The 14th century palace complex of Buda Castle sits high above the rest of Budapest, drawing many visitors a year to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, tourists most enjoy the collection of impressive museums and various other attractions of the hilltop royal residence.
The attractions of Castle Hill are almost too many to count, so ancient and vast is the complex. Some highlights of the Royal Palace include the massive four-storey art collection at the Hungarian National Gallery and the three-storey Castle Museum, recounting 2000 years of Budapest’s rich history. On particularly hot days, visitors might seek the relief of the Buda Castle Labyrinth. Sixteen metres beneath the Castle District, these 1,200 metres of winding caves are a welcome respite from the summer sun.
Perched atop Castle Hill, the complex is not part of the Budapest Metro system, but there is a funicular railway connecting the area to Clark Adam Square and Szechenyi Chain Bridge. The surrounding Castle District is filled with houses and churches from a range of architectural styles, including Medieval, Baroque, and 19th century neoclassical.
With seven centuries of expansions, damages, and reconstructions to its name, Buda Castle’s history would be impossible to quickly recount in full. One of its more interesting chapters was the reign of Queen Maria Theresa. Not wishing to keep the palace for a royal residence, Buda Castle was very briefly the site of a convent. It was rapidly converted to a university when the nuns found it too lavish for a house of God.