Just 9kms from Eger and well-served by public transport, Egerszalok is ideal for those wishing to escape town life for a bit of peace and relaxation.
It is located in a valley dividing the two mountain ranges, the Bukk and the Matra and sits on top of a reservoir of thermal, spring waters. It is best known for its thermal bath, cave houses, beehive stone and the stunning travertine formation referred to locally as `Salt Hill`.
Egerszalok`s travertine (a form of limestone deposited by hot mineral springs) hill forms the backdrop to the open air baths
There are also a couple of four star hotels which are among the best in the region: the Saliris with its own exclusive access to the thermal springs, and the Shiraz a very comfortable hotel with a North African theme.
As the hot, thermal waters rise to the surface in Egerszalok, they react with the atmosphere and travertine (a form of limestone) is formed which, over the millennia (27000 years to be exact) has created a spectacular gleaming white hill.
In the past it was possible to clamber all over the formation but today, rather wisely, it is prohibited in the interests of conservation. You can still, however, marvel at nature`s creation, from a distance and, of course, wallow in the waters trickling down the shocking white limestone terraces.
For more on opening times, admission costs and other information, please take a look at my page Saliris Spa Hotel and Wellness Resort.
Dating from the early 19th century, Egerszalok's cave houses were dug into the soft limestone hills by poor villagers unable to afford a built home in the village. The last occupants moved out in the 1960s.
Recently, with EU assistance they have been completely restored and are now a popular tourist attraction. Altogether there are 33 cave houses with 18 open to the public; various workshops, a museum and a wine exhibition have been incorporated into the cave dwellings.
Cave house, from 1926
The cave houses are open between 09.00 and 16.00 and admission is 200huf for children/seniors and 400huf for adults.
These mysterious formations found throughout the Bükk National Park are the topic of much debate among researchers.
Nobody is quite sure what their purpose was, although the three most plausible theories - based on archaeological findings - are that they were used as beehives, that they served as (very) small dwellings or that they were Pagan burial sites.
It is claimed that in the 18/19th centuries these strange holes were used by outlaws to hide from the authorities.
They are also known as outlaw-stones
There is no charge to visit the beehive stones and they are accessible all year round.
Egerszalok is part of the Eger wine region, thus it is possible to sample whites, reds and rosés straight from the hillside, so to speak. There are many cellars dotted around the village should you wish to imbibe from the bottle.
Other attractions include the 120 hectare man-made lake ideal for fishing, a butterfly museum, a picturesque 19th century bridge and a Baroque Roman Catholic Church planned by Giovanni Battista Carlone, an Italian master brought in by the Eger Bishop during the area's heyday.
In a beautiful setting, Egerszalok's church is a stop on the Way of Mary a pilgrimage route running through Central Europe.
There are masses in the church on Friday and Saturdays at 18.00 in the summer, 17.00 in the winter. Sunday Mass is at 11.15.
If you wish to enter the church at any other time you will need to make an appointment ( ph. +36 36 47404.