Even if 2020 has left the Buda Castle somehow deserted after a huge fallback in international tourism, the neighbourhood still offers a lot of great programmes for the entire family, from interactive history classes to magic tricks and treasure hunts.
The Buda Castle District, with its cobblestoned streets and spectacular views, is one of the most popular landmarks of Budapest, often attracting more international tourists than Hungarians. But as Travelo writes, this extraordinary year has revealed a whole new side of the historical neighbourhood: it is now visited by families to explore the many child-friendly programmes the place has to offer.
Hungarian National Gallery
The gallery (Magyar Nemzeti Galléria) offers a great interactive programme to bring children closer to the world of art: every Tuesday and Wednesday, visitors can admire the paintings while learning about the background story of each work, often accompanied by sound effects and some little games.
Address: Szent György Square 2.
The Castle Museum (Vármúzeum) has an interactive exhibition where visitors can explore the places where King Matthias used to live, thanks to a guide through remnants of the royal castle and garden. The exhibition also reveals the most common meals, clothes, dances, and everyday objects of the Renaissance era.
Address: Szent György Square 2.
Hospital in the Rock
The Hospital in the Rock (Sziklakórház) is one of the most well-known landmarks in the Buda Castle, and for a good reason: it offers an extraordinary exhibition on the dark periods of the 20th century, from the Second World War to the cold war that followed in the 1950s. The minimum age is six years, and it is recommended to book in advance as some exhibitions are only available with a guide.
Address: Lovas Street 4/c.
Transylvanian (Erdélyi) Bastion
A must for history buffs, the building of the Szent József gunpowder magazine houses an interactive exhibition where visitors can take part in archaeological excavations at a 16th-century bastion, and learn about the treasures that reveal the Buda Castle’s centuries-long eventful history.
Address: Táncsics Mihály Street 9.
It probably needs no explanation why any labyrinth can be popular with children (or anyone else, for that matter). The establishment, which among others served as a shelter and a prison in history, awaits children with a wide range of workshops with games, enigmas, all filled with lots of legends and mystery.
Address: Úri Street 9.
House of Houdini
As a tribute to one of the world’s greatest illusionists, the Hungarian-born Harry Houdini, this place is must for anyone interested in the world of magic, from the story of Houdini to the best magic tricks and artefacts.
Address: Dísz Square 11.
Urbango, a company specialising in treasure hunts has arrived in Hungary to organise games throughout the country, including the Castle District: the quest takes about three hours and starts from Clark Ádám Square right next to the Chain Bridge.
Where to eat and stay
Although restaurants like Pest-Buda Vendéglő, Pierrot and Baltazár Grill have not yet reopened, you will not have to go home with an empty stomach. The lovers of Hungarian cuisine can enjoy the traditional flavours at 21 Magyar Vendéglő (Fortuna Street 21), while those looking for international food should head to Jamie Oliver’s Italian (Szentháromság Street 9-11). Finally, the recently renovated Pest-Buda Hotel, located in an over 800-year old building (Fortuna Street 3.), is an excellent choice for accommodation any time of the year.