The region got its name two thousand years ago, when the Roman legions were stationed there. Lying west of the Danube it has everything that makes exploring the country and recreation pleasant and diverse. Blessed with natural beauty and full of history, is ideal for boat trips and cycling and also offers a wide selection of excellent wines.
Three sites are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage list, the convent at Pannonhalma, the catacombs of Pécs, and lake Fertõ.
The "most ancient Hungarian house", a treasure of Hungarian architecture, the Benedictine Abbey has stood for a thousand years, known in the middle ages is the Holy Mount of Pannonia. The 13th-century basilica is now the scene of organ concerts. The library, one of the oldest in the world, holds 360,000 volumes. The teaching order of Benedictines continues to pass on knowledge as the monastery still operates a boarding grammar school.
Sopron sits close to the Austrian border and it was an important station along the Amber road crossing Europe from north to south. With foundations from Roman times, the 185 ft. high Fire Tower has become the symbol of the city. Also worth seeing are the numerous old churches, such as the Dominican and the Evangelic, a synagogue dating back to Gothic times, and former burgess houses, like the Storno and the Fabricius, and the Caesar House with its Venetian-style balcony.
A favourite with British and Austrian royal households, Herend porcelain, the famous product of the town, has won 24 first prizes and gold medals at international fairs. The skills of painting are passed from father to son. The Porcelain Art Museum offers the history of the finest examples of Herend china, made entirely by hand and the china factory established in 1826. The Porcelanium where the process of manufacturing china is presented in a mini-workshop is also worth visiting.
Mysterious burial chambers from Roman times, a slender minaret, exquisite Zsolnay chinaware and cosy restaurants and cafes - this is Pecs.
Situated in the southern foothills of the Mecsek Hills, the 2,000 year old city with a Mediterranean climate was once a major centre of early Christianity.
The city boasts important Baroque monuments, including a Franciscan church and monastery with furnishings made by Franciscan monks, the Lyceum church and the former monastery of the Pauline order. There is a Carmelite nunnery next to the church of All Saints. Nearly every house along Káptalan street is a museum. The Zsolnay Museum displays a collection of ceramics representing major milestones in the history of world-famous Zsolnay porcelain. It also houses a memorial room dedicated to a Vilmos Zsolnay, founder of the Zsolnay Porcelain Works. The modern Hungarian Gallery has one of the richest collections of 19th-20th century Hungarian fine art. The Urban History Museum details the past 200 years of the history of Pecs in an easy-to-follow manner.
Villány-Siklós Wine Road
The Villány-Siklós Wine Road in this ancient wine country was the first such to be developed in Hungary. It connects through eleven towns and villages in a protected wine-growing area.
The wine culture of this region can be studied in the Wine Museum. The October Red Wine Festival that is held once every two years introduces the popular Villány wines: Blue Port, Merlot, Kékfrankos and Cabernet.
You can also study the fossilized remains of 240-million-year-old animals in the former lime mine, on the Church Hill of Villány.
A port on the Southern Danube, the town is the scene of Hungary's most spectacular folk tradition called "busójárás". The masquerade originally devised to frighten off the Turks, now a merry carnival during which participants dressed in rags and wearing grotesque masks say farewell to winter and welcome the spring.
The compact town of Tata, a convenient and worthwhile stop-off on the road from Budapest to Gyor, centres around Öreg-tó (Old Lake) and its attendant moated castle, riding school and mill. For centuries, the town was inhabited by Bavarians and Swabians and the lingua franca was German, but the town does have its own English garden.
Gyor’s location halfway between Vienna and Budapest makes it an intriguing blend of east and west. A you enter the town, industrial estates and residential tower blocks make way for a flourishing baroque town. All of the city’s sights, most of them architectural, are within a short walk through pleasant pedestrian streets.
One of the highlights of the region, if not the whole of Hungary, Koszeg has an impressive history of military brawn to go with its good looks. The sleepy town, just three kilometres from the Austrian border, is credited with saving Vienna from the wrath of Süleiman the Magnificent in 1532. But the medieval castle, named after the victorious leader Miklós Jurisics, is just one of many memorable sights, including a plethora of churches and a former synagogue. Walkers will also discover a number of attractive villages in the surrounding countryside.