Castle Hill (Várhegy) is the medieval heart of Budapest and the centerpiece of the Buda neighborhood. Part of the Budapest UNESCO World Heritage site, the district is home to the city's big-hitter attractions, including the royal fortress of Buda Castle, Matthias Church, and the Fisherman's Bastion. Stroll through Old Town’s cobblestone streets and you’ll find a wealth of historical sites, as well as spectacular views of the the Danube River and adjacent Pest neighborhood.
The best way to explore the Castle District is on foot; take a guided walking tour to see the area’s highlights and benefit from the knowledge of an expert guide. For a more personalized experience, opt for a small-group or private tour. Or, combine a visit to Buda Castle with a Danube River dinner cruise, a hop-on hop-off bus tour of Budapest, or an evening sightseeing tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Entrance to the Castle Hill district is free, but many individual attractions charge an admission fee.
- Most museums and attractions are closed on Mondays.
- Free Wi-Fi hotspots are available in the district.
- The streets can be steep—wear comfortable shoes for exploring.
- Many of the attractions around Castle Hill are wheelchair accessible, but it’s best to organize direct transport because the cobblestone lanes can be a challenge for wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Castle Hill is located in Budapest’s Buda neighborhood, on the west bank of the Danube River. The district can be reached on foot or by a short ride on a funicular, or cable railway. The funicular departs from Adam Clarke Square (Clark Adam ter), located at the Buda end of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge.
When to Get There
Summer—especially July and August—is the most popular time to visit Castle Hill. During these months funiculars run every 10 minutes to accommodate the crowds, and it’s best to plan an early start to avoid waiting in line. Annual events such as the Festival of Folk Arts (August), the International Wine and Champagne Festival (September), and the Pálinka & Sausage Festival (October) are particularly interesting times to visit.
A Walking Tour of Castle Hill
Ride the funicular up the hilltop and stroll through the maze of cobblestone streets, stopping to admire the Golden Turul, a mythical Hungarian eagle perched atop the gates of Buda Castle. Highlights of Castle Hill include the Royal Palace (home to the Budapest History Museum, the Hungarian National Gallery, and the National Library); the 19th-century Matthias Church, located on Trinity Square; the Labyrinth, with its underground caves and cellars; and the neo-Gothic Fisherman's Bastion.