Budapest Castle Hill

A focal point of the city's history, Castle Hill hosts the most iconic monuments of Budapest.

TravelCurious Tip

Buda Castle hosts various festivals throughout the year, including an international wine festival, a beer festival and a folk art festival — time your visit accordingly!

Hungarians citizens moved to Castle Hill in the 13th century, seeking protection from the Mongolian invasion; the first royal castle was built around this time by Béla IV. Castle Hill really flourished in the 15th century, after the marriage of King Matthias Corvinus and Beatrix of Naples led to an influx of Italian artists and craftsmen and Buda became an influential European city. Its fortunes have been up and down since: the Turkish occupation and World War II both led to huge damage. Today it has been restored to its former glory, and is now recognised as a World Heritage Site.

The hill itself is a kilometre-long limestone plateau that towers over the Danube, offering a breathtaking panorama of the river and the Pest side of the city on the opposite bank. Below it there is a 28 kilometre-long web of caves formed by man-made passageways and thermal springs like those that fuel the city’s famous baths. Castle Hill has two main parts: the Old Town and the Royal Palace. Spread about it are many over Budapest’s most important medieval monuments and museums, including Trinity Square, Matthias Church and Fishermen’s Bastion.

The most picturesque ways to reach it are either by walking across Széchenyi Chain Bridge and taking the Sikló, a railway built in 1870 that ascends steeply from Clark Ádám tér to Szent György tér near the Royal Palace, or by walking up the Royal Steps leading northwest off Clark Ádám tér. Although people still live here, cars are banned from the area: taxis, buses and those who work or live there have permission to go up.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Budapest
St Stephen's Basilica
A neoclassical cathedral dedicated to the first Christian king of Hungary; his (alleged) right hand is housed in its reliquary.
Hungarian Parliament Building
On the bank of the Danube, this impressive building displays an eclectic mixture of architectural styles and is home to the Crown of St Stephen.
Matthias Church
The site of several historic coronations and weddings, Matthias Church has also seen its fair share of architectural controversy.
Fisherman's Bastion
Known as the Halászbástya, this stunning fin-de-siècle terrace is dedicated to the guild of fishermen who defended the city walls in the middle ages.
Buda Castle
The historical residence of Hungarian royalty, this impressive palace complex has seen a series of transformations since the mid-13th century.
Gellért Hill
Named after a saint who was rolled to his death from here in a barrel, this hill offers magnificent views of the Budapest skyline.

Related Tours

Private Walking Tour of the Buda Castle District
In this four hour walking tour, your expert local guide will take  you to some of the important historical and cultural sites of the Buda. As it was once the capital of Hungary, the Buda area of the town contains monuments that define the city’s legacy. 

  • Commence your tour on Castle Hill, which offers phenomenal panoramas of the city 
  • Visit the stunning Matthias Church 
  • Enjoy a short stop at the Fisherman's Bastion, offering stunning panoramic views
  • Explore the gardens of Buda Castle and learn about the Hungarian monarchy
  • Proceed to Gellért Hill, which again offers admirable views of the city 
  • End your tour at Gellért thermal baths, and snap photos of the intricate architecture 
Origins of Budapest

Budapest is widely considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, home to an incredible array of World Heritage Sites and stunning architecture that draws millions of tourists each year. The Danube river splits the Buda side of the city from the Pest which, having both been independent cities originally, were unified to become Budapest in 1873.  The multitude of hot springs have made the city famous for its public baths which come in a variety of architectural styles from the Turkish era to Art Nouveau. 

Panoramic Views over the City

Your private guide will begin your tour on Castle Hill, which stands more than 100m above the Danube and offers outstanding panoramas of the city. Here you will find the stunning Matthias Church dating back five centuries. The Fisherman’s Bastion is also worth your attention, a terrace with stunning views dedicated to the fisherman that defended the city walls in the middle ages. Buda castle is the historical residence of the Kings and Queens of Hungary, an imposing building that has undergone a series of transformations since the mid-13th century, and on this tour you will explore the gardens with your guide.

As you wander to Gellért Hill, enjoy yet another stunning vantage point to admire the city in all its glory. The hill was named after Saint Gerald who was thrown to his death here. Build with impressive Art Nouveau architecture dating back to the 20th century, the Gellért thermal baths are the quintessential place to spend the rest of your day. Your guide will depart with you here, so you can pop into the bath-house and enjoy Gellért at your leisure. 
The Ultimate Private Full Day Highlights Tour of Budapest
In this seven hour tour with private transport, your expert local guide will direct you to some of the most important historical and cultural sites of Budapest.

