Budapest’s Castle District is a 1.5 kilometer-long neighborhood perched at the top of a hill rising from the Danube riverbank. It’s a neighborhood with a timeless atmosphere, surrounded by walls, and with plenty of places to stop and admire the spectacular views of the city below. This tour is an exploration of one of the oldest sections of the city, which is full of history, fascinating stories, and charming architecture, as well as the scars from dozens of sieges and battles. Once you pass the tour buses clustered in a few spots, this is a quiet car-free neighborhood of winding cobblestoned streets, baroque and gothic facades, colorful old stucco houses, and a few of Budapest’s most prominent buildings and monuments.
This tour will showcase not only the important sites—such as the eclectic Matthias Church with its colorful tiled roof and brightly colored interior, the Royal Palace complex, and the Fisherman’s Bastion—but also the secret spots hidden in the side streets that should not be missed. The streets follow the shape of the hill, and have seen plenty of action since the mid-13th century when the first royal residence was built here. Your guide will discuss the periods of history which influenced this neighborhood, with a special emphasis on the Jewish population which once lived here, the Hungarian royalty, and the Habsburg empire. You’ll learn about the heroes and villains of World War Two who left their mark here, and the brutal siege of Budapest in which the neighborhood was demolished when the German and Russian armies met on these streets. Buda became an important European city in the 15th century, a melting pot of nations. You’ll hear about how the establishment of the Royal Court sparked the beginning of a long golden age—even though no royals ever resided here. The palace and the neighborhood have been destroyed and rebuilt many times over during the course of their history, with each period, particularly the re-building after World War Two (when there was such extensive damage), leaving a different mark on the current appearance of the place. These days the Hungarian president is lucky enough to be able to call this neighborhood home, along with a few hundred regular citizens living in the hundreds of years old buildings. Join us to learn all about this area which has witnessed so much history.Learn—The sprawling history of this neighborhood practically encapsulates the history of Hungary. You’ll learn about many of the important periods of Hungarian history which this neighborhood witnessed, from the Middle Ages to the Habsburgs, and then from World War Two to the present. You’ll learn about the melting pot of nationalities which once made up this neighborhood including the Ottoman occupiers, and the once significant Jewish population.Experience—Explore this neighborhood like a local, with the help of an expert local guide. We’ll show you the major sites, but then take you into the side streets which will reveal the neighborhood’s lesser-known highlights and secret places.See—You’ll see include the newly rebuilt Várkert Bazaar, the best spots to see the panoramic river and city views, the Royal Palace, medieval ruins, an old Jewish street and location of an old synagogue, a World War Two bunker, several important aristocratic palaces, a few hidden gardens and courtyards, statues which represent important Hungarian legends, The National Széchényi Library, Matthias Church, and Fisherman’s Bastion.Walk—Wear comfortable shoes! We’ll cover a lot of ground by foot on this tour.