Overview: At one time Buda and Pest were two different cities. Buda has a much longer history than Pest but both have great bragging rights even... more »
At one time Buda and Pest were two different cities. Buda has a much longer history than Pest but both have great bragging rights even... more » though they have been ravaged many times. Buda, Óbuda and Pest were united in 1873. Castle Hill (Várhegy), the Citadel (Citadella) and the Liberty Statue are good places to start when learning about the city. They are up the hill from the Danube River on the Buda side.
Plan to spend a full exploring these parts of Buda. There's a lot to see. less «
The only cars allowed are those of the residents, so forget about driving there. If you are staying on the Pest side, take the... more » funicular from the Chain Bridge to the Castle Hill District--unless you're a person who revels in an uphill challenge.
The ideal time to visit is May, June, September or October. You will avoid the crowds and the weather is pleasant. If you go between mid-March and early April, the weather can be dreary, but you will get to see the Spring Festival when musicians come from all around Europe to perform. Just don't forget your umbrella. less «
This World Heritage site will definitely awe you. Alongside its maze of cobblestone streets is a fine collection of Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic architecture. Because it faces the Danube and Pest, you will not get a more stunning view of the Hungarian Parliament. It is actually a plateau on which sits the Statue of St. Stephen, Fisherman’s... More Bastion, Matthias Church and its crown jewel the Royal Palace. The rest of its notable buildings are private residences and museums-the most striking is Hess Ándras tér/the Budapest Hilton Hotel. Part of the hotel was refashioned from a 13th century Dominican church.
TIP: Do a little exploring. Just behind Wing C is the Matthias Well (Mátyás Kútja) a multi-tiered sculpture with a waterfall, hunting dogs and King Matthias above a felled deer. The piece was done by Alajos Stobl.
This palace has had five lives. Originally built in the 13th century, it was reconstructed two hundred years later by King Matthias and then destroyed by the Turks in 1686. Between 1714 and 1723, Hapsburg empress, Maria Theresa, rebuilt it. Alas, it was damaged again during an unsuccessful 1849 attack by revolutionaries.
Like a Phoenix, it rose ... Moreagain in 1905, but not for long. The Communists turned it into rubble in 1945 during a seven-week siege. Finally restored during the 1950s, it is now a museum complex housing the Hungarian National Gallery, the Széchenyi National Library and the Budapest History Museum.Less
Located inside the Royal Palace, this museum‘s permanent exhibits include Buda’s medieval history of the fortress to the present. Visit the cellars to see the remains of the fortress and archeological finds. Cultural festivals are often staged on the grounds of the palace.
March to mid-May, September-October
Mid-May to ... Moremid-September
Located on the south end of Castle Hill
Szent Gyö tér 2, Buda
There is so much to see here that you’d better keep an eye on your watch. Over 10,000 objet d’art grace the huge center block of the Royal Palace. Hungarian art ranges from medieval religious works to 20th century pieces. And there are sculptures aplenty.Check out the work of Mihály Tivador Kosztka Csontváry,a Hungarian artist of... More whom Picasso was a great admirer.
TIP: There is English signage and commentary, but the best bet is to get a group of five or more together and pre-book an English speaking guide. The cost is 3,200 (about US$14.27).
HUF 1,200 (about US$5.36)
Located on the south end of Castle Hill in the Royal Palace
Királyi Palota entrance, Wing F,
Dísz tér 17, Buda
Phone: +36 20 4397 436 to arrange tours in English
Perched on the highest point of Castle Hill, the Matthias Church (Buda Church of Our Lady) was originally a 13th century Gothic chapel. The steeple was added in the 15th century.
During Turkish occupation from 1541 until 1686, the church became the city’s main mosque. Legend has it that during the siege of Buda in 1686, a wall in the mosque... More collapsed revealing a Gothic sculpture of the Virgin Mary. It so frightened the Turks that morale collapsed and the city reverted back to the Hungarians. The statue still stands at the door of the church that faces the river.
A reddish-brown mosaic roof crowns the dusty-white and intricate stonework of the house or worship. Its massive Szentáromság Kápolna (Trinity Chapel) is the site of royal ceremonies and contains burial crowns, rings, cross and scepters from former royalty. Check out the treasury to see monstrances, chalices and vestments.
Church and treasury: 550 HUF (about US$2.45)
Treasury only: 330 HUF (about US$1.47)
Treasury open daily 9am-5pm
Church open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9am-3:30pm, Sun 3-5pm
The church is often closed on Sat. afternoon
tér 2, Buda
Once part of the castle walls, this neo-Romanesque terrace of arches and columns supports white cone towers and offers a stunning view of the Danube, Margaret Island, Pest and the Parliament. The site served as a fish market during Medieval times, but the structure itself was built between 1895 and 1902 by tradesman. The bastion was manned by Buda... More fisherman to protect the complex.
Free, but there is a charge of 330 HUF ($1.47USD) to see the elevated tower. If the ticket office is closed, you can probably go up there for free.
District I, east of Szenthág tér., Buda
Sitting on a high pedestal, the huge, bronze statue of a man sitting on horseback, carrying a cross and wearing a halo is St. Stephen. St. Stephen is credited with bringing Christianity to Hungary, increasing Hungary’s territory and establishing the first kingdom of Hungary reigning from 1001-1038.The sculpture was created by Alajos Stróbl ... Moreand unveiled in 1906.
In front of Fisherman’s Bastion, District I, east of Szenthág tér, Buda.
By now, you have probably worked up a thirst. At the bottom of Castle Hill turn right on Láchild Street and when the road forks, continue on Döbrentei toward the Elizabeth Bridge. It is on the left side of the street and a great place to grab a beer or espresso. Nothing fancy, but a big tree shelters the outdoor tables. It’s pretty... More popular with hip Hungarians. After quenching your thirst, head over the Citadel to see the Liberty Statue and fortress.
Döbrentei, tér 2-1, Gellért-hegy and Tabán, Buda
You can take a cab from Castle Hill to Gellért Hill and have your espresso later. Be forewarned: It is a tough walk up the 761-foot high mountain-like formation but if you up to it, it is worth the effort. To walk, follow the road up from the Elizabeth Bridge.
Once a lookout point, the Citralla (Citadel) offers a stunning panorama. Inside... More is a history exhibit. At its southern edge is Hungary’s answer to the United States'Statue of Liberty, only the 130-ft-high lady holds a leaf instead of a torch. She can be seen from many parts of the city. At night, both she and the fortress are beautifully lit.
Citadella sétány, Gellért-hegy and Tabán, Buda