Flanked by the Bükk mountain range, which has the largest contiguous forested area in Hungary, Eger offers great opportunities for hiking and other outdoor activities. The most popular activity is a walk in the Szalajka-völgy [Valley of Szalajka]in the village of Szilvásvárad. This is a forest walk featuring water cascades – the most famous being the Fátyol-vízesés [Veil Falls] -, lakes, an open-air forestry museum and an adventure park. From the Felső-tó [Upper Lake], visitors can take a short but steep hike to a prehistoric cave. It is an important archaeological site, as the remains of two Stone Age men were found here: Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon. In addition to walking, the valley can be explored by narrow-gauge forest train, bike or even horse-drawn carriage. Szilvásvárad is also known as a farming place for a trout belonging to the salamonid family and Lipicaner horses.
In addition to the city’s swimming pools and spas, visitors can also venture into the valley of the Laskó-patak [Laskó Stream], better known as the Gyógyvizek völgye [Valley of Medicinal Waters]. There are two spa centers in the area: Egerszalók and Demjén. The history of the spas began when, in 1961, engineers were looking for oil in the valley. However, instead of oil, they found a 27,000-year-old, mineral-rich, 68°C thermal water. Since then, this water has been classified as a medicinal water in 1992, and is suitable for the treatment of joint problems such as rheumatism and arthritis, as well as for post-injury rehabilitation. The main attraction of the valley is the Sódomb [Salt Hill] in Egerszalók – The salty sediment of the mineral-rich thermal water flowing down the hillside has created limestone terraces. The resulting formation is a mini version of the famous Pamukkal in Turkey.
Eger is famous for its historic vine region. Viticulture in the region was established by Italian and Walloon settlers in the 1200s. According to local legend, in 1552, the defenders of the castle were able to fend off the excess force by drinking Bikavér [Bull’s Blood], thus deterring the Ottomans, who could not consume alcohol. The number one wine tasting place in the city is the Szépasszony-völgy [Valley of the Beautiful Woman] as it is the most picturesque and atmospheric. There are few stories about the origin of the valley’s name. According to one, the “Beautiful Woman” was the love goddesses of the ancient religion, a Venus-like figure, to whom sacrifices were presented in this place. Some refer to a famously beautiful woman who sold fine wines in one of the cellars. While according to others, the valley was named after an attractive lady of a questionable morality.