Wine + Europe = top travel for 2017

Like wine? Love to travel? Who doesn’t?! Now you can expand your horizons and enjoy a bit of Eastern European culture at the same time.

SmoothRed (020 8877 4940;, the specialist in wine tours and holidays, has moved into Eastern Europe with the launch of five new breaks that uncork the lesser-known yet impressive wines of Hungary and Croatia.

Hungarian Collection: Budapest and Tokaj

This five-day luxury break features private wine tours in Etyek, Tokaj and Eger, visiting leading vineyards, including Kovács Nimród and Disznókő, plus the thrilling option of private helicopter transfers between Budapest and Tokaj. There’s a chance to dine at the fashionable one-Michelin-star restaurant Borkonyha Winekitchen in Budapest. Plus, SmoothRed has specially selected accommodation at Aria Hotel Budapest, a five-star luxury hotel and spa in the city, just named number one in TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Hotels in the World, and Andrássy Rezidencia Wine & Spa, the only five-star resort in Tokaj. From £2,480 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights, or £4,389 with helicopter transfers.

The Tokaj Wine Experience

An off-road vineyard safari is the highlight of this four-day exploration of Tokaj wines, based at Andrássy Rezidencia Wine & Spa. Guests on this action-packed break will get behind the wheel of a 4×4 to drive among the vines at a family-run winery, as well as enjoy private tours and tastings at Patricius and Szepsy, with an English-speaking guide. From £994 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights and five-star accommodation with breakfast.

Budapest Wine Festival

The terraces of Buda Castle provide a superb setting for this celebration of the nation’s wines. Guests on this four-day break receive a pass to the festival for the duration of their stay to enable thorough exploration of the 200-plus wineries exhibiting their wares. They’ll also be whisked off to the vineyards of Etyek to try the crisp white wines, and Eger to savour the fruity flavours of the famous Bull’s Blood. From £1,594 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights and five-star accommodation with breakfast.

Dubrovnik Wine-Tasting Experience

A boat tour of the Elafiti islands and private visits to wineries in the Dignač are among the memorable moments in this four-day introduction to Croatian wines. Guests will discover the dark, full-bodied reds created from the Plavac Mali grape, planted in the hillside vineyards, with tastings at three wineries, pairing different vintages with local cheeses, meats and even oysters. There’ll be time, too, to explore the city and relax by the Med at the sumptuous five-star Hotel Dubrovnik Palace. Price £1,248 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights and five-star accommodation with breakfast.

Split Wine-Tasting Experience

The wine varieties of Dalmatia, home of the Zinfandel grape, is the focus of this four-day trip to the historic city of Split and nearby Kastela vineyards. Guests will enjoy private tastings at the prestigious estates cultivating Pošip and Plavac Mali, and learn how the powerful, robust Zinfandel grape found its way from Eastern Europe to sunny California. The packed agenda also includes a tour of the ancient city, calling by Diocletian’s Palace, and a cookery course amid the olive groves of the island of Brač, but leaves enough time to discover why everyone raves about this coastline’s beaches. From £989 per person, including return flights and four-star accommodation with breakfast.

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Editor in chief Suzi Dixon studied at Bournemouth university, went away for a while to work at The Daily Telegraph, then moved back to the sunny South coast for a quiet (er) life. Bournemouth News & Info is her website and she is assisted by the fabulous Fred From France in all things geeky and technical. Hire us to make your website, too, if you like.

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