Pécs is not typical Hungarian city, but it’s an interesting one located in the southern part of the country. It’s a major city in Hungary, attracting many Austrian and Croatian tourists annually. Unlike other popular Hungarian cities, Pécs stands out in two ways: it doesn’t have thermal baths like almost every other city in the country, but it offers numerous hiking trails on the Tettye mountain for active travelers.

Pécs: Interesting Info and General Facts

  • The population of Pécs is 140,000 people, making it the 5th largest city in the country.
  • It’s one of Hungary’s oldest cities, founded in the year 871, making it 1,002 years older than Budapest.
  • Located about 230 km from Budapest, Pécs is on the southern border of Hungary. By Hungarian standards, it’s quite a distance. It’s also about 30 km away from the Croatian border.

Interesting to Know:

The northernmost border of the Ottoman Empire once passed through Hungary’s territory. Pécs was under Turkish control for almost 200 years. Unlike the northern cities where the Turks raided but didn’t capture, this 200-year control left its mark. The city center reflects a lot of Eastern character: mosques, minarets, bazaars.
Pecsi beer from Pecs
The famous Hungarian beer is brewed right in Pécs.

Pécs is home to a major brewery producing the local Pécsi Sör (Sör means beer in Hungarian, and it translates to “Beer from Pécs”). It’s considered a premium beer and much tastier than Soproni from the city of Sopron, which is sold everywhere.

How to Get from Budapest to Pécs

Despite Pécs being far from Budapest and not directly on major international transport routes, getting there isn’t a problem. You can reach it by car in about 3 hours via excellent roads. Here are more details about public transport:

  • Train: 10-12 trains operate daily, departing every 2 hours or even more frequently. The journey takes 3 hours. Ticket prices range from 8 to 12 euros. You can check the schedule and buy tickets on the Hungarian Railways website: https://www.mavcsoport.hu/en
  • Bus: There are 14 daily routes from Budapest to Pécs, running from 5 am to 7 pm. Travel time ranges from 3 to 4 hours depending on the route. Tickets cost 9-11 euros. Check the schedule and current prices on the Volanbusz carrier’s website Volanbusz.
how to get to Pecs Hungary
Sample bus schedule for one of the days on the Budapest – Pécs route. More than 10 daily routes in each direction.

Top Restaurants in Pécs

As Pécs is a major city attracting many tourists, finding a place to dine isn’t an issue. European, Asian, Mexican cuisines – everything is available. Below, I’ll recommend a couple of Hungarian cuisine places where I go when I’m in Pécs. They serve delicious food, generous portions, and have goulash and pörkölt in the menu.

  • Tettye Vendéglő – the largest and most popular Hungarian restaurant in Pécs. In summer, there can be queues despite the vast area with many tables both indoors and outdoors. Prices are standard: main dishes cost 10-15 euros, beer is 3 euros. Additional charges and service fees are not included. Highly recommended.
best restaurants in Pecs Hungary
This is the summer courtyard of Tettye Vendéglő restaurant.
  • Balkán Bisztró – a fantastic restaurant serving Hungarian and Balkan cuisine. Plenty of meat dishes, as expected from this region’s cuisine.
  • Xavér Étterem – an affordable and tasty cafeteria-buffet style eatery. Tray service, self-service, and more. Large portions, inexpensive for Hungary, and delicious.

I’ve marked all restaurants on the map of attractions below.

Top 10 Attractions in Pécs

Overall, the city is compact. Despite its extensive history, you can explore the entire city in 1 full day, maximum 2 days. There isn’t much more to do beyond two days. In that time, you’ll surely see everything.

If you refer to popular guides for Pécs, here is a list of the main attractions. I must say, it can be quite dull and uninteresting.

  • Belváros Parish Church
  • Széchenyi Square
  • Dom Square
  • Ágoston Square
  • Kossuth Square
  • Bishop’s Palace
  • Town Hall
  • Equestrian Statue of János Hunyadi
  • Main Synagogue
  • Hassan Jakovali Mosque
  • National Theatre Building
  • Barbican (a round bastion remaining from the city fortifications)
  • Zsolnay Quarter and Fountain
  • Main Post Office Building
  • And about a dozen more museums.

Below on the map, you’ll find the main and most interesting attractions in my opinion. I won’t list museums and churches unless they deserve special attention. There will be descriptions, prices, and opening hours for the most interesting ones.

Now, let’s delve a bit more into the most interesting attractions in Pécs from those on the map:

  • Széchenyi Square is one of the city’s main squares and is definitely the most beautiful, situated right in the heart of Pécs. On this square, you’ll find iconic landmarks such as the main mosque, the City Hall, the plague column, the beginning of the main pedestrian street Kiraly, and a bunch of other interesting spots
    • Coordinates of the square: 46.076178693149416, 18.228142043454362
    • This location is a must-visit. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes around. Just around the corner is the National Theatre, and 100 meters away is another square – Kossuth Square.
Pecs Hungary what to see
I’m standing in the center of Széchenyi Square, capturing in the frame: the plague column, the main mosque, and the equestrian statue. Behind me is the City Hall, taking up half of the square.
Pecs Hungary attractions
A photo from the same spot as the previous one but capturing another part of Széchenyi Square in Pécs. A view of the City Hall.

