Suggested Walk Tours to Discover the City
Use our itinerary maps to plan your sightseeing in Budapest. No need to pour through countless guide books and maps to decide what to include in your visit.
How to Use – Itinerary 1: Buda Castle: Part 1 (must-see), Part 2 (in-depth) – Downtown Budapest – Part 1 (Northern Part) – Part 2 (Southern Part)
How to Use the Itineraries – Map-Based Budapest Walk Tips
We created two levels for each itinerary: the first one includes all the “must see and do things”, the second is a more detailed route with some hidden sights and attractions.
- If one of the levels doesn’t appeal to you, just “untick it” from the white panel. The corresponding set of pins will disappear from the map.
- Follow the pins to see the top sights and attractions
- For more information about points of interest on your route, click the pins on the map or the points listed in the white panel.
- Use the + and – to zoom in and out.
- Grab and drag the map to see more.
- You can also change the style of the map to satellite or terrain view. Scroll to the very bottom of the white panel to “Base Map” and and click on the the drop down menu icon (located far right)
Itinerary # 1 – Explore Buda Castle
sits on Castle Hill in the Buda side of the Danube in district I. It is one of the oldest part the city though the present look is quite recent due to the many reconstructions following wars and fires.
The charming, narrow streets that start from the castle gates follow the shape of the hill.
The first fortress was established after the Mongol attack in the 13th century. Then the Royal Court of King Sigismund moved here starting the hey day of the district.
Buda developed into a thriving merchant city by the middle of the 15th century.
The 150-year Ottoman era that ended with the siege of Buda in 1686 left the district in ruins.
A Baroque city emerged in its place in the 17th century just to be besieged again in 1849 at the end of the 1848-49 Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence.
Following a reconstruction, ministries and government offices operated in Buda Castle.
The district was severely damaged again during the bombings in 1945. The following reconstruction works revealed many remains from the middle ages: house foundations, doorways, and the so-called niches the function of which is still not clear. Some say coachmen used them as resting places.
Part 1. – Must See Sights in Buda Castle
On this short route you can explore the most important monuments in the castle area:
- The center of the district is Szentháromság tér with the Holy Trinity Statue.
- From here 4 streets head to north, and two to south towards Bécsi kapu tér, and the Royal Palace.
- You can start this walk either at Pin 1, Matthias Church, or Pin 3, the Royal Palace, either way you will take a short round tour of the district’s heart finishing in the historic Ruszwurm Confectionery.
- Holy Trinity Column – Szentháromság tér: the highest point of the castle hill, The 14 m high monument was erected between 1710, and 1713 by the citizens of Buda to help prevent another plague epidemic
Part 2 – A More In-Depth Tour of Buda Castle
For a more in-depth exploration of the castle area it is best to supplement the 1. itinerary with the 2. The 2nd part is a longer walk on which you can see the most beautiful Baroque buildings, and medieval remains in the district. You can start the tour at any pin you wish.
Take your time and sit on one of the promenade benches to admire the view of the city, because from the streets you can’t do that. You can also have a coffee break in one of the quaint cafes or have lunch in the dozen or so restaurants.
Pin 1: Bécsi kapu tér (Vienna gate) – the only gate that survived the times in Buda Castle.
Take a look at the apartments built in copf-style on the western side of the square. The vast building of Hungarian National Archives stands on the southern side.
Pin 2: Take a short stroll on Táncsics Mihály Street where the most beautiful Baroque houses stand. The Lutheran Church is also here. Beethoven lived in the Endrődy palace at number 7.
Pin 3: The Medieval Jewish Prayer House is at No. 26. in Táncsics M. utca.
The Gothic house was discovered during renovation works.
Táncsics Mihály Street was where the Jewish community centered between the 14th, and 17th century. Then the current district VII. became the Jewish District of Budapest.
The prayer house is open from 1st May till 31st October Tue-Sun: 10.00-17.00, tickets: full price: 800 HUF, students, pensioners: 400 HUF.
Pin 4: If you head east you get will to Kapisztrán tér, where the Magdalen Tower rises towards the sky.
The tower is what remained of a 13th century Franciscan church.
During the Ottoman rule it was the only church where Christians services were allowed, the others were converted into mosques.
Pin 5.Tóth Árpád Promenade, also called Bástyasétány- a lovely walkway from where you can see the best panoramic views of the city.
