Leaving Budapest was really difficult. We truly fell in love with that city after only being there for 10 days. We kept on saying to each other, “Is Eger really worth a visit?”. Or should we stay in beautiful Budapest longer?
But I am getting ahead of myself. Before we could even ponder the question, “Is Eger worth a visit?” we had to get there. From an MBTI perspective Rob and I are both P’s. Meaning that we like to keep things flexible and open to possibilities. Calendars, scheduling and the like don’t come naturally to us.
I thought we were doing pretty well on time when we left the Airbnb in Budapest. We took the metro to the station and found ourselves there a whole 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Feeling victorious we looked around for the bus headed to Eger. Not finding one, perplexed and slightly panicked we walked over to the ticketing office. Through broken English and Hungarian we understood that we were at the wrong bus depot.
We ran up the stairs to the busy street to find a taxi. Thankfully the taxi driver seeing our distraught was kind to inform us that with traffic the taxi would not make it in time. He pointed to the tram line and said to take it 4 stops. At this point we were down to 12 and a half minutes before the bus was to depart. Dashing through traffic we impatiently waited for the tram.
As always the cool cucumber, Rob was calm and collected. I on the other hand, true to form was pacing and sweating. The tram finally came. With 10 minutes left we bounded in. Looking for the other bus terminal on google maps I looked a bit frantic. We had counted 4 stops mentioned by both the ticketing lady and the taxi driver, yet there was no bus depot in sight.
Listening to our discussion and In the nick of time, yet another kind Budapestian offered to help. She told us exactly where to get off, where to cross and run. With our strategy memorized we dodged traffic crossing 6 lanes, sweat pouring down our backs, running up and down sets of stairs. We arrived in front of the bus as the doors were closing.
Given our look of pure anguish the bus driver took pity on us and opened the doors. Thank goodness there was plenty of room on the bus for us and our backpacks. The expression on the other patron’s faces were, “Can’t these tourists ever be on time?” Which is a fair question given our tardiness. We settled in and sat through the 2 hour and 20 minute ride bathed in sweat but ecstatic that we made it on.
Our biggest lesson learned was to check the bus depot – there may be more than one! A good guide to bus travel between Budapest and Eger is here.
So to get back to our original question, “is Eger worth a visit?” at this point became, “Eger better be worth it!” Our lovely Airbnb host (use the link and save money and we save a bit too) met up with us at the bus stop in Eger. She walked us to our fantastic and modern apartment were a shower was waiting for us.
We mapped out our 3 days in Eger and found that this was the perfect amount of time there to see the sights and experience as much as this cute historic city has to offer.
Why we think Eger IS Worth a Visit:
- Enjoy a beverage in the main square taking in the beauty of the Baroque Minorite Church and the buzz of the city walking past you. When we were there, the square had a stunning exhibit of prize winning photography on display.
- Climb to the top of the astronomy tower in the Lyceum to see Eger through the eye of the ancient Camera Obscura– a miraculous machine in its day, it still is an amazing piece of equipment.
- Taste some of Eger’s fine wines right in town or visit one of the many wineries in the Valley of the Beautiful Woman just a few km outside of town. With over 700 years of wine making experience, Eger has some pretty nice wines.
- Walk through Eger’s Castle and see fabulous vistas of the city below.
- Climb up the dizzying 97 cylindrical stone steps of the Eger Minaret. Beware – the top balcony is very exposed. At 40 meters tall and with only a rusty short railing it can be intimidating for those wary of heights.
- Visit Bukk National Park and enjoy the stunning nature of these parts. If you are in Eger in the fall consider mushroom picking in the park – there are guides to make sure you don’t get poisoned.
- Tour the town under the town. The Archiepiscopal Wine Cellars have tours, but bring a sweater it is 12 C down there!
- Rent a bike and cycle along the river or pick one of the other paths from Eger (100’s and 100’s of kilometers of cycling possibilities).
So there you have it. We certainly think that Eger is worth a visit! It is a very quaint historic town albeit small. If you are planning just to see the town, a night or two should suffice. But if you want to include the park or some of the longer cycling options, then the possibilities are endless.
If you have been to Eger, we would love to hear what you enjoyed the most. Did we miss something? Drop us a note! We love reading about others’ experiences.