Budapest Castle Bazaar and The Royal Gardens

New Attraction At the Foot of Castle Hill

The series of buildings and gardens, known as Várkert bazár, were built in the 19. century (between 1875-1883) by the designs of Miklós Ybl architect

He designed, among many other buildings and mansions, the Opera House on Andrássy Av.

the main section of the Castle Bazaar in Budapest
The Middle Part of the Castle Bazaar & Royal Gardens once

The aim of the construction was to create a similarly elegant and attractive city scape at the foot of the Royal Palace in Buda as the one in the Pest side of the river.

The city leaders thought that the Várkert could be developed into a busy shopping and entertainment centre, a sort of replica of the Danube Promenade in the Pest side.

It never fulfilled this aim and the buildings started to quickly deteriorate with various owners and users over the 20. century.

Luckily this almost forgotten gem of Budapest had been fully renewed with

  • modern exhibitions halls,
  • restaurants and cafes
  • shops, and
  • events all year round.

A whole new cultural and entertainment centre had been reborn in Buda! (photo source: epiteszforum.hu).

Quick Links: Location, MapOpening HoursGuided ToursNew: Historic Mikveh (Jewish Ritual Bath) – History – Exhibitions EventsRenaissance GardenRestaurants, Cafes

The main building in run down state
The Historic Complex before the Restoration

Since the Bazaar and Royal Gardens are part of the UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, along with Buda Castle and the Danube riverbanks, the monument had to be restored to its original state.

Besides the renovated buildings, a series of new elements add new focus to Várkert Bazár:

  • you can go up to the castle by an escalator
  • an underground event room hosts conferences and meetings,
  • you can stop for coffee or grab a meal in the cafe of the Gourmet Shop.

Renovation Finished in 2014

The restored Castle Bazaar in BudaIn the first phase of the development project, that was completed by 03. April 2014., the historic buildings had been renovated.

Afterwords the neo-Renaissance gardens were restored.

  • new buildings,
  • cafes and restaurants, and
  • the Foundry Court (Öntőház udvar, cannons and cannon balls were made here between the 16-18. centuries) had been completed.

The reconstruction had been fully finished and the complex opened to visitors at the end of August 2014.

 

Renaissance paintings on a building facade
the southern Palace-street view

See more photos in our Facebook album.

Location, Map – Castle Bazaar and Gardens

varkert_bazaar_map400Address: Ybl Miklós tér, at the southern slopes of Castle Hill, between the Chain Bridge and Elizabeth Bridge

Getting there:

  • tram 2 (Széchenyi István tér stop/at the Chain Bridge, then cross the bridge and walk south or
  • get on bus No. 16 or No. 105 at Széchenyi tér/Pest end of the Chain Bridge, get off at Clark Adam tér/Buda end of the Chain Bridge then a few-minute walk),
  • From Pest city centre you can also get on buses No. 16 and No. 105 at Deák Ferenc tér metro hub (M1, M2, M3 lines).
  • By boat No. 11 (between Kopaszi gát and Árpád Bridge/Újpest stops): get off at Várkert Bazár, boat ticket: adults: 750 HUF, children up to age of 15: 550 HUF

See more options to get there.

Map:

  1. Guards’ Palace/Northern Palace (Testőrpalota)
  2. Northern bazaar – there are a gourmet shop and cafe there
  3. Stairs
  4. Gloriette and walk ramp
  5. Pavilion – looks like a triumphal, entry to the underground Event Hall
  6. Southern bazaar
  • Southern palaces – host exhibitions
  • Event hall
  • Garage
  • neo-Renaissance Garden
  • Szárazárok – open-air stage
  • Escalator
  • Foundry Court/Öntőház udvar: place for outdoor events, has a cafe (Bazaar Eclectica, open every day from 11.00 am)
  • Opening Hours

    Varkert Bazaar and the Royal Palace from a boat on the Danube

    • Temporary exhibitions in the Southern Palace and Northern Palace/Guards’ Palace (Testőrpalota): Tuesday-Sunday: 10.00 – 18.00, Cashier closes at 17.30.
    • neo-Renaissance Garden: every day: 10.00 – 24.00.

    Guided Tours in English, Hungarian

    You can visit the Várkert and the gardens on tours lead by expert guides. Tours are available in English and Hungarian languages.

    Price: 2 900 HUF/prs. Tours depart from the Guards’ Palace/Testőrpalota, (Ybl Miklós tér 2., distr. I.)

