Where History Ascends to New Heights
Nestled halfway between Szentendre and Esztergom (45km / 28 miles North-West of Budapest) lies the quaint riverside village of Visegrád. Don’t let its tranquil demeanor fool you, though; this village is a history enthusiast’s dream, boasting a past as grand as the ruins it hosts.
The Romans were the first to recognize the strategic significance of Visegrád’s location, erecting a fort here centuries ago. Named “High Castle” by Slovak settlers in the 9th or 10th century, the village has since seen the construction of a magnificent royal palace and a lofty citadel following the Mongol invasion (1241–1242).
Unearthing the Ruins of the Royal Palace
Among the grand structures of Visegrád, the Royal Palace was arguably the most splendid. Though only one king, Charles Robert (1307– 1342), made it his primary residence, monarchs from Béla IV to Matthias Corvinus spent time here, contributing to its development. Corvinus notably expanded the palace into a renowned Renaissance center.
Today, all that remains of the once-grand Royal Palace are its ruins and the Salamon Tower. These captivating remnants can be explored at the King Matthias Museum (Fő u. 27, phone: +3626398026). While the entrance is free, the exploration of history it offers is priceless.
The nearby Salamon Tower also stands as a testament to Visegrád’s royal past. It opens from 9 am to 5 pm from May through September, offering an additional glimpse into Visegrád’s glory days.
Ascending to the Cloud Castle: Visegrád’s Citadel
One must not miss the mountaintop citadel, known as the Cloud Castle (Fellegvár, phone +3626398101). Offering an unrivaled panorama of the Danube, this citadel reminds visitors of Visegrád’s strategic importance throughout the ages.
Practical Information for Your Visit to Visegrád
Be prepared, though, as reaching the citadel is quite a hike! Make sure to bring bottled water and gear up for an adventurous day.
Indeed, a visit to Visegrád is a foray into Hungary’s rich past. This peaceful village once housed kings and bore witness to pivotal historical moments is ready to share its stories with you. So, why wait? Plan your visit to Visegrád and take a step back into history.