Veszprém, also known as the ‘City of Queens’, is one of Hungary’s hidden treasures. With its winding streets, steep inclines and many romantic corners, it has the feeling of an enchanted town. Also, Lake Balaton and the hills of Bakony are within striking distance for an excursion. There are certainly many things to do in this part of the world, so let’s see what Veszprém has to offer.
Named after the famous Hungarian traveler, author and zoologist Kittenberger Kálmán, this zoo boasts a terrific variety of animals situated in a beautiful botanical garden, all nestled in undulating countryside. You can admire the European fauna, but there are many more exotic species on show too, including rhinoceroses, chimpanzees, pygmy marmosets and giraffes. Those who prefer birds or reptiles can immerse themselves in the wide variety of such animals, which call this place home. Address: Kittenberger Kálmán street 17 Veszprém, Hungary
Veszprém’s handball team is the most successful in Hungary and also boasts a top-notch pedigree in European competitions. So, if you happen to be in town when a game is on, get set for premier sports and an incredible atmosphere. You can check out the webpage for information about fixtures or online ticket purchases.
The castle is prominently visible from almost any part of Veszprém, standing atop a hill right in the middle of the city. It is more specifically a castle area, with beautiful old medieval buildings, an amazing fountain, churches and ecclesiastical houses, cobblestone roads and the firetower, which is emblematic of the town. The road leading to this spot is quite steep, but the amazing panoramic view definitely rewards the effort: sunsets and snowy evenings are best enjoyed standing right here at the very top of Veszprém. If you get cold or feel a little peckish, slip into one of the various restaurants near the castle.
This city is studded with a number of great restaurants. It doesn’t matter whether you yearn for fine dining, a traditional Hungarian night or just a quick snack. It is also a lovely thing to take the time to walk in the city; various parks offer a suitable venue for relaxation, for running, or, for younger visitors, a trip to a playground. They are all situated along the Séd brook, so just follow the water. Geocaching can be also an alternative activity – there are lots of hidden spots across the whole city.
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Take a trip to Lake Balaton or the Bakony Hills
Veszprém, due to its fortunate location, can be an ideal base for a trip to either Lake Balaton or the enchanting Bakony hills. Around the lake you can happen upon one of the small neighboring amazing towns, which dot the coastline. Try Tihany or Balatonfüred (or Alsóörs, which is a smaller village) – these are all within a 10 minutes’ drive. Bakony Hills is a great destination for a day spent in woods – there are also several caves to explore, hidden lakes to find and a network of well-marked footpaths to follow.
Street music festival
If you happen to be in town in July, you can immerse yourself in the nightlife in the streets. Several musicians from different countries are invited each year to perform in this festival – it lasts usually for four or five days, and until the early hours of the morning. The whole town turns out to participate in this fiesta, so it is the best chance to catch Veszprém in its Sunday best.
This weirdly-shaped building stands beside the main road, and you certainly can’t miss it: it looks like a giant tuning-fork, hence its name. Accordingly, a schedule of concerts and lectures takes place here – you can check them out on the website. But not only can you experience great musical events – such as the Cuban evening of ‘Havana Social Club’ – there are wine evenings, and theatrical performances aimed at both adults and children.
Local museums are always worth a visit – probably the best way to get a handle on the prevailing culture and spirit of the place you are spending time in. This museum has a collection relating to the Revolution and War of Independence in 1848/49, the two World Wars and the Revolution of 1956, along with an exhibition recreating how it must have been to be imprisoned in a castle.
No more than five minutes from Veszprém by car, you find yourself in the tiny village of Nemesvámos, where the remnants of a Roman Villa were uncovered some years ago. The site is now open to the public, with a modern visitor center which documents the history of the location. Amazingly, even the frescoes that adorned the walls and floor remain in very good condition; this is all still visible down to the tiniest detail.
A stone’s throw from the city is the town of Herend, which despite its small size is famous throughout Hungary for its porcelain manufacturing traditions. So famous, in fact, that Hungary sent a Herend porcelain set as an official gift for the newborn British Crown Prince George. Founded in the 19th century, Herend definitely has a past and a history which rightly underpins its present fame. You can to take a look into the painstaking work of a porcelain maker, or you could even participate in a workshop. There is an adjacent cafe that serves as a friendly setting in which to indulge or relax after an eventful day.