  • Commence your tour on Castle Hill, which offers phenomenal panoramas of the city 
  • Visit the Great Synagogue, Europe’s biggest place of worship for the Jewish faith 
  • Stroll the leafy Andrássy út boulevard, passing by the Hungarian National Opera House 
  • Enjoy the buzz of Pest, a vibrant cultural hub on the eastern banks of the Danube
  • Discover the significance of the monument at the heart of Heroes' Square 
  • Revel in the quietude of Buda and its characterful, storied streets.
  • Find out what drove Buda and Pest to unify as one large capital city
  • Discover Budapest’s stunning array of architectural styles, from Turkish era to Art Nouveau
  • Admire the scale and finery of the Hungarian Parliament Building 
  • Admire the elegance of St Stephen's Basilica, a neoclassical cathedral 
  • Explore the importance of the Danube to Budapest since ancient times
  • End your tour at  Széchenyi Spa, a colour-rich bathing complex in Art Nouveau style
Origins of Budapest

Budapest is blessed with some truly superb, grand buildings in Gothic, Art Nouveau, Romantic, Neo-Gothic and Turkish era style: a pleasing mix of genres that draws millions of culture buffs to the city each year.  The capital of Hungary is the administrative, cultural, economic, educational, financial and trade hub of the nation. The mighty River Danube, broad and sweeping, neatly dissects the city, with the old city of Buda extending into the hills on the west bank and Pest sitting in the lowlands to the east. As Hungary’s largest metropolitan hub, Budapest boasts more diversity in its ethnicity still, combined with the historical legacies of Asiatic conquer, Mongol invasion, Ottoman siege, German control and Soviet rule. 

From Castle Hill to Heroes’ Square

Immerse yourself in the unique character of Budapest with its beautiful buildings, fairytale towers, storied streets, Hungarian culture, quirky communist-era sites and gritty spirit. Stroll some of the streets to access treasures best viewed on foot and journey via luxury transport to the city’s far-flung corners. Your expert local guide will provide a narrative to your exploration of Budapest’s most compelling historical and cultural sites.Visit Castle Hill, an elevated focal point of Budapest’s history that is home to some of the city’s most iconic medieval monuments such as the fairytale towers at the Fisherman’s Bastion and handsome Matthias Church with its royal connections. Prepare to be wowed by the sheer size and scale of the Hungarian Parliament Building, which boasts an eclectic mix mixture of architectural styles. It is here that the Crown of St Stephen, one of the most historically significant Hungarian treasures, is held on behalf of the nation.

The St Stephen’s Basilica, an elegant neoclassical cathedral named after the first king of Hungary, is the most sacred of all Catholic church in the country and took 54 years to construct, finally opening in 1905. Similarly impressive is the Great Synagogue, one of the largest places of worship of the Jewish faith in the world. In the Pest area of the city you will be able to admire the National Opera House, a temple of acoustic perfection, in a building of resplendent neo-Renaissance style. Nearby, find Heroes’ Square at the end of Andrássy Street, a neatly paved plaza built in the late 1800’s that is now topped with a monument to Hungarian conquest. Our final stop is the Széchenyi Spa, an Art Nouveau bathing complex of grand decor filled with hot bubbling pools, outside baths and whirlpools. The largest spa baths in Europe, the Széchenyi Spa boasts iconic status in Hungary and is used by people of all ages, including families, for bathing rituals in its spring-fed curative bathhouse. You are free to enjoy the spa at your leisure at the end of the tour.
Private Walking Tour of Budapest with a Local
Travel isn’t just about travel, it’s people, faces, food and cultures, fresh perspectives, discoveries and different ways of life - it’s about uncovering the city’s soul. It’s about connection. On your private, guided tour of Budapest with a local: 

  • Enjoy meaningful insights from a Budapest local .
  • Hear how locals describe Budapest - the experiences that have shaped their worldview, the differences between ‘Buda’ and ‘Pest’, and what it’s like to have spas at the centre of urban culture.
  • Spend a few hours walking around the city’s highlights with a private, local guide.
  • Pick up invaluable recommendations, advice, tips and reassurance as you explore highlights and off-the-beaten-track side streets.
  • Grab a beer or a coffee in your local guide’s favorite haunt.
  • Learn first-hand what locals love about Budapest from someone who knows the place inside-out.
Considered one of Europe’s most striking cities, Budapest contains an incredible array of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Split by a wide sweep of the River Danube, despite a 1873 merger of both independent settlements Buda and Pest, the city is rich in geothermal water resources with thousands of subterranean pools spouting mineral-rich waters dating back over 2,000 years. Using 20-million litres of water, Budapest’s grand, mosaic-clad bath-houses are open to the public, earning it the title of  ́World's Spa Capital’. 

Enjoying a private, guided tour with a local will help you discover the sights that tourists so often miss. Hear the intriguing backstories and learn the neighbourhood’s contextual backstories and rumors which bring Budapest to life, from the Ottoman period (16th century) to the present day. On your private walking tour with a local, you will see the Neo-gothic parliament building, trace Roman era history at Budapest History Museum and stroll bird-scattered Trinity Square to 13th-century Matthias Church. You will also see first-hand how a diversity of styles of urban art, architecture, and ideas have breathed energy and spirit into previously dilapidated areas of public space in a wide range of neighbourhoods. Experience the practical good-naturedness of a Budapest local over a local beer or coffee at one of Budapest’s famed coffee houses, and then jot down your guide’s version of “must do Budapest’.


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