Hiking around Pécs
This route explores the most beautiful parts of the Mecsek Forest Park. No specialized hiking equipment is required: old and young alike can wander this path in everyday clothes and a pair of comfortable shoes, without any real physical effort.
The walk starts from the Paulite Church at the corner of Hunyadi János utca and Magaslati utca (street). The steep winding path is flanked by neat, tall houses on the east side. The row of houses ends opposite no. 88, and a pine grove replaces the built environment. The last building next to the pine grove is the old waterworks, built in 1925. The Mecsek Gate appears at the next bend: the towered, arcaded, ashlar gateway was built in 1936. Climbing the stairs, you can look back across the city from the parapet. The winding road to Dömörkapu and Misina Peak starts here.
From the Mecsek Gate, follow the path marked by the yellow square. A sign at the fork indicates that the Hotel Kikelet is only 600 metres away. The road is covered with gravel, making it easy to walk along even in wet weather. You can sit on the benches along the path to take a break and breathe in the clean air of the Mecsek forest and listen to the birds singing. Through the glades and breaks in the vegetation, you can admire the beautiful panorama. From a bend in the road, it is easy to spot the Niké figure of Makrisz Agamemnon's Liberty Monument. At the end of the road, steps lead to the Hotel Kikelet.
Built in 1936, the Hotel Kikelet is still a modern hotel, with a large panoramic terrace and an elegant bar. Further on, you can find the start of the road to the French Monument, built by Miklós Zsolnay in 1908 on an overhanging rock with a spectacular view. The monument is a pyramid-shaped statue made of pyrogranite, and commemorates the French soldiers who were brought to Pécs and died here during the Napoleonic Wars.
Next to the hotel, Fenyves sor (avenue) cuts through the pine trees and leads to the Pécs Zoo. The impressive villas along this road are worthy of attention. A sign at the entrance of the zoo reads: "Built by the workers of Pécs through 45,367 hours of social work in 1960-1961." This vast amount of social work started on 17 April 1959 and resulted in the ceremonial opening of Pécs Zoo on 17 August 1960. However, construction on the 6.5-acre plot continued even after the opening ceremony. This general-themed zoo is home to 150 species of 1,000 animals.
The walk continues to the left of the zoo, in a northeasterly direction. Following the red square, the path runs parallel to the Mecsek narrow-gauge railway towards Dömörkapu. From spring to autumn, you can ride the train a distance of 800 metres. Dömörkapu is the tourist centre of the Misina area: the name is of Osmanli-Turkish origin, and means "fortified pass", or literally, "iron gate". On the way to Dömörkapu lies "Szaniszló's Rest": behind the bench is a black marble slab commemorating Dr. Szaniszló Mócs, teacher, nature lover, and a member of the Mecsek Association.
At the circle of Dömörkapu, a stone plate on a stone arbour reads: "Raised in the memory of Viktor Ptacsek, friend of the Mecsek, by his family and admirers."
A narrow road brings you to the Dömörkapu tourist hostel and restaurant. Following the signs to "Flóra's Rest", you will come across the Dömörkapu Amusement Park. A plaque at the entrance states: "Built by the workers of Pécs through 76,679 hours of social work in the year 1961." The park covers roughly 14 acres and offers 40 different rides and types of entertainment, including a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, go-kart, enchanted castle, arcade, and others.
"Flóra's Rest" is a round ashlar tower, built on the 404-metre-high Bertalan Rock. There are breathtaking views from here towards the mining district near Pécs. A short walk can be taken around the rest on a path with banks in the pine grove. Deeper in the woods, there are benches and tables. The red and yellow path - or "Irma's Path" - leads south from Dömörkapu Bus Station towards the Tettye plateau. The path was built from the legacy of Gyula Hamerli in memory of his wife. Arriving at the Tettye, you come across the Szaniszló Path. From here you can admire the beautiful panorama and then either continue the walk or take the bus back to Pécs' city centre.
You can get to Misina Peak by taking a bus from the central station in Pécs. The hill is 535 metres high. While this might be less impressive than the surrounding peaks in terms of height, Misina is the closest to the city centre and easiest to reach. It is accessible by either bus or car.
The winding path up to Misina Peak passes the Liberty Monument, erected in 1975. The bronze monument by Makrisz Agamemnon depicts a winged Niké. The 176-metre-high TV tower stands on top of Misina Peak. An express lift can be taken up to the café with its glass walls. Sitting at the tables, you can look down over the beautiful city. The open lookout terrace is above the café.
Until the 1960s, the József Kiss lookout tower stood at the current location of the TV tower. The lookout tower was designed by Emil Károlyi in 1908 and was named after József Kiss, the general-secretary of the Mecsek Association, a writer of several books about the Mecsek, and a nature lover.
From the top of the TV tower in clear weather you can see the Danube, the range of the Mecsek from north to south, the Zengő and even part of Hegyhát Ridge. To the west, you can seen Jakab Hegy (hill), and on the horizon, Tubes Peak.
