streets and a hilltop stone castle give this
lesser-known Hungarian city a fairy-tale feel.
This underrated Hungarian city is gearing up to become the
European Capital of Culture in 2023 and with its Skittle-coloured
medieval houses squashed side by side in the old town and Sleeping
Beauty-esque hilltop castle, we reckon it’s set to be the next
Nicknamed the “City of Queens” thanks to its history of
de-thrownings, revolutions and epic battles that read like a Grimms
fairy tale, the stony castle (the city’s emblem and one of
Hungary’s first) is the setting for most of the action. Elsewhere,
narrow pathways reveal ornate fountains, gilded grand theatres with
interiors covered in 100-year-old mosaics and a historic fire tower
that sings out classical music from composer Antal Csermák on the
It’s not all princesses and princes though – a contemporary-art
scene is on the rise too. Nip into Masterpiece Gallery to discover
up-and-coming Hugarian artists or the Vass Collection if you prefer
more avant-garde pieces.
Where to stay
Olivia Hotel – partly for its
proximity to the Castle district but largely because of its
Where to go for dinner…
The warren of streets around the castle conceal a cornucopia of
family-run taverns all serving hearty stews, steaming-hot bowls of
casserole and platters of crispy roast duck. All of them serve
standout homemade fare but Nosztalgia is our pick solely for its
apple pie. The treasured recipe has been passed down from a great
aunt and comes with a dollop of fresh cream.
Reserve at table for 5PM. Evening meals are largely a family
affair and are eaten early.
And for a drink…
It’s not as rowdy as Budapest
and you definitely won’t find the bars littered with UK students
sinking pints but you’ll be greeted with a top-notch Hungarian wine
list at most restaurants.
On a Sunday morning you should…
Take a stroll around Lake Balaton and the forested Bakony Hills
– a 10-minute drive from Veszprém – where you’ll find hidden lakes
and Hansel and Gretel small towns that dot the coastline. Tihany is
worth a stop for the enchanting views of the lake from the
Who to take with you
Couples looking for a first-holiday
destination should tread carefully; Veszprém is so romantic that
even hard-nosed sceptics will be wooed. Don’t be surprised if you
witness someone dropping to their knee for a passionate proposal
while you’re there.
When to go
July. For five days the town plays host to a jazz festival;
beanbags line the cobbled streets, building facades become the
backdrop to epic lights shows and stages crop up on every corner.
You’ll hear live music from 3PM to 3AM.
Essentials to pack
Chuck on this Alexa Chung x Barbour jacket in
the evenings – it’ll take you from city strolls to beer garden and
into a jazz gig.
How to get there
Fly to Budapest then get a 1h 30m train to Veszprém.