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 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).
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
In 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.
See more photos in our Facebook album.
- 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
- Guards’ Palace/Northern Palace (Testőrpalota)
- Northern bazaar – there are a gourmet shop and cafe there
- Gloriette and walk ramp
- Pavilion – looks like a triumphal, entry to the underground Event Hall
- Southern bazaar
- 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.
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.
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.
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,
- the 5000 sqm neo-Renaissance garden (a place for picnics on summer weekends) and
- a modern underground exhibition and event center.
- 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
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.
Advent Weekends 2018
Dates: on Sundays in December: 02., 09.., 16., 23. December 2018.
Entry: free to most programs, theatre performances can be attended with tickets (cc. 2 900 HUF)
The Várkert hosts a colourful series of programs on four Sundays preceding Christmas.
Families with children are very welcome to
- make holiday ornaments,
- help decorate the Christmas tree in the neo-Renaissance Garden on 23. December at 16.00,
- have fun in the playhouse or the dance house and enjoy the theatre performances.
Each Sunday a candle will light up on the wreath marking the approach of Christmas and the birth of Jesus.
Candle Lighting Ceremonies:
Location: in the Event Hall
- 02. December: 18.30,
- 09. December: 18.30
- 16. December: 18.30,
- 23. December: 18.30.
Other Programs on the Festival:
- contemporary craft fair,
- 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), 10.30 – 19.00
Advent craft workshop:
- making gifts, ornaments,
- decorating gingerbread,
- lighting the candles on the Advent wreath
Concerts, Other programs
- 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
Spring Fair of Hungarian Flavours, 03 – 04. March, 2018
Location: Event Hall
A 2-day event focusing on local farmer products and artisan food. Concerts, children programs accompany the fair where you can taste and buy:
- ham, sausages and other pork specialties
- craft cheese
- fruit preserves
- chocolate and other sweets
- pastes and spreads
- chili sauce.
15th March National Day – Family Programs
Location: Event Hall, between 10.00 – 18.00
On 15. March 2018. Hungary commemorates the 170th anniversary of 1848 Revolution. The Várkert welcomes families with concerts and craft workshops.
Programs are free.
Easter Festival, 30 – 31. March, 01. April 2018
- 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.
VinCE Wine Show, 05 – 07. April, 2018
Opening Hours: 11.00 – 22.00
Tickets: 14 000 HUF (till 28. Feb), then 16 000 HUF
The region’s biggest wine event offers the opportunity to learn and taste a wide range of local and international wines and champagnes.
Pentecost Folk Art Festival, 19 – 21. May 2018.
Opening hours: 09.00 – 21.00
The festival evoking the traditions of Pentecost welcomes everyone with concerts and other family programs.
Folk Festival, 23 -27. May 2018.
Outdoor folk music and dance performances invite you to spend time in Öntőház Court of the Castle Bazaar. See detailed program of the Budapest Folk Fest!
Street of Hungarian Flavours, 19 – 20. August 2018., 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.
Dates: every weekend in summer (till end of August 2018)
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!
Summer Dance Evenings, 20 – 31. July, 2018
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
- contemporary and
- traditional dance shows by the Hungarian National Dance Theatre at a wonderful venue.
Open: 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.
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
You can also admire the wonderful panorama of Pest from the terrace of the adjacent cafe.