Buda Castle: a Kingdom of Many Nations

3-Hour Tour

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.

Tour Details
Price

Private tours – $240 USD (1-10 persons)
*your guide all to yourself

 

Small groups – $45 USD per person
*still intimate with 8 persons or less


Departure time

Private tours daily at 10 AM and 2 PM

 

Small groups

  • Tuesday 10 AM
  • Thursday 2 PM
  • Saturday 10 AM
  • Sunday 2 PM

Meeting point

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)

Click here to see map

Availability

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

Duration

3 hours


Group size

Private tours: 1-10 persons
Groups of over 10 should contact us at info@insightcities.com in order to get a special rate for their party.

 

Small groups: 2-8 persons


Participation requirements

As this is a walking tour, please contact us if you have any mobility issues or concerns


Not included

Matthias Church Tickets:

  • Adults: 1500Ft
  • Students & seniors: 1000Ft

 

Fisherman’s Bastion Tickets:

  • Adults: 800Ft
  • Students & seniors: 400Ft

What to bring
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Cash or credit card for the entrance fee

About your guide

Read about our Budapest guides


Cancellation policy

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

Panorama of Budapest from the Buda castle

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.

colourful tiles in geometric patternWalking 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.

white church with colourful tilesA 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.

ornate gate with statues litup at nightAlong 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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