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Buda Castle - Budapest

Buda Castle: Budapest’s former royal palace

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Nestled in the Castle Quarter (Várnegyed in Hungarian), Buda Castle (formerly known as the Royal Palace or the Royal Castle) is high on the list of the most iconic monuments of Budapest!

Follow the guide!

Accommodation, flights, activities, citypass …
You’ll find all the Captain’s suggestions in the section
Captain Ulysses’ favourites at the very end of the article!

🤩 Top activities in Budapest 🤩

Brief history of Buda Castle in Budapest

Construction of Buda Castle began in the 13 th century, during the reign of King Béla IV of Hungary. In the following century, King Sigismund of Luxembourg enlarged the palace and consolidated its fortifications.

In the 15 th century, King Matthias I ordered the construction of a Renaissance palace adjacent to the already existing castle.

In the 16 th and 17 th centuries, Buda Castle was damaged on several occasions and almost completely destroyed during the wars with the Ottoman Empire and later the House of Habsburg.

The palace was entirely rebuilt in the Baroque style in the 18 th century, during the reign of Queen Maria Theresa of Austria, and briefly converted into a university before becoming the residence of the Palatines (the highest dignitary in the kingdom after the king).

During the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, Buda Castle was destroyed in a fire. It was subsequently rebuilt (again), this time in the neoclassical style.

But during World War II, Buda Castle was destroyed yet again. It was rebuilt in the 1960s, but the reconstruction is now highly criticized by specialists. New renovations are on the agenda to correct the mistakes made in the 1960s and restore Buda Castle to its former glory!

Buda Castle - Budapest

Visiting Buda Castle

Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed inside the castle. That being said, the castle is still worth taking a look at!

Here are the must-sees in and around Buda Castle !

👉 The Turul: this huge bronze statue represents a bird perched on the portal of Buda Castle, facing the Danube. In Hungarian mythology, the Turul is a mythical bird similar to an eagle or a falcon. According to legend, the Turul led the Magyar people (the ancestors of the Hungarians) to the Carpathian basin where they settled.

Buda Castle - Budapest - Turul
Turul | Buda Castle

👉 The equestrian statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy : opposite the main entrance of Buda Castle, don’t miss the imposing statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy. He was one of the greatest generals of his time, famous for his remarkable feats in the war opposing the Ottoman Empire and the Austrian armies. Designed by Hungarian artist József Róna, the statue was originally commissioned by the city of Zenta, Serbia. As the town could not afford the price, the statue was bought by the city of Budapest.

Buda Castle - Budapest - Matthias Fountain
Matthias Fountain | Buda Castle

👉 Matthias Fountain : located in the western courtyard of Buda Castle, this monumental neo-baroque fountain is the work of famous Hungarian sculptor Alajos Stróbl. The fountain represents a hunting party led by King Matthias I, represented bow in hand, a dead deer at his feet.

👉 The Lion Gate : at the entrance of the Lions Court, two pairs of lions guard the immense portal. On the outer side of the gate, the lions seem calm and dignified while on the inner side, they look undoubtedly threatening.

👉 Széchenyi National Library : Buda Castle is home to the Széchenyi National Library, created in 1802 by Count Ferenc Széchényi who offered the Hungarian nation his own collection of rare and precious books. The library contains books who initially belonged to King Matthias I in the 15 th century.

👉 Budapest History Museum : nestled in Buda Castle, the History Museum documents the history of the capital. But if you’re interested in finding out more about the country’s history, Captain Ulysses recommends visiting the Hungarian National Museum instead.

👉 The Hungarian National Gallery : unlike the Budapest History Museum, the Hungarian National Gallery (not to be confused with the Hungarian National Museum) is one of the most beautiful museums in the city. It is a must-see for art lovers!
Find out more in Captain Ulysses’ detailed article: the Hungarian National Gallery.


Getting to Buda Castle

Located on the Castle Hill, a few steps from the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Buda Castle is quite easily accessible. The closest public transports are:

  • the funicular
  • buses: Dísz tér stop (lines 16, 16A and 116)

Hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses also stop at Buda Castle. They’re very handy to navigate between the top sites and monuments in the capital.

Buda Castle opening hours

The museums inside the palace are open every day of the week except on Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the Budapest History Museum from November to February).


Guests can freely explore the exterior of the castle. If you wish, it is also possible to opt for a guided tour of the surroundings of Buda Castle to find out more about the rich history of the former royal palace.

👉Find out more about rates and availability: guided tour of Buda Castle.

👍 The Captain’s tip 👍
Captain Ulysses highly recommends this Budapest free tour.
You’re free to choose how much you want to tip the tour guide at the end of the tour!

The Captain’s favourites in Budapest

If you’re looking for an accommodation in Budapest, Captain Ulysses highly recommends Booking.com . You’ll find a wide choice of hotels, hostels and apartments in the Hungarian capital.
If your budget is tight, the Captain particularly recommends theAvenue Hostel .
If you’re looking for a midscale option, the Captain recommends three aparthotels in particular: Hedonist Lodge , Dolce Vita Rumbach and Tempo Life Apartman .
And if you want to treat yourself to a really nice hotel, why not splurge on a stay at Hotel Moments Budapest ?

As for booking visits and tourist activities, Captain Ulysses recommends three websites: GetYourGuide , Tiqets and Civitatis . Guided tours, cruises, skip-the-line tickets, tourist activities… there’s plenty to choose from!

If you are staying in Budapest for several days, you might want to consider investing in the Budapest Card. It includes free public transport, free entrance to the Lukacs Spa, two guided tours, free entrance to 17 museums, as well as numerous discounts.

Budapest airport is located about twenty kilometers from the city. If you want to take a load off your mind, you can book a private transfer into Budapest’s city centre from the airport. A car will be waiting to take you to your accommodation in the city. Find out more: shared transfer or private transfer.

Budapest’s public transport system is well-developped and quite easy to navigate: metro, bus, tram and even ferry. If you wish, you can also opt for a hop-on hop-off bus tour which stops at all the top tourist attractions in Budapest (audio guide included). Otherwise, there’s always the good old local ways of getting around the city: in a russian jeep or a Trabant.

Captain Ulysses highly recommends booking your flights on Skyscanner. The website allows you to compare countless flights to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible.

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