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Royal Palace and Parliament Buildling visits

We are planning on a trip to Budapest at the end of September and we would like
to visit the Royal Palace and the Parliament Building. I am reading a lot of conflicting information on the web about visiting those two sites, tickets etc.

It looks like we can go into the Palace without tickets but if we want to see the museums housed there we need tickets. Is this correct? If so, can they be purchased at the entrance on the day we are there?

What about the Parliament Building? It looks like they do have an admission fee but I dont want to purchase the tickets ahead of time unless necessary as our plans could change.

Thanks for thoughts on this!

Posted by
4341 posts

For Parliament, https://www.parlament.hu/web/visitors/purchasing-tickets,
with tickets here: https://jegymester.hu/event-host/900/parlament
It does often sell out of English tours, and yes, a tour is required. Depending on when you are going, you probably need to book ahead. If you truly want to play it by ear and if you have some flexibility, you could keep a close eye on how ticket sales are going. I have seen it sold out online frequently. I was there last year in October and only booked a few days ahead. Summer may be a different story.
They are strict with entrance times and if you only have your ticket on your phone, allow extra time to get a printed ticket when you arrive (required unless that has changed this year).

I will let others answer about Buda Castle, although I have been. Entry to the complex is free. There’s a small charge for Fisherman’s Bastion you can get onsite. I went to a service at Matthias Church, so I don’t know about entry otherwise. You can take the funicular up or the small bus from Szélman Kálmán Tér.

Posted by
27417 posts

The problem with Parliament is the English tours sell out first. I think that sometimes happens well in advance. I would not expect tickets to still be available when you arrive in Budapest in the summer, so I'm afraid that's something you need to buy ahead of time. And it is not cheap

Posted by
195 posts

If you want to stay flexible, consider purchasing the Parliament tour in any available language. I know, it sounds silly, but the information provided isn't all that important or valuable, and the tour isn't very long. You need a tour ticket to get in, and this is a great way to do it on your own schedule.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you all for your replies. I bought our tickets for Parliament. Instead of choosing a language they tell you they have audio tapes and you ask for your language when you arrive. It must be a recent change.
As far as the museums at the Royal Palace, tickets cannot be bought this far out. But from what I have been told it sounds like we will be fine if we wait until we are there.
Thanks again -- I knew this community would be so helpful!

Posted by
4341 posts

Glad it worked. When I was there last Oct., there was both an in-person English guided tour and one with an audio guide. I took the audio guided tour and it was just fine.

And yes, for the Castle area, I think remember there is a ticket booth in the square. I was there on a Sunday and bought my Fisherman’s Bastion ticket from a machine.

Posted by
4630 posts

I bought our tickets for Parliament. Instead of choosing a language they tell you they have audio tapes and you ask for your language when you arrive. It must be a recent change.

Change effective September.

Note that this tour charges a $15 “tax” on non-EEA residents, and the $29.50 admission (with surcharge) is not worth it for the tour of this pompous, florid building. People who say this is one of the top 5 sites in Europe have only seen 5 sites in Europe. It’s a nice building to see but $12 would be about right for a short tour of 4 rooms or so.

I really dislike different prices for different nationalities even in developing countries. Student prices excluding non—EEA people is common in continental Europe, but this is the first time I’ve seen full blown “India” 2-tier pricing for adults. Noting the more historic US Capitol is free.

Posted by
27417 posts

LOL. I basically boycotted the Parliament because of the cost, though I may cave the next time I'm in the city. Some over-decorated buildings I love (anything Art Nouveau) but Baroque architecture doesn't appeal. I guess I need to search out some photos.

Posted by
195 posts

Tom_MN and acraven, you are my people. I like parliament from the outside. I'd rather spend my money (and time) on a glass of wine or a coffee with a slice of meggyes pite.

Having said that, Birder49, you will not regret your purchase to see the interior of the Hungarian parliament. Enjoy!

