In this guide we’ll uncover the a few famous and a few lesser-known gems of Pécs, a charming Hungarian city with a rich history, culture, and vibrant life. Nestled in the heart of Europe, Pécs beckons with its harmonious blend of the old and new, presenting an irresistible invitation to wander and explore. So, tie your laces and grab your gear – here’s 9 fun things to do in Pécs in one day!
A few interesting facts about Pécs before we take off
First up, did you know Pécs is one of the oldest cities in Hungary? It’s got a history stretching back nearly two millennia! Talk about standing the test of time.
Next, this vibrant city is famed for its rich cultural and artistic scene, so much so that it was crowned the European Capital of Culture in 2010. But that’s not all!
Pécs is also home to the University of Pécs, one of the oldest educational institutions in the country, which lends a youthful vibrancy to this historic city.
Lastly, let’s not forget the city’s deep love for Zsolnay ceramics, their unique beauty is everywhere, from the rooftops to the fountains.
Now, with these exciting tidbits in mind, are you ready to explore Pécs? Let’s dive into those things to do in Pécs!
9 Fun things to do in Pécs
Without further ado, let’s plunge into the heart of our exploration, as we start off with the first activity in our line-up of the 9 fun things to do in Pécs. You’ll discover that each activity is quite unique and tells a part of the story of this ancient city.
Visit the Pécs Cathedral
The Pécs Cathedral, officially known as the Basilica of St Peter and St Paul, is an awe-inspiring fusion of architectural styles. Think Romanesque meets Gothic, with a sprinkle of Renaissance and a dash of Byzantine — all in one majestic structure. This four-towered marvel, shimmering beneath the Pécs sky, is a testament to the city’s rich historical legacy.
But here’s a fun fact: The cathedral has been rebuilt multiple times over centuries, with each reconstruction adding a new layer to its architectural mosaic. Definitely worth a visit!
- Address: Szent István tér 23, Pécs 7624, Hungary
- Getting there: The Cathedral is about a 10-minute walk from the Pécs main train station.
- Ticket price: Free entry! Isn’t that fantastic?
Zsolnay Cultural Quarter
In the heart of Pécs, the Zsolnay Cultural Quarter looks like it was made up in a dream. It’s buzzing with creativity, culture, and color. Once the home of the renowned Zsolnay ceramics factory, it’s now a cultural hub, teeming with museums, galleries, restaurants, and boutiques. Every corner you turn reveals a piece of the city’s rich ceramic heritage, be it in the form of stunning architectural elements or intricate sculptures.
Now here’s a fun fact: The Zsolnay factory was known for its eosin glazing process which results in a distinct, iridescent metallic sheen, a trademark of Zsolnay ceramics!
- Address: Zsolnay Vilmos út 37, Pécs 7626, Hungary
- Getting there: The Cultural Quarter is a scenic 15-minute walk from the main train station.
- Ticket price: Admission to the quarter itself is free, but individual attractions may charge their own entry fees. Time to explore!
Wander around Széchenyi Square
Take a stroll around Széchenyi Square, the heart of Pécs, pulsating with life and history. This grand square, named after the “Greatest Hungarian,” István Széchenyi, is an open-air museum showcasing a blend of architectural styles, from Turkish-era structures to classic Hungarian buildings. The square is home to prominent landmarks, including the Gazi Kasim Mosque and the Pécs City Hall. Feeling thirsty? Enjoy a refreshing drink from the Zsolnay fountain, an iconic symbol of the city’s ceramic heritage.
Fun fact: The square is home to the iconic Zsolnay fountain, built entirely with Zsolnay ceramics adorned with eosin glazing, a fitting tribute to Pécs’ ceramic legacy.
- Address: Széchenyi tér, Pécs 7621, Hungary
- Getting there: The Széchenyi Square is within walking distance from the main train station.
- Ticket price: It’s open to everyone, absolutely free! Enjoy your walk!
Marvel at the Mosque of Pasha Qasim
Step into a history book as you visit the Mosque of Pasha Qasim, a symbol of Pécs’ Ottoman past. This majestic structure, with its distinctive green dome and towering minaret, stands as the city’s most prominent Turkish remnant. Inside, you’ll be stunned by the peaceful blend of Islamic and Christian elements, a testament to the city’s diverse religious history.
Fun fact: Have you noticed the Latin inscription above the main entrance? It’s a unique twist—the mosque was converted into a Christian church after the Ottoman era ended, and the inscription ‘Terrifying to Enemies’ was added!
