LAKE BALATON

The many-faced "Hungarian sea"

Wherever Hungary is mentioned, anywhere in the world, the things that come to mind are: Budapest, the Great Plain, Hungarian horsemen, paprika, Puskás Öcsi and someone will always add – Lake Balaton.

The Lake Balaton, with its 77 km length, situated in the middle of Pannonia (West-Hungary), is known for its opalescent, yellow-green silky-smooth waters and is one of the country’s most precious natural resources and most visited resorts. With a surface area of 600 km2 it is Central Europe’s largest freshwater lake.

It is situated at the foot of the Bakony Mountain, surrounded by volcanic mountains and beautiful woodlands. Its delightful landscape is an excellent setting for nature lovers. Vienna is just about two hours, Budapest about one and a half hours.

The lake quickly warms up in the sun. Each summer the water temperatures reach as high as between 25 and 27 degrees Centigrade, which is one of the reasons that it has become one of the favourite bathing lakes in Central Europe. The southern shore’s shallow water is ideal for young children, while the northern shore suddenly deepens and also has long beaches. The silky mud and water are good for nervous complaints, anemia and exhaustion.

The Balaton and its surroundings are Hungary's most popular holiday area. Rest and recreation on the shore, historic and cultural heritage, folk traditions, bicycle and water tours, rare natural treasures, small towns, beaches with pleasantly warm water, vineyards, gastronomic specialities and spectacular programs - all of these things are offered by and around the “Hungarian Sea”, an eternal, inviting dream hidden in the heart of Europe.

ACCOMMODATION

Everything needed for your enjoyable stay is provided by the Balaton hospitality services. We offer you several accommodation alternatives at the lake’s most popular resorts offering the historical, cultural and natural sights and various program offers.

Accommodation is available in modern hotels with every convenience, you can choose a pampering wellness hotel ensuring relaxation and amusement, or an enchanting castle hotel with perfect elegance and historical atmosphere, a stylish luxury apartment hotel or a simple but well-equipped 3-star with lakeside location.

Families, individuals or small group of friends can select from a wide range of private boarding houses and accommodation in private homes since all the hosts strive to ensure that the guest feels at home by providing all comforts.

We collected for you the BEST accommodation offers available, which are the most popular and frequently booked by tourists, all with detailed descriptions and photos.

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PÉCS

PÉCS 2010 EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE

„I would take home Széchenyi square since it holds the memories of so many eras. Most of all I would take the whole city.” /Hans-Dietrich Schmidt, director of international relations of the German Essen 2010 European Capital of Culture Program/

Pécs, a place to gather for those eager to know, a paradise for the traveller and the centre of the world for those living here but the most important for the moment is that the city is the European Capital of Culture in 2010.

13 November 2006 was a historic date in the life of Hungary: on this day the decision of the jury was officially announced and Pécs was given the right to bear the title of the European Capital of Culture in 2010. The 2 000 years-old city’s history, cultural and artistic heritage, the traditions of its nationalities, its geographical location make it one of the most exciting Hungarian towns. It is a place where you get a glimpse of the Ottoman times while wondering among the mementos of early Christian culture.

The European Union’s ECoC program, one of Europe’s most successful cultural endeavours, brings a plethora of art exhibitions, international musical events, street fairs, symposia and a general buzz to Pécs, this Mediterranean city of South Transdanubia.

SIGHTS OF PÉCS

Pécs is an amiable town of about 160 thousand inhabitants that has stood in its present place, as the gate to the Balkans, since the Roman times. Its 2000 year history manifests in a multitude of unique sites, from the 4th century early Christian necropolis of Sopianae, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to gracious places of worship (both Christian and Muslim, due to a 150 year long Ottoman occupation), dating back centuries.

The early Roman burial chambers, the medieval buildings, the different sites of religious history, the streets paved with several thousand year-old stones all radiate a special atmosphere.

