Located in the former municipality of Pest, the Hungarian National Museum ( Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum in Hungarian) documents the turbulent history of the country, from prehistory to present day. Captain Ulysses highly recommends visiting the museum to better understand the country’s complex history and identity!
⚠️: do not confuse the Hungarian National Museum with the Hungarian National Gallery, located in Buda Castle, which exhibits the largest collection of Hungarian art in the country.
💡 The Captain’s tip 💡
Want to know more about the history of Budapest? Captain Ulysses highly recommends this free guided tour of the city. It’s up to you to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide!
Are you looking for a hotel in Budapest? Be sure to check out the Captain’s article: Where to stay in Budapest? Advice & recommendations
Planning your trip to Budapest? Take a look the Captain’s detailed article on the best things to do: A Guide to Budapest
Brief history of the Hungarian National Museum
In 1808, the Hungarian National Assembly voted in favour of the construction of the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest.
At the end of the 1830s, the Hungarian Parliament entrusted the construction works to Hungarian architect Mihály Pollack. The building was inaugurated 10 years later: in 1846-1847, the museum (as well as the Széchényi National Library) was transferred to its brand new neo-classical location.
In 1848, the museum played a major role in the Hungarian Revolution. It is indeed on the building’s front steps that nationalist poet Sándor Petőfi recited his famous poem Nemzeti dal (“National Song”) as well as the 12 points of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution, thus launching the popular uprising against the House of Habsburg.
Even today, the Museum remains a strong symbol of freedom and independance: each year, Hungarians meet in front of the Hungarian National Museum to commemorate the revolution of 1848.
🤓 Recommendation 🤓
Let’s be honnest, Hungarian history is not something that most visitors know much about. That’s why Captain Ulysses recommends visiting the Hungarian National Museumat the very beginning of your stay in Budapest so you’ll have the country’s history in mind when you later explore the capital!
Visiting the Hungarian National Museum
Nestled in the district of Józsefváros, the Hungarian National Museum is worth a visit both for its neo-classical architecture and for its collections.
The architecture of the Hungarian National Museum
Built between 1837 and 1847 by Austro-Hungarian architect Mihály Pollack, the Hungarian National Museum is an imposing neoclassical building resembling an ancient temple, with pediment and columns.
At the entrance, statues of revolutionary poets János Arany and Sándor Petőfi commemorate the Revolution of 1848.
The interior of the museum is just as spectacular as its facade, especially the grand staircase, adorned with paintings of famous Hungarian artists Károly Lotz and Mór Than.
The museum’s beautiful gardens, where concerts are regularly held, are also worth taking a look at. National virtuoso Franz Liszt peformed on several occasions in this stunning setting in the 19 th century.
The collections of the Hungarian National Museum
The Hungarian National Museum documents the country’s history from prehistoric times to the Communist regime. In each room of the museum, the decoration and museography reflect the historical period presented.
The museum is divided into two main sections:
👉 on the ground floor , the museum traces the history of the region from prehistoric times to the domination of the Avars (Mongolian nomadic horsemen) which ended at the beginning of the 9th century
👉 first floor , the museum presents the history of the country from the beginning of the 9th century to the end of the Communist regime in Hungary. Visitors are invited to travel back in time and discover the history of the Árpád dynasty, the Turkish occupation, Transylvania and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Among the pieces and relics on display, be sure to take a look at theHungarian Coronation Mantle. and the Roman stone inscriptions and carvings.
🤓 Captain Ulysses’ recommendation 🤓
The history of Hungary is dense and complex and it can be somewhat difficult to navigate! But a visit to the museum will help you better understand the Hungarian identity and light up your visit to Budapest!
Getting to the Hungarian National Museum
Located in the former municipality of Pest, in the district of Józsefváros, the Hungarian National Museum is very well served by public transport:
|Metro||Kálvin tér station||Line M3|
|Tram||Kálvin tér stop||Lines 47 and 49|
|Bus||Kálvin tér stop||Lines 8, 9, 15, 109 and 115|
|Trolley-bus||Kálvin tér stop||Line 83|
Hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses also stop near the Hungarian National Museum. They’re quite a practical option when it comes to getting around the city.
👉 More info here.
The museum is open every day from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is however closed on Mondays.
Entrance to the Museum is included in the Budapest Card. Otherwise, the entrance rates are:
|Visitors aged 6 to 26 and visitors over 62 who are members of the EU||1300 ft|
|Children under 6 and visitors over 70||Free of charge|
👉 Skip the lines: book your tickets and visits in advance!
👉 Looking for tips and recommendations? Here are all of Captain Ulysses’ suggestions!
🛏️ Accommodation: if you’re looking for an accommodation in Budapest, Captain Ulysses highly recommends Expedia. You’ll find a wide choice of hotels, hostels and apartments in the Hungarian capital. The Captain recommends in particular:
– tight budget: Avenue Hostel
– intermediate budget: Agape Apartments
– to treat yourself: Hotel Moments Budapest
🎟️ Activities: 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!
🎫 Citypass: 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.
🚐 Transfers: 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: airport transfer.
🚌Transport in Budapest: 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 Rome (audio guide included). Otherwise, there’s always the good old local ways of getting around the city: in a russian jeep or a Trabant.
✈️ Flights: Captain Ulysses highly recommends booking your flights on Skyscanner. You’ll be able to compare countless offers to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible.