Buda Castle – walking tours, tickets, prices, Buda Castle District attractions

Buda Castle in Budapest

Buda Castle is the centerpiece of Budapest Castle District and has historical monuments, Museums, and stunning views all around. 

It is one of Hungary’s most magnificent symbols and was earlier known as the Royal Castle because the Hungarian Kings and Queens lived there. 

The Buda Castle also houses the Budapest History Museum, the Hungarian National Gallery, and National Széchényi Library.

In this article, we tell you everything you must know before visiting Buda Castle in Budapest.

1. Buda Castle vs. Castle District
2. How to reach
3. Buda Castle Funicular
4. Opening hours
5. Buda Castle tours
6. Things to see in Buda Castle
7. Attractions in Buda Castle District

Where is Buda Castle located

The city of Budapest is made up of two parts – Pest, which is flat and more modern, and Buda, which is hilly terrain and historical.

The massive limestone plateau on which Buda sits is called ‘Castle Hill,’ and it is home to most of the old world attractions in Budapest, including the Buda Castle.

From its vantage point, Buda Castle offers panoramic views over Pest and the river Danube. 

Buda Castle vs. Castle District vs. Buda Castle Hill

Many visitors get confused with these three terms because they used interchangeably. 

Buda Castle refers to the Royal Palace of the Hungarian Kings at the southern end of the Castle Hill. 

Around Buda Castle are many other historical sights, all of which are within a walled area, known as the Castle district. 

As for Buda Castle Hill, that’s just another name for ‘Castle Hill.’ 

Download this map to better understand Buda Castle District and its attractions including the Buda Castle. Courtesy: Nathan Hamilton


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How to reach Buda Castle

Despite the elevated location of Buda Castle, it is easily accessible on foot or public transport.

Walking to Buda Castle

Once you decide to walk to the castle, you must choose between one of the two available routes – 

Gentle Hill Walk 

First you must reach Szell Kalman Square (locally known as Széll Kálmán Tér) and then start your walk towards the Castle. 

You can cover the distance of 2.3 Kms (1.4 Miles) in approximately 30 minutes.

On the way, you will pass by the Vienna Gate (Becsi Kapu), the National Archives, Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, and the Presidential Palace.

Steep Hill Walk

Since on this route, you gain an elevation of 45 meters (147 feet) quickly, we recommend this only if you are healthy.

This walk starts from the Chain Bridge, at Clark Adam Square, via the stairs leading up next to the Funicular.

Most visitors can walk the distance of 550 meters (one-third of a mile) in approximately ten minutes.

Most tourists who prefer walking opt for a Buda Castle walking tour.

Buda Castle Funicular

Buda Castle Funicular
Image: Budacastlebudapest.com

The Buda Castle Hill Funicular is an exciting way to get to the Castle, especially if you are traveling with kids or seniors. 

The Funicular runs on a 95-meter (311 feet) route of 50 meters elevation and has two tram cars. 

It only has two stations – the lower station at the Buda end of the Chain Bridge (at Clark Adam Square) and the upper station on Castle Hill, right next to the Buda Castle. 

The Buda Funicular service starts at 7.30 and ends at 10 pm, every day of the week. 

However, every alternate Monday, they close for maintenance (schedule).

The duration of the ride is only a few minutes, and the frequency is every 10 minutes up and down the Castle Hill.

Expect long lines during peak tourist seasons, which may result in waiting times of up to 30 minutes.

The Funicular ride up to Buda Castle costs Ft 1,200 (3.4 Euros) with a small discount if you buy a return ticket.

Bus to Buda Castle

If you are arriving from the Pest side (City Center), opt for Bus No. 16 from Deak Ferenc Square

After six stops and 11 minutes, you will get dropped near Buda Castle.

If you are trying to get to the Budapest castle from Buda’s side, opt for Bus No. 16, 16A, or 116 from Szell Kalman Square.

After six minutes and five stops, you must get down at Dísz Tér.  

A quick ten minutes walk will get you to Buda Castle.


