What to Do in Eger, Hungary and Its Surroundings

Short Getaways

There are plenty of options for a respite from city life since you can get practically anywhere in Hungary in under three hours. The charming art-filled town of Szentendre is just a short train ride from Budapest and makes for a perfect half-day or day trip. Spend a day visiting wineries and exploring old cellar rows in Etyek, just a 45-minute drive from Budapest. To dig even deeper into Hungary’s wine culture, spend a few days in Villány, Tokaj, or Eger. Farther afield, Pécs, close to the Croatian border, offers enough museums and culture to fill several days. During the summer, practically all of Hungary heads to Lake Balaton to swim in the shallow water of one of Europe’s largest lakes.

Photo by Herbert Lehmann/age fotostock

While Hollókő may be only 90 minutes from Budapest, you’ll feel like you have traveled back to the 18th century in this meticulously preserved and restored town. It’s just one of the highlights of northern Hungary. You can also climb Kékestető, the country’s tallest mountain, where panoramic views are paired with crisp subalpine air. Then explore Eger, a beautiful town that somehow manages to remain off the beaten tourist path. End your journey in the region’s largest city, Miskolc, and relax in one of the area’s most unique hot springs—an underground series of pools in a cave system.


Underground Baths

Make your way through a maze of underground pools at various temperatures when you visit the Thermal Cave Baths in Miskolctapolca.


Katie Cedar

With a background in education and the arts and a love of adventure, Katie Cadar focuses on customized high-end travel. In 1998, she began working as a manager for TravelStore and is now the Director of Leisure Sales. She has a large folio of clients and still travels as much as possible. Among her specialties are Europe, African safaris, Tahiti, adventure travel, and luxury hotels.
A castle atop a hill

DAY 1Hollókő and Kékestető

Leave the grand boulevards of Pest and the historic castle of Buda, and drive north to Hollókő, one of Hungary’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A village was first established here in the 13th century, though most of the buildings today date from after the end of the Ottoman occupation in 1683. Some 55 houses are protected buildings allowing for a fascinating journey back in time to 18th century Hungary.

After wandering through the historic village, you’ll ascend the tallest mountain in Hungary for a bird’s-eye view of the region. Just over an hour’s drive from Hollókő, Kékestető rises to a height of 3,360 feet. A short walk through the forests growing on the slopes up the mountain will bring you to the summit, which overlooks the beautiful Mátra region. After taking in the views, a short drive will bring you to the nearby Kastélyhotel in Sasvár, your home for the night. Long owned by the Debroi family, the impressive building opened as a hotel in 1998.
A vineyard at sunset

DAY 2Eger

After breakfast, drive less than an hour from your hotel to Eger. You may want to walk along stately Kossuth Lajos Street, the city’s main thoroughfare lined with imposing civic buildings, or get lost in the warren of smaller lanes of the historic heart. While Eger Castle is home to several museums, a gallery of paintings from the 16th to 19th centuries, and underground corridors and fortifications waiting to be explored, simply wandering the ramparts and grounds is the highlight of a visit for many.

After lunch at 1552, the only restaurant located within the walls of the castle, take an elevator to the top of the city’s minaret, a reminder of the Ottoman occupation of Hungary which ended in 1699. The structure offers views of all of Eger including Dobó Square, the lively heart of Eger, presided over by the Minorite Church, one of many lovely Baroque buildings.

Dine tonight at the Macok Bistro which serves local specialties from freshly caught trout to cheeses made at dairies in the Bükk Mountains. The restaurant has an extensive cellar of Hungary’s best wines to pair with your meal.
A family paddles down a river.

DAY 3Miskolc and a Hot Bath

Spend this morning exploring Miskolc, the largest city in northern Hungary. You may want to wander the pedestrian streets of the historic heart, lined with beautifully restored 18th and 19th-century buildings. Or head to the suburb of Diósgyőr, where the main attraction is the enormous castle. The earliest fort on the site was probably built around the 12th century, though much of what visitors see today is a recent reconstruction completed in 2014. If you’d rather explore a quieter village in the area, Lillafüred is 30 minutes from Miskolc and surrounded by the forests of the Bükk Mountains.

Have lunch in Miskolc at Dűlő, an inviting restaurant that serves typical Hungarian dishes (duck liver, rabbit stew) in its own garden (on warm days) and in a cozy dining room (on cooler ones). Another popular option in town is Pizza, Kávé, Világbéke. That translates as “pizza, coffee, and world peace,” and at least the first two served here are excellent. After lunch, visit the single most famous attraction near Miskolc, the Thermal Cave Baths in Miskolctapolca. A maze of canals is illuminated by lights in various colors, while pools at different temperatures invite long soaks. It’s one of several notable baths and springs in the region. Others are Eger’s Turkish baths, which date from the Ottoman era and include six pools and a hammam, and Egerszalók, with its so-called “salt hill” formed from the accumulation of minerals in the waters that feed the spa below it.

You can either return to Budapest at the end of the day or spend the night at the Lillafüred Palace Hotel, a grand dame with a Renaissance-style design. Completed in 1929, the lavish hotel was thoroughly modernized in 1993. Or opt for something about as far from an old European style palace as you can imagine: the Treehouses in Noszvaj, where minimalist cabins sit in a magical forest setting—and each comes with its own Jacuzzi.