The Southern Transdanubian region of Hungary includes three counties: Somogy, Tolna and Baranya. Its capital city, Pécs, is the fifth largest city of Hungary, which located on the slopes of the Mecsek Hills, close to the Croatian border. Pécs is also known as the mediterranean city of Hungary because of its microclimate that lengthens the summer, the ideal climate for viticulture and fruit production.
The cultural symbol of the city can be seen in the main square, Széchenyi Square, where the Mosque of Pasha Qasim still stands, and, although consecrated as a church following the retreat of the Ottoman Turks centuries ago, the crescent moon and cross of Islam are still visible on the cupola. Indeed, Pécs is the richest town in Hungary regarding Turkish architecture.
The Pécs Cathedral is another important cultural, architectural and artistic symbol of the city, illustrating the reach of Italian, German, and French cultural influences in the region.
In 2010, Pécs was selected the European Capital of Culture sharing the title with Essen and Istanbul. After receiving the title, major renewals began in the city. Renewed public places, streets, squares and neighbourhoods, new cultural centres, a concert hall, a new library and a cultural quarter were designed.
People who do not enjoy being in crowded places can head to sophisticated restaurants or go to the National Theatre of Pécs for a real nightlife experience. Going to these places not only brings enjoyment, it also provides tourists with the opportunity to discover the cultural heritage of the region.
However, those preferring energetic and lively nightlife can head to one of the several bars or a clubs of the city. Going to the nightspots can give tourists the chance to get to know locals and foreigners alike. There is certainly a lot to do in Pécs at night, for example in Király Street–the city’s most beautiful street–where several shops, boutiques, restaurants, outdoor cafés, bars and ruin pubs await their visitors.
The region is also famous for its vines. South of Pécs lies the Villány region, Hungary’s most southerly wine region and the favourite destination among wine enthusiasts. Villány is famous for its full-bodied and spicy reds. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot are definitely must-tries here. Winemaking has long traditions in this region and Villány–along with Szekszárd, which is located about 60km away–is considered the premier red wine producer of the country.
The booming wine tourism of Villany owes much of its success to the decent facilities, the neat cellars, the kind of hospitality and of course the superb quality of the wines themselves. A visit is a must for anyone who wants to make a more than a superficial acquaintance with Hungarian wines.
Another cultural heritage of the region is the Hertelendy Castle, a wonderfully renovated castle that is definitely a place to go in Hungary for a relaxing hideaway and luxurious pampering. In the midst of beautiful, untouched nature, located about 90 kilometres from Pécs, this place is worth visiting for those who enjoy luxurious leisure activities.
However, the ideal location for families to enjoy the freedom of a camping holiday is the city of Orfû and its surroundings. Whether you long for a peaceful, relaxing getaway or can hardly wait to immerse your family in outdoor pursuits, here you will find everything you need for a perfect holiday: excellent climate, fresh air, beautiful landscape dotted with small lakes and caves, friendly and hospitable locals and a wide range of activities to choose from. You can go hiking along the many waymarked footpaths that criss-cross the Mecsek Hills, get on your bike and go for a gentle spin or a more challenging ride on the continuously expanding network of bicycle routes, dip in the lake or enjoy the thrilling rides down the slides of Orfû Aquapark during summer.
If you have taken a liking to visit the region based on the article, watch this short video to gain further motivation for a trip to the Southern Transdanubian region of Hungary.
written by Gábor Hajnal
Source: Daily News Hungary