Starting from Misina Peak, Mandulás can be reached either by following the green triangle or by taking the bus to the Zoo and then following the path to the west marked with the red square. Mandulás is a resting place on the southern slope of Misina, next to the picturesque Pécs Campsite. It is a favourite tourist destination.
The Mecsek Gymnastic Course starts from the northwestern corner of Mandulás on two forest routes (a small circle and a large circle). There are rests along the course, eight further stations in the small circle and 16 stations in the large circle for gymnastic exercises. Unfortunately, the equipment on the exercise stations is very old and damaged. The small circle is 1,410 metres and the large circle is 3,150 metres long, following the red square. The circles lead back close to the starting point.
Leaving Mandulás along the road and passing the campsite, you will round a hairpin bend and arrive at Liberty Monument. From this point, you can enjoy a spectacular view of Pécs. Two further hairpin bends from the monument will bring you to Mecsek Gate, from where the Paulite Church is only a few minutes away. Of course, Mandulás is also accessible by bus or car.
Magyarürög lies at the eastern base of Jakab Hegy (hill), with the Éger Valley slightly to the north, and is one of the top tourist destinations in the region. From the bus station at Újmecsekalja in Pécs, you can take buses 22, 23 or 24 to the Ürög felső bus stop at the outskirts of Pécs-Magyarürög. After crossing the road, take Fülemüle utca and Kócsag utca (streets) heading towards the north end of the village. The parking lot is at the Éger Passage. The blue and green crosses signal the path to the artificial lake. Next to the lake is a shelter and benches with tables. You can quench your thirst at the Delelő Well.
You can wander around the slopes in the valley by following the green and blue cross marks. The road bridges the creek, which was dammed up to create the lake. Following the green path brings you to the Mohosi Well, where the path leads back to the valley. There is also a 1-kilometre-long gymnastic course in the forest for those interested in sport. The path marked with a blue cross takes you from Éger Valley and close to the Éger Spring.
Taking the road north from the Ürög felső bus stop brings you to the Béke Spring and Isten Well. The green circle mark leads northwards from here to the picturesque valley of Nagy-Deindol (Great Deindol), which is surrounded by vineyards.
According to local legend, the Deindol area once belonged to an ethnic German. As he felt death approaching, he took his three sons to a hill from where they could see his entire domain. The old man then divided his wealth. Starting from the west, he pointed at the first valley, and told his eldest son in Swabian German “Das ist dein Thol!" which translates as "This is your valley!". He told the same to his middle and youngest son, pointing at the two other valleys. Since then, the three areas have been called Great, Middle, and Little Deindol, respectively.
Taking Route 6 from Pécs to Szigetvár takes you on a journey rich in historic monuments and natural attractions. Before leaving Pécs, however, it is worth visiting Patacs, a village administratively joined to Pécs. The Baroque church on Patacs' Fő utca (street) was built in the 13th century. It was reconstructed in 1864 and again in 1902. The building has a frontal tower, with one nave and a square sanctuary. A little west from the village, a new suburb was established in the early 1990s.
In the 17th century, the neighbouring village of Rácváros became home to Orthodox Serbs from the Balkans escaping the Turks. The refugees originally settled in the centre of Pécs, but because of objections on religious grounds by the Jesuits, the Serbs were displaced to Rácváros, far to the west of Pécs. The region became famous for its viniculture. Nowadays, however, there is no evidence of the original Serb inhabitants, as by the end of the 18th century they had already become assimilated into the local population. To the west of the centre of Rácváros, on a side street, you can see the Baroque church, built between 1756 and 1780.
Leaving Rácváros by Route 6, you will see vineyards and orchards on the hills to the right and fish ponds to the south. The Cserkúti Wayside Inn is a few kilometres from Pécs and is a frequented lay-by with a bus stop. From here the path indicated with a blue square leads to Cserkút and Kővágószőlős.
Leave Route 6 at the Kővágószőlős crossing to the north. Kővágószőlős, with 2,000 inhabitants, is situated at the base of Jakab Hegy (hill). The name of the village reflects the quarry and the vineyards around it. In fact, there are many abandoned quarries around the hillside, and the surrounding slopes are covered with vineyards.
The area surrounding Kővágószőlős is an important archaeological site from the Roman era. In the second part of the 20th century, a painted, arched Roman crypt was found here. The church in Kővágószőlős,, built in the 12th century, can be found on the eastern side of the village. The church was expanded during the 15th century and rebuilt in Baroque style in 1773. The building has a frontal tower, with Romanesque windows at the base and counterforts. The nave has three arcades and the sanctuary is semicircular. The furnishings were mainly provided from Pécs Cathedral. The high altar and the pulpit are Baroque. The Kővágószőlős Cemetery is next to the church. Along with the expansion of uranium mining activity in the Kővágószőlős area, the population increased rapidly between 1950 and 1970. While uranium mining has now lost its importance, many citizens choose to move to Kővágószőlős for the fresh air and quiet countryside.