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Buda Castle hours

The Buda Castle houses the National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum, both of which open from 10 am to 6 pm, every day from Tuesday to Sunday. 

Mondays, all attractions in the Castle remain closed. 

Budapest History Museum alters its timings slightly during the lean months of November to February when it closes early at 4 pm. 

Opening hours of Buda Castle District

Buda Castle district, which includes the streets, courts, and even some points of interest such as the Fisherman’s Bastion, remains open all through the day. 

This is why some visitors reach the Buda Castle hilltop, for romantic late night or early morning walks. 

Note: Some of the restaurants and bars in Castle hilltop stay open till midnight. 


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Buda Castle tours

There are many ways to tour Buda Castle. 

Some tourists spend the whole day at the Castle Hill exploring the various attractions while some others visit for an hour, as part of their Budapest City tour. 

Some prefer a walking tour, while others opt to go around in the official Buda Castle Electric Hop-on Hop-off bus

We list below the most popular Buda Castle tours –

1. Walking Tour of Buda Castle with a historian

With a trained historian accompanying you, this is a perfect Buda Castle tour for a history buff and those who love stories. 

You will explore the whole Buda Castle District, including the Royal Palace, Savoy Terrace, Matthias Fountain, Palace Gardens, Alexander Palace, the Hungarian Presidential Palace, Matthias Church, etc.

Entry to Mathias Church is part of this tour.

Tour starting time: 10 am
Duration: 3 hours
Guide: Yes
Meeting Point: Holy Trinity Square, Szentháromság tér, Castle District (Google Map)

Cancellation: Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the activity starts

Ticket price (10+ years): Ft 15,475

*If you want the same walking tour but can’t make it early, check out this tour, which starts at 3 pm.

2. Walking Tour of Buda and Pest

If you want to explore both the Buda region and the Pest region of the city of Budapest, look no further than this tour. 

As part of this tour, you will see the main sights of Buda and Pest, such as the Royal Palace, Buda Castle, Chain Bridge, Danube Promenade, Saint Stephen’s Basilica, Szechenyi Square, etc. 

Tour starting time: 10 am
Duration: 3 hours
Guide: Yes
Meeting Point: Budapest, Sütő Utca 2 – in front of Budapest Central Tourist Information Office (Google Map)

Cancellation: Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the activity starts

Ticket price

1 Tourist: Ft 25,791
2 Tourists: Ft 39,547
3 Tourists: Ft 39,547
4 Tourists: Ft 39,547

*If you are a group of around six visitors, try out this Castle tour.

3. Evening tour of Buda Castle: History & Myths

This walking tour of Buda Castle is available only on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

You get a Gothic-adorned narrator who takes you around the Buda Castle and tells you stories of war, medieval Budapest, vampires, and folk stories from Hungary.

You also get to learn about the cruelty of Elizabeth Bathory, the bloody countess and Romanian prince, Vlad Dracula who ended up in the prison of Buda Castle.

Tour starting time: 8.15 pm, 8.30 pm
Duration: 2 hours
Guide: Yes
Meeting Point: At the Zero Kilometer Stone located by the funicular below Buda Castle (Google Map)

Cancellation: Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the activity starts

We won’t recommend this tour for kids below 12, but you can bring along kids five years and above.

Ticket price

Adult ticket (18+ years): Ft 7,565
Youth ticket (12 to 17 years): Ft 6,534
Child (5 to 11 years): Ft 4,471

Budapest city tour including Buda Castle

During this coach tour, you visit the three highlights of Budapest – Buda’s Castle District for a leisurely walk, Gellért Hill to take in spectacular views of the city, and Heroes’ Square in central Pest to see the statues of Hungarian kings and dukes.

When in the Castle District, you will take a short walk to explore the attractions such as Matthias Church and the Fishermen’s Bastion. 

