From Ottoman relics to the Hungarian avant-garde, Budapest offers beautiful collections celebrating the city’s culture, history and art. Discover the best museums and galleries Budapest has to offer.
Explore Budapest History & Culture
The Budapest History Museum, split between various locations, covers the long sweep of the city’s ancient history. Discover Roman Budapest by wandering the ruins of Budapest’s ancient city at the Aquincum Museum and Archaeological Park. Entry prices range from £2.80-£5.50 for adults, approximately £2.80-£2.25 for concessions – opening hours do vary by season, so always best to check before you travel.
Immerse yourself in the city’s medieval history at the Buda Castle branch of the Budapest History Museum with its Gothic statues of courtiers and saints that were excavated on site. Entry for adults is £5.60 and concessions are £2.30; open Tuesday-Sunday depending on the season.
Explore the day-to-day history of changing Budapest lifestyles through antique furniture, vintage trade signs and art in the Kiscelli Museum in Óbuda. Entry for adults is £4.50 and concessions are £2.25; again opening Tuesday-Sunday depending on season.
For all of Hungarian culture and history in one place, head to the Hungarian National Museum. This is Hungary’s largest museum, with an eclectic collection including key pieces from history like the coronation mantle of King Stephen I, Hungary’s first king, and a giant hand of Stalin, part of an infamous 25-metre bronze statue destroyed during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Entry for adults is £4.50 with concessions at £2.25; open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-6pm.
The complexities of 20th century Budapest are well explained in the interactive, multimedia installations at the House of Terror on Andrássy út, detailing the Nazi and Communist eras with original artefacts like uniforms and first-person video interviews. Adult entry to the House of Terror is £5.60 with concessions at £2.30; open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-6pm.
For an alternative experience, go underground at the subterranean ‘Hospital in the Rock’ , for an experience of an underground WWII hospital, complete with waxwork mannequins and original medical equipment. The site also served as a nuclear bunker during the Cold War, making Hospital in the Rock a must for budding historians. Adults entry is £11.25 with concessions at £5.60, open every day 10am-8pm.
Fine Art Museums in Budapest
Budapest has seen a shift in its art gallery scene with the closure of the Museum of Fine Arts until March 2018, along with new plans to move it into the proposed City Park Museum Quarter. Fortunately for art lovers, there’s still plenty to feast your eyes on whilst the Museum of Fine Arts remains closed.
Why not visit the Hungarian National Museum at Buda Castle, where you’ll discover huge art collections ranging across the centuries from Hungarian Gothic Art to the post-1945 avant-garde, including works by renowned Hungarian artists Mihály Munkácsy and Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka.
The old-world grandeur, Corinthian columns and frescoes of Kunsthalle belies its modern role as a hub for contemporary Hungarian and international fine art. Mirroring the Museum of Fine Arts on Heroes’ Square, the Kunsthalle has no permanent collection on display, instead hosting a succession of exciting temporary exhibitions from some of the world’s best contemporary artists. Tickets for Kunsthalle are all £1.10; and it’s open 10am-6pm. NB it’s closed on Mondays.
Head up towards the Danube Banks in the newly developed cultural quarter of the IX District, and you’ll find the Ludwig Museum with a fantastic permanent collection of modern and contemporary art. The Ludwig Museum in Budapest hosts American pop art from greats such as Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg, rubbing shoulders with works by Central and Eastern European artists. While the Ludwig Museum focuses on Hungarian art from the 1960s, its temporary exhibitions are more varied, showcasing both homegrown and international artists. It’s open 10am-8pm Tuesday to Sunday (the museum is closed on Mondays).
Budapest’s Alternative Museums
If you’re looking for something unconventional, there’s still plenty to keep you busy in Budapest. Like the Pinball Museum, where you can play on a curious collection of over 200 vintage machines. Or why not learn about Hungarian history through the country’s iconic bitter liqueur, ‘Unicum’, at the Zwack Factory and Museum, where you can taste it straight from the barrel in the cellars below.
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