I had been told to take a train or bus out of the city at least once while we were in Budapest and explore some of the neighboring towns. After a little bit of research, Alan and I decided to take a bus to Eger for our favorite day trip from Budapest.
Unfortunately for us the weather was not in our favor that day. Maybe I should have checked before buying the bus tickets, but I didn’t…..live and learn. Rain was scheduled for the entire day!
We had our tickets booked, so the only thing for us to do was head to Eger and hope that it wouldn’t be a downpour.
Luckily for us, the rain had not started yet when our bus arrived, and the station was not far from all the popular attractions.
We started our day by walking to Dobo Square the old medieval market place. Of course now it is full of cafes and restaurants, but it’s a great place to grab a coffee.
There is also a statue in the square that commemorates Captain Dobo Istvan and the couple thousand citizens who defended the castle against 40,000+ Turkish soldiers back in the 1550s.
Eger Castle is just beyond the square, so we went there next.
They were doing some restoration work on parts of the castle while we were there, so we weren’t able to see all of the grounds, but we did see a couple of the exhibits. The history of Eger exhibit was very informative, but my favorite was the dungeon. Humans are a cruel beast and all the devices on display and paintings of torture showed how awful we can really be.
Just outside the castle gates we found the Minaret. This unique tower was built under Ottoman rule in the 1600s and is not for the faint of heart. To get to the top, you have to climb 97 steps up an extremely narrow spiral staircase. Seriously! My shoulders were sandwiched in-between the wall and center column of the stairs. The stairs themselves are a bit small and since it had been raining, they were a little wet that day too.
My claustrophobia started to kick in about 2/3 of the way up. I began to question our choices, but carried on and made it out. The top balcony (if you can even call it that) is not wide enough for a person to stand sideways on it. You can walk round the tower, but your back is pressed against the wall because of space, and maybe a little because of fear. There is a railing, but I didn’t trust it. The view from the top is pretty great, so it made all the scary bits worth it!
The rain had started to pick up by this point, so we found ourselves a nice winery and hulled up for a few hours tasting local Hungarian wines. This was my first experience with Hungarian wine, and I’ll say….it is delicious!
We were a little tipsy after all the wine, so we grabbed dinner at a really nice traditional Hungarian restaurant. While all the food was good, the dessert was the highlight. If you ever see Somloi Galuska on a menu, order it! It’s a mix of 3 different sponge cakes, nuts, chocolate, and whip cream. Ugh! It was so good!
Alan and I still had about an hour before we needed to make our way back to the bus station, so just walked around a park and checked out other streets we hadn’t seen earlier in the day.
The town of Eger is worth a 2 hour bus ride from Budapest. It is full of history and not terribly overrun by tourists either.
Both Alan and I were worn out from walking around all day, but we definitely enjoyed every second of it.