- Address: Rákóczi út 1, Pécs 7621, Hungary
- Getting there: The mosque is only a short walk from the main train station and it is located at the Széchenyi Square.
- Ticket price: Entry to the mosque is free, but donations are appreciated! Enjoy this journey through time.
Visit the Pécs National Theatre
While wandering through the city, you’ll undoubtedly stumble upon the Pécs National Theatre, an architectural wonder and beacon of cultural life in Pécs. This grand edifice, adorned with neoclassical elements, has an impressive lineup of performances that beautifully highlight the city’s artistic prowess. Its captivating facade, paired with its rich history dating back to 1895, makes it a must-visit for culture enthusiasts.
Fun fact: Did you know that this theatre has hosted over a century’s worth of performances? That’s a lot of drama!
- Address: Perczel Miklós u. 17, Pécs 7621, Hungary
- Getting there: The theatre is easily reachable as it’s just a 10-minute walk from the main train station.
- Ticket price: Prices vary depending on the performance, so check their website for the most accurate information. Don’t miss this chance to experience a piece of Pécs’ vibrant cultural scene!
Explore the Tranquil Pécs City Park
Discover a haven of tranquillity right in the heart of Pécs! Nestled amidst the city’s hustle and bustle, Pécs City Park is an idyllic escape, offering lush greenery, picturesque landscapes, and serene walking paths. The park is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, presenting a perfect spot for leisurely strolls, picnics, or a quiet afternoon with a book.
Fun fact: Did you know that the park is home to several hundred-year-old trees, standing as silent witnesses to the city’s changes over the centuries?
- Address: Pécs, Szent István tér, 7621 Hungary
- Getting there: Pécs City Park is a short walk from Széchenyi Square.
- Ticket price: Revel in the park’s natural beauty absolutely free of charge! However, do remember to respect nature and dispose of any trash appropriately. Enjoy the green heart of Pécs!
Hike up to the Pécs TV Tower
Ready for an adventure that elevates your Pécs experience, literally and figuratively? Brace yourself for the Pécs TV Tower, the tallest structure in Hungary, standing at a soaring height of 197 meters! Offering panoramic views of the city that stretch into the horizon, the tower is more than just a broadcasting station.
Fun fact: Did you know the tower houses a fun and interactive exhibit about telecommunications?
- Address: Pécs, Misina tető 7635, Hungary
- Getting there by public transportation: Catch a bus at Kórház tér (at the Hospital). Bus 34 drops you at Allatkert, from where you can hike up to the TV tower in about 45 minutes.
- Getting there with your own car: if you have a car, you can drive all the way up to the TV Tower. The drive from the city centre only takes around 15 minutes.
- Ticket price: Entry to the TV Tower costs 1500 HUF (Approx. 4€) for adults and 750 HUF (Approx. 2€) for children.
Unwind at the Tettye Ruins
Unearth the rich history of Pécs at the Tettye Ruins. Once a grand palace, the site now offers a mesmerizing blend of nature and ancient architecture. The ruins, nestled among lush vineyards, transport visitors back to the Renaissance era. Explore the remains of the palace, the chapel, and the underground cellars, witnessing time etched in stone. Tettye Ruins provide an authentic window into the city’s past, ensuring a memorable visit.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the Tettye Ruins are also known as ‘The Tettye Palace’ and were built by the Pécs bishop in the 15th century?
- Address: Pécs, Tettye tér 9, 7625 Hungary
- Getting there: The site is accessible by foot from Széchenyi Square. No direct metro is available, but local buses run regularly.
- Ticket price: Entry to the Tettye Ruins is free of charge. However, guided tours might come with a fee.
Get dizzy at the Vasarely Museum
Immerse yourself in the weird and vibrant world of Op Art at the Vasarely Museum. This dynamic space is dedicated to Victor Vasarely, the ‘grandfather of Op Art’, showcasing his intriguing, mind-bending creations. Here, art and science collide in a kaleidoscope of colors, shapes, and dimensions, igniting your imagination and challenging your perception. Delve into this visual exploration, where every piece is an interactive journey waiting to be discovered.
Fun Fact: Did you know, Victor Vasarely was born in Pécs and his works at this museum span five decades from the 1930s to the 1980s?
- Address: Pécs, Káptalan u. 3, 7621 Hungary
- How to get there: The museum is within walking distance from Széchenyi Square. Buses also run frequently to this region.
