Veronika was amazing! This was the second tour we took with Veronika (she also gave us a tour of Communist Budapest), and on both occasions she was extremely knowledgable, kind and well informed . She shared tremendous insight and knowledge about Budapest’s history, was very well organized, thoughtful and even took us to fascinating places like an archeological dig or gallery we would not have found on our own. We were so grateful to have taken these tours with Veronika. They were the highlight of our trip!
Buda Castle: a Kingdom of Many Nations
UNESCO World-Heritage Site
Presidential Palace, Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church, Castle District, Vienna Gate
We start our Buda Castle District tour at the Palace, the ancient seat of royal power. It was rebuilt, extended, changed, burned down, and rebuilt again several times over, getting its current eclectic appearances only after World War II. The first to build on Castle Hill was King Béla IV. He erected a fortress on this spot around 1250 after a devastating invasion by Mongolian hordes. Renaissance King Matthias made it into the most famous court in Europe at the end of the 15th century. Then came the Turkish pashas who ruled the country from here for over 150 years, followed by a succession of Habsburg emperors. Your historian guide helps you discover these regimes and what their major monuments at the Castle tell us about Hungary’s fascinating, multinational past and present.
Begin at the commanding Palace, a symbol of royalty and rebirth throughout Hungary’s history.
Explore the magnificent Matthias Church with its lavish roof decoration and interior, and the romantic Fisherman’s Bastion with unrivaled views over Pest cityscape and the rolling Danube river below.
Stroll through the cobbled streets and baroque facades of the Castle Hill residential district, lovingly rebuilt when Habsburg-led troops retook it from the Turks in 1686 and again after the Russians crushed Nazi troops there in 1945.
Visit the house of an 18th-century pharmacist’s family, reflecting on everyday life in the Castle District.
End at the Vienna Gate with sweeping views to Óbuda (Old Buda) where the Romans founded the city, then named Aquincum.
Private tours – $240 USD (1-10 persons)
*your guide all to yourself
Small groups – $55 USD per person
*still intimate with 8 persons or less
Private tours daily at 10 AM and 2 PM
- Tuesday 10 AM
- Thursday 2 PM
- Saturday 10 AM
- Sunday 2 PM
Private tours include a pick-up at your central hotel or flat
Small groups: Baltazár Hotel and Café, Országház utca 31, 1014 Budapest (50m from the first bus stop on Castle Hill, which is on the Bécsi kapu tér)
Year-round, except block-out dates:
- No morning tours on the 24th of Dec (but we can offer afternoon tours)
- No morning tours on the 25th and 26th of December
Private tours: 1-10 persons
Groups of over 10 should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get a special rate for their party.
Small groups: 2-8 persons
As this is a walking tour, please contact us if you have any mobility issues or concerns
Matthias Church Tickets:
- Adults: 2500Ft
- Students & seniors: 1900Ft
Fisherman’s Bastion Tickets:
- Adults: 1000Ft
- Students & seniors: 500Ft
What to bring
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Cash or credit card for the entrance fee
About your guide
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For cancellations 72 hours prior to your scheduled tour, Insight Cities offers a full refund. We cannot refund cancellations within 72 hours of a scheduled tour as we need to pay our guide.
Overview of Your Tour
Two buildings stand out on Castle Hill, the oldest part of Budapest that is known for its narrow and cobbled streets and its baroque and gothic facades. The first is the massive and imposing palace on the southern tip of the hill and the second is the colored roof of Matthias Church in the middle, with its soaring steeple pointing towards the heavens.
We start our Buda Castle District tour at the palace, the ancient seat of royal power. It was rebuilt, extended, changed, burned down, and rebuilt again several times over, getting its current eclectic appearances only after World War II. The first to build on Castle Hill was King Béla IV. He erected a fortress on this spot around 1250 after a devastating invasion by Mongolian hordes. Renaissance King Matthias made it into the most famous court in Europe at the end of the 15th century. Then came the Turkish pashas who ruled the country from here for over 150 years, followed by a succession of Habsburg emperors.
Walking past the Presidential Palace and the National Dance Theatre, we enter the Castle Hill residential district. The modern wars suffered by Hungary did not go unnoticed here. This part of town was also completely destroyed at least twice: once when Habsburg-led troops retook it from the Turks in 1686, and again when the Russians crushed the besieged troops of Nazi Germany in 1945. It was lovingly rebuilt in the 1950s and 60s.
A highlight of the tour is Matthias Church with its abundantly decorated roof and amazing interior. In many ways, this church is not what it seems: to begin with, it is not old. In fact, it is a very finely executed neo-gothic reconstruction fantasy from the end of the 19th century, as is the romantic Fisherman’s Bastion at its feet. Nevertheless, it is a strikingly beautiful building, which served the various 19th-century cultures that populated it: majority German, but also Serbs, Hungarians, Turks, and Jews. The remnants of a Middle Age synagogue and a monument for the last Turkish Pasha who ruled Buda still bear witness to that multi-ethnic past.
Along the way, you’ll also pass numerous town palaces and visit one of them, the house of an 18th-century pharmacist’s family. Here, you can also see the extensive damage caused by the siege of Buda in the first months of 1945, when German troops and their allies were hiding out in the cellars and caves under Castle Hill. We drop by the hidden garden of an interesting gallery, see two wooden hussars and the stone statue of a hussar who conquered Berlin (if only for a few days), and see a drainage pipe that has links with the Cold War. You’ll also hear about the mythical Turul bird, the genius baron and his amazing chess machine, and the reason why the bells of Catholic churches chime routinely at midday. Our tour ends at the Vienna Gate, from where you can see all the way to Óbuda (Old Buda), where the Romans founded the city then called Aquincum.
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See What Our Guests are Saying
We had a great time on the Buda castle tour. Our guide, Tamas, was an excellent tour guide. With his knowledge, jokes, and energy, the tour was very interesting and easy to follow.
We did the Downtown Pest tour with Andras a few days ago. He is extremely articulate and knowledgeable. And very flexible–he will tailor the tour to your particular interests. This was a great introduction to Budapest, its history and politics. Andras even took us on the metro for part of the tour and taught us how to get a pass, etc. If you like scholarly, in-depth tours, then you will like Insight Cities tours. Highly recommend Andras and Insight Cities tours.