Photo Essay: Things to Do and See in Eger, Hungary

Things to Do and See in Eger, Hungary

Where to take a holiday in Hungary? One of our readers recommended the town of Eger in the Northeastern part of the country. A pretty town with beautiful churches (including the country’s 2nd largest Basilica) and a famous castle, it has thermal baths and is situated in one of Hungary’s premium wine producing regions. And it’s only 2 hours from Budapest. We decided we’d go and spend a week there.

 

map_of_hungary

Above: Map credit Lonelyplanet.com

Eger holds a special place in Hungarian history because it was here in 1552 that Captain István Dobó and 2,100 soldiers held off an invading Turkish force of over 80,000. The siege, and retreat of the Ottomans, has become an emblem of national defense and patriotic heroism in Hungary. You’ll see a statue dedicated to Dobó in Eger’s main square (also named after him).

Below: Dobó statue in main square.

Dobó Square, Eger, Hungary

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Below: Dobó Square, Castle Hill behind it.

dobo square and Eger Castle

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Below: On the Square you’ll see the Minorite Church (Built in 1758). Built in Baroque style, it is one of the town’s most beautiful churches.

Dobó Square and the Minorite church, Eger

Minorite church, Eger

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A little walk up the hill brings you to to Eger castle. Honestly there is not much left of the castle except for the walls. There are however good views over town and an excellent museum detailing the 1552 siege. 

eger castle (2)

eger castle (7)

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Below: You can practice your archery up at the castle. Lots of fun.

shooting arrows at eger castle, Hungary

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Below: More views over Dobó Square. You can see the Basilica in the distance.

eger castle (3)

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The largest building in town is the Basilica, the 2nd largest Basilica in Hungary. It was built in 1831 – 1836 and has an absolutely gorgeous interior.

Eger Basilica DSC (2)

eger basilica, Eger, Hungary

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I mentioned at the top the 1552 siege that made Eger famous. In 1596 Eger was once again under siege from the Ottomans. This time the town was surrendered. Eger stayed under Ottoman rule until 1699, marking almost 100 years under the Turks. You’ll see remnants of the Ottoman rule, principally the Turkish baths and the minaret – the northernmost minaret built by the empire in Europe. Today you can climb it for views of the town.

Minaret in Eger, Hungary

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Below: some of Eger’s pretty streets.

colorful streets of eger, hungary

streets of Eger, Hungary

streets of Eger

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Below: another church. St. Bernard’s Church is a Jesuit church built in the early 1700s.

st. bernard church, eger, hungary

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Probably the least visited church in town is St. Nicolas Serbian Church (known by locals as the “Serb Church”). The Serbs came to Eger at the same time as the Ottomans and gradually blended with the Hungarian population. Today the church is no longer in use, it serves as a museum. The interior iconostatis is incredible. The church is worth seeing for just being so different from the Catholic churches in town.

Serbian Orthodox Church (St. Nicholas) Eger outside

Serbian Orthodox Church (St. Nicholas) Eger

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Another impressive church is the Franciscan Church which has a spectacular altar shaped like a crown.

Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church (3) copy

Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church (1) copy

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Below:  statue commemorating the fight against the Turks.

statue dobo

statue

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Below: Eger has a pretty stream that cuts through town. 

stream in eger, hungary

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Eger is famous for the ‘Valley of the Beautiful Women” located just a couple of kilometers out of town. It is the place to drink wine. Reading reviews on Trip Advisor, we somehow conjured up this idea of a valley with a dirt road where you can pop in to visit different wineries. It’s nothing like that. The Valley of the Beautiful women is a little area of cellars and outdoor seating where you can try out different wines and even buy huge plastic jugs of cheap wine. It’s a great place to come with friends and get your drink on. 

Below: you get get to the Valley of the Beautiful Women by taking this little train from the Eger town center. Yeah, we felt a little ridiculous.

valley of the beautiful women, Eger, Hungary

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 I’ve written about all the sights in Eger. But the main reason for us to come here was to relax for a week and enjoy the town’s Thermal baths. The town has Turkish baths as well as the large public Eger Thermal Bath. It also has some great hotels with their own thermal baths. That’s going to be covered on my next post.

Below: One of the Thermal Baths in our hotel.

Thermal baths in Eger, Hungary

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A pretty town, wine, and thermal baths. Our week in Eger was about the most relaxing ever.

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Getting there: Very easy from Budapest. Buses leave twice an hour from the bus station at metro Puskas Ferenc Stadion (on the red line). Trains leave regularly from Keleti Palyaudvar (also on the red line). We went the Eger by bus and came back by train. I recommend the bus – faster (2 hrs vs 2.5 hrs by train) without all the stops. 

 

What do you think of Eger? Is it a place you would want to visit?

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Comments

  1. Definitely a place l would love to visit. It is so pretty, just like Budapest! I wish we had gone here instead of the little town we went whose name escapes me. I would have enjoyed this more even though l loved the cruise down the Danube. Thermal bath..yeah..can’t wait to read about it. I love relaxing vacations 🙂 .
    Kemkem recently posted…Festival of Nations in Seville, SpainMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Little town? Maybe Pecs, that’s the other one that you sometimes see mentioned.
      Aren’t you glad I took a break from politics Kemkem? 😉

  2. AH! Looks amazing!! I’m a bit bummed because we took Hungary off of our list for this year when we decided to slow down a bit. Thanks for giving me so many reasons to return! Cheers guys!
    Andrea Leblang recently posted…Paragliding Rap Video – Oludeniz, TurkeyMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      We’ve really enjoyed Hungary (despite all the bad press it’s receiving right now).
      By the way, love the paragliding video 🙂

  3. Always wanted to go to Hungary. What are hotel, food and drink prices like?

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      A bit all over the place.
      We are renting an Airbnb apartment in Budapest, right in the center, that comes to about $800 USD/month.
      I booked a 7 day package at the hotel in Eger, for 2, which included half board (breakfast, dinner) for about $650 USD. Really didn’t have to pay for much else than a bottle of wine every night and lunch.
      But I saw that their rack rate is about $160 US/night. Still, if you compare that to places in Western Europe quite a deal because they have Saunas, Thermal baths as well as the meal plan.
      Typical main course somewhere might cost you about $10 US for something nice. A bit bowl of goulash might cost you $3 US.

  4. Ok thanks. Not as cheap as I thought.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      No, it’s not. There’s a misconception that Hungary is super cheap but I’m told that that changed with the EU.

  5. i have always wondered about Eger – I nearly went there back in 2004 but ran out of time, it was my choice for second place to visit in Hungary, I’ve only been to Budapest. It looks wonderful (as does the weather!). Churches are stunning and doesnt look so busy too. perfect European city!
    Andrew recently posted…Planning a Dogon Trek (Mali)My Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks Andy – yes, worth a visit. Quite small but nice town and lots of see. Nice break from hectic Budapest.

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