- Ticket price: Entry to the Vasarely Museum costs 1000 HUF (Approx. 3€) for adults and 500 HUF (Approx. 1.5€) for students and pensioners.
How to get to Pécs (from Budapest)
Pécs doesn’t have its own airport. So if you’re travelling from a different part of the world, you’ll have to fly to Budapest Airport in order to catch a train or rent a car to get to Pécs
There are several ways you can make this trip, each offering its own unique experience.
- By Train: One of the most popular ways to travel from Budapest to Pécs is by train. There are direct trains running between the two cities multiple times a day, and the journey takes approximately three hours. It’s a scenic route that lets you sit back, relax, and watch the beautiful Hungarian landscape unfold before your eyes.
- By Own Vehicle: If you prefer driving, the journey from Budapest to Pécs by car is an adventure in itself. The route is about 200 kilometers, and it takes roughly 2.5 hours. It’s a great way to see the country and have the freedom to stop and explore along the way.
- By Bus: Buses regularly ply between Budapest and Pécs. It’s a comfortable journey that takes about 3.5 hours. You can book your tickets online or at the bus station.
How does Pécs fit into a Hungary itinerary or road trip?
Pécs is a little bit out of the way, from most other interesting cities in Hungary, but that doesn’t mean you can’t include it in a roadtrip.
Hungary is the perfect country for a road trip and you can include any city you fancy.
How much time do you need for Pécs?
Pécs is a small city, but it’s packed with history, culture, and beautiful sights. It’s the perfect destination for a weekend getaway. If you’re short on time, you can easily explore the highlights of Pécs in one day. However, if you want to fully immerse yourself in the city’s charm and take the time to visit its museums, thermal baths, and vineyards, we recommend spending at least two or three days in Pécs.
Some travellers visit Pécs in a day trip from Budapest, and it’s perfectly possible to do. But if you want to explore the city at a slower pace, taking your time to see everything and have the time to enjoy your visit, then plan a bit more time.
Remember, travelling from Budapest to Pécs will take you at least 2,5 hours by car or 3 hours by train.
Things to see and do in the area
Pécs is located in the Southwest of Hungary. It’s situated at the foot of the Mecsek mountains, rich in natural beauty and history.
- Budapest: Budapest is located 208 km from Pécs. So, it might not be relaxed to fit it all in one day, but you can extend your trip with, say: 3 days in Budapest.
- Lake Balaton: On your way to Budapest, you can make a stop at Lake Balaton, also known as the “Hungarian Sea”. This beautiful lake is the largest in Central Europe and offers a variety of activities such as swimming, sailing, and hiking. There are quite a few nice towns and there are even more fun and relaxing things to do at Lake Balaton.
- Szeged: Renowned for its vibrant cultural scene, Szeged is a 2-hour drive from Pécs and offers an array of monuments, museums, and festivals. You can explore Szeged in a day or 2.
- National Park Donau-Drava: This national park is situated in the heart of the Danube-Drava region and offers stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, and birdwatching. Check out the best National Parks in Hungary.
Make sure to check out our guide with the coolest cities in Hungary. Maybe you will find another interesting city to include to your Hungary itinerary.
Where to stay in Pécs
Pécs offers a diverse range of accommodations to suit every traveler’s taste, from the luxurious to the budget-friendly. For the discerning traveler, a boutique hotel in the heart of the city promises a stay that is as unique and charming as Pécs itself. These boutique establishments often feature distinctive architecture and interiors, personalized service, and a quaint atmosphere that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into another era.
On the other hand, if relaxation and self-care are on your itinerary, Pécs’ wellness hotels are the way to go. These hotels typically feature well-equipped spas, serene pools, and a variety of health and wellness services designed to pamper your senses and rejuvenate your spirit. What’s more, they’re often located in picturesque settings that offer respite from the city’s hustle and bustle, making your stay even more tranquil and enjoyable. So, whether you’re seeking style, wellness, or a bit of both, Pécs has got you covered!
Conclusion: top things to do in Pécs Hungary
In conclusion, Pécs has a lot of historical and cultural treasures to offer. Whether youlove discovering the history of a place, delving into the city’s rich past, a foodie exploring its diverse culinary offerings, or a wellness enthusiast seeking the best spa and wellness hotels, Pécs offers an experience that caters to every interest.
It is a city where old-world charm meets modern comfort, creating an unforgettable experience for every traveler. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this hidden gem in Hungary.