Are you planning a trip to the Hungarian capital city and not sure where to stay in Budapest? We put together a comprehensive guide to help you select the best district based on your individual requirements. We recently moved to Budapest and learned the ins and outs, as well as the pros and cons of all districts here. We are excited to recommend you where to stay in Budapest, whether you wish to enjoy a short visit or want to relocate to this epic city.
We also put together some accommodation recommendation based on our previous experiences. Budapest is an amazing city with so much going on. We love Budapest because it’s an ideal city for those interested in culture, soft adventure, food and explosive nightlife. With so many cool bars and restaurants, you will find a variety of establishments to spend some time meeting locals. So what is the best area to stay in Budapest?
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Where to stay in Budapest (2020 - according to an expat) - Contents
Where to stay in Budapest
When you visit Budapest for the first time, it’s fair to say you should locate yourself in the inner city. This is the most central part of Budapest, an upscale area with incredible buildings, cafes and restaurants. You can find many shopping boutiques as well, along two of the most expensive streets in the city, called Vaci and Deak Ferenc streets.
If you are young at heart and fancy being in the more eclectic streets of Budapest, then district 7 might be an option for you, as those streets are dotted with bars and nightclubs. For a more upscale experience, being next to the Buda castle might be best, just remember that you will probably need to cross the Danube to experience a livelier side of Budapest. A cool, hipster, upcoming area is district 9. This is where you will find the Central Market which offers daily fresh produce.
So, ready to see where to stay in Budapest? Continue reading our district by district guide!
There are 23 districts in Budapest and they are numbered clockwise, in widening circles, similar to Paris.
Did you know? Hungarian postcard codes are always 4 digits. Codes referring to Budapest addresses always start with 1 and the middle two numbers represent the district number. For example, 1090 refers to district 9, whereby 1180 refers to district 18.
District I - Castle District
District I is one of the most beautiful areas in Budapest. There are cobbled streets, stunning monuments, wonderful photographic opportunities and traditional restaurants. The area is one of the most expensive in the city and there are few accommodation options here. It is really quiet at night which makes it very appealing for luxury travellers.
Why stay in District I:
District I is home to the Royal Palace, Matthias Church and the famed Fishermen’s Bastion. The area looks stunning at night, and you can admire the lit up façade of the Országház (Hungarian Parliament) on the other side of the Danube. It’s a luxury area and quite expensive. It’s calm and serene at night, and some parts look atmospheric. It’s a brilliant place for those in need of a relaxing holiday, away from the hustle of the Pest side, which is known to be more colourful and vibrant.
You can relax with a long walk around the Citadella from where you can take panoramic pictures of the city. For a great way to end the day, don’t forget to check the Gellert Hill which is right next door.
District II. - 2nd district
District II is known to offer spectacular views and clean air. It’s also where you will find the rich quarters with impressive villas. Unless you wish to move to Budapest, I can’t really recommend the District II for tourists as it is far away from all main attractions. You can, however, visit the Rose Hill to admire some great architecture. There are three baths in the area called Veli Bej, Kiraly Bath and Lukacs Thermal Bath.
District V - Belváros (Inner City)
This has to be one of the most beautiful looking districts in Budapest. It looks stunning day and night. The streets are all renovated and all lined with great cafes, restaurants and shops. As previously mentioned, you will find expensive boutiques here, for shopping lovers. Many buildings are neoclassical and several streets have been converted into pedestrian-only zones. Vaci Utca is one of my favourite streets. It reminds me of Paris. District V is home to many hotels, most of which are 5-star luxury hotels. There are many preserved grand cafes which look sophisticated and posh. During the winter holidays, the Christmas Market is in District V. There are various attractions in District V, including the wonderful St. Stephen’s Basilica.
Why stay in District V
District V is essentially the heart of the city, where you can shop, eat, relax and enjoy a tremendous amount of wonderful architecture. District V is expensive but the good news is that everything is within walking distance from your hotel. There are many trams, buses and subways if you do prefer the transportation but there is no real need to rely on it. District V has been recently renovated and it looks fabulous. It’s a great hub for those interested in a unique holiday in Budapest. District V represents the core of Pest and home to two bridges: The Chain Bridge and Liberty Bridge. These offers easy access to the Buda side.
District VI - Terézváros
District VI is the best area to stay in Budapest if you love culture. It is home to the famous Andrassy Avenue, The Opera House, the Music Academy, the Operetta Theatre, The House of Terror and many other museums. You can walk from one end of Andrassy Avenue to the other and admire the tree-lined spacious boulevard. The journey will take you to the Millennium Monument, the Vajdahunyad Castle, and the Szechenyi hot baths. The Nyugati train station also belongs to District VI, where you will find a large shopping centre, West End, with all sort of recognizable high street brands. In my opinion, the housing is not as modern and nice around the train station, so I would perhaps opt in for accommodation along the Andrassy Ave.
Why stay in District VI
District VI is great for those who wish to be closer to shopping and cultural attractions, but don’t necessarily wish to pay the District V prices. There are so many great things to do in this district including walking around the Varosliget, soaking in the Szechenyi baths and visiting virtually every single museum on the Andrassy street. Don’t forget to book tickets to the opera and have a proper cultural night out.
