In the heart of Budapest, perched on a hill majestically overlooking the Danube, lies the Buda Castle district. A former royal stronghold and the historic centre of the Hungarian capital, this emblematic district exudes a timeless charm steeped in a rich history and remarkable architecture!

From its cobbled streets and baroque facades to its tranquil courtyards, the Buda Castle district invites you to take a journey through the centuries, where every corner holds hidden treasures and fascinating stories. A visit here is an essential part of your stay in Budapest.

The main sites to visit in the Buda Castle district

The Buda Castle Quarter is divided into several distinct areas:

Buda Castle district
@ FB Budai vár – Map of the Buda Castle district
  1. Buda Castle itself: this area includes the Royal Palace of Buda, also known as the Royal Castle of Buda, which today houses several museums and art galleries. The royal palace is surrounded by inner courtyards, gardens and ramparts offering magnificent panoramic views over the city.
  2. The Fishermen’s Bastion (‘Halászbástya’): located close to the Royal Palace on the opposite side of the hill (10 minutes’ walk) and adjacent to Matthias Church, the Fishermen’s Bastion is a picturesque structure made up of seven white towers offering a unique view of Budapest, in particular of the Hungarian Parliament on the other side of the Danube.
  3. The Castle District: this area comprises the narrow cobbled streets of the historic quarter surrounding the Royal Palace and the Fishermen’s Bastion. Many historic buildings, churches, residences and shops can be found here.
  4. The castle garden known as ‘Várkert Bazár‘: this small public garden, located at the foot of Buda Castle, offers pleasant walks with its panoramic terraces and decorative fountains.

How do I get to the Buda Castle district?

On foot: It is possible to walk up to the Castle District from a number of access points in the Buda district. Staircases, cobbled paths and footpaths wind their way up Buda Hill, offering a picturesque climb and panoramic views over the city. For example, you can easily get there via the Castle Garden Bazaar, Clark Ádám Square in front of the Chain Bridge or Széll Kálmán Square. Buda Castle towers some 70 metres above the Hungarian capital. Depending on your point of departure, you should allow between 20 and 30 minutes to walk up to the castle district.

By funicular: the Budavári Sikló funicular links the Danube quay (at the Chain Bridge) to Buda Castle every day between 8am and 10pm. This means of transport (special ticket sold on the spot) not only offers a convenient way to get to the top of the hill, but also a picturesque experience with beautiful views of Budapest along the way.
Budavári Sikló funicular

By bus: bus routes 16, 16A and 116 from Buda serve the Buda Castle district and route 16 from Pest. At night, bus line 916 operates.

By taxi or car: You can get to the castle district by taxi or private car. Car parks are available at the entrance to the Castle District for visitors, as only residents are allowed to drive in the district.

The castle’s open-air electric minibus: this chargeable shuttle gives you the freedom to get on and off at any of the 5 stations in the castle district with a frequency of 10 minutes (video of the shuttle on this link). Ticket valid for 1 day:

Castle Minibus information and booking – click here

Now let’s discover the main attractions of the Buda Castle district:

The Royal Palace (‘Budai vár’)
budapest castle

The Royal Palace has been the seat of Hungarian royal power for centuries, hosting kings and queens and serving as the kingdom’s political and cultural centre. Over time, it has been enlarged and embellished by various sovereigns, with additions in the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and neo-classical styles.

The first castle on this site was built in the 13th century, but it was during the reign of King Matthias Corvin in the 15th century that the palace reached its peak of splendour. Over the following centuries, the Royal Palace saw a succession of Hungarian, Turkish, Habsburg, German and Soviet rulers.

It was the reign of the Habsburgs in the 16th century that left a significant mark on the palace, with major renovations and extensions transforming its appearance.

Entrance to the outside areas is free, and visitors can explore the inner courtyards, peaceful gardens, and admire one of the most spectacular panoramic views of the city and the Danube.

Today, the Royal Palace houses several museums:

Our favourite, the Hungarian National Gallery: this prestigious institution houses an exceptional collection of Hungarian works of art, ranging from the medieval period to modern times. For more information, click here. Video on this link.
Opening times: 10.00 am to 6.00 pm, Tuesday to Sunday.

