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The Salt Hills of Egerszalók

The Salt Hills
Egerszalók
Eger region

Hungary is truly the country of a thousand surprises. Perhaps it is hard to believe, but just a ninety-minute drive from Budapest, you can witness a natural phenomenon in Egerszalók that occurs in only three places in the entire world. Shall we?

The Valley of Medicinal Waters has a well-earned reputation for its salt hill, created and shaped to this very day by the medicinal waters bubbling up from the depths of the earth. There are only two other locations in the entire world with comparable natural phenomena: Pamukkale in Turkey, and Yellowstone National Park in the US. In other words, as long as you’re in Hungary, it would be a great pity to let this opportunity go by. The 1,200-square-metre salt hill – created by the thermal water rising to the surface from a depth of 410 metres with a temperature of 65‑68 degrees Celsius – can be seen from up close, right next to the path starting from the parking lot of the Nostalgia Baths. As for those who want to bathe, the Saliris Resort Medicinal and Wellness Spa welcomes them with open arms. The spa pools have a direct line of sight on to the salt hill. The water contains 30 different trace minerals, its most important components being calcium, sodium, magnesium and sulphur. This latter results in the region being suffused in a strong sulphurous brimstone smell, but you shouldn’t let that stop you: the sight and the health benefits will surely serve as adequate compensation.

Thermal water instead of oil

The hill owes its existence to the exploratory drilling performed in the region in 1961. Although the drillers were looking for natural gas and oil, they ended up finding this thermal spring instead. Today, the spring attracts thousands of people suffering from joint and rheumatic ailments – as well as those who love to bathe, naturally. In 2016, Egerszalók was officially registered as a health resort. However, even after you’ve seen the hill, the Valley of Medicinal Waters holds plenty more in store for you. Feel free to explore the area, peer into the cave dwellings carved into the rhyolitic tuff rocks, and learn a little about Hungarian traditions as well. The small lake created by damming the Laskó creek is an excellent spot for fishing or hiking. Finally, it is well worth sampling some of the finest wines in the region, such as the Egerszólát Olaszrizling or the Egri Bikavér. If you’re still game for a little sightseeing, head to Eger, only 5 kilometres from Egerszalók. There, you can have a marvellous stroll downtown, a location with great architectural and cultural significance.

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