"EgerAlthough a long day trip..." Budapest Off The Beaten Path Tip by vicky_cannae

Budapest Off The Beaten Path: 393 reviews and 727 photos

Although a long day trip from Budapest (128km, 80mi), Eger is a beautifully preserved baroque town, with a relaxed, almost Mediterranean feel. It is flanked by two of the Northern Uplands' most splendid ranges of hills and is also home to the celebrated Egri Bikavér (Eger Bull's Blood) wine. Climbing the cobblestone lane to Eger Castle, dating to the 13th century, presents the best overview of the city. There is also a walking tour of the city which starts at Eger Cathedral (1836) in the town centre. The wine cellars of the seductively named Valley of the Beautiful Women are not to be missed. Southwest of the town centre and down into the valley are dozens of cellars - some with musicians and outside tables, others locked up to party elsewhere. This is the place to sample Bull's Blood. Everybody loves Eger, perhaps it's the wine. There are up to five direct trains a day (two hours) from Budapest's Keleti station and also very good bus services running every hour or so to/from Népstadion via route No 3.

On the Buda side of the Danube, just north of the city, Óbuda is heaven on a cross for history buffs. Beyond the monotonous concrete housing blocks is the oldest part of Budapest, containing important Roman ruins and museums. Among these is the Roman Military Amphitheatre. Built in the 2nd century to accommodate 15,000 spectators, it was larger than Rome's Colosseum. There is also a branch of the Budapest Gallery here with some interesting avant-garde exhibitions. An ancient stone's throw north of Óbuda is the Roman civilian town of Aquincum, established at the end of the 1st century. Although not readily apparent these days, the town was highly advanced and sophisticated. The Aquincum Museum tries to put it all in perspective, but presently only if you are fluent in Hungarian. Catch bus No 86 from many points along the Danube on the Buda side to get to Óbuda; it is also easily accessible on the HÉV train and from City Park.

Another worthwhile day trip from Budapest is Veszprém, which has one of the most dramatic locations in Central Transdanubia. Between the northern and southern ranges of the Bakony Hills, the walled castle district sits atop a stunning plateau. Once the favoured residence of Hungary's queens, it is now a living museum of baroque art and architecture. Stroll through the Castle Hill district's single street, admiring the embarrassment of fine churches. Only 13km (8 mi) to the south is Lake Balaton, one of Europe's largest, often referred to as 'the nation's playground'. It is divided into the north and south shores: the south is mostly resort hotels, lake beaches, sunbathing and partying; the north is less glitzy but has much better wine and more historical towns, sights and mountain trails. It takes about two hours to get to Veszprém from Budapest via train, even faster by bus from Erzsébet tér station.

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  • Written Aug 24, 2002
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