    Duration: cc. 60-90 minutes. Registration is required at the (+36 ) 30 -198 5274 mobile number.

    NEW: A Jewish Ritual Bath, Mikveh, Can Be Visited on Tours: a religious bath originating from the 13. century was discovered 8 years ago in the cave system running underground in the Western part of Buda Castle.

    You can view this rare find on guided tours every Monday, starting at 14.00, 16.00 and 18.00. Ticket: full price: 2 000 HUF. You can learn about Budapest’s Jewish Heritage and Tours here.

    Programs, Exhibitions

    Várkert bazár on the day of inauguration

    The refurbishment of the Castle Bazaar at the foot of Castle Hill had been finished and handed over to the public within a one day festival on Friday, 29. August 2014.

    You can view

    • the renovated buildings designed by Miklós Ybl along the renewed Lánchíd utca,
    • a modern underground exhibition and event center.

    Exhibitions in the Southern and Northern Palaces

    • The northern Guards’ Palace (Testőrpalota) and
    • southern palaces have a unique atmosphere ideal for art exhibitions and other cultural events.

    The two buildings regularly host temporary exhibitions that you can visit Tuesday-Sunday from 10.00 to 18.00 (cashier closes at 17.30).

    Tickets: around 2 000 – 3 000 HUF/adult, 50 % discount for students (ages 6-26) and retirees (ages 62-70), free for children under 6 and for people above 70.

    A New World Was Born – Europe’s Fraternal War 1914-18

    Location: Déli Palota/Southern Palace
    Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 10.00-18.00
    Tickets: 2 000 HUF, not recommended for children under 14 years of age

    Depicts the belle epoque era, the years leading to the outbreak of the I. World War, then the horrors and disillusionment.

    The Csernus Memorial Studio

    The Memorial Studio
    The Memorial Studio

    Location: Testőrpalota/Guards’ Palace (Northern Palace)
    Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 10.00-18.00
    Tickets: 2 000 HUF, not recommended for children under 14 years of age

    The exhibition on the 3rd floor of the Guards’ Palace was created in memory of Tibor Csernus (1927-2007), one of the most outstanding Hungarian painters of the 20th century.

    The artist lived and worked in Paris from the mid-1960s till his death.

    The studio is furnished with his furniture, tools and belongings recalling the atmosphere of his Parisian studio in Montmartre.

    Events in the Várkert Bazaar

    Street of Hungarian Flavours, 19 – 20. August 2017., Free

    Venue: between Várkert Bazaar – Szilágyi Dezső tér

    Opening Hours: August 19: 10.00 – 24.00, August 20: 09.00 – 22.00

    The Street of Hungarian Flavours gastro festival is organised for the 8th time as part of St. Stephen Day’s Festivities in Budapest. On the two days you can taste local food specialties from all over the country:

    • A special stuffed cabbage as prepared in the Szabolcs region: made with tomato and corn in the stuffing.
    • Another version of the stuffed cabbage from Matyó Land,
    • Lamb stew from Karcag town and other goodies,
    • Hungary’s Cake – each year there’s a contest among confectionery to make the best torte from characteristic local ingredients. The 2017 winner can be sampled here together with the sugarfree cake of Hungary.
    • This is also the palce where you can taste Hungary’s bread 2017: a sourdough ry bread and a potato bread, both made only from natural ingredients without any enhancers, additives. Besides bread sweet pastries, milk loaf will also be available.

    Mini Concerts in Summer

    Budapest landmarks give home to a series of free concerts over the summer, till 18. August. Two spots in the Várkert Bazaar are part of the program:

    • Várkert Bazaar – Main Entrance: a saxophone band plays on Sundays at 14.00 and 14.30.
    • Várkert Bazaar Gloriette: a brass band dressed in Hussar costume gives concert on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays at 16.00 and 17.00.

    Summer Picnics in the neo-Renaissance Garden (Weekends)

    Dates: every weekend in summer (till end of August 2017)

    Have a romantic picnic on the lush green lawn of the neo-Renaissance garden Saturdays and Sundays in summer.

    You can bring your own blanket or rent one on the spot along with a picnic basket (1 000 HUF + 5 000 HUF deposit).

    Street food trucks offer delicious bites and cool drinks while you can admire the finest panorama of Budapest!

    Advent Sundays

    Dates: 26. November, 03., 10., 17. December 2017.

    Entry: free to most programs, theatre performances can be attended with tickets (cc. 2 900 HUF)

    part of a Christmas tree with simple, handmade ornaments hanging from the branches.The Várkert hosts a colourful series of programs on four Sundays preceding Christmas, between 27. November and 18. December.