Tour starting time: 10 am, 2.30 pm
Duration: 3 hours
Guide: Yes
Meeting Point: Cityrama & Gray Line Travel Agency, Báthory Utca 19, Budapest 1054 (5th district, close to the Parliament). (Google Map)

Cancellation: Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the activity starts

Ticket prices

Adult ticket (13+ years): Ft 8,597
Child ticket (less than 12 years): Ft 4,299

*The Grand City Tour and Castle Walk tour is very similar to the one described above, just that it also includes pick up and drop from your hotel. 

Buda Castle Private Walking Tour

Best for a group of up to ten tourists

If money isn’t a concern, but you want high quality touring experience with VIP treatment, you must opt for this Buda Castle tour.

A private guide accompanies you from your hotel to the UNESCO World Heritage site and spends three hours narrating stories of Buda Castle and the Castle District. 

Visits to Matthias Church and the Fishermen’s Bastion are also part of this tour. 

Tour starting time: 9 am, 10 am, 11 am, 12 noon, 1 pm, 2 pm
Duration: 3 hours
Guide: Yes
Meeting Point: The Guide will pick you up from your hotel

Cancellation: Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the activity starts

Ticket prices: Ft 27,511 for a group of up to ten tourists

If you prefer your guide speaking in Spanish, opt for this walking tour.


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Things to see in Buda Castle

The Buda Castle houses three attractions – the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum and the Széchenyi National Library.

Most visitors to Buda Castle skip the Library, because….it is a library. 

These three institutions occupy all areas of the Castle – no space in the Castle building is ‘Castle only.’

In short, inside the Buda Castle, one can only visit the Museum, Gallery, or the Library. 

However, in the Buda Castle District (the walled area around the Castle), there are lots of other points of interest. 

We explain all of them below – 

1. Buda Castle

Known by many names such as the Royal Castle, Castle Palace, Budavári Palota, etc. this massive building is an 18th-century Neo-Baroque-style structure.

The 200 plus rooms form a symmetrical layout around the 62-meter-high central dome facing River Danube.

2. Buda Castle Change of Guard

The changing of the Guards is one of the Buda Castle attractions most visitors try to witness. 

The ceremony happens in front of Sandor Palota (also known as Alexander Palace), which is by the Funicular in the Buda Castle District.

Sandor Palota is also the official residence of the Hungarian President.

The Buda Castle Changing of the Guards ceremony is a few minutes long and involves a lot of marching, spinning of the rifles, saluting, drums, etc. 

Ceremony timings: 9 am to 5 pm, every hour by the hour (e.g., 10 am, 11 am, … 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm). If you plan to catch the 9 am ceremony, it is better to arrive 15-20 minutes early for a vantage position. 

3. Hungarian National Gallery

The Hungarian National Gallery, also referred to as Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, is in the main wing of Buda Castle facing the Danube. 

The Gallery showcases Hungarian sculpture and painting from the time of the Magyar invasion in the 9th century to the much more artistically productive 20th century. 

Besides Hungarian art, collections of international masterpieces are also on display. 

Don’t miss out on the sculptures and panel paintings from the medieval and Renaissance periods and the Baroque works.

From May to October, visitors can also go up on the Dome Terrace for stunning views of the Pest side of the city and the river Danube. 

Opening hours: From Monday to Friday, the Hungarian National Gallery opens at 10 am and closes at 6 pm. On Monday, it remains closed. The last entry is at 5 pm. 

4. Budapest History Museum

Hungarian National Museum interiors
Image: Ttnotes.com

The History Museum is spread over four floors in the south wing of Buda Castle.

Locally known as Budapesti Történeti Múzeum, this Budapest attraction displays artifacts and exhibits about Hungary’s long and rich history. 

Don’t miss out on the rare documents, ceramics, metalwork, textile samples, utensils, etc. which depict life in the towns of Buda, Pest, and Obuda till their unification in 1872.

The other highlights of the Budapest History Museum are Renaissance Room, Gothic Room, The Royal Chapel, etc. 

Opening hours: From Monday to Friday, the Budapest History Museum opens at 10 am and closes at 6 pm. On Monday, it remains closed. The last entry is at 5 pm. 

5. Széchenyi National Library

The massive Széchenyi National Library occupies the southwest wing of Buda Castle since 1985. 

