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Pecs, Hungary: European Capital of Culture 2010

I ended up in Pécs because its dot on the map was rather large and well located between Budapest and Sarajevo; I ended up loving Pécs because it’s a wonderful surprise in southern Hungary—a stunningly beautiful city full of fascinating attractions.

The European Union agrees, because Pécs is one of the organization’s Capitals of Culture for 2010. And with a calendar packed with related events and festivals this summer and fall, there’s never been a better time to score a Central Europe travel deal and discover Pécs.

Concerts and fairs aside, there are plenty of enticing things to do in this ancient city. Don’t miss a visit to the unique cathedral, and while you’re there, explore the fantastic public art and medieval ruins nearby. You can even climb a crumbling tower and look out over modern Pécs.

Pecs Hungary Cathedral

Check out the love padlocks up and down Janus Pannonius St., where, since the 1980s, lovers have pledged their hearts to each other with the click of a lock. Photographing the mess of locks is key—each padlock is unique, and many have lovely sentiments scribbled on them.

Pecs Hungary Padlocks

Zsolnay Fountain, coated in porcelain from the eponymous Hungarian porcelain maker, is but one highlight of the newly renovated Széchenyi Square. The area has been the heart of the city since the Middle Ages and still leads to lively streets full of restaurants and bars.

Pecs Hungary Fountain

Speaking of bars, Pécs is home to Hungary’s largest university and boasts a vibrant after-dark scene in a neighborhood that reminded me of Dublin’s Temple Bar area.

Pecs Hungary Night

Pécs is also the only place to find what may be the most sought-after drink in Hungary: Pécs Brewery’s “Pécsi sör,” an unfiltered beer that’s supposedly only available at Cellarium restaurant in Pécs. Just in case you needed one more reason to visit this unique destination.

michelle_doucette

My name: Michelle Doucette

How I earn my keep: I'm an editor at IgoUgo.com.

Favorite way to get around: Some of my favorite trips involved renting cars in foreign countries and driving through the countryside, stopping on whims. You get a feel for the culture away from the big cities and meet interesting people on the road, including, I must admit, an embarrassingly high number of local policemen. I suppose it would be prudent to learn all of the traffic laws ahead of time.

Best meal I've had while traveling: Since a succession of gelato cones probably doesn't count as a meal, my favorite must have been a fresh crabmeat lunch prepared by a St. John sailboat captain while we took a break from snorkeling in the Caribbean. Sharing baklava as the sun came up over Paros, Greece, (while, once again, not technically a meal) was also memorable.

Travel ambitions: Since climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, I've figured out that I'd like to keep trekking while traveling. I've got my eyes on epic hikes in Nepal, Bhutan, and Peru.

Comments

Nathan Rodriguez Cuba
Reply

Really a very beautiful city, with a wonderful architecture that is only found in Europe.
And what collection of padlocks ! Have never seen something like this before, very cool.

Susan Kennedy
Reply

I had honestly never heard of Pécs before I read this. European capital of culture? Wow… That thing with the padlocks seems vaguely familiar though – do they do that somewhere else (like Venice or something?)…

Jerry
Reply

Very deserving of the title European Capital of Culture 2010. I wonder if they have seen an increase in flights and tourism since achieving the status.

Purnululu national park
Reply

It is truly amazing city. Images are looking beautiful. Information is very useful and interesting to read. Great architecture that is only found in Europe.

Kathy Shaper
Reply

I’m in the early stages of planning a trip around Europe. Thanks for adding another destination to my list for consideration.

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