Founded as Sopianae 2000 years ago by the Romans and known as Fünfkirchen by the Germans, today's Pécs is a pleasant small (but still one of the largest in Hungary) university town that has largely escaped the ravages of both communist-era architecture and modern-day mass tourism.
In 2000, the Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is one of the European Capitals of Culture in 2010.
There are frequent trains to Pécs from Budapest's Déli or Keleti station - see Hungarian Railway Timetable . The trip can be as fast as 2:40 on an express, but several hours longer by local clunker.
There is also a daily, daylight-hours train to/from Osijek in Croatia and Sarajevo in Bosnia (up until late 2006, this ran as an overnight service in both directions), and a daily train to the city from Vienna.
Numerous buses from all directions (including from cities in northern Croatia) serve the city. Buses to Budapest's Nepliget station operate numerous times daily, though the trip is slower than the train, and far less scenic or comfortable.
Pecs Airport opened in 2006 and currently there are year-round flights to Corfu in Greece. There are no timetabled, domestic flights operating in Hungary at present.
The core of Pécs is small enough to cover on foot, but for those who wish to explore the town, there is a cheap and efficient bus service, single tickets are available for 300 HUF from the driver or 220 HUF from the many kiosks dotted around the city. Make sure you have tickets, the bus inspectors have no mercy and will fine clueless foreigners.
To visit the impressive communist era TV tower catch the (infrequent) number 35 or 35A to Misina (the last stop), from the Train Station or Kórház Tér (Hospital Square).
Volan Taxi and Euro Taxi are both safe.
Inside the Catholic Church on the main square (once Gazi Kasim Pasha's mosque)
Early Christian monuments A must for anyone visiting Pecs is the 4th c. early Christian necropolis. Several of the excavated, underground burial chambers and chapels have been connected to make it a complex under the name Cella Septichora . (Cella Septichora being the largest of them.) Several of the burial chambers are painted, including the St. Peter and St. Paul Chamber with one of the earliest depictions of Virgin Mary.
Mosque Church. Széchenyi tér. Formerly the Pasha Gazi Kassim Mosque, this Ottoman-era mosque was converted into a Catholic church by the simple expedient of hanging a crucified Jesus above the mihrab (the prayer niche pointing to Mecca). Even the original Arabic inscriptions inside the niche remain intact.
The Cathedral (Székesegyház). The most important, largest and beautiful religious building in the area.
Television tower. Open for visitors; provides a nice panorama on the city, on the neighbouring Mecsek Mountains, and on the hills in the south.
Vasarely Museum, dedicated to the works of Victor Vasarely, founder of op-art.
Csontváry Museum, a museum featuring the paintings of Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka, a visionary painter from the early 20th century.
Hassan-Jakowali's Mosque, Central Europe's only still used Turkish mosque, builded around 1600
Zsolnay Porcelain: Colourful glazed items produced by the Zsolnay Ceramic Manufacture, often with a distinct Art Nouveau character, are the best known products of Pécs, remarkable for a distinctive green-gold glaze named eosin. Pieces from before the war are also found in antique stores on Király and Ferences Street; of special note from recent designs is the charming jewellery collection by Katalin Zoob.
Villány Wines: wines from the Villány wine region, especially full-bodied reds, are counted among the best in Hungary. The region was at the vanguard of reviving traditional winemaking methods and implementing quality standards after 1990, a process encouraged by both family vineyards and strategic investors. In recent years, wine producers have also turned towards quality tourism, as well as introducing the “Villány Classicus” and “Villány Premium” labels to designate quality wines reflecting the best of the terroir – the former emphasising the characteristics of the wine region, the latter of specific hills or valleys. In addition to world types (Cabernets, Blaufränkisch, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Blauer Portugieser and Syrah), the less known Kadarka and Zweigelt are also cultivated.
Local Crafts and Art: A selection of wares produced by local craftspersons and artists can be sampled at “Remekek Háza” on the main square (of special interest are the bookbinders’ wares) and “Belső Kert Galéria” in a small courtyard opening from Király Street for mainly playful pieces. Other art galleries and antique stores are found in the inner city as well. Also notable is Elegáns Divat, a main street store selling quality off the rack womenswear based on traditional 19th and early 20th century Hungarian designs.
Enoteca Corso, modern fine dining restaurant ranked 7th best of Hungary by the 2009 Hungarian Restaurant Guide and 12th by the 2009 Népszabadság Top-50. Located on main pedestrian street next to the National Theatre and accessible from the city centre. Upper floor and terrace serves nouvelle cuisine with a fusion of French, Italian and Hungarian influences; lower floor and other terrace offers affordable bistro dishes from the same staff, including a re-interpretation of traditional Hungarian fare. Tapas offered in the afternoon. Wine list not excessively long but edited with a sure touch and includes the best of the region. Upper floor five-course tasting menu approx. 11,000 HUF; three-course bistro meal 3500–7000 HUF; noon menu on weekdays 990 HUF.