This National library contains more than six million documents, with an emphasis on Hungarian manuscripts and maps. 

Most tourists skip this attraction because it is….a library. 


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Attractions in Buda Castle District

The walled area around the Buda Castle, also known as the Castle District is a tourist’s paradise with lots to do and see. 

We list out some of the best – 

Fisherman’s Bastion

Fisherman's Bastion Budapest
Image: Ancient-origins.net

Fisherman’s Bastion is locally referred to as Halászbástya and is right behind the Matthias Church.

These are highly decorated towers built in the 19th century to serve as a lookout over the city and River Danube. 

Its seven towers, colonnades, and embrasures were designed in Neo-Romanesque style by Frigyes Schulek. 

Opening hours: The Fisherman’s Bastion remains open all through the day, and you can visit any time you want, including holidays such as Christmas or New Year. 

Entry tickets: From Oct 15 to March 15, entry to all parts of Fisherman’s Bastion is free for all visitors. However, from March 16 to October 14, while the lower parts are free, F 1000 (approx 3.4 Euros) is charged from visitors who want to check out the upper towers and terraces between 9 am to 8 pm. Kids under six years go up for free. 

After 8 pm, no entry fee gets charged. 

Matthias Church: The Church of Our Lady

The Matthias Church (Mátyás-templom) is also known as The Church of Our Lady and got built in 1269. 

This Church is popular with tourists because despite being a Gothic Catholic church, the atmosphere is more oriental and mystically exotic – a significant change from the other Churches in Europe. 

This Roman Catholic Church even served as a mosque during the Turkish reign. 

Opening hours: From Monday to Friday, Buda Castle Hill’s Matthias Church is open from 9 am to 5 pm. On Saturday, it closes early at 1 pm, and on Sunday it opens later – at 1 pm. 

Entry tickets: The adult ticket at Matthias Church costs F 1000 (3.4 Euros), and children below six years can enter for free. This ticket also gets you access to the Museum within the Church. 

Note: If you want to enter only for the prayers, you don’t need to buy tickets. 

Old Rock Chapel

Old Rock Chapel is just behind Matthias Church.

Besides exploring the 700 years old structure, here you also get to see 3D Past, a unique 3D Hungary History cinema experience.

Opening hours: From Monday to Friday, Old Rock Chapel is open from 10 am to 6 pm. On the weekends, it opens at 1 pm and closes early at 5 pm. 

Entry tickets: All visitors taking a seat for the movie must buy a ticket worth F 1500. 

Holy Trinity Square

Holy Trinity Square (Szentháromság Tér in Hungarian) is the central square on Castle Hill.

It is an ideal meeting place for locals and visitors alike, offering 360 degrees views of the Buda Castle Hill, Buda Royal Palace, Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church, and the Old City Hall.

Do not miss out on the Holy Trinity Statue, which was built by the locals to keep the Black Plague away. 

Andrew Hess Square

The name of this famous Square is after the first printer of books in Buda-Andrew Jess.

The points of interest at this Square are – St. Nicholas Tower, Pope Innocent XI monument, and ‘Vörös sün’ (the Red Hedgehog).

Labyrinth of Buda Castle

Crowned Head at Labyrinth of Buda Castle
In 1526, the Ottoman Army defeated the Hungarian forces, and in the battle of Mohács, the Hungarian king got killed. The ‘dropping crowned head’ at the Labyrinth is a symbol of the downfall of the Hungarian kingdom. Image: Labirintus.com

Underneath Castle Hill is a complex system of natural caves and passages which the inhabitants of the area have used since the Middle Ages for many purposes.

This Labyrinth is 1000 meters long and is walkable in approximately 30 minutes.

Opening hours:  Buda Castle Labyrinth opens at 10 am and closes at 7 pm, every day. The oil lamp tour starts after 6 pm. The last entry is at 6.30 pm. 

Entry tickets: The adult ticket costs F 3000 (8.5 Euros), and kids between six to 12 years pay F 1000 (2.8 Euros). Kids younger than six years enter for free. 