District VII - Erzsébetváros
District VII is the former Jewish district in Budapest. It homes the Great Synagogue located on the Tobacco Street (Dohany Utca). This district is popular amongst locals and tourists who wish to visit the ruin bars. The Szimpla ruin bar is one of the most popular, with a laid-back atmosphere and a fun little Trabant in the middle of the bar. There are several street food places, crafts shops and speciality cafes. You can find great brunch restaurants with an eclectic interior.
For something more sophisticated, head to the New York Palace on Grand Boulevard and enjoy a lemonade made with a 19-century recipe and a great selection of scrumptious cakes.
Why stay in District VII?
This is where the magic happens! This is the lively heart of Pest where people come to party. District VII is home to an array of bars, nightclubs and a wild variety of accommodation. For budget travellers, you can find colourful hostels here which are just minutes away from the party places. District VII is more vibrant, but also down to earth, multicultural and exciting. If you want to party, meet like-minded individuals and have an explosive time in Budapest then district VII is where you should stay in.
District VIII - Józsefváros
District VIII is one of the most populated areas in Budapest. This area has a distinctive atmosphere with various libraries, hospitals, universities and museums. The area looks more underdeveloped than other Inner districts in Budapest. District VIII is home to the Keleti train station. The edge of the district which is close to the Inner City has various attractions including the beautiful National Museum and the Natural History Museum.
District VIII acquired its nickname Chicago, as it used to be among the most crime-ridden parts of the city. Best to avoid walking around at night, even though in the last few years, the government initiated a lot of programs to rehabilitate this district and make it more investable and safe.
District IX - Ferencváros
This is a diverse part of the city, an upcoming district. It has various areas which are in desperate need of renovation, but it is a cultural hotspot. There are lots of new restaurants, bars and hipster places opening up. The area is not yet as expensive as other district and it can be just 10 minutes walk away from the Inner City. It is also home to the Budapest Central Market Hall where you can get fresh fruit and veg. If you are plant-based, then this is paradise, as you can purchase so many interesting products, as well as some exotic fruits, seeds and mushrooms.
Why stay in District IX
If you get your accommodation close to the Central Market, you are just a few minutes walk from the Inner City, but without having to pay the high prices. The area still has various restaurants and bars and it is lively in the summer but relatively quiet at night which makes it great for couples and families.
Since we really wanted a flat next to the Central Market, we actually started looking in the area. We also noticed that along the main street, just 10 minutes walk from the Market you can find various vegan restaurants. So far, we really liked this area in terms of price and proximity to main attractions.
District III - Óbuda-Békásmegyer
Óbuda is the second largest district in Budapest. It is also the oldest. You should visit the main squares and admire the wonderful baroque buildings located in the district. This is an excellent place for traditional Hungarian taverns which offer well-made dishes. Unfortunately, you will also find unattractive large tower blocks built during the communist era. They are located mainly in the Békásmegyer area.
The famed Sziget Festival is held on the Hajógyári-Sziget in District III.
Why stay in District III
There is only one reason for renting accommodation in District III: Sziget Festival. For those interested in private hotel rooms or nice apartments away from the festival grounds, District III is a great choice. Of course, make sure you pick something closer to the Hajógyári-Sziget and not on the outskirts. Because District III is not very close to the main attractions, there are better districts for casual trips to Budapest. Best to find accommodation in the Inner Districts.
Outer Budapest Districts
The information below is mostly suitable for those interested in renting long term in Budapest. Although, we still recommend that you try and get something in the previously mentioned districts, as they are closer to amenities, main squares and cultural attractions.
District IV - Újpest
Rather far from the inner city, District IV is mainly residential. There are a lot of communist type houses in the area. You can take the M3 metro line to get to this district, although, unless you are a resident, I don’t really see a reason to go there.
District X - Kőbánya
Distrixt X is another outer district which is far from the centre. This is a large industrial area with Deher Brewery being the largest brewery operating in the area.
District XI - Újbuda
Many wealthy citizens used to live here before they moved to the fancy Buda Hills. District XI has Gellert Hill, which is absolutely fantastic for an evening walk to see incredible panoramic views. It’s a really beautiful place for day visits, but not so much for tourist accommodation. This is because it will take a while to cross the bridge and make your way to livelier quarters of the inner city.
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If you love soft adventure and are an outdoors person, head to District XI and enjoy the hills which are perfect for a hike. You escape the bustle of the city and admire beautiful views of Budapest from the Széchenyi Hill. If you don’t fancy a hike, you can use the cogwheel railway.
District XIII - Angyalföld-Újlipótváros-Vizafogó
Újlipótváros is the newer part of the District where you will find more and more young professionals. There are new housing developments in the area.
Angyalföld is more typical for working-class residents. You might find yourself in District XIII if you wish to relax on Margaret Island.
District XIV - Zugló
Zugló is the largest green district in Budapest. It’s currently undergoing a lot of development because it’s recently become a more popular target for residents interested in buying flats. It’s a lovely place to visit because of the Hero’s Square, the City Park, Budapest Zoo and Botanic Gardens.