Dom Square and the area around it. Another part of the city filled with attractions that you must visit. Dom Square itself is beautiful and here you’ll find: St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, also known as the Bishop’s Palace, statues of the 12 apostles (see photo below), Barbican, defensive tower, and walls of the old city, an original monument to Ferenc Liszt, and the beautiful Barbican Park.

  • Coordinates of the square: 46.07801294037561, 18.223751600799265
  • The Barbican, park, Liszt monument, defensive walls, and statues of the 12 apostles – all of this is accessible for free.
  • Entry to the Cathedral is ticketed: prices on the website (around 5 euros)
  • A fantastic part of the city, plenty to explore, and lots of interesting things.
Pecs Hungary what to see in the city
St. Peter and Paul Cathedral and Dom Square itself.
Pecs Hungary interesting sights
Behind the cathedral, you’ll find this structure. In each arch, there’s a statue of one of the 12 apostles. A unique attraction.
Pecs Hungary tourist guide
I took this photo right from the center of the Barbican (the defensive tower of the old city).
Pecs Hungary Liszt
Если не поднимать голову и не смотреть по сторонам на площади Dom, то можно пропустить вот такой памятник Ференцу Листу

And the third part of the city, the Tettye northern district on the outskirts of Pécs. But don’t worry, it’s only a 25-minute walk from the center. Distances here are small. Tettye is situated on a hill, so the road is always uphill, something to consider.

What to expect in Tettye:

  • The Dragon Cave, unfortunately, the dragon isn’t real. Entry is 5.5 euros. All information is available on the official website. The cave is quite small, but overall, it’s interesting and informative. If you’ve visited caves in other countries before, there might not be much to do here. However, children will find it fascinating. Coordinates: 46.085462143210506, 18.234998200870216
  • Ruins of an Ottoman castle and an observation platform overlooking the city right in one of the palace towers. Free entry.
  • Right there is one of the best restaurants in Pécs, mentioned earlier: Tettye Vendéglő
  • The main park and trails on the hill start right from the castle ruins. Plenty of routes, ranging from 30 minutes to 4 hours. Beautiful views of the city.
  • There’s also a zoo on the hill, quite small but with many animals: lions, hippos, lemurs – a complete set. They look lively, clean, and healthy. If you’re here with kids, it’s worth a visit.
  • The main attraction on Tettye Hill is the Television Tower with an observation deck overlooking the entire region.
Cave in Pecs
One of the corridors in the cave. Kids are thrilled by this.
Ruins of ottoman castle Pécs
Just 200 meters from the cave, slightly up the hill, you’ll discover the ruins of an Ottoman fortress and a cool observation platform overlooking the city.
Pecs Hungary observation deck
This is the panoramic view of Pécs from the hiking trail, the coordinates were mentioned earlier.
Pecs Hungary city view from TV tower
You can spot the TV tower from any point in the city, even from the center. And here’s the city view from the tower itself. It might seem far from the city, but we walked from the center in about an hour and a half, with breaks for a pint.

These were the most interesting attractions in Pécs. Since the city doesn’t have thermal baths, and there’s not much to do for more than 1-2 days, tourists often head to neighboring equally cool cities. Also, not far from Pécs, there’s a wine village with cellars and private wineries in Villány. Here are some articles you might find interesting:

  • The main resort in Hungary – Lake Balaton, a review of beaches and places to stay. Just 100 km from Pécs.
  • Szeged – a beautiful city for tourists, with two thermal spa complexes open year-round. 150 km from Pécs.
  • All about wines and alcoholic drinks in Hungary, including reviews of wine regions and the village of Villány, just 30 km from Pécs.
  • Moreover, 60 km from Pécs lies the small town of Kaposvár, known for its thermal spa complex, with outdoor pools and sauna areas. There isn’t a detailed report about this place on the website yet, but there’s a mini-review in the article: What to See in Hungary Beyond Budapest.

In conclusion: if you’ve rented a car in Hungary and are thinking of where to go, Pécs is a great option for 1-2 days. Enjoy delicious food, take a stroll in the city center, go hiking in the Tettye hill, and then head further to Lake Balaton or Szeged.

IMPORTANT: Below are useful links that will help organize your trip to Hungary and Budapest:

  • Flight: Aviasales – compares prices for flights among 30+ airlines flying to Budapest.
  • Tours and excursions:
    • Viator and GetYourGuide – the best services for finding tours in Budapest and Hungary with the largest database of activities in Hungary. They offer river cruises on the Danube, tickets to baths, and 1000+ tours (available in different languages).
  • Accommodation, apartments, hotels, hostels:
    • Hotellook compares the prices among dozens of other booking services and offer the best price
    • Booking – the most popular booking platform
    • Agoda – even more accommodation options in Hungary
  • Car rental: DiscoverCars – the leading and largest car rental service in Hungary.
  • Travel Insurance: EKTA.
  • eSIMAiralo virtual SIM card in Hungary.
  • Taxi and airport transfers: Intui.Travel