We’ve always tended to look for a slightly more unusual type of getaway and for many years have travelled with another couple who are good friends. A few years ago we discovered boating holidays and quickly got really into this slower pace of life type of holiday... we love the idea of captaining our own accommodation and travelling at just 6 - 10 km/h is the perfect speed to enjoy the passing sights and relax with onboard life!
This year we learned that the boating holiday experts Nicols had opened two bases in the new destination of Hungary. As we wanted to try something new we decided on a short-break cruise departing from Tokaj, not far from the Slovakian border. A weekend boating holiday itinerary is also available but this didn’t seem like long enough for us to discover the region so a short-break it was.
We collected our two-cabin Quattro B canal boat from the Nicols base located in the small town of Tokaj, which is also famous for its internationally renowned wines. The area here is magnificent with its landscape strewn with vineyards, valleys and small mountain ranges.
Stepping onboard was a pleasant surprise. Everything has been thought out and planned to make passengers feel like they are at home. Each cabin has a private bathroom and privacy was well preserved, which is nice even when you are travelling with very good friends!
During our boating holiday we had identified many interesting places to visit on route but before setting off we took the opportunity to visit the Rákóczi winery in Tokaj. This was also a great time to stock up on wine and food to last us during our trip.
Crédit photo : BODROGKISFALUD©Hangavári Szőlőbirtok és Pincészet Kft.)
This region of Hungary is truly a nature lover's paradise. During our journey we were lucky enough to see some migratory birds near the Tokaj-Bodrogzug protected area, just as the Nicols boat-driving trainer had told us we might. At one stopover point we went on a hour-and-a-half hike to discover the local flora and fauna. You definitely shouldn’t forget your camera as there are some seriously amazing shots to take...
When we got to Sárospatak, being history buffs, we stopped to visit Rákóczi Castle that we had spotted from the shore. We saw that there was the possibility for watersports fans to rent canoes and head out for a paddle.
Le château de Sárospatak ©Ingrid másolata
Next stop on our boat holiday itinerary was Sátoraljaújhely. Although we’d heard great things about it being a fun family day out we decided not to head to the Zemplen's Amusement Park because we would have had to take a taxi to go there since it is not right next to the river. Instead, we made the most of this stopover by going to Magas-Hegy where you are rewarded with a splendid sight of the city.
Further along our route and on the bank of the Tisza river was the small tranquil village of Szabolcs. This is a real historical goldmine - we found many vestiges of the past there including ancient stones which used to mark the edges of an ancient fortified castle.
Being keen anglers ourselves we were keen to see if the rumours were true about the well known fishing spot at Dombrád. This would be the last stop-off point of our cruise and it didn’t disappoint with a bountiful catch of roach, perch, catfish and even mullet! While the men in our crew were fishing the other two of us just chilled out by the water. We even ended up swimming at a fine sandy beach - a true little paradise!
Our boating holiday in Hungary really allowed us to recharge our batteries and we really enjoyed the peacefulness of the trip. If we are being picky, the only downside to the holiday was that we had slightly moody weather – but you can’t hold Nicols responsible for that! Even then, most of the time the sun was with us and it was just the odd occasion of a few drops of rain.
We would say that our first experience onboard a Nicols canal boat was a huge success and we were easily able to handle navigation on the Tisza river. In fact it was such a success that our crew is already thinking of repeating the experience again as soon as possible...