Located 88 mi/140 km northeast of Budapest, Eger, Hungary, has the charm and appeal of a splendid provincial town, full of meandering cobblestoned streets and pastel fairy-tale houses.
Eger boasts 175 superb historic monuments. Among the most notable are a castle, a basilica and the Istvan Dobo Museum (a former bishop's palace with a Gothic arcade). You will also find a minaret, a remnant from Turkish times. Be sure to see the baroque wrought-iron gates of the 16th-century County Hall.
Other attractions include Turkish baths, the Eger State Winery (the town is known for Eger Bull's Blood, a distinctive deep-red wine) and a Franciscan monastery. Include a stop for wine tasting in the dozens of hillside cellars in the Valley of the Beautiful Women (Szepasszonyvolgy), which is walking distance from the center of the city.
In the spring and summer, Eger truly blooms. The streets are turned into a circus of alfresco restaurants and bars. The seductive mix of wining and dining is complemented by festivals, theater and opera.
On the way from Budapest to Eger by car, turn off at Hatvan and drive 25 mi/40 km north to Holloko—a charming village nestled in the Cserhat hills that preserves the traditional crafts and architecture of the Paloc people, a group of northern Hungarians whose language and culture are distinct from the rest of the nation. The whole village is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
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