    Families with children are very welcome to

    • make holiday ornaments,
    • help decorate the Christmas tree in the neo-Renaissance Garden on 20. December at 16.00,
    • have fun in the playhouse or the dance house and enjoy the theatre performances.

    The most spectacular attraction of the event will be Europe’s largest Advent candles installation created by the Hello Wood international art project in front of the Bazaar.

    Each Sunday a candle will light up on the wreath marking the approach of Christmas and the birth of Jesus.

    Candle Lighting Ceremonies:

    • 26. November: 16.30,
    • 03. December: 18.00,
    • 10. December: 18.00,
    • 17. December: 18.00.

    Other Programs on the Festival:

    • folk craft fair,
    • “Angel’s music, candlelight” – Christmas exhibition of old times in the Southern Palace/Déli Palota, , (Till 06. January 2017, Tue-Sun: 10.00-18.00, Tickets: 1 500 HUF)
    • concerts,
    • food trucks,
    • free children programs each Sunday.

    This is perhaps the most scenic seasonal fair in the city at the foot of the castle Hill overlooking the Danube and the Pest side.

    After looking around the craft market you sure will be tempted by the tasty street food offered by the trucks:

    • from local specialties (Kobe Sausages) to
    • international favourites (burgers, piadina, waffels, pancakes) and
    • hot drinks, the choice is ample.

    Children Programs on Sundays (FREE), 11.00 – 19.00

    Advent craft workshop:

    • making gifts, ornaments,
    • decorating gingerbread,
    • lighting the candles on the Advent wreath
    TIP: Santa-Welcoming Program on 04. December, Sunday at 15.00, kids receive a small pack of gifts (usually sweets and fruits) called Mikulás csomag as is the tradition in Hungary on/around St. Nicholas day (06. December)

    Concerts, Other programs (2016)

    • Sleeping Beauty by the Hungarian National Folk Ensemble on 04. December/Sunday at 17.00
    • Erika Miklósa & the Hungarian Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, 11. December, 19.00-21.00 (tickets: 4 900-7 900 HUF).
    • Choir Festival on weekends: 04., 10., 11., 17., 18. December – open-air Christmas concerts by children and adult choirs in Lánchíd utca

    See more Christmas Fairs and Advent Festivals taking place in Budapest.

    Find more events and programs on the official website of the Bazaar.

    Easter Festival, 15-16-17. April 2017

    Entry: free

    • Concerts,
    • folk dance performances,
    • family programs,
    • traditional egg painting
    • arts and crafts worksshops
    • await visitors to the bazaar for 3 days at Easter.

    See detailed program of the Easter Festival at the Castle Bazaar.

    Summer Dance Evenings, 20 – 31. July, 2017

    Venue: Öntöház udvar, Foundry court

    Dates in 2017: every day between 20 – 31. July, at 20.30 (Note: in case of rain the program moves to the event hall)

    Tickets: 2 800 HUF, can be bought at the ticket booth of the Hungarian National Dance Theatre (Nemzeti Táncszínház), at Ybl Miklós tér, Budapest 1013

    Ticket booth opening hours: Mon – Thurs: 10.00  – 17.00, Fri: 10.00 – 15.00 , Telephone (toll-free): 06 80 10 44 55

    Program starts at 20.30

    • Tango,
    • flamenco,
    • contemporary and
    • traditional dance shows by the Hungarian National Dance Theatre at a wonderful venue.

    Renaissance Garden

    lush green lawn and a row of flowers at Vatkert BazaarOpen: every day: 10.00-24.00

    A lush garden reminiscent of the royal gardens that used to adorn Buda Castle was created between the underground garage and the concrete top of the event hall.

    Rose trees, boxwood, around a 100 trees and plants with benches allow peaceful relaxation while you can also enjoy the wonderful city view.

    The Szárazárok (Dry Ditch) at northern end of the garden, at the foot of the escalator leading up to the Castle, has an open-air stage where concerts provide excellent entertainment on summer evenings.

    Restaurants, Cafes in Varkert

    Souvenir & Gourmet Shop

    A souvenir and gourmet shop (Mon-Sun: 9.00-22.00) opened in the former bazaar area offering mainly (overpriced) Hungarian goodies:

    • small gifts,
    • food and drink specialties (Tokaji wines, Unicum), and of course
    • paprika.

    You can also admire the wonderful panorama of Pest from the terrace of the adjacent cafe.

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