Hungary

Best Castles in Hungary

With more than 100 castles in Hungary which range from ruined fortresses to former Royal Palaces, it can be difficult to know which castles to spend your time exploring, that’s why we’ve written this blog! From Medieval times through the Mongol Invasion to after Turkish Occupation the castles of Hungary take you on a breathtaking journey back through time.

13 Hungarian Castles you must visit

 

1. Vajdahunyad Castle

Castles in Hungary-Vajdahunyad-Castle

Built in 1896 to celebrate 1,000 years since the Hungarian Conquest of the Carpathian Basin in 895, Vajdahunad Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in the country. Located in the city park next to an artificial lake that becomes an ice skating rink in winter, it’s a fairytale-like castle that comprises 4 architectural styles though it was originally made out of cardboard and wood, only meant to be erected temporarily for the millennial celebrations.

Where: Budapest
When:
19th century
Style:
Medieval / Romanesque / Gothic Renaissance / Baroque
Open for visit:
Yes (access to Hungarian Agricultural Museum) Tuesday-Sunday 10 am-5 pm

2. Buda Castle

Best castles in Hungary-Buda-Castle

This impressive historical Royal Castle complex has been home to the Hungarian Kings since 1265 though the palace we see today is newer, dating back to the 1700s. Today it houses the National Széchényi Library, the History Museum and the Hungarian National Gallery with free access to the gardens, courtyards, and exterior of the castle where you can admire the stunning views across the river and down across the city.

Where: Budapest
When:
13th century
Style:
Baroque
Open for visit:
Yes, exterior open 24/7 unless a festival is taking place. Museums open 10 am-6 pm Tuesday-Sunday

3. Eger Castle

Hungarian Castles-Eger-Castle

Legendary for repelling the attack by the huge Turkish army in 1552 during the Siege of brawl stars, Eger Castle is a fascinating historical castle to visit. There is a museum on-site in the beautifully restored Bishop’s Palace along with a variety of exhibitions to help you understand the importance of this castle historically and Istvan Dobo, the man who led the Hungarians to victory. Visit the dungeons to see how prisoners were treated in the Middle Ages, wander around outside to see the ruins from the older Medieval castle, admire the view as you look down on Dobo Square, and climb the tower to view the Muster of Arms exhibition.

Where: Eger
When:
13th century
Style:
Romanesque
Open for visit:
Yes. Open 8 am-6 pm with the grounds (not museums/exhibitions) open until 10 pm April-November

4. Sumeg Castle

Famous Castles in Hungary-Sumeg-Castle

Dominating the landscape from its position atop sümeg hill, this historic castle has been rebuilt and extended over its many centuries of existence, the oldest part of the castle dating back to 1262 when it was built. From 1709 the castle was abandoned after the Austrian’s set fire to it. Today, visitors can step back in time to see how life was lived during the Middle Ages, see the prison, medieval kitchen, chapel, drawbridge, and on special event days witness a knights tournament followed by Medieval banquet.

Where: Sümeg, Veszprém
When:
13th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily from 9 am

5. Szigliget Castle

Best Hungarian Castles-Szigliget-Castle

Explore more than 750 years of history at Szigliget Castle which was one of the most important border-protecting castles in Hungary just after it was built. Located on a volcanic peak the castle was expanded over the centuries and changed hands many times before a gun powder explosion in one of the towers followed by deliberate destruction to ensure troops of Rákóczi’s War of Independence could not use it left it standing in ruin. Today, restored, visitors can enjoy the exhibition rooms which show how life was in the Middle Ages as well as enjoy the stunning views across Lake Balaton and out to Mount Tapolca.

Where: Szigliget
When:
13th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Closed until Spring 2020

6. Castle of Diosgyor

Castles in Hungary-Castle-of-Diosgyor

A favorite castle of King Ludwig, the Castle of Diosgyor stands on the site of an older fortress thought to have been destroyed in the Mongol invasion in 1241-1242. The restored buildings seen today date from 1325 onwards, the castle becoming a Royal Palace from the time of King Louis who often visited with his wife and mother, and after his death became a country residence for 6 queens until the lost battle of Mohács in 1526 saw it steadily fall into decline. Today, a reconstruction project sees the Castle of Diosgyor flourish once more as visitors step inside to see the period furniture, costumed actors, and modern exhibitions that take them back in time to the Middle Ages.

Where: Miskolc
When:
12th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open 9 am-6 pm April-October and 9 am-5 pm November-March

7. Bory Castle

Best castles in Hungary-Bory-Castle

Dreams can come true as is seen at this fantasy fairytale-like castle, built by the hands of sculptor  Jenő Bory from 1923 to 1959. Built year by year without any plans, Bory Castle is a testament to the imagination and the ‘just do it’ attitude! The castle with turrets has two main centers, a chapel, and a studio gallery, within you can find hundreds of sculptures, paintings, mosaics, and glass paintings along with fountains in courtyards and gardens – let your imagination run wild as you explore this magical castle like no other.