The Savanyú leves rondella provides the best view. The promenade was constructed in the 1810s. It was very popular among the citizens of Buda. On Tuesdays and Thursdays a military band entertained the promenading crowd.
Pin 6. Országház utca – Houses at No. 18-20-22 and at 28.
Pin 7.Labyrinth, Úri utca 9. Open: every day: 10.00 – 19.00, tour by oil lamp starts at 18.00, Tickets: full price: 2 000 HUF, students, pensioners: 1 500 HUF
Pin 8.Strudel Shop in Balta-köz
The castle district has a couple of romantic side streets like the Balta-köz (according to legend the brother of King Matthias, László Hunyadi, who conspired against the king was decapitated on the small square next to the street, that’s why the name: balta which means: axe).
In reality the street owes its name to an inn called Zum Hackl, (from the owner’s name Hackl that means axe) that opened at the corner in 1860
The Rétesvár Strudel Shop stands here, where you can taste this traditional Hungarian delicacy, the strudel (filo pastry with various fillings)
Pin 9.Arany Sas Pharmacy Museum
Open: 15th March – 31st October: 10.30-18.00, 1st November – 14th March: 10.30-16.00, closed on Mondays. Tickets: full price: 500 HUF, students, pensioners: 250 HUF
Pin 10. Wine Tasting in a Historic Cellar – a superb program to end your walk in Buda castle.
The young owner of the cellar will tell you everything you want to know about Hungarian wines, and wine making.
You can choose from several tasting menus that include some of the best wines from Szekszárd, Villány, Eger, and Tokaj wine regions.
Reservation is highly recommended.
Itinerary # 2 – Downtown Budapest Walk, Discover the Heart of Pest
This route takes you to the centre of Pest on the left bank of the Danube, and you will explore downtown Budapest, the focal point of business, and cultural life.
You can divide the walk in two parts: first you can explore the northern part, between the Chain Bridge and Elizabeth Bridge.
Part 1: Northern Part of the City Centre:
Chain Bridge – Elizabeth Bridge
[highlight]Starting point:[/highlight] Széchenyi István Square – Pest bridgehead of Chain Bridge (Lánchíd).
Getting there: tram 2 or 2A Széchenyi István tér stop, or a short walk from the metro station on Vörösmarty tér or Deák tér (all three lines have a stop here).
Széchenyi Square (1.): named after Count István Széchenyi (1791-1860), the Greatest Hungarian, politician and reformer in the 19th century.
His statue stands on the square. He initiated the construction of Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2.), that stands on the north end of the square, and the Chain Bridge (3.) – Gresham Palace (Four Seasons Hotel) (4.) – an richly decorated secessionist building was once the headquarter of the British Gresham Insurance Company.
The gilded portray of the company’s name giver (and founder of the London Stock Exchange), Sir Thomas Gresham, on the facade can be seen even from the tunnel in Buda.
Walk straight on Dorottya utca and you’ll rich the heart of the city centre: Vörösmarty Square (6.).
Take a look at the Dorottya Palace (5.) at No. 6.,Dorottya utca. Designed by Mihály Pollack, the palazzo used to house a famous cafe: the Wurm Coffee House in the middle of the 19. century.
Today it is a modern luxury shop-office-apartment complex. you can have a coffee break in Cafe Dorottya (try their ice cream sold on the terrace of the cafe in summer).
Take a walk on Vörösmarty tér, the main square of the city centre, and venue for a couple of events in Budapest: the Christmas Fair, or the Festive Book Week in mid-June.
Vörösmarty tér was not always part of the city because it lies just outside of the medieval city wall that runs roughly 50 m south of the edge of the piazza.
The marble statue of the poet Mihály Vörösmarty ((1800-1855)dominates the square. Take a rest in the Gerbeaud Coffee House at the north end of the square.
At the southwestern corner stands the ultra-modern Váci 1 Shopping Centre (7.): the historic building used to housed the First Savings Bank of Pest (Pesti Első Hazai Takarékpénztár) then the Budapest Stock Exchange operated here.
It was beautifully restored by the ORCO group: the result is a historic monument from the outside, with a very imaginative interior. You can enjoy a unique view from the roof terrace.
The Váci 1 has two major tenants today: the Hardrock Cafe Budapest Restaurant and Rock Shop, and the Szamos Marcipán Gourmet House and Chocolatier.
Stroll towards the river, and take a look at the building of the refurbished Vigadó Hall, an example of Hungarian romantic architecture.