The city has got beautiful public squares and spaces and multicultural spirit that draw foreign nationals from far and wide to celebrate the openness and the Mediterranean flair it exudes. In the “city of Mediterranean impressions" you can also discover old fig trees in gardens and vineyards surrounded by rustic masonry on the hillside.

Buildings and art relics

  • Barbican, a round Gothic-style gate tower, erected in the first half of the 15th century on the western corner of the tall crenulated castle wall. The Barbican is surrounded with the remains of the castle ditch and you can walk up to the entrance on the old drawbridge. There is a fantastic view opening towards the town from the top of the bastion.




  • Dominican House, a church and monastery of the Dominican order originating from the 18th century, and standing on the Színház square. It is worth carefully observing the upstairs façades of the surrounding buildings when walking along Király Street: you may see richly decorated windows and rosettes.

  • The Building Complex of the Elephant House, in the heart of the city between Széchenyi and Jókai Squares, a historically interesting block of buildings dating back to the 18th century. One of the buildings is mostly referred to by locals as Elephant House.

  • Turbe of Baba Idris, a burial place from the Turkish times, a significant Turkish architectural heritage site in Hungary.






  • The Hattyú House, a two-storey building erected at the beginning if the 1800s, and this was to become the "Fehér Hattyú" or the "White Swan" inn.

  • The County Hall, an eclectic four-storey building standing on the lower west side of Széchenyi square. Every piece ornamenting the façade was made in the Zsolnay porcelain factory of Pécs.

  • Canonical archives and presbytery, a neo-classic, late Baroque building built in 1784 based on the plans of the famous architect Sartory.

  • Pasha Memi´s Baths, the remnants of the former baths of Pasha Memi located next to the Franciscan church. It is the longest surviving Turkish bath of Pécs, was only demolished in 1880. It was unearthed and conserved in the 1970s and was opened to the public with the addition of an exhibition of historic artefacts.

  • Ruins of Bishop George Szatmari`s Palace. Bishop György Szatmári had his one-storey, U-shaped Renaissance summer Palace built in the middle of his forest range between 1505 and 1520.

  • The Bishop's Palace. The origin of the Bishop's Palace goes back to the 12th century. You may visit the parlour, the waiting room, the private chapel, the private library, the dining room, the conference room and the Habsburg room.

  • National Theatre of Pécs, built in the place of the one-time Dominican monastery according to the plans of Antal Lang and Antal Steinhardt between 1839 and 1895 in neo-Renaissance style.





  • Cathedral of St Peter and Paul, one of the most important historical heritages of the town. Built in the 11th-12th century incorporating parts of an earlier 4th-5th-century church, the cathedral's current neo-Romanesque look dates from the late 19th century.

  • Roman Catholic All Saints Church is one of the oldest in Pécs, built in the Romanesque style in the 12th century and underwent subsequent Gothic and Baroque modifications.


  • Djami, Roman Catholic city church. The Turkish djami was built between 1543 and 1546 on the site of the former St Bartholomew church. After the Turkish left the Jesuits dismantled the minaret and modified the building. The view of the Turkish half moon and the Catholic cross is unique on the top of the dome. The simultaneous usage of the two symbols represents that the two religions can coexist peacefully together.

  • Hassan Jakovali Djami, a djami among the best-preserved Turkish heritage sites in Hungary, built in the second half of the 16th century. This is the only Turkish age mosque in Hungary that remained intact together with its minaret.

  • Early Christian Mausoleum, a burial vault complete with an apse uncovered between 1975 and 1976. Under the vault a many times rebuilt, painted burial chamber was discovered with three marble sarcophagi - one of these were restored according to the fragments found on site.

  • Lutheran Church, built in early eclectic style according to the plans of János Baldauf in 1875. The simple, so-called room temple has a polygonal sanctuary addition.

  • Lyceum Church and Monastery, a late Baroques church built by Pauline friars between 1741 and 1756 using the stones of a Turkish mosque.

  • The Franciscan Church, an eclectic style church, however, its basis is medieval and Baroques.

