The Vajdahunyad Castle and the surrounding water trench

3 ages in one building: The fascinating Vajdahunyad Castle

Enjoy the excellent entertainment with your family visiting Vajdahunyad Castle (Vajdahunyadvár) and its treasures in Budapest’s unique public park.


Budapest City Park (Városliget) was the first public park in the world. Every season is a great choice to visit here. In summer we can go boating on the beautiful lake, in winter we can go skating on the frozen lake. In addition to a family program offer (Budapest Zoo, Capital Circus of Budapest, which was established in 1889), you can also buy some street food or have a refreshing cocktail at Kertem outdoor restaurant. Next to all this is Vajdahunyad Castle, which is the home of the Hungarian Agricultural Museum.

Exterior shot of Vajdahunyad Castle
Exterior shot of Vajdahunyad Castle

A Versatile Island in the City

Vajdahunyad Castle was built for the country’s millennium anniversary to present the treasures of the Hungarian architectural history. Designer Ignác Alpár perfectly merged the elements of the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. That is why you can find on the Vajdahunyad Castle the gates of the church of Ják, the chapel of the Pécs cathedral, the elements of the houses in Levoča and Banská Bystrica, not to mention some of the motifs of the Royal Palace of Gödöllő. In addition, the building, named by the visitors, looks like the Hunyad Castle in Transylvania. In fact, this building complex was rebuilt in Budapest, on Széchenyi Island.

Old drawing of the Vajdahunyad Castle
Old drawing of the Vajdahunyad Castle

Adventure in the Past – the Hidden Treasures of the Castle

The main entrance of the special building can be approached through the Lion stone bridge. We can walk around the monastery belfry, each element of which refers to the monuments of medieval Hungary. Unfortunately, the destruction and the war did not spare Vajdahunyad Castle either. After renovation work (1959), the architectural masterpiece became a listed building in 1991. Uniquely, we can find three famous statues here: the statue of the designer Ignác Alpár stands nearby the main entrance, the statue of Anonymus (anonymous notary of King Béla IV) stands in front of the Hungarian Agricultural Museum, and the statue of Count Sándor Károlyi, the leader of the Magyar cooperative movement stands in the castle courtyard.

The Characteristic Castle Gate

Budapest City Park and the castle can be seen from the top of the tower. But that’s not the only reason it’s worth going up to the Gatehouse, which is approximately 37 meters high. There is also a photo exhibition presenting the history of the castle. If we have enough time, we can walk through the so-called Siege Corridor. It is interesting that an armored knight from King Matthias’ famous black army can also be discovered in the rose window.

Exterior shot of the Gatehouse
Exterior shot of the Gatehouse

Enjoy the Overview of Budapest from the Apostles’ Tower

The castle has several special characteristics. If we undertake to climb the 150 steps, we will reach the Apostles’ Tower (Apostolok tornya), which reflects the clock tower of Segesvár. From here you can have an incredible view of the capital and its sights: Buda Castle, Gellért Hill, St. Stephen’s Basilica. 

View from Apostles' Tower
View from Apostles’ Tower

In addition, we can also explore the rarely seen parts of the castle itself. If you want to see the whole building, it is worth walking around the canal, which used to be filled with water, though today there are only signs of it.

Vajdahunyad and its Background – Adore the Romance on the Boating Lake

As it was earlier mentioned, Városliget offers many recreational opportunities. In the neighborhood you will find the popular boating lake, which is a favorite place of lovers in spring and summer. A traditional boat and a pedalo can be rented as well. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to swim in the lake. In winter you can enjoy a good party while skating on the frozen lake and admiring the grove or tasting the popular mulled wine. The lake is open from 10 a.m. until nightfall, and in winter it is illuminated from the ice rink. Next to the lake there is the Zoo Boulevard with its many attractions. You can find here for example the Gundel Restaurant, built in 1894 (formerly called Wampetics Restaurant until 1910) and its “little brother”, the Owl’s Castle Restaurant (Bagolyvár étterem), which was built right next to the left-wing of the building, and shares the kitchen with Gundel, but offers more consolidated prices.

Interior shot of a restaurant at Vajdahunyad Castle
Interior shot of a restaurant at Vajdahunyad Castle

The Green Area in the Heart of the City 

With the launch of Liget Budapest Project, Budapest City Park has received 5,000 square meters of green space, despite the fact that the construction of several entertainment complexes has begun. For example, the House of Hungarian Music (Magyar Zene Háza) is being built here and the Budapest Zoo is being renovated. Thanks to the largest garden and landscape architecture program in the history of Hungary, the degraded vegetation of Városliget will be completely renewed in several stages. Many new trees and plants will be planted after the various constructions. From now on, beside the popular Margaret Island (Margitsziget), we can also take a walk and enjoy the fresh air in the City Park, which will be a great hideaway from the jungle of city. 

Fantastic Events 

Budapest City Park and Vajdahunyad Castle are also home to many events. When the weather is good, there is a wine and champagne festival (Rosalia Festival) with light music concerts. The popular Kürtőskalács festival also took place here before. Moreover, National Gallop (Nemzeti Vágta) also takes place here every year. Not to mention that families from Budapest and the countryside also come here to have a great time and enjoy the different programs. If you have several days in the capital, it is worth coming out here and having a walk in this extraordinary park. 

Shot of the Nemzeti Vágta from above
Shot of the Nemzeti Vágta from above

BEST OFFER – Leisure and Recreational Opportunities near Vajdahunyad Castle 

In addition to the above mentioned cavalcade of experiences, the largest green area in Budapest is also suitable for active relaxation. You can rest and recover in the truly legendary Széchenyi Thermal Bath (Széchenyi Gyógyfürdő), which is one of the largest spa facilities in Europe. In addition to the indoor and huge outdoor pool, massages and body treatments are also available for those looking for relaxation. In the so-called activity pool, you will find a whirling corridor, underwater effervescence production, neck shower, underwater jet massage and other great services.

Széchenyi Baths during winter
Széchenyi Baths during winter

Near the Vajdahunyad Castle you can try the special underground railway (Földalatti) – also known as metro line 1 – which transports the passengers all the way to Váci utca. Stops are indicated by yellow signs along Andrássy út (a two and a half kilometer long avenue, also worth a walk); there are no escalators, as the metro tunnel, reinforced with steel pillars, is just a few meters underground. To approach the underground railway, we need to go through the Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere). 

Heroes' Square, Budapest
Heroes’ Square, Budapest

On the pedestal of the monument, around the column, there is an equestrian statue of the seven Hungarian conquering leaders. In the middle, well separated, is leader Árpád, to his right are Előd, Huba and Tas, and the sculptures on the other side represent leaders Ond, Kond and Tétény.

If you’re in Hungary, you should definitely try one of the locals’ favorite and special desserts, the chimney cake. The chimney cake of Budapest is one of the most delicious treats which is available in many flavors -it is definitely a must try!

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