This article is about what to do in Pécs, a proper gem in South-West Hungary. Here you will find a bucket list of the top spots and our personal experience. Pécs is one of the largest cities of the country and an important center of cultural activity and has a valuable historical heritage.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, it was very popular and trendy to spend a weekend in Budapest and therefore there are several low-cost flights connecting the most important cities in Spain with Budapest and even with Debrecen. But besides the Hungarian capital, the rest of the country is a blank page in our collective knowledge. Better like this, so we could enjoy even more discovering, wherever we came from, the regions of a surprising, accessible, easy-going, still cheap (why not to say that), friendly in many ways and every season beautiful country.
Our plan was to go to Villány from Keszthely, in the western extreme of Lake Balaton. Read here our article about Keszthely and our article about Balaton. It was almost three hours driving and before arriving was worth to make a stopover in Pécs, since it is a cosy town with some cute streets with all the services and plenty of bars and restaurants to taste the local goods.
However, Pécs deserved a complete visit. The history of Pécs dates back to the Celtic period. However, it was during Roman times when started to be an important commercial center. Nowadays it is a vivid and young university city, and its university, dating from 1367, is the fifth oldest on the European continent.
Pécs Bucket list
Here you have a bucket list of the places to visit in Pécs. You can click on the links for the exact location of all of them:
- Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs: A 4th century series of decorated tombs constructed in the cemetery of the Roman town of Sopianae (modern Pécs). The Necropolis complex was declared World Wide Heritage by Unesco in 2000.
- Széchenyi Tér: It is the main square in town. It is full of beautiful historic buildings. It has an iconic fountain, a central equestrian statue, and a Mosque in a nice huge open space.
- Zsolnay fountain: It is located on the south side of the square, in front of a small church. The fountain, in the art nouveau style and displays ox heads. It was a work of Arnold Pilch, a Hungarian artist who gave it to the city in 1930.
- Pasha Gazi Kasim Mosque: It was originally the Church of Saint Bartholomew, a Gothic Catholic building. But when the Turks arrived they took the place to build a mosque. When it was rebuilt, in 1939, it was used again as a church.
- Pasha Jakovali Hassan Mosque: It is the oldest in entire Hungary. It is a bit far from the main square but still within walking distance. It deserves a visit.
- Barbican Tower: A round historic tower part of the ancient walls of the town. It dates from the s. XV. You can go up there without spending anything, as the visit is free.
- The Bishop’s Palace: The history of the Bishop’s Palace dates back to the 12th century and it was formed by the buildings built around the cathedral in the coming centuries of the late Medieval period.
- Victor Vasarely Museum: Abstract Art Museum about the work and life of this famous artist.
- Cathedral of Pécs: After some natural disasters, the current neo-Romanesque temple is the result of the reconstruction carried out in the late 19th Century.
- Zsolnay Porcelain Manufacture: A current important factory that allows visitors to know about the manufacturing process.
- Pécs Synagogue: Beautiful building that allows visitors to understand the historic and the current diversity of the country.
- Csontváry Museum: It is a popular permanent exhibition mainly about Hungarian painting art.
Our personal opinion
The vibe there is nice, we entered in a bookstore, I love bookstores in Hungary, to buy a couple of comics to practice my still poor Hungarian. Outside started to rain and time seemed to be stopped along the full shelves. Pécs is not a touristic place, so when we went out hunting somewhere to seat down and have a meal, we figured out we were already out of lunch’s schedule so we arrived to Villány hungry and with a nice will of tasting. Dangerous combination there.
How to get there
The city of Pécs is located about 200 kilometers from Budapest.
- Train: IC Intercity. From three to four and a half hours to get to Pécs from Budapest depending on the train. Departures from Keleti and Kelenföld stations, trains run every two hours.
- Bus: To Pécs from Budapest by taking the Pannon-Volan bus that departs from the Népliget terminal.
- Car: Two hours driving on the M6 road