Funicular – Sándor Palace – National Dance Theatre – Holy Trinity Square – Matthias Church – Fishermen's Bastion – Hotel Hilton – Vienna Gate – Maria Magdalena Tower – Országház utca – Úri utca – Tóth Árpád sétány – Royal Palace – Funicular
Time: This walk takes about 3-4 hours. Add 1-2 hours if you plan to visit some of the museums too.
Getting to Castle Hill: Reach the top via Funicular, or take one of the numerous paths winding through lush gardens. Begin your walk at the upper station of the Funicular.
Leg 1 – Funicular to Dísz tér
Walk along Szinház utca, the first street on the right facing Szent György tér as you exit the Funicular. The first building to your right will be Sándor Palace (Sándor Palota), the President's Office, next to it stands the National Dance Theatre (Várszinház). Sándor Palace is a fine example of Classicist architecture. It was built in 1806 and converted to the Prime Minister's office in 1867. At the end of World War II, the building was severely damaged and it was in ruins until 2000, when it was decided to re-establish the Prime Minister's office in its place. In 2002, based on a Parliament ruling it became the President's Office. The National Dance Theatre was originally built as a baroque style church in 1736 and was later converted into a theatre. Szinház utca ends at Dísz tér.
Leg 2 – Dísz tér to Holy Trinity Square (Szentháromság tér)
From Dísz tér continue your walk on Tárnok utca to the Holy Trinity Column, erected in 1713. Tárnok utca is the street to your left as you leave Dísz tér. Visit the over 700-year old Matthias Church, the scene of several coronations, including that of Charles IV in 1916, the last Habsburg king. Then head over to Fishermen's Bastion for some of the best views of the city. There is free access to the lower part of Fishermen's Bastion, however you will have to pay for the view from its towers.
If you need a coffee break to keep you going, or just want to get a taste on Budapest's coffee culture, drop into Ruszwurm, one of the city's oldest Cafés, located in Szentháromság Street. You may also want to visit the House of Hungarian Wines (Magyar Borok Háza), also located on the square. There are over 500 wines on display in the cellar from the different wine regions in Hungary. The tasting fee includes a guided tour through the cellars as well as some snacks to accompany the wine tasting. The wines exhibited here are also available for sale.
Leg 3 – Szentháromság tér to Vienna Gate (Bécsi Kapu tér)
Locate the Hilton Hotel, just north of Matthias Church and see the remains of a former Dominican cloister, now part of the hotel. Walk through Hess András tér to Táncsics Mihály utca, which ends at Vienna Gate, the northern gate of Castle Hill. In the Middle Ages Bécsi kapu tér was called the 'Saturday Market'. The neo-Romanesque building towering above Bécsi kapu Square houses the National Archives.
Leg 4 – Vienna Gate (Bécsi Kapu tér) to Maria Magdalena Tower
The Maria Magdalena Tower, ruins of a 13th-century Franciscan Church, stands on the corner of Országház utca and Kapisztrán tér. Follow Petermann utca from Vienna Gate until you reach Kapisztrán tér. Along the way you will see the National Archives building on your right.
Leg 5 – Maria Magdalena Tower to Disz tér
From Maria Magdalena Tower start walking southward on Országház utca. Be sure to check out the houses located at 18, 20 and 22 Országház utca, as they date back to the 14th century. Turn right on Dárda utca and turn left on Úri utca to continue your walk. The building at 31 Úri utca has a Gothic façade that dates back to the 15th century. Take Nőegylet utca and continue your walk on Tóth Árpád sétány, south, till you end up at Dísz tér.
If you are interested in the labyrinth system situated in the caves and cellars beneath Castle Hill visit the Labyrinth of Buda Castle at Úri utca 9 or make a detour to Lovas út. The underground labyrinth served as a large shelter and hospital during World War II, but the Turks also used it back in the 16th century.
Leg 6 – Disz tér to Royal Palace
From Dísz tér you can already see the buildings of the Royal Palace. Both Szinház utca or Szent György utca will take you to the palace. The former Royal Palace is home to the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum and the National Library. Other attractions include the Lion Courtyard (guarded by lions), the Matthias Well (a bronze statue of King Matthias) and the statue of the Turul Bird (the mythological bird of the Magyars). Time permitting take a tour of the Hungarian National Gallery. Art lovers will need at least a couple of hours to view the permanent exhibits.
This is the end of the Castle Hill Walking Tour. The upper station of the Funicular, where we started our walk, is next to the Royal Palace. You can ride the Funicular or walk downhill; some stairs and walkways will lead you to the Buda end of the Chain Bridge, the first bridge to permanently connect Buda and Pest.
Places to stop for a coffee or a meal:
This guide is available as a free download (top of page). Click here for more Budapest PDF Guides.
Map of the Castle Hill Walking Tour