Hospital in the Rock

Hospital in the Rock Budapest
This underground hospital is also referred to as the Nuclear Bunker Museum, Budapest.

Hospital in the Rock underneath the Buda Castle district is a unique attraction, and you can’t miss it.

During World War II, Castle Hill’s caves doubled up as air-raid shelter and emergency hospital. 

When the Cold War started, the hospital got fortified further to protect it from chemical and nuclear contamination.

With time, the hospital and the nuclear bunker got the name ‘Hospital in the Rock’ (Sziklakorhaz in Hungarian).

Today, it is a fascinating museum exhibiting the biggest collection of Hungarian waxwork with more than 40 figures and lots of medical equipment. 

Opening hours: Hospital in the Rock opens at 10 am and closes at 8 pm, every day. The last tour starts at 6 pm every day of the week. 

Entry tickets: The adult ticket costs F 4000 (11.3 Euros), and kids between six to 19 years pay F 2000 (5.6 Euros). Kids younger than six years enter for free. 

The House of Houdini

This small museum celebrates the fact that Houdini, the world-famous magician, and escapologist, was born in Budapest.

Inaugurated in 2016, the House of Houdini on Dísz Square exhibits Houdini’s magic-related items and personal artifacts. 

Do not miss out on the highlight – a magic show by the resident magician.

Opening hours: Hospital in the Rock opens at 10 am and closes at 8 pm, every day. The last tour starts at 6 pm every day of the week. 

Entry tickets: The House of Houdini’s adult ticket costs F 3800 (8 Euros), and kids below 11 years pay F 2000 (5.6 Euros). Kids younger than six years enter for free. 

Museum of Music History

The Museum of Music History in Buda Castle District is also referred to as the Institute for Musicology and narrates the story of music in Hungary from the 18th century to the present day.

Music concerts get conducted in the Museum at regular intervals, and access is free of charge with the museum entry.

Open hours: The Museum of Music History opens at 10 am and closes at 4 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. It remains closed on Mondays. 

Entry Tickets: The Budapest Music Museum’s adult ticket costs F 1000 (3 Euros). Kids younger than six years enter for free. 

Golden Eagle Pharmacy Museum

The Pharmacy Museum in Buda Castle District brings to life the practice of medieval Alchemy in the form of a Lab and therapeutic tools and items.

The locals refer to this tiny Museum as Aranysas Patika Muzeum.

Some of the interesting (some would use the word ‘creepy!’) items on display here are dried bats and tiny crocodiles in jars, herbs used for curing, etc. 

Open hours: The Pharmacy Museum opens at 10.30 am and closes at 6 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. It remains closed on Mondays. 

Entry Tickets: The Pharmacy Museum’s adult ticket costs F 800 (2.5 Euros). Kids younger than six years enter for free. 

Museum of Telephones

This telecommunications Museum is a hidden gem of the Buda Castle District and is right next to the Buda Castle. 

Inaugurated in 1991, this museum allows visitors to go back to the past and touch and feel the old telephonic devices. 

While exploring, don’t miss the hand-cranked magneto phones and the first-ever ‘telephone’ constructed and patented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876.

Open hours: The Museum of Telephones opens at 10 am and closes at 4 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. It remains closed on Mondays. 

Entry Tickets: The Telephone Museum’s adult ticket costs F 500 (1.5 Euros). 

Museum of Military History 

This Military Museum got established in the early 1920s to exhibit the artifacts of both global and Hungarian military history.

However, the Museum’s primary focus is the 1848–49 War of Independence and the Hungarian Royal Army.

The Museum of Military History opens at 9 am and closes at 5 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. It remains closed on Mondays.  

Open hours: The Museum of Military History opens at 9 am and closes at 5 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. It remains closed on Mondays. 

Entry Tickets: The Telephone Museum’s adult ticket costs F 1500 (4.7 Euros). 

Popular attractions in Budapest

# Gellert Spa
# Szechenyi Baths
# Budapest Parliament
# Danube River Cruise

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