Follow the side road to the south of Kővágószőlős to arrive at the village of Cserkút. The name implies a village founded at a well or spring with oaks growing around it. You can see Cserkút's Romanesque church on the main street. Built during the 13th century and reconstructed in 1729 and 1826, the church has only one tower, situated at the front of the building, and one nave with a semicircular sanctuary. The church's beautiful and precious frescos are well worth a visit.
To the north of Cserkút lies the 592m high Jakab Hegy (hill), in a nature conservation area. To reach Jakab Hegy, follow the blue triangle path up from Cserkút. The steep, two-kilometre-long path is worth the climb as there are many places of interest. During the 9th century, the people of the Halstatt culture built a huge earthwork with walls six to eight metres high. On the western part of the earthwork you can see the István Lookout Tower, which was renovated in 1975. The tower is named after its builder, István Szeifritz.
On the northeastern side of Jakab Hegy, you can see the ruins of the Paulite Monastery, once guarded by a fortified wall. Bertalan, the Bishop of Pécs, founded the monastery for hermits in 1225, naming it Szent Jakab, from where the hill derives its name. The church was rebuilt in the 18th century and the monastery was still inhabited a century ago, but has since fallen into decay. Archaeological exploration has started in the area.
According to legend, the owner of Jakab Hegy castle was a rich landlord who hoarded masses of treasure. When a war broke out, he hid his treasure in the large catacombs under the monastery's church. Two cursed kings are said to guard the treasure: a rooster guarding a bowl of gold and a dragon guarding a bowl of silver. Nobody has ever found the treasure, although many have tried!
On the southern side of the Jakab Hegy plateau you can find Zsongorkő, a belvedere protected with a fence. Zsongorkő also has a legend linked to its name. A young man named Zsongor once lived at the base of the hill. Zsongor was about to be married, but the Turkish pasha kidnapped his fiancée right before the wedding. On a stormy night, Zsongor sneaked up to the pasha's castle and rescued his fiancée. Unfortunately, the guards spotted the pair and chased them to the end of the plateau. When Zsongor realized there was no escape, he spurred his horse off the cliff and into the abyss. Ever since then, people have called the cliff Zsongorkő.
From Zsongorkő you have several walking options: you can either return to the starting point by the same route, follow the green mark towards Magyarürög, or follow the red triangle and the blue square to reach Kővágószőlős, although these latter routes are much longer than the direct path to Cserkút.
One of the most attractive tourist spots in the Mecsek, with a stalactite cave, a series of lakes for swimming, boating and fishing, and completely surrounded by picturesque hills. The road to Orfű-Abaliget branches off from Route 6 in the northwestern part of Pécs.
After many winds and turns, the road arrives at Remete Meadow, named after the Paulite monk Antal Török, who lived here as a hermit. You can take a short hike from Remete Meadow through Lapis to the 612m high Tubes Peak. Lapis, on the northwestern slope of Tubes, is a popular tourist destination. In 1938, archaeologists discovered the ruins of a Roman guard tower next to the hunting lodge of Lapis. Follow the yellow mark to the János Rauch Lookout Tower on Tubes. Follow the yellow path to walk around the ridge of Tubes Peak.
After arriving at Orfű, it is worth taking a short excursion by following the green path to the source of the Sárkány (Dragon) Fountain. This is a nature preservation area. The water arising out of the ground was at one time accompanied by a loud growling sound. According to legend, a dragon once lived in the cave but a rock fell across the cave's entrance and trapped the dragon inside. The dragon is now struggling to escape and so is continually pushing the water out of the cave. When the dragon gets tired, the spring becomes quiet and runs dry.
Take the road heading north from Orfű to reach Lake Orfű, a popular swimming and fishing spot. You can find the Mill Museum on the shore of the lake. Follow the road to Mecsekrákos to reach Tó Restaurant. Next to Lake Orfű you can find Lake Pécsi, with beach facilities.
The road along the side of Lake Pécsi leads to Tekeres. To the north lies Lake Ottó Hermann, a nature preservation area and fish reserve, although the series of lakes does not end here. Northeast from the village of Kovácsszénája is Lake Kovácsszénájai, which is used for fish breeding.
The road to Abaliget passes through the Mész Valley. The Abaliget rowing lake is located to the southwest of the village. The stalactite cave of Abaliget is located next to the lake. A 500m long guided tour is available for visitors and requires no special clothing or accessories. The Abaliget Cave was used for shelter by prehistoric peoples. According to local legend, the village inhabitants took refuge in the cave from the invading Turks. The Turkish tried to smoke them out, but the villagers escaped through a secret passage and attacked the unwary Turks from behind, winning the day.
It would be easy to spend several weeks exploring all of the lovely spots in the Abaliget and Orfű region. Take the blue path to return to Jakab Hegy.