Located up at Buda Castle, the Hungarian National Gallery is the country’s premier fine-art gallery, housed in the vast, colonnaded former Royal Palace, a restored Renaissance building of massive proportions.
The gallery is chronologically laid out over four levels and follows the development of Hungarian art from medieval times to present day. With around 25,000 artifacts in the collections, the gallery divides between nine permanent exhibitions.
To many western eyes, much of the work will be by unknown artists but the dynamism and skill of the work will more than compensate as the development of Hungarian art unfolds through the gallery. The 19th-century portraits are fascinating as they provide a glimpse into the rarified world of pre-World War I Hungarian aristocracy, but the show is totally stolen by the gleaming, gilded medieval wooden altarpieces depicting the Madonna and various ecclesiastic scenes.
English-language audio-guides available. Opening hours are Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm. Access to the permanent displays is free with the Budapest Card; temporary exhibitions are discounted. There are free English-language tours of the gallery at 2pm on Thursday and 10pm on Saturday. Take the Sikló funicular from Clark Ádám tér by the Chain Bridge.