Crystal, elegant, modern restaurant in Citrom street opposite post office; small interior yard in good weather. Broad variety of dishes, mainly Italian and Hungarian; a good bet for lighter fare. Regular tasting menu offers based on seasonal availability. Service friendly and informal; region-exclusive wine selection narrow but good. Three-course meal approx. 3000–5000 HUF.
Bagolyvár. Spacious hotel and restaurant on Havihegy with unique folk art-inspired organic architecture, charming collection of pottery and antique household objects; splendid view of the city from open-air terrace. Mainly a selection of traditional dishes, typically served in abundant portions; a separate range of Transylvanian Székely specialties and superb homemade strudels. Three-course meal approx. 3000–5000 HUF.
Caesar Pince, next to the cathedral. This special restaurant with a more exclusive atmosphere is situated in the same building as the Pannonia Champagne Factory, and shows you the beauty of the old Roman cellars.
Tettye. 19th century restaurant on Tettye Hill with large interior and beer garden. Danubian Swabic specialties include lung and liver casserole with bread dumplings, cabbage and beans with spare ribs and goose leg with onion-potato garnish. Portions of main dishes are excessive and should not be underestimated. Somewhat old-fashioned with both virtues and flaws of traditional cooking. Three-course meal approx. 2500–3000 HUF.
Buddha Bár. Indian restaurant in intersection of Citrom street and Irgalmasok str. with a solid performance and genuine respect for the art. Relatively mild use of spices to suit local clientele; ask for more if hotter tastes are preferred.
Replay Café. A wide variety of small dishes.
Arizona Restaurant. Serves the best beef steak in town.
Fiáker. Cellar restaurant with simple but tasty meals served at advantageous prices, probably the best among the small pub set. Can get crowded at lunchtime, but waiting times are modest. Closed on Sunday.
Semiramis. Cafe with a good selection of arabica coffee, chocolates and assorted sweets.
Even in a country of oenophiles, Pécs is known for its sparkling wines.
Pannonia Champagne Factory (Pannonia pezsgőgyár). Hungary's first champagne factory, founded in 1859 by Lorinc Littke and still producing sparkling wine under the Pannonia label. The facility is a tourist attraction, with a 5-story underground labyrinth of caves and cellars.
Private rooms and apartments are widely available. There's also a number of small hotels in the centre. Enquire at the tourist office.
During the summer months some student dormitories open for foreign visitors, this is the cheapest accommodation (~3000Huf per night). There is one realy cheap and nice hostel in Pécs, see below.
Boszorkany Hostel The recently renovated Boszorkany Hostel provides cheap and convenient accommodation for those who are visiting the City of Pécs in July and August. The Hostel is located at the foot of Mecsek Hill and it takes a 10 minute walk to get to the city center, but you can get there by taking bus no. 30, no. 32 and no. 37 which ones leave from the local railway station. It is the cheapest and tidiest hostel to be found in town. (3000 HUF/bed/night) Every two double rooms share a bathroom, a toilet and a fridge. As an extra, every room has broadband internet access for free: 100Mbit/sec! You can park your car here for free, too - just a few minutes far from the center.
Nap Hostel Pecs is in the main pedestrian street of the historic city centre.The hostel can be found in a building of eclectic architecture built in 1885. The rooms are spacious and colourful, the bathrooms are modern and there is a fully equipped kitchen for you to use. From the balcony, you can have a beautiful panoramic view of the whole city and of the Mecsek Mountains.
Hotel Főnix. In the historical center of Pécs (20 meters from Széchenyi Square). Ideal for families and for business travelers as well.
Makártanya Sportcenter, . Most of the rooms can have spare beds so the biggest capacity reaches 100. All the rooms are at high standard, equipped with modern furniture, bathroom, air-conditioning, minibar, cable television and telephone.
HUNGUEST Hotel Kikelet. The hotel is located at one of the most scenic spots of the Mecsek Mountains, directly above the downtown of Pécs. The hotel offers a unique view onto the town and the neighbouring hills.
Hotel Rácz is in the Historian City in the neighborhood of the Castlewall. Just a few minutes from the city, along the road #6 and it is also easy to access with public transport.
Hotel Fenyves Panoráma is a family atmospheric hotel, which is on the hillsides of Mecsek by the pine forest, right above the centre of the town.
Berg Toboz Pension is situated in a quiet calm and decent place in the greenbelt out off the downtown on the hill.
Delanta Pension can be found in the east quarter of Pécs, at the crossroads of Budapest-Komló. The pension has 14 rooms, a smaller and a bigger family-appartement, and a closed parking possibility.
Hotel Laterum *** is in western part of Pecs. As Southern Hungary's scientific and economic center Pecs is a frequent host of domestic and international gatherings and symposia. Hotel Laterum has been a provider of youth- and group tourism for over 15 years, while also serving as a meeting place for both international and domestic conferences, various events, weddings.
In the early evening students gather at Replay Café, Apollo or Los Bongos in the city center. For late night clubbing you should ask the taxi drivers at Széchenyi Tér where to go. They are the most up-to-date source about nightlife in Pécs. An other cool place is the Hard Rák Café (spelling: like Hard Rock Café).
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