Budapest Castle District Tour

Explore Hungary's former royal home in Budapest with an expert guide
From US$261 privately
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Tour Details
Duration
3 hours
Product Type
Tour
Venues
  • Fisherman's Bastion (exterior)
  • Matthias Church
  • Buda Castle
Photos & Highlights
  • Learn the history of the Castle District, from its medieval origins to the rule of the Habsburg dynasty
  • Led by a local historian
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Tour Description
During this 3-hour tour we’ll head to the Buda side of the city and immerse ourselves in one of Budapest’s oldest neighborhoods—the Castle District—and visit many of its most well-known sites, including the Matthias Church, Fisherman's Bastion and the Buda Castle, the traditional home of Hungarian monarchy. Along the way, we'll explore the history of the area from its medieval origins through the rule of the Habsburg dynasty.

Budapest Castle District Tour

First settled in the 13th century as the population sought refuge from Mongol attacks, the Castle district enjoys a strategic hill location with sweeping views of the city. The area was historically home to Buda's royal families, and during our time together, we’ll draw inspiration from their stories to weave together a narrative of the city, from the Medieval and Ottoman era through the time of the Habsburgs, Maria Theresa and Franz Joseph. Aside from Buda Castle, which has now been transformed to a complex housing the Budapest History Museum among other museums and libraries, the Castle District contains a wealth of monuments and architectural gems to fill out our understanding of Budapest's history.

A Storied Landscape

Our time together will begin with panoramic views across the Danube from watchtowers near the iconic Fisherman's Bastion. As we crisscross the hill, we’ll stop at the Matthias Church, traditionally home to Buda's German community, and the Mary Magdalene Tower, the remains of the Hungarian community's church. Provided that the liturgical calendar allows and the Matthias Church is open to visitors, we'll also enter to see the colorful, almost playful decorative motifs that fill the space. These sites illustrate the international nature of Buda and how different cultures have transformed the area and its architecture over time. Over the course of the walk, we’ll also pay visits to some of the lesser-known houses, gates, and windows throughout Castle Hill that give deeper insight into the history of the area and the notable figures who made their homes here.

Buda Castle - More Than Folklore and Fairytale

Within the Buda Castle district, we'll explore parts of the grounds like the Lion's Courtyard. As we move through various areas, we'll begin to understand how the Castle is broken apart into a complex, not as a single building, and we'll see how it can be dissected from the exterior. The castle district is loaded with symbolism and history that speak to the centuries of tribal tradition that define the Hungarian lands. We'll consider this in different corners of the complex, and we'll see how its architecture and geopolitical significance subvert our stereotypical fairytale associations with the word "castle".


By the time we finish this tour of Budapest's Castle district, we will have developed a richer understanding into the history of Buda, using the fabric of the area to delve into themes of community, politics, and religion.


For a more general introduction to Budapest we suggest our Introduction to Budapest Walking Tour. To explore more deeply the different cultures that have made Budapest home, you might consider our Jewish Quarter Budapest Tour.

FAQ

Do I need to pay any entrance fees on this walk?
You are pre-paid for entry to the Matthias Church. There may be other nominal entry costs during the tour, and it's a good idea to have some local currency on hand for these.

Do we go inside Buda Castle?
We explore the Castle from its exterior - in fact, the Castle is not one single building but a Castle complex, now housing various museums and libraries. We will go inside the Matthias Church during the tour.
Where You'll Start
(4.75) 182 Reviews

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William endured through very high temperatures. He considerately found shade whenever possible and was very attentive. Knowledgeable and excited about the history
Lovely afternoon with Greta. She was well informed and delightful to be with. We particularly appreciated her flexibility, adjusting the tour so that we didn't repeat the places we'd seen with Viking.
Daniel was very informative with interesting insights into Hungarian history, society, religion and politics. I enjoyed the tour as well as his company.