Visiting Budapest in 3 Days – Day 3

Budapeste - 843rd DAY

– Castle District

Last day in Budapest (unfortunately), we decided to leave for today the most magical, historical and majestic place in town, the Buda Castle District or Budavári Palota.

This wonderful landmark in the history of the city, rivaling with Danube’s serenity, was once the fortified capital of the country and the house of the royal court. Its aspect changed through the centuries, having supported a lot of unmerciful attacks. Nowadays, it’s the place of some of the most important museums in town, and a mandatory visit spot.

Budapeste - 91mTo arrive at the Castle District, if you’re on the side of Pest, you may cross the imposing Széchenyi Bridge, and observe the huge lions that are almost like the guardians of this crossing to the side of Buda.

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Constructed between 1839-49, this was the permanent way of crossing the Danube,ordered by the acclaimed reformist of the city, István Széchenyi (after spending almost 8h waiting to cross the river to go to his father’s funeral).

But, as I was saying, this is one of the ways to arrive to the Castle District, after crossing the bridge, there’s a funicular right ahead that gives access to the castle, or then, a footpath, among stairs, that’ll also take you there. Honestly, unless you have a mobility problem, take the stairs.

Budapeste - 88 The walls next to the funicular  

The funicular is extremely expensive (having in account the prices of other things), a one way trip costing HUF 1200 (approximately 4€), takes very little time and the view over the city is nothing special.

We didn’t enter the District through this entrance, right by the area where the former Royal Palace was located, we entered through a northern entrance, the Vienna Door, originally constructed as the beginning of the road between Buda and Vienna, destroyed during the Turkish siege in 1686, the current one dates from 1930.

And for this reason we didn’t take the funicular going up, but we did coming down, after visiting all the complex, but we completely regreted it, once the view from the staircase is much more interesting.

Budapeste - 78Back to the Castle District, more properly to the place where we started, the Vienna Door, this one is very clore to some of the most important buildings, like the Military History Museum and the Hungarian National Archives. Walking around this charming district we realize this was once a city, with alleys, little stores and typical houses, with commerce and all the services needed at the time, of course nowadays these same places have been replaced by museums, hotels, restaurants and souvenirs stores.

But walk without worries, take time to appreciate the details, and maybe imagine yourselves in another time, living another life, the travels through time our imagination allows are unreal!

Budapeste - 76Mátyas Templom

Continuing to walk without a specific direction we crossed paths with the imposing Mátyas Templom, or Mátyas Church.
Located in the heart of the district, it fills the environment with color, from the roof tiles to the painted interior walls.
It’s the climax of centuries of devotion, with very present changes in each corner.

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Originally constructed between 1255-69 for the German population of Buda, it was constantly altered throughout the centuries, being witness of some of the most important moments in the history of the country.

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It was used as a mosque by the Turkish, suffered a huge remodeling in the XIX century, by the time of the thousandth birthday of the Magyars to town, it was used as a kitchen by the Nazis, and as a stable by the Soviets! It served as everything, to ever purpose, and nowadays is a beautiful example of the Gothic style, open daily to the world, enhancing the beauty of the city.

The cost of the entrance is HUF 1250 (nearly 4€).

Budapeste - 73The view from the Fisherman’s Bastion 

Next to the church there’s the Fisherman’s Bastion or Halászbástya, with a medieval look and a name due to this area of the Castle District supposedly having been defended by the Fisherman’s Guild (but in reality this place has little over a century of age!). This monument, by Frigyes Schulek, was added in 1902 to the Mátyas Church. It has seven towers, as an homage to the seven magyars tribes that founded the Hungarian Nation.

Its looks give almost a fantasy environment to the place.
It’s not worthy paying to access the superior terrace, because the views are the same as the inferior terrace, and that one is free!

Budapeste - 77We continue our path along the district until we arrive at the most imposing building of the place.

In truth, what we call the Buda Castle is the Royal Palace or Királyi-palota, a combination of several buildings, almost all turned into museums.

The first one to understand the defensive advantages of this place, erected on the hill, was the King Béla IV in the XIII century, who ordered the construction of a city on its top, with a castle and walls.

Budapeste - 87Later on, King Mátyas added some beauty with the mark of the Rennaissance culture.

Afterwards, the building was destroyed in the war with the Turkish and the Habsburgs built a beautiful palace in its place.

The facade and the dome are by the renowned architects Miklós Ybl and Alajos Hauszmann.

During World War II, the palace took serious damage, like for example, the dome, totally destroyed and had to be rebuilt.

Budapeste - 80 The palace is no longer used as a residence, since 1945, and nowadays houses several museums, like the National Hungarian Gallery and the History Museum of Budapest.

The National Hungarian Gallery or Magyar Nemzeti Galéria occupies the most of the Royal Palace facilities, extending by four wings. Founded in 1975, emerged during the reformist movement of the XIX century, and keeps a great part of the city’s treasures, presenting the Hungarian art since the Medieval time until our days.

Budapeste - 81A great part of the rooms have windows turned to the Danube, providing a wonderful view.

This is closed on Mondays, and the ticket price is of HUF 1800 (approximately 6€), being that it only covers the entrance to the permanent exhibitions, the temporary ones vary in terms of prices.

As to the History Museum of Budapest or Budapesti Történeti Múzeum, it portrays the history of the city, from the Medieval Ages till nowadays, including the history of the Castle and the Palace it is inserted on, through scarse remnants of what was the medieval palace.

Like the National Gallery, it’s closed on Mondays, and the ticket costs HUF 2000 (nearly 6.5€).

Budapeste - 86The region of the Buda Castle counts with other attractions you can visit if you’re going to spend all day in this neighborhood, like the Széchényi National Library, the Sándor Palace, the Hungarian Dance Theater, the Military History Museum (Hadtorteneti Muzeum) and the Castle Labirinth (Budavári Labirintus).

Budapeste - 79mAfter the visit to the Castle it’s time to have lunch at the starred Tanti (see).

By this time you must be asking yourselves where are the famous baths! Budapest is a city without sea, but with a traditon of thermal baths that exceeds every other city! So, you have several options, from which I selected three:

– Gellért Gyógyfürdő – at the famous hotel with the same name, these are the most famous in the city, located in the region below the Gellért Hill
– Király Gyógyfürdő – according to the locals, one of the best, not having the usual tourists overflow
– Széchenyi Gyógyfürdő – located in the park of the city, in the region of Városliget

We ended our third and last day in Budapest attending the classical music concert at Saint Stephen’s Basilica (which tickets we bought the day before).

I couldn’t ask for anything else at this moment! Listening to Bach in one of the most beautiful and intense places in the city.
My God, what a great ending to a trip I wish would never end!

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Where to Stay 
InterContinental Budapest
Kempinski Hotel Corvinus

Versão Portuguesa 

Text: Cíntia Oliveira | Photos: Flavors & Senses with Sony A7S

– The pictures don’t always represent our first passage in some of the places or even the same day of the travel. 

This article is the 3rd of 3 articles of our Budapest Guide (see Day 1) (see Day 2

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