Most tourists to Hungary flock to Budapest. In this series we will put together a range of daytrip getaways from the capital to encourage visitors to explore more of Hungary. First up, Pécs!
Located in Southwest Hungary, Pécs is nestled amongst the Mecsek Mountains. It was founded by the Romans as the city of Sopianae and since then it has been influenced by Christian and Muslim cultures. Its rich cultural history earned the city the European Capital of Culture designation in 2010.
How to get there
For a day trip the best way to get to Pécs is by car or train. The drive itself takes around 2 hours. The train takes 2.5-3 hours each way and leaves from Budapest Keleti station. From Pécs station visitors can choose to either walk to the city centre or catch a bus. Tickets can be bought on the bus and do not require the purchase of a travel card.
Things to see
- Pécs Cathedral’s foundations date back to the 4th century. During the course of history it underwent several phases of reconstruction. Today’s neo-Romanesque design was completed in 1891 and the cathedral tower has a great view of the surrounding city.
A 5 minute walk away is an early Christian burial chapel. Dating to the Roman period, that area of the city was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
- Head to the Szécsenyi tér, which is the cultural centre of Pécs. It is the main square of the city and during the weekends it is the setting for a range of events including musical and drama performances. At the northern end of the square is the Mosque of Pasha Qasim (Dzsámi), which has been converted to a Christian church after the Turkish occupation. Step inside to discover this hybrid building where Christian and Islamic cultures are both present.
Walk to the Barbican. The Barbican is a circular bastion built in the 15th century to defend against invasions. In addition to being an important historical site, it has great views of the surrounding city as well.
- Check out the Zsolnay Museum. The Zsolnay Porcelain factory produced – and still produces -beautiful pieces of ceramics and the museum honours and displays their work from the last 200 years. In addition to the Zsolnay Museum, Pécs also has a museum dedicated to the city’s history, an ethnography museum and natural history museum too. Discover these if you want to learn about local history, culture and the surrounding natural landscape.
- Walk around the downtown area to appreciate the architecture. Notable stops include shopping opportunities on Király utca, Budai Kapu and the opera house.
Where to eat
Try the restaurants in the historic downtown area and Széchenyi tér. Here you can find pleasant outdoor eating areas and may even hear a musical performance!