The prestigious Castle District that presides over the top of Budapest has been a defining presence of the capital for ages, and now serves as an important hub of culture and history. Part of the UNESCO world heritage, the area is host to iconic Budapest landmarks, like Matthias Church (Mátyás-templom) and the Fisherman’s Bastion (Halászbástya) along with a wide range of museums and art galleries, the national archives as well as the Sándor Palace (Sándor-palota) which is the official residence of the country’s President, and the seat of his office.
The castle area is known worldwide, even among people who have yet to visit Budapest. It fascinates everyone coming here with its cobblestone streets, the general atmosphere coming from the charming buildings and alleyways, not to mention the view of the city. But you may not know, that the neighborhood also has a range of secret treasures just waiting to be explored, calling on you to dig deeper. It is worth noting that, despite the name, there is no castle here, although there is the magnificent Royal Palace, parts of which have been home to the Hungarian National Gallery since 1975.
Getting to the castle is easy: take a bus or just walk. A more fun way however, is to travel to the top on the Castle Hill funicular, which sets off from the base of the hill, just next to the road tunnel opposite the Chain Bridge. The second of its kind to be built in the world, the funicular has had a troubled history, just as has the entire hill, but it was restored to its original state after being destroyed in the World War II. Gliding up the hillside this way and taking in the view of the city is great fun for children and adults alike (and makes for some great photos).
If you are in the city at the right time of the year, you can treat yourself to a sampling of the best Hungarian cuisine. The Castle is the traditional venue for the Budapest Wine Festival along with a range of other events, giving you a chance to try sausages, locally brewed beer, as well as a selection of Hungary’s world famous spirit, pálinka. Concerts are also regular entries on the neighborhood’s event calendar; top artists come here to perform, whether you’re into Beethoven or jazz, you won’t be disappointed.