National Gallery, Royal Palace © Paul Micallef
Located at the top of Castle Hill in the picturesque Castle District of Buda, the Royal Palace was first inhabited by King Béla in the 13th century who, after the Mongol invasion, turned it into a fortified stronghold against further attack. Over the next 700 years it was the residence of many royal figures. The strategic location of Budapest, situated in the heart of Europe and straddling the Danube, offered whoever controlled the city a defensive position and potential control of the main waterway. This led to repeated invasions, followed by rebuilding in the style of the period.
The castle has a mixture of architectural styles, ranging from Gothic to Baroque. Today it is the country's most important cultural centre housing numerous museums and the majority of the buildings are historical monuments. The Budapest History Museum contains an exhibition explaining the history of the city as well as archaeological remains of the palace. Also within the palace complex are the Hungarian National Gallery, the National Library and the Ludwig Museum.
Address: 1 Szent, György tér
Telephone: +36 (0)1 375 7533
Opening times: The Budapest History Museum is open daily 10am-6pm (1 March to 31 October) and 10am-4pm (1 November to 28 February), except on Mondays. The Hungarian National Gallery and the Ludwig Museum are open daily 10am-6pm, except on Mondays.
Admission: Admission prices vary by exhibition.