Day Trip from Budapest: Wine and History in Eger, Hungary
Olga Hayes, MIR’s Senior Private Journeys Specialist and a native of St. Petersburg, recently spent some time in Hungary. She and her husband Ray spent a day exploring the town of Eger, home of great local wineries.
When people think of Hungary, they usually picture its capital, Budapest and beautiful Lake Balaton. But there are many more interesting and charming places in this old country. One of them is Eger.
A day trip from Budapest sounded like a very good idea for my husband and me. And visiting Eger turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip!
We left Budapest in the early morning and after two hours of driving through farms and fields we arrived at the town. The historic part of the town is not very well preserved, and doesn’t have a “touristy” look. Quite the opposite – it feels real and alive, with very few tourists and the normal everyday life of locals to be seen. We crossed the bridge over the Eger River and enjoyed a few hours walking around this charming place.
The restaurant has a huge outdoor area where people can sit enjoying sun or – opposite – shade from grapes. The owners were very welcoming people. They don’t see a lot of Americans; tourists from Western Europe (especially Germany and Italy) are common guests.
Hungarian food in general and in this place specifically is delicious – remarkably fresh, tasty and of course organic. It’s not real “gourmet” food per se, more “farmer’s” type of food, but the quality is the highest. Hungary was an agricultural country for centuries and folk culture cuisine is a huge part of national culture. Even if you don’t drink at all – you will enjoy eating there!
I believe the most interesting and impressive part of a meal in such a place is a wine tasting. This winery produces four types of wine – white wine for the appetizers, rose wine for the first course (usually fresh vegetables, salads and cold cuts), red wine for the main course (usually hot meat with vegetables and/or potatoes) and desert red wine. I personally loved the rose choice – and we bought a bottle of this wine to take back to the USA with us.
This restaurant is open during the cold months also. We went inside just to see how it looked – the owner explained to us that he tried to make his restaurant look like his grandparents’ home. He even used a few pieces of the décor from their house!
It was a long day. We didn’t get back to Budapest until the evening, but we were very glad we made the trip. It’s impossible to really feel, appreciate and understand a country by only exploring its capital. Small towns, small villages give a much better perspective. Go to Hungary and go to Eger! It’s a great place to visit for everybody.
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(Top Photo: A quick photo stop outside an Eger cafe; Photo credit: Ray Hayes)
PUBLISHED: March 18, 2019