Visiting Eger? Don’t skip a relaxing afternoon or evening tasting a multitude of Eger wine in the Valley of the Beautiful Women!
When you first hear of a place called “valley of the beautiful women” your imagination is immediately triggered and it starts to create this stunning garden-of-Eden-like picture in your head.
Well, let me already tell you, it doesn’t quite look like that but, that doesn’t mean that it is not worth a visit. You just have to know upfront what you can expect.
Eger is famous for its delicious variety of wine and it is one of Hungary’s prime wine regions. This specific valley is, according to TripAdvisor the number 2 tourist attraction in Eger, with Eger Castle steady on 1.
In this article, we explain all there is to know to plan you visit to the Szépasszony Valley of the Beautiful Women.
What to expect of the Valley of the Beautiful Women?
This small valley in Eger is surrounded by vineyards and you actually descend into a green valley when you arrive.
The road into the valley is lined with wine cellars and there are a dozen small restaurants where you can get a variety of Hungarian specialties, soups, and pizzas.
You then enter the actual highlight, which consists of a central park, hugged by a road that goes around it. This is where all the wine bars are.
I must admit that the location is quite cozy and fun to wander around in, especially when the weather is good. But even when it rains, the cellars also offer inside seating spaces.
It’s actually the ideal place to go and have a drink, whether that drink is alcoholic or not.
Most Hungarians are here to drink, taste, and buy the different wines, but they also enjoy just being there with friends and family.
The Valley of the Beautiful Women counts over 200 different wine cellars and it’s a walhalla for wine lovers. Not all of these 200 are accessible, but you can enter a few dozen of them.
Every different type of wine you can imagine, you’ll find it here!
The wine cellars are cut into the mountainside and some of these cellars are much larger than you would expect when seeing them on the outside!
There are even a few cellars that cover two floors!
So it’s definitely worth it to enter a few of the cellars and check them out. You could just as well stumble into a unique and beautiful interior that you couldn’t imagine from the outside. They’re all different and unique.
OTHER WINE CELLARS IN EGER
The city of Eger is the only settlement in Hungary that has so many cellars. They were built in different times, with different purposes.
One remarkable example of a very large underground structure, is the City under the City in the center of Eger.
Underneath the city of Eger, more than 100 km of cellar systems can be found!
But there are more places around the city center of Eger where bunches of smaller wine cellars can be found.
We can conclude that the most enjoyable area to explore cellars in Eger, is definitely the Valley of the Beautiful Woman, so let’s continue on that one!
Aha! I bet you were waiting for this!
You can get a variety of wines in each of the wine bars in the valley, but it’s remarkable that most of the famous or popular wines have their own, specific cellar. And they have had it for years. These are the places where you would buy these wines originally, since decades.
This are some of the most famous wines you can find here:
- Bull’s Blood (Egri Bikavér)
- Egri Olaszrizling
Read more about the variety of wines here.
How to get there
The Valley of the beautiful women is located just outside of Eger city in the Szépasszony valley.
There are 3 ways of getting to the valley:
You can either walk from the city center, which will take you about 30 minutes.
We added a Google maps screenshot to show you the way, but you can also get the directions on your phone.
With a car, it takes only 5 to 10 minutes from the city center.
You can park you car inside the valley for 200 HUF per hour.
WITH THE DOTTIKA
The third option is more of a touristy way to get there and it involves boarding a small passenger train, but it’s not really a train. It’s a car with attached wagons, which drives through the city and ends up at the valley.
This train-like wagon leaves at the back of Ersekkert Park in Egészségház Utca every hour. It is a good solution if you stay in Eger center and want to enjoy a couple of wines in the valley. So, you don’t have to worry about driving back by car.
The Szépasszony valley became a valley of wine halfway through the 18th century, when this area belonged to the Bishop of Eger.
He decided that the valley could be used for wine cellars, as the mountain walls were an excellent location to carve rooms into.
Peasants and squires started carving their own rooms and cellars into the mountain side.
The habit of walking around in order to taste the wine of the other cellars, became a local habit, that quickly turned into a local culture thing. Once they started tasting the wines of their companions, things quickly ran out of hand and these tasting parties could often last for days.
Interesting fact: women were not allowed to join the party, but they had to bring food to their husbands regularly, while they continued to guzzle.
So, if women weren’t allowed, where does the name of the valley actually comes from?
WHERE DOES THE NAME COME FROM?
If you’re anything like us, you’re probably wondering why this place is called: Valley of the Beautiful Women. We’ve been searching for these women, but couldn’t find any specific clues for it!
Then we decided that wine makes everything more attractive, so that must be it: visit this valley, drink loads of wine, and all women (and men) become more beautiful. But apparently, that’s not it either…
So we did some research about it.
The valley was documented with this name for the first time in 1843 and the different legends and tales about the origin vary.
One legend says that the ‘beautiful woman’ is actually a Venus-like goddess of love, whose sacrifice was shown in this exact valley. I’m not exactly sure what this means!
The most plausible story isn’t as exciting as one might think. The name would be originated when peasants used to refer to one of the women selling wine, who was very pretty. Her cellar become more and more popular over the years and the tale of this beautiful wine selling women spread quickly!
Short video about the Valley
Conclusion: Is the Valley of the Beautiful Women worth a visit?
We recommend a short visit to this valley to every traveler in Eger.
It’s just good to know that you shouldn’t set your expectations too high.
A visit to the valley can be translated into an enjoyable afternoon or evening of drinking wine (or something) else in the sun with your friends or loved ones. Explore the different interiors and different wines while making your way around the horseshoe shaped path around the valley.
We enjoyed our visit a lot and it was a super relaxing afternoon. Moreover, we will surely go back a few times to enjoy the atmosphere, the food, and the drinks!