Posted by
18785 posts

I really dislike different prices for different nationalities even in
developing countries. Student prices excluding non—EEA people is
common in continental Europe, but this is the first time I’ve seen
full blown “India” 2-tier pricing for adults. Noting the more historic
US Capitol is free.

I am a free market economy kinda guy and if it is selling out at $20, then your raise the price until it stops selling out. Its not a charity ... well, but it is something different to a Hungarain citizen and my guess is that is why the EEA pricing. I suspect that the EEA prevents discounting individual states (Hungarians) so its all EEA or none and the price got sort of high for Hungarians to be involved in their own history. This came up when Hungary tried to sell gasoline cheaper to Hungarian citizens.

You will miss seeing the crown if you dont go (I assume its still on display .... been a few years for me). I think its about the oldest state crown in existance (from about 1070AD). And it has some interesting current history: https://hu.usembassy.gov/embassy/budapest/embassy-history/return-holy-crown-st-stephen/#:~:text=It%20was%20initially%20sheltered%20in,the%20Hungarian%20people%20one%20day.

but this is a better read: https://www.nytimes.com/1978/01/06/archives/hungarys-ancient-symbol-a-long-strange-journey-crown-turned-over.html

Posted by
4935 posts

Just don't try sneaking a photo in the crown room. A guy on our tour thought he could get away with it and they walked him out by the elbow. I wondered if that's who their swords were meant for.

Posted by
4630 posts

Just don't try sneaking a photo in the crown room

OMG I thought the Scottish royal jewels were not that stunning. They have the same photograph restrictions and I saw someone’s camera taken away. But the Hungarian ones are not worth a photograph in the first place.

Its not a charity

As someone who tours capitol buildings around the world (federal and state/provincial), these have always been free. I just toured the German Reichstag (free) and got a 90 minute guided tour that included the working parts of the building. As far as I could tell the Hungarian Parliament tour does not include the working parts of the building. [Hungary abandoned bicameral parliament, so the tour shows the no longer functioning branch of parliament rooms.]

This tour left me with an Emperor has no clothes feeling.

Posted by
494 posts

This has really helped me decide to forgo the parliament tour. I had been wavering because it’s seems like something you’re supposed to do but I haven’t read any information about how great the tour experience actually was. Beautiful building on the outside but I think I’ll walk around it and call it good, not enough time to see the city as it is.

Posted by
18785 posts

At about $54 a couple, I'm not sure I would do a paid tour either. But there are free tours. What you get to see is explained in the ticketing page, so that should not have been a surprise.

So, two married couples, guessing, cost about $108! Wow! That's nearly 9% of the Hungarian median monthly salary or 3 days work at the local minimum wage.

I try not to tell people what to see as everyone's interests are different, but with limited time, unless you are into the history of the hat or understand enough about architecture to get something out of it, not my first choice. But here are reviews if anyone is interested https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g274887-d276817-Reviews-Hungarian_Parliament_Building-Budapest_Central_Hungary.html

Posted by
7 posts

Wow! I have certainly learned how this community feels about the Parliament building. I guess we are going anyway since we have the tickets and they are not refundable. But the good news is you all have made me very aware of so many aspects that will not be mentioned in the audio guide. Thanks to all.

Posted by
4341 posts

Birder49, I am apparently lacking in societal scruples…. I enjoyed the tour. :)

We are all different and there are many things I have done and a few places I have been that were totally worth it once but that I don’t feel the need to do again. The tour is certainly not a waste of time or money! Enjoy!

Posted by
2632 posts

I will add a positive vote for the Parliament tour--I did it on my first trip to Budapest and it was very much an enjoyable experience. The guide was well-informed, things moved at a good pace, and my favorite part was the room that was full of life-size carved wooden figures depicting the various Hungarian trades.

The other museum that I particularly enjoyed was the Hospital in the Rock--if you are up on Castle Hill you might want to visit it, used as a hospital during WWII and quite fascinating. I have not toured the Palace but I do enjoy the Hungarian National Gallery that is there, they have excellent special exhibitions and their regular collection is interesting as well, obviously a definite emphasis on Hungarian artists.