DECODED BY NATIVES
Southern Transdanubia (Dél-Dunántúl), Hungary
The cathedral dominates the centrum at Széchenyi tér where you can see stone carvings from the early Middle Ages.
In the garden around the so-called Barbakán bastion of the 15th century forest under the shades of almond trees stands the statue of the well-known bishop and poet Jannus Pannonius.
The world-famous, artistic Zsolnay ceramics are made in the factory in Pécs. You can see collection of Zsolnay tiles and porcelain in the Zsolnay museum. Other great art museums to include in our to-see list are the Vasarely Museum and the Csontváry Museum.
Climb up the Tv-Tower lookout on the Misina peak (534 m) to get a magnifiecnt panoramic view of Pécs.
Cafés and restaurants line the charming winding streets where you can enjoy the simultaneously relaxing and energetic atmosphere of the city while sipping a cup of coffe.
Rich selection of cultural programs welcome visitors every year and the city has deserved to be the European Capital of Culture in 2010.
Pécsvárad a town northwest of Pécs and at the foot of the highest peak of Mecsek Mountain the Zengő, has a Benedictine Abbey founded in 1000.
Mohács, near the Danube bank, witnessed one of the most tragic events of Hungary's history: Turkish army overpowered and defeated the Hungarians here in a bloody battle in 1526. A Memorial Park commemorates the fight and the soldiers died in it. The so-called busójárás a street carneval with people wearing scary wooden masks, and saying good-bye to long winter days, became a major tourist attraction over the years.
In Siklós the most southern town of Hungary you can see one of the most well-preserved medieval castles of the country.
Szigetvár saw the heroic sacrifice of Hungarian soldiers lead by Miklós Zrínyi defnding the castle against the Turkish army. A couple of monuments marks the time of Turkish occupation: the Ali Pasha djami, a Turkish dwelling house, the only one of its kind in Hungary.
The county seat of Somogy county, Kaposvár is halfway between the Mecsek Hills and the Lake Balaton. The main attraction of the town lies in its buildings representing a a variety of architectural styles: neo-Romanesque and neo-Gothic church, or the Classicist Town Hall or the seccesist Dorottya House. Many talented Hungarian actors and actresses play at Csíki Gergely Theatre.
Somogyvámos gives home to the Indian Culture Centre and Krishna-valley but the Puszta-tower remains of of 13th century Gothic church is also worth mentioning.
The oldest building of Nagyatád are the Baroque-style Franciscan monastery from 1740 and the church.
The idilyc Szekszárd is the central of the Szekszárd Wine Region the full-bodied, rich reds of which make it one of the top red wine producing regions of Hungary (the other one is the Villány-Siklós Wine Region).
Pedestrian Street in Szekszárd
Only the Csonka-torony on top of a hill survived the turbulent history of Dunaföldvár. Pop in the cellars carved in the loess wall to taste local wines and have authentic Hungarian fisherman's soup in of the halászcsárda-s (inns specializing in fish dishes)
As a treasure trove of natural beatuies, protected wetlands, hills and forrests.
Southern Transdanubia offers an array of active pursuits.
The warm climate combined with fresh air make it a very attractive spot for outsode activities.
If you're tired of walking, hop on one of the several narrow-gauge railways operating in the area.
Forrests of Somogy County
Many foreign hunters visit the forrests in Zselic where they can shoot big game: fallow-deer, mouflon. You can explore the oak-covered steep hills alternating with valleys on foot though the terrain suits well to mountainbiking, too. Visit the open-air village museum in Szenna.
You can take riding lessons at the Horse Riding Academy at Kaposvár University and a at a couple of other riding schools in the vicinity of the town.
Take the narrow-gauge railway from Almamellék (rides along Almamellék-Szentmártonpuszta-Sasrét route) to the Biedermann Hunting Castle at Sasrét.
Along the Danube
Go on an excursion along the Danube and explore the hidden gems around Mohács. At Nagynyárád you can learn the secrets of blue-dying form the local craftsmen in Bóly you can visit gingerbread and candle making shops.
Rural tourism is developing year by year with more and more welcoming, family-owned guesthouses.
Take your family to Fadd-Dombori, a popular holiday resort at the Danube all members of the family will find something to do: water sports, kayak and canoe courses, bathing, fishing.
Hiking and Hunting in Gemenc Forrests
The Gemenc is the most beuatiful flood area forrets of Hungary where the rivers Sió and Danube break into smaller branches forming small islands. head for Bárányfok a centre of Gemenc from where you can go for a scenic ride on a narrow-gauge railway.
Another option for a picturesque exploration is from a ship on the river Sió. Visit the bird reservatum where you cans ee rare species such as black larks, lesser spotted eagles, and levant sparrow hawks. Big game like deer also live in the forrests making the area hunters' paradise.
The game reserve at Tamási (between Lake Balaton and Szekszárd) attracts tourists outside Hungary as well. The fallow deer population living here gained reputation all over the world and it's one Hungary's most precious natural tresures.
