Last Updated on: 3rd November 2021, 06:59 am
If you are looking for a fun getaway in Hungary, consider Eger. It is the largest town in the Eger wine region and only 84 miles (135 km) from Budapest. It can easily be reached by car or train.
A visit to Eger will reward you with beautiful views, Baroque architecture, and a valley dedicated to wine. You can also visit one of the five Beatles museums in the world!
Our bathroom – can’t you feel the luxury?
In between oohing and aahing over the scrumptious décor and grounds of the hotel, we managed to see several Eger attractions. We hopped over to nearby Egerszalók to see the salt hill and the Saliris Resort.
Here is our take on the Eger and Egerszalók sights.
What We Did In Eger
Eger Castle is one of the most popular attractions in Eger. The castle dates back to the 13th century and is best known for the Siege of Eger (1552), during which the Hungarian defenders repelled a Turkish army that outnumbered them by more than 15 to 1.
Some of the castle walls with the city of Eger below
While there, you can visit several indoor exhibits, including one about the castle’s history. It covers several rooms, is well done, and includes English translations. When we visited, there was a temporary weapons exhibit that I enjoyed because there were several hands-on artifacts, and the explanations (in Hungarian and English) were concise and informative.
From left to right: 16th-century Hungarian field officer uniform, 16-17th-century fist shield made of tortoise shell, prayer book (no date), 19th-century Persian helmet
Ergi Road Beatles Museum
Who would expect to find a Beatles Museum in a small city in Hungary? The Egri Road Beatles Museum has a collection of over 2,500 items.
Just a few of the many items in the museum – who knew there were Beatles cuff links?
One of the coolest things was being led into a cave to see a short film about the Beatles’ early lives.
The totally cool cave with photos of musicians who inspired the Beatles
There is also a month-by-month history of the group from their discovery through their breakup. It is in Hungarian and English.
This museum is sure to bring back many memories for baby boomers, but any music fan is sure to get something out of it. You could say we loved it, yeah, yeah, yeah!
Archbishop’s Palace and Cellars
The palace has been the home of the Archbishop of Eger (Roman Catholic) since 1740. There is a museum of religious artifacts on two floors of the palace.
A sitting room display in the museum
Detail of the painting Memento mori by Lukács Huetter circa 1750
The cellars are caves used to store wine until the mid-1900s, when the fear of collapse led to many of them being lined with cement. That meant the temperature and humidity were no longer suitable for storing wine.
Eger is one of Hungary’s twenty-two wine regions. Every year there is a contest in which the Archbishop chooses the wine served during communion for the coming year.
Learn more about Hungarian wines in this article from Wine Folly.
You can tour the caves with a guide. David was our guide, and he did a great job. The tour includes a display of the wines chosen as the best of the year and a taste of the Archbishop’s favorite. Of course, I took a bottle home.
Here is information on the palace.
Sodomb and Solaris Resort in Egerszalók
Egerszalók is a small village only a half-hour away from Eger by bus. It is known for the Sodomb (salt hill) and the Saliris Resort Spa and Conference Hotel.
The Salt Hill
The hill was created by a buildup of limestone deposits from the 150 degrees F (65 degrees C) spring water. You can enjoy the mineral-rich waters at The Saliris Resort, either as an overnight guest or during a daytime visit.
The limestone terraces overlooking the Saliris Resort (or is it the other way around?)
The Saliris Spa has 17 pools. You can see the outdoor ones in the photo above. The inside pools are fun to explore since they are terraced and have several cave-like areas. The spa also has saunas and a steam room. There is a cute section for kids, too.
Read about our favorite Hungarian bath experience in 3 Carefree Days at Aquaworld Budapest.
Just for fun – the sign for the Helli Borozo Winery and Guest House in Egerszalók
More Things to See in Eger
Since we only spent two full days in Eger, there are several things we did not see, so I think we need to go back. Here are some of the other Eger attractions:
This is the only surviving minaret of the ten built in Eger by the Ottomans during the 17th century. It is also the northernmost minaret in Europe.
You can climb the narrow spiral staircase to get a birds-eye view of Eger. We did not since I was dealing with a sore hip. If you don’t make it up the minaret, don’t despair. You can get great views of the city from Eger castle.
The minaret is 131 feet tall (40 meters) and has 98 steps.
The minaret, as seen from Eger Castle
The Valley of the Beautiful Women
This valley is home to dozens of wine cellars side by side. You can visit many of them to sample the local wine and have a traditional Hungarian meal. We did not make it there on this trip. Again, another reason to go back.
Kopcsik Marcipánia Bell Foundry House (Marzipan Museum)
This small museum showcases the creations of master confectioner Lajos Kopcsik. From the photos, it looks similar to the one we visited in Szentendre, Hungary. However, this one has an entire Baroque room made of marzipan!
Our visit to the Szamos Marcipán Múzeum in Szentendre showed us that you can make anything out of marzipan, even Michael Jackson
Since we didn’t visit the Eger museum, we don’t have any photos, but you can get an idea of what you can see there on their website.
The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Apostle
If you love beautiful buildings as much as Steve and I do, you would want to swing by the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Apostle in Eger. The basilica is currently undergoing renovation, but according to this article, you can still visit it. The work is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022.
Eger Thermal Bath
This being Hungary, no city would be complete without at least one thermal bath. In Eger, you have the Eger Thermal Bath.
The bath has 13 pools, 9 of which are open year-round.
As in all the Hungarian cities we’ve visited, there is no shortage of architecture waiting to be admired.
The dismal day did not detract from this building’s beauty (on Dobó István Square)
The Church of Anthony of Padua (Minorite Church) – a Franciscan church also on Dobó István Square
Where We Stayed – The Erla Villa Hotel
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Steve and I were excited to spend several nights in the most luxurious hotel room we’ve ever had. Up until now, we’ve always booked a basic room, unwilling to cough up more money for a fancy room when the chips were down. But I fell in love with the Oval Suite when I saw it on the Erla Villa website. Even better, three nights with half board (breakfast and dinner) was only a little over $600.
The room turned out to be as stunning as the photos, and the food was fantastic.
There were a few things that could have been better. For example, breakfast wasn’t served until 8 o’clock, and there wasn’t any place to get coffee before then. That is a mild form of torture for us early risers. When I finally got my coffee, it was superb.
Also, the shower curtain didn’t go all the way across the opening, so no matter how careful you were, the floor in front of the shower got flooded.
Despite a few little things that could be improved, I would recommend this hotel, not only for the ambiance but also for the food (and coffee).
Until Next Time
Have you been to Eger or Egerszalók? What did you think? What was your favorite sight?
Featured photo by Adonis Villanueva on Pixabay.com