Where: Székesfehérvár
When:
20th century
Style:
Eccentric Romanesque / Gothic
Open for visit:
Yes. Open Tuesday-Sunday 9 am-5 pm

8. Gyula Almasy Castle

Hungarian Castles-Gyula-Almasy-Castle

This brick-built fortress is the only one that survives in Central Europe. It was converted and expanded in 1801 when it became the residence of the Viennese counts, last inhabited by the Almasy family. Learn about the people who walked these castle walls, both the masters and the servants, at the interactive exhibition that has something to interest everyone, including the kids. As you move through the 30 renovated rooms, including dungeon and chapel, actors will help take you back in time as you come to understand what it was like working as a shoe shiner at the castle, the housekeeper, cook, and maid. Visitors can also enjoy the beautiful Baroque castle gardens and with part of the castle a hotel, they might choose to spend the night too!

Where: Gyula
When:
15th century
Style:
Gothic
Open for visit:
Yes. Open 10 am-6 pm Tuesday-Sunday with guided tours at 10.30 am, 11.30 am, and 2.30 pm.

9. Siklos Castle

Famous Castles in Hungary-Siklos-Castle

Home to the most important noble families in medieval Hungary, Siklos Castle can be traced back to 1294 but it wasn’t until the 15th century that the castle we see today was built, this becoming the home of the Gara family before being given by the King to Emery Perenyi, the royal commander who made modifications to the castle with a Spanish bastion amongst other things. At the castle museum, visitors can learn more about the history of the castle through its Turkish occupation and right through to WWII whilst exploring the 14th-16th century renovated interior, 15th-century chapel, and beautiful rose garden.

Where: Siklós
When:
14th-16th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Open daily 9.30 am-6 pm

10. Visegrad Castle

Best Hungarian Castles-Visegrad-Castle

Visegrad is a castle town with a castle complex comprising of a lower castle with tower which houses the King Matthias museum, the restored 15th century Royal Palace used as a Summer residence by King Mattias I, and the old Upper Castle aka medieval Citadel known as Fellegvár which translates to ‘castle in the clouds’ where you can look down on the Danube Bend from the 333-meter high hilltop. At the citadel, aside from marveling at the view, visitors can enjoy the pictorial exhibition inside the residential rooms learning the history of the castle and king and also see exhibitions on hunting, falconry, stone cutting, and beekeeping.

Where: Visegrád, Várhegy
When:
13th century
Style:
Medieval / Baroque / Renaissance
Open for visit:
Yes open daily from 9 am March-November. Open Friday-Sunday from 10 am December-February.

11. Esztergom Castle and Basilica

Castles in Hungary-Esztergom-Castle-And-Basilica

As the former capital of Hungary during the 10th-13th centuries, Esztergom experienced somewhat of a ‘golden age’ during the 12th century. The Royal Palace with the church, which sits on an ancient Roman castle, flourished until the Mongol invasion in 1241 and was the center of the Hungarian state, religion, and county until Béla IV moved his court to Buda. Today the castle contains the castle museum with 20 rooms open to visitors as they learn the history of the castle whilst seeing the Royal Chapel which contains 13th-century frescoes, St Stephen’s Room where the Good King is said to have been born, the White Tower, and the Gerevich Rooms where the castle foundations can be viewed.

Where: Esztergom
When:
12th century
Style:
Gothic / Romanesque
Open for visit:
Yes. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10 am-6 pm April-October and 10 am-4 pm November-March.

12. Csókakő Castle

Best castles in Hungary-Csókakő-Castle

Built after the Mongol Invasion for the Csók Clan in order to guard the important route to Székesfehérvár as part of a system of borderline fortifications in the Vértes Mountains, Csókakő Castle fell to the Turks for 150 years, bar the times when the Hungarians recaptured it but only for a few weeks/months. Today parts of the castle have been reconstructed to allow visitors to see how this castle once was with its white towers, drawbridge, wooden wall walk, and restored dining room, ballroom, and chapel allowing visitors to admire the inside as well as the outside.

Where: Csókakő, Külterület
When:
13th century
Style:
Gothic
Open for visit:
Yes. Open 9 am- 8 pm April-October and 9 am-5 pm November-March

13. Somló Castle

Hungarian Castles-Somló-Castle

Located atop an inactive volcano, Somló Castle was a Royal Castle during part of the 14th century before coming into ownership by the Szapolyai family followed by the Bishop of Eger, Tamás Bakócz Erdődi, who rebuilt the castle in the Italian Renaissance style complete with inner towers and inner baileys. The Pál Kitaibel educational path informs visitors of the castle’s history as they wander around the ruined exterior as well as the inner courtyards admiring the architecture and the views.

Where: Somló, Doba
When:
13th century
Style:
Renaissance
Open for visit:
Open 24/7