Hiking and Caving in the Mecsek Mountain
The captivating landscape of the Mecsek entices tourits for hiking, bike riding, wine tasting or for a leisurely walk during wich you can admire the rich plant and animal life living in the peaceful groves of oaks, hornbeams, and beeches in the higher zones.
Often fast-flowing, clean brooks run down the rocks. You can see similar waterfalls in the Melegmányi Valley.
The peony on the slopes of the Zengő will take your breath away with its vivid, deep red flowers.
A grove of stately sweet chestnuts cover, one of the largest in the country cover the southern slopes of Zengő at Zengővárkony. Some of the trees are several hundreds yaers old.
The tiny villages hiding amid the hills and valleys welcome tourists with delicious food, rich folk art and historic sights.
Lakes around Orfű are perfect for angling, bathing or boating. Visit the mill museum where the millers still mill wheta and taste homemade bread.
In the caves at Abaliget you can see intriguing stalactite and stalagmite forms and the air inside is beneficial for respiratory problems.
Adventure seekers might want to visit Lajos Kassai at Kaposmérő, to acquire the skills of horse archery from the internationally renowned master.
The Duna-Dráva National Park guards the natural treasures of the nearly 50,000 hectares area between the two rivers.
One of the nicest golf clubs in Hungary welcomes golf enthusiats at Hencse (between Nagyatád and Kaposvár
No kidding but almost every settlement in Southern Hungary has some kind of thermal bath or pool.
The best known spa complex in South Transdanubia opeartes at Harkány, near Pécs. The 63-64 C, sulfidy water cures or at least eases the syptomps of all sorts of diseases: rheumatic, stomach, arthritis, bone fractures, gynaeological problems.
In the new Wellness Hotel at Sikonda you and your family can have a relly good time bathing, sunbathing and enjoying a whole lot of wellness treatments. The smallest ones can paddle in the children's pool and play with water toys.
Dombóvár-Gunaras between Lake Balaton and Pécs has a thermal water with alkali-hydrogen-carbonate and fluor content wich good for locomotor disorders, bowel problems, gum and oral infections, and gynaeological problems.
At Igal, 25 km from Kaposvár, you can enjoy the benefits of the curing thermal water in 9 pools.
To have a taste of the local fare you should visit some of the gastro festivals held in the region every year.
In this region must try game dishes and mushroom dishes.
The lakes and rivers abound in fish. Try the Danube style fisherman's soup made with noodles that differentiates it from the Tisza (or Szeged-) style fish soup to which no noddles are served.
To munch something when you go for hiking by some raised pastries with different stuffings at a baker.
Find out who makes the best handmade strudel in Hungary at the Strudel Festival in Mesztegnyő, Somogy county.
The Cooking Competition of Royal Chefs takes place at Nagyszakácsi on the first weekend of August. The best Hungarian cooks meet here and compete for the title of "Royal Chef of the Year".
Hungarian Kings gave lands to their best chefs, hence the name of the settlement which literally translates to: Big Chef.
The Music and Gastronomy at Pécs event organised in 2006 was so popular that it's going to be repeated in the following years.
During the program every evening a restaurant in the city becomes the center of the nightlife with menus and wines specially compiled for the occasion.
A music band whose style best suits the atmosphere of the eatery entertain the guests while they sample the local specialities.
Wine Regions of Southern Transdanubia
The wonderful climate of Southern Transdanubia allowed the region to produce the best wines of Hungary in three official wine regions:
Full-bodied reds with high tannin content and dark red colour characterize wines produced in the Szekszárd Wine Region. Do take home a few bottles of Kadarka an indigenous Hungarian variety which go well with dishes made with paprika. Some excellent roses and whites are also worth tasting in the cellars in and around Szekszárd.
Recommended Wineries: Vesztergombi Winery, Ferenc Takler, Tamás Dúzsi
Villány Siklós Wine Region - the home of my favourite pinot noirs
The sub-Mediterranean climate in the Villány-Siklós wine region and in Szekszárd wine region provide more favourable growing conditions than Bordeaux which lies on the same altitude.
Some exceptional Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons and Pinot Noirs are produced here.
Vineyards of this region, where the first wine route of Hungary was established stretch on the slopes of the Nagyharsány Hills.
Combine wine tasting in the neat cellars with sightseeing: the press house at Palkonya or the Wine Museum at Villánykövesd surely will interset wine lovers.
Harvest Festival in Villány
Our favourite wine producers in the Villány region: Tamás Gere, Tamás Günzer and Alajos Wunderlich, wines of the Malatinszky Kúria, and the Tiffan family.
Mecsekalja Wine Region
A range of spicy and fragrant white vine varieties are cultivated at Mecsekalja: Muscat Ottonel, Italian Riesling, and the speciality of the region the Pécs Cirfandli.
Regions Nearby southern Transdanubia