4 things to do in Eger
The small town of Eger in the northern part of Hungary offers a lovely escape in summer, but it is also agreeable on a winter day. Sightseeing can be combined with indulging in a wellness complex. Here are some tips on how to spend a weekend in the city of Eger.
Visiting the city center
The main sights of Eger are all gathered in the city center, a short walk distance from one another. One of the city´s highlights is the neo-classical Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Apostle located on the Eszterházy Square, the second largest cathedral in Hungary. It is impressive rather due to its height than the artistic features. It has 17m high Corinthian columns and a 37m high dome and it was built in the 19th century on the place of a smaller church. It is open every day between 8:00 – 18:00.
Just across the street is the Astronomical Museum and Camera Obscura in the building „A” of the University Eszterházy Károly. The museum contains astronomy related exhibitions, a ˝magic room˝ designated for physics and experiments, a planetarium and a Camera Obscura (a large camera in a dark room) through which the city can be observed.
During winter in January it is only open on weekends between 9:30 and 13:30. From February until the middle of March it is open on Fridays and the weekends between 9:30 and 13:30.
5 minutes walk to the East is the Dobó Square which was named after Dobó István, a Hungarian nobleman famous for defending Eger against the Ottomans in 1552.
On the northern side of the square is the statue of István Dobó, flanked by the Church of Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue and the City Hall.
The Church of Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue is the second largest church in Eger after the Cathedral of St. John the Apostle.
The Turkish Minaret is a few hundred years old legacy from the period when Hungary was under Turkish dominion.
The Minaret is currently under renovation, only a part of it is visible.
Near the Minaret is the Kopcsik Marcipánia and Bell Foundry House hosting 120 pieces of sugar and marzipan work created by Mr. Kopcsik Lajos, Guinness world recorder, Oscar, Olympic and World Award winner pastry-cook.
The museum is open every day between 9:00 – 17:00.
Lunch at Restaurant 1552
The restaurant "1552" is a very good choice for a refreshment and for about 50 € you can have a 2 persons lunch with soup, second course, desert and drinks.
The Head Chef Mr. Mátyás Hegyi prepares some exquisite plates which are enjoyable both for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. And they have the best coffee in town.
The location is excellent: it is in the courtyard of the Castle of Eger. Therefore the afternoon can be carried on with a visit in the castle.
Visiting the Castle of Eger
Built in 1470, the Castle of Eger has become famous for the victory over the Turkish army in 1552, preventing the Turks from conquering further territories in Central Europe. The victory was short lived as in 1596 the Turks overran the area again, this time gaining victory.
The successful defense in 1552 was made famous by the novel ˝Eclipse of the Crescent Moon˝ (˝Egri Csillagok˝) written by Gárdonyi Géza, who was a citizen of Eger himself. According to the legend the idea for the book came to Gárdonyi when he was with his son at the fortress, telling him the story of the heroic defense against the Ottoman horde. He decided to take history as anchor and write the events in the form of a novel. The book got so famous that even a movie was made based on it. The remains of the writer are buried in his beloved fortress.
The Dobó István Castle Museum presents the historical background of the castle, exhibiting armors, weapons, garments and tools of that period.
The Panoptikum exhibits the characters of Gárdonyi Géza´s novel in wax . In the Dobó Tower there is also a temporary exhibition ˝Steel and Gold˝ which presents mostly ceremonial weapons, while also displaying the gear of the Turkish soldiers from the Ottoman era. The castle is open every day between 8:00 – 18:00, but the permanent exhibitions are closed on Mondays during the winter.
Wellness in Eger
Hungary is famous for its hot springs and healing water and one of the most beloved activities in the country are the thermal baths. Locals and tourists alike enjoy diving into a thermal bath after a long day of walk or work.
Eger has a few wellness hotels which have both jacuzzi and swimming pool (Hotel Korona Eger, Hotel Ködmön, Hunguest Hotel Flóra and Hotel Villa Völgy). Other options for a relaxing bath are the Eger Thermal Bath or the Eger Turkish Bath.
During the weekend the Turkish bath is open between 9:00 – 21:00, whereas the Thermal Bath is open between 9:00 – 19:00.
Eger is a cosy little Hungarian town, where one can enjoy delicious Hungarian food, the benefits of the thermal water and learn about the cultural heritage of the place.