The square under the same name in front of the building used to be the city’s busiest place before the construction of the Danube bridges (the Pest end of the pontoon bridge was here).
Today the hall hosts concerts, exhibitions and other events.
Head back to Vörösmarty tér, and continue your walk to south on Váci utca, famous pedestrian shopping street of Budapest. Don’t let the dazzling array of shops and cafes you deter you from admiring the fine architecture of the historic buildings.
Since the street was already an important main road of Budapest in the 18th century, many nice apartments can be found here.
Take detours to the small side streets, and piazzas: Kristóf tér with the statue: the Fountain of the Fishmonger Girl, or the Baroque Church of St. Anne on Szervita tér are worth the effort.
The Turks used the original Johannite church that stood here since the 13th century as a great mosque from 1541.
After the recapture of the city, the Servite order built its temple here reusing the interior of the mosque-church in the 18th century. The church was completely rebuilt in 1871-74.
Continue your route behind the church on Városháza utca to see the protected building of the baroque City Hall of Pest.
It was originally a hospital for soldiers injured in the Habsburg Turkish war in 18th century.
It’s been functioning as City Hall since 1894. It’s a fine building with the small tower in the middle that used to belong to the hospital chapel.
Further down on the street you can see the County Hall of Pest.
Between the two buildings a small but idylic park with the statue of Károly Kammermayer (the first mayor of the united Buda, pest and Óbuda, 1873) invites you for a rest.
Have lunch or coffee on the terrace of the Parisian-style Gerlóczy Cafe facing the park. (2 course meal 1400 HUF, a 3 course meal 1800 HUF from Monday to Thursday, between 12.00-15.00. Live music in the evenings.
You can head back towards the Danube on Pilvax köz (the Hungarian Revolution on 15. March 1848 started in the present day Pilvax Cafe’s predecessor.
Crossing Petőfi Sándor utca on Haris köz, which is a busy pedestrian street with lots of fancy shops, you’ll reach the Pest end of Erzsébet híd on Március 15 Square, the strarting point of our Downtown Budapest Walk Part 2., you can take a rest here, admire the view of the river, and the Gellért Hill.
If you aren’t tired you can stroll down the Danube Promenade towards the Chain Bridge, but if you’ve had enough walking you can take tram 2 that has a stop here.
Part 2 Southern Part of the City Centre:
Elizabeth Bridge-Liberty Bridge (Great Market Hall)
This itinerary leads you through the southern part of Pest city centre beginning at Elizabeth Bridge om Március 15 Square, from the remains of a Roman era military camp, called Contra Aquincum.
The walk ends at the Central Market Hall at Liberty Bridge.
Pins: Contra Aquincum – now covered with a park. In 296 AD a watchtower stood in the place of the current Inner City Parish Church.
Hungarians also used it for defence when they settled down at the two banks of the Danube around 900 Ad.
The settlement developed and expanded around the tower, but it was destroyed by the Mongol invasion in 1241. The new settlement moved to the hill in Buda, today’s Castle District we explored on Itinerary 1.
The Pest city part remained a suburban area though it was a place for large fairs and the diet was also held here.
At the end of the 15th century a wall was built to surround the city. Remains of it still can be seen today in the fire wall of some buildings .
From 1541 the 150-year Turkish Rule suppressed all social and commercial life in Pest. It started to revive again at the beginning of the 17th century. In 1838 a large flood devastated most of the old buildings.
The following reconstruction spurred the fast development of Pest, leaving Buda behind. During the construction of Elizabeth Bridge (Erzsébet híd) at the turn of the 19-20. century the old city centre had to be demolished. Eclectic houses took their place along the main roads.
see more on the History of Budapest.
Inner City Parish Church – the oldest church of Budapest is a mixture of architectural styles. Its renovation was finished a couple of years ago.
The oldest foundation parts date back to the 12th century: a Roman-style church was built on the site of Bishop Gellért’s (mentor of Hungary’s first king: St. Stephen, who die) grave.
Later Gothic elements were added to the temple. During the Ottoman era it functioned as a mosque.
After a fire in 1723 it was reconstructed in Baroque style, but you can find Classicist elements inside as well.
Several kings and other important figures visited the church. Elizabeth of Hungary’s (1207-1231) betrothal was held here. Ferenc Liszt conducted his Missa Choralis on 4. February 1872 in the church.