Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Danube riverfront, the Buda Royal Palace (Kiralyi Palota), or Buda Castle, is one of Budapest’s most photographed landmarks. The magnificent palace dates back to the 13th century, but has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times throughout history, most recently in a neo-baroque style.
The grand dome and colonnaded façade of Buda Royal Palace is impossible to miss, and most Budapest sightseeing tours will include at least a photo stop. There are numerous ways to admire the palace: Explore the Castle District on a walking or bike tour, ride the Castle Hill Funicular, or sail past the structure on a Danube River cruise.
Three of Budapest's premier museums are housed in the Royal Palace—the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum, and the National Library—while the gardens offer sweeping views down Castle Hill.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Entrance to the palace and gardens is free, but admission fees apply for each of the museums.
- Most museums and attractions are closed on Mondays.
- The cobblestone streets around the palace are steep—wear comfortable shoes for exploring.
- The museums at Buda Royal Palace are wheelchair accessible, but some areas of the gardens and grounds may not be.
How to Get There
The Royal Palace sits atop Castle Hill on the Buda side of the Danube. It’s possible to walk up from the riverside, but it’s a steep road; a far better option is to ride the Castle Funicular or take a taxi. The funicular departs from Adam Clarke Square (Clark Adam ter), located at the Buda end of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge.
When to Get There
The summer months of July and August are by far the most popular time to visit the palace—funiculars run every 10 minutes during this time but there are often queues, so make an early start to avoid waiting. During the holidays, the castle grounds hosts an atmospheric Christmas market.
Budapest’s Castle District
Set aside a morning or afternoon to explore the Castle District surrounding the palace, part of Budapest’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. A stroll around the medieval streets reveals a number of historic monuments, including the 19th-century Matthias Church, Vienna Gate, and the neo-Gothic Fisherman's Bastion. Admire the Matthias Well, a fountain with the figure of the young King Matthias as a hunter with his stag, and his beautiful beloved with her doe.