Watch a superb video of the National Gallery:

Budapest History Museum: this museum invites visitors to discover the many facets of Budapest‘s rich and complex history, from its humble beginnings to its current status as a flourishing capital.
Opening times: 10am to 6pm, Tuesday to Sunday.

Széchényi National Library: founded in 1802 by Count Ferenc Széchényi, this library is not only the largest in Hungary, but is also recognised as one of the most important in Central Europe. Visit information and opening times on this official link.

St Stephen’s Hall (‘Szent István terem’): this impressive hall served as a coronation venue for Hungarian kings, a banqueting hall for royal festivities and a reception hall for distinguished guests. The architecture of the hall is impressive, with its elegant Gothic vaults, imposing pillars and decorative details that testify to the talent of the craftsmen of the time. For more information, click here.

Sándor Palace (‘Sándor palota’)

Sándor Palace
@ wikipedia.

The Sándor Palace, located just before the castle and adjacent to the funicular terminus, has been the official residence of the President of Hungary since 2003. Built in 1806 in neoclassical style, this imposing palace boasts elegant architecture and extensive gardens. Formerly known as the Palace of the Crown House, it was the seat of the Hungarian royal government.

Today, Sándor Palace remains an important symbol of Hungary’s political and historical life, surrounded by an aura of prestige and tradition. It is not possible to visit it, but at the beginning of each hour you can see the changing of the guard, an official ceremony in which a group of soldiers is relieved of its duties by a new group of soldiers.

Address: Sándor Palace, Szent György tér 2, 1st district. Buda. – map

Matthias Church
Matthias Church

Matthias Church is one of Budapest’s most emblematic architectural gems. This impressive Gothic church boasts colourful roofs and exquisite decorative motifs. Founded in the 11th century, Matthias Church has been the coronation place of several Hungarian kings and has undergone numerous transformations over the centuries. Its sumptuous interior houses medieval frescoes, sculptures and magnificent stained glass windows, creating an atmosphere of contemplation and spirituality.

Address: Matthias Church, Szentháromság tér 2, 1st district, Buda – mapwebsite.
Open Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 18.00, Saturday from 09.00 to 12.00 and Sunday from 13.00 to 17.00. For more information, see our article on Matthias Church on this link.

The Fishermen’s Bastion (‘Halászbástya’)
The Fishermen's Bastion

The Fishermen’s Bastion in Budapest is a neo-Gothic structure built at the beginning of the 20th century and consisting of seven slender white towers, offering an incomparable panoramic view of Pest, in particular of the magnificent Hungarian Parliament on the other side of the river.

Although its name evokes fishermen, the Fishermen’s Bastion actually owes its name to the fishermen’s guild that once defended this part of Buda’s medieval ramparts.

Address: Fishermen’s Bastion, Szentháromság tér, 1014 – 1st district. Buda. – map

The Castle Garden Bazaar

The Castle Garden Bazaar
@ wikipedia.

The Castle Garden Bazaar, also known as ‘Várkert Bazár’ in Hungarian, is an enchanting space located at the foot ofBuda Castle in Budapest. This beautifully restored architectural complex offers an oasis of calm and beauty in the heart of the city. Designed in a neo-renaissance style, the bazaar features panoramic terraces, lush gardens and elegant fountains, providing a picturesque setting in which to stroll.

Address: Castle Garden Bazaar, Ybl Miklós tér 2-6, 1013 Buda, 1st district. – map

Buda Castle Free Tour (2,5h)
Budapest castle

Explore one of Budapest’s most emblematic monuments on this free guided tour of Buda Castle and discover the secrets of the former residence of the Hungarian royal family.

Information Buda castle Free Tour and Booking – click here

Free tours do not have a fixed price, rather each person offers the guide the amount they consider appropriate, depending on their level of satisfaction.

Discover the Buda Castle district with this superb short video:

For the adventurous, visit the cave at Buda Castle

the cave at Buda Castle
@ getyourguide.

The cave is a hidden and mysterious jewel that lies beneath the foundations of the Royal Palace: you can explore this labyrinth of caves with a guide (in English) and discover the history and unique geology of the caves. Marvel at the natural limestone caves and the 800-year-old artificial cellars:

duration approx. 1 hour
Information caves wlaking tour and booking – click here

You can also read our article on the must-sees in Budapest at this link , as well as our recommended itineraries for visiting the Hungarian capital in two days, three days and four days.