, essentially open for people to enjoy. But side by side with the modern things there is also a lot of history, most of it connected to Church, as Trnava used to serve as a Esztergom archdiocese in 16th century. Since there are lots of churches in the city to this day, it is widely known as the „Little Rome“ in Slovakia and still enjoys an important role in the Roman Catholic Church.

Slovensko je celkom malá, takmer „vrecková“ krajina. Kdekoľvek sa vyberiete, cesta vám pravdepodobne nezaberie viac ako 7 hodín. U mňa to sú však stále miesta, ktoré mám najbližšie, kde sa dostanem až naposledy. Ani sama neviem prečo. Asi si stále povieme – to je iba za rohom, tam predsa môžeme ísť hocikedy, spravme si väčší výlet. A tak ideme opäť ďalej. Takto sa mi stalo, že aj keď som už Trnavu (chvalabohu) navštívila párkrát (po prvý raz aj tak len asi pred 2 rokmi), trnavský región stále vôbec nepoznám. To som sa však rozhodla zmeniť. 

Na skok od Bratislavy je toľko skvelých miest na výlet. Pre východniarov je to na jeden z väčších výletov, pre ostatných možno aj na jednodenné tripy. Mestá, hrady, zámky, kaštiele, vinárstva, parky, pamiatky… S pomocou agentúry na podporu cestovného ruchu Tirnavia regiónu som sa teda vybrala prebádať tie najkrajšie z nich. Počas leta vám budem písať tipy na rôzne tematické výlety, tu je zatiaľ malý prehľad všetkého, čo som za 2 dni stihla „prebehnúť“. 

Naša prvá zastávka bola v Trnave. Na Trnave sa mi najviac páči, že je to stále viac mesto mladých – zakaždým, keď sem prídem, pribudnú nové cyklotrasy, podniky, kaviarne, lákadlá pre turistov, niečo sa vynoví alebo práve natrafím na jednu z množstva akcií, ktoré sa tu konajú. A je to mesto kávičkárov. Dobrú kávu tu nájdete doslova na každom rohu a práve v Trnave má domov aj niekoľko z mojich obľúbených kaviarní – Synagoga Cafe, ktorá premenila starú židovskú synagógu z 19. storočia na krásne štýlové miesto pre domácich aj turistov, zachovajúc všetko nádherné, čo na tejto špeciálnej budove bolo. Ďalšou mojou srdcovkou je Thalmeiner pod mestskou vežou. Táto kaviarnička, ktorej vdýchol život Miroslav Trnka s rodinou, je nielen štýlová, ale doslova vás prenesie v čase do zlatej éry 20. storočia. Každá jej miestnosť je iná a krajšia, než predošlá. Jej romantická záhrada sa teraz dokonca zväčšuje a čoskoro z nej bude unikátny priestor pre komunitné akcie, koncerty či živé diskusie. Treťou kaviarenskou láskou v Trnave je pre mňa mobilné Fefe Café, ktoré vymyslela moja kamarátka. Nedajte sa pomýliť jej veľkosťou – talentovaní baristi tu pripravujú perfektnú kávu, ktorú si môžete vypiť pri nich pri milom rozhovore alebo si ju zobrať kdekoľvek so sebou. 

Počas nášho výletu sme stihli navštíviť niekoľko obcí v trnavskom okrese – videli sme nádherný historický kaštieľ v Dolnej Krupej, ktorý je známy svojimi „konexiami“ s Ludwigom van Beethovenom a ružami; Smolenice a ich rozprávkový zámok, múzeum a medovinárstvo, vinárstvo Mrva&Stanko v Trnave, nádherné rodinné vinárstvo Terra Parna v Suchej nad Parnou a ďalšie Vína z mlyna v Doľanoch. 

Výroba medoviny je na Slovensku obnovenou starou tradíciou. Najväčšie medovinárstvo v regióne a zrejme aj na Slovensku, Apimed, nájdete v Dolnej Krupej, neďaleko spomínaného historického kaštieľa. Vyrába niektoré z najlepších medovín na svete (medovina má svoju vlastnú svetovú súťaž o najlepšie vína) a ja som vďaka nej konečne spoznala, ako sa medovina vyrába. Apimed vznikol pred 20 rokmi a ja sa určite najbližšie vyberiem na jedno z podujatí, ktoré spoluorganizujú v miestnom kaštieli obkolesenom obrovským anglickým parkom. 

Druhé medovinárstvo sme našli v Smoleniciach, priamo pod rozkošným zámkom, akoby ho tam primaľovali len pre potešenie turistov. Volá sa Včelovina (nájdete ho aj ako Včelco) a myslím, že toto bude mojím osobným favoritom. Je modernejšie a také nejaké „hipsterskejšie“ ako Apimed a nemohla som si pomôcť, všetky tie včielky naokolo mi neustále pripomínali poslednú kolekciu Gucci. Raz fashionista, naždy fashionista, čo? 😀 Majitelia – 3 mladí miestni včelári – tu vytvorili krásny koncept priestoru, ktorý má inšpiratívny dizajn, ale aj perfektný produkt – ich medovina je naozaj balzam na dušu. Keďže ja sladké vínka môžem, nakúpila som si niekoľko štýlových fliaš aj domov, nech mám počas leta s čím striedať náš obľúbený sladký Tokaj.

Fefe Cafe

Thalmeiner cafe backyard

The mayor’s bike at the city hall

Trnava

Terra Parna
Terra Parna
Terra Parna

Terra Parna winery

A neighbor’s dog named Tessa- very cute companion
Terra Parna

Yes, I was accidentally wearing the bee earrings here 😀

Smolenice castle

Visitor House by the chateau where Beethoven lived during his stays here
Roses by the chateau in Dolna Krupa
„Rose“ lady of Dolna Krupa who used to grow hundreds of beautiful roses in her Rosarium
Chateau in Dolna Krupa
Rose flovoured honey wine Apimed

Mrva & Stanko Winery