  • All Saints Church, the oldest building of the Budai quarter. It is surrounded by a castle-wall-type barrier - by the wall of the former cemetery. The residents of the valley of the Tettye River built a one-navy church here as early as the 13th century.

  • The Pauline Church, one of the most beautiful modern Hungarian architectural masterpieces because of its architectural principles and the way it serves the Christian liturgy.

MUSEUMS AND EXHIBITIONS

The city of Pécs offers several cultural activities, in it's museums you can see world famous collections. This is the town, where Vasarely, Csontváry and Amerigo Tot used to live and work. Their works are on display in their museums on permanent exhibitions.

The Zsolnay family of Pécs established a famous porcelain factory here that still operates. Zsolnai porcelain is a famous product of Pécs, a beautiful collection in the Zsolnay Museum can be seen.

The city's antique Christian tombs has been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. As a result of 200 years of archaeological research, large numbers of items and wall paintings with Christian symbols were excavated here. The group of early-Christian burial vaults are dating from the 4th to the 6th centuries, once formed part of the cemetery of the Roman city of Sopianae. The unique Early Christian sepulchral art and architecture of the northern and western Roman provinces is exceptionally well and fully illustrated.

Permanent exhibitions

  • Zsolnay Museum: this exhibition which displays the most significant pieces of the Zsolnay Ceramic Factory along with the history of the family is situated in the oldest known dwelling-house of Pécs. The Zsolnay porcelain is well-known and highly appreciated in Europe. Their historical and Art Nouveau styles made the Zsolnay ceramics successful at many fairs and exhibitions.

  • Dome Museum: the remains of the medieval stonework of the Cathedral are on display at the permanent exhibition. More than a thousand stone carvings were found around the area - they suggest a very richly ornamented building unique to the Arpadian Hungary.

  • Csontváry Museum: the museum of the "lonely giant" of Hungarian painting, Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka, was opened in 1973. Csontváry is one of the most significant representatives of modern painting. In the museum there are study drawings, portrays, biblical works and landscapes among the works on display, while one of his most well-known paintings, the "Lonely Cedar" is also displayed here.



  • Vasarely Museum: the exhibition of Pécs introduces almost the entire work of Vasarely by introducing, everything from his Bauhaus-style, analytic-geometric graphics of the early ages until the op-art pieces moving towards architecture. This is the museum where the world famous "Zebra" works are on display as well. Hundreds of paintings, tapestries, sculptures and graphics reflecting the work of Vasarely’s entire life can be seen in the museum.


  • Necropolis: an early Christian cemetery from the 4th-5th century stretching under St Stephen's Square, listed amongst the World Heritage Site. This is the largest and most important ancient cemetery structure in Hungary. Created by Italian itinerant painters the paintings found in the mausoleum are a collection of symbols of the early Christian faith.
  • Late Roman Tomb Chapel: the remains of a 4th century chapel were uncovered here. Photos and drawings on the walls introduce the excavation process and the artefacts. In the foreground of the exhibition Roman bricks are on display.

  • Archaeological Museum and Lapidarium: the rich material of finds in the archaeological exhibition introduces the history of southeast Transdanubia from the prehistoric ages until the Hungarian conquest. Models, plentiful burial artefacts make the museum even more interesting. The courtyard of the Museum houses the collection of Roman tombstones and sarcophagi found during the excavations in the town.



  • Modern Hungarian Gallery: the gallery introduces one of the most comprehensive collections of Hungarian fine art in two buildings. All significant artistic directions of the 20th century are represented in the collection. You will also find the open-air sculpture exhibition of Pierre Székely in the garden as well.

  • The Historical Museum of the City of Pécs: the museum introduces the town's modern history from 1868 until 1948. Numerous photos, documents, maps, artefacts and models introduce the significant events of the town.

Should you be interested in getting acquainted with this amazing city, we gladly offer you our private tour to Pécs. For more information, please require our tailor - made offer












Last update: 27.03.2015.