Suggested Itineraries- Shorter & Longer Versions
Buda Castle sits on the Castle Hill on the Buda side of the Danube in district I.
It is one of the oldest part of 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.Quick Links: Brief History – Getting There – Map of the Itineraries – Part 1: A Short Walk – Part 2: A More In-Depth Walk in Budapest Castle
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 the Castle district. 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.
Read more about the history of Budapest.
You can get to the Castle Hill by the Funicular (Sikló) from Clark Ádám tér at the Buda bridghead of the Chain Bridge. The track is almost 100 m long.
Operating hours: 7.30-22.00 daily. The funicular runs constantly during peak time, and at max 10-minute intervals during less busy periods
- Upwards: 1 200 HUF/adult, 700 for children (between 3-14 years of age)
- Return ticket 1 800 HUF, for kids between 3-14 years of age: 1 100 HUF
- Children under 3 and people with disabilities can travel on the cable car free of charge.
You can also get there by the Várbusz (Castle bus: no. 16 and 16A), that departs every few minutes from Széll Kálmán tér (formerly called Moszkva tér) (M2, red metro line, or tram 4,6).
If you feel like exercising, take the steps running along the side of the hill and starting from Clark Adam Square.
Includes the Most Important Sights
On this short route you can explore the most notable 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.
Opening Hours: 10.00-17.00 every day, tours start at every hour, max 15 persons can go up. Admission: full price: 1400 HUF, students/retirees: 600 HUF, free for children under 6 years of age.
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.
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 the 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.
Find out about more Jewish monuments in Budapest.
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.
The house at No. 28. in Országház utca used to be the cloister of the Order of the Poor Clares. Later the building was rebuilt in Baroque style and the national diet was held here at the end of the 18. century, hence the name of the street.
The beautiful hall was once a place for grand balls. Today concerts and congresses are held here. The triple of buildings at No. 18-20-22 are great gems of medieval architecture with Gothic archs, painted and sgraffito-adorned facade.
Restaurant Tip: Baltazár Grill Bar, Wine Bar and Hotel (Országház utca 31.): a cool new place that opened in June 2013: gourmet street food, tapas, bread pizza (kenyérlángos) and fine local wines.
It is also a luxury boutique hotel with 11 rooms. Fine accommodation, food and drinks in a historic district.
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, children under 12: 600 HUF
A cave system 10-15 m under the ground with gothic and Ottoman stone monuments, and photo exhibits that you can view on tours.
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.Related: Buda Castle – Várkert Bazaar – More Walking Tours – Some Unique Tours – City and District Maps – Tour of North Buda – Kazinczy Street – Hidden Places