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Where to Stay in Budapest in 2024 – Best Areas and Hotels

Discover Budapest's hidden gems! Uncover the best places to stay in the city, from luxurious hotels to charming boutique accommodations. Ideal for travelers seeking the ultimate Hungarian experience!
Where to Stay in Budapest

Trying to decide where to stay in Budapest? This vibrant city, divided by the majestic Danube River, offers a variety of neighborhoods each with its own unique charm and character. Whether you’re visiting for its rich history, stunning architecture, or vibrant nightlife, Budapest has something for everyone. However, choosing the right area to stay can be overwhelming with so many options available.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the best neighborhoods in Budapest, highlighting their pros and cons based on your travel style, budget, and duration of stay. Plus, we’ll recommend top hotels and apartments, in each area to simplify your decision-making process.

Best Places to Stay in Budapest

  1. For First Time: District V (Belváros-Lipótváros) The heart of the city, ideal for first-time visitors. It’s home to major attractions like the Parliament and St. Stephen’s Basilica. However, it can be pricey and crowded, especially in peak tourist seasons.
  2. For Nightlife: District VII (Erzsébetváros) Known for its vibrant nightlife and the historic Jewish Quarter. Perfect for those looking to experience Budapest’s lively bar and cafe culture.
  3. For Attractions: District I (Castle Quarter) Offers a more tranquil experience with stunning views and historical sites like Buda Castle. Great for a romantic getaway or a peaceful retreat.
  4. For Shopping and Ruin Bars: District VI (Terézváros) Famous for Andrássy Avenue and the State Opera House. A blend of cultural attractions and upscale shopping, suitable for luxury travelers.
  5. For Foodies: District IX (Ferencváros) An up-and-coming area known for its trendy cafes and the Great Market Hall. Ideal for foodies and those interested in a more local experience.
  6. For Families: District XIII (Újlipótváros-Angyalföld) A quieter residential area with lovely parks and the Danube Promenade. Great for families or longer stays.
  7. On a Budget: District VIII (Józsefváros) A diverse and culturally rich area, undergoing revitalization. Offers a mix of historical charm and modern developments.

1. Lipótváros – Belváros (District V), best place to stay in Budapest for first time visitors

Parliament of Budapest
Parliament of Budapest

When I think of Budapest, the first place that springs to mind is its pulsating heart – the central area. It’s where the city’s lifeblood flows, bustling with the most significant commercial streets. Imagine a place brimming with restaurants, cafes, bars, and some of the most renowned nightspots. For me, there’s no question – this is the ultimate spot to stay in Budapest.

District V, split into Belváros and Lipótváros, is the epicenter of this vibrancy. Honestly, it doesn’t matter much which part you choose; they’re so close to each other. The real trick is finding the best hotel that fits your budget in this area.

Belváros? It’s the true heartbeat of Pest. This is where the action is, teeming with commerce and energy. Here lies Vaci utca, a street that’s a magnet for major international brands – a shopper’s paradise.

The northern part of Belváros, around Ferenciek tere, is the epitome of elegance. This is where I love to explore the finest cafes and modern restaurants, not to mention the upscale shops.

Head south of Ferenciek tere, towards the central market, and you’ll find a slightly quieter vibe. But make no mistake, it’s still a lively area.

Choosing Belváros for your stay in Budapest has obvious perks. The atmosphere is electric, and the location? Unbeatable. You can practically walk to almost all the city’s tourist attractions.

But remember, Belváros is in high demand. So, if you’re eyeing a good hotel here, book early!

Then there’s Lipótváros. It rivals Belváros in popularity. Personally, I’m slightly more fond of this part of the center. It’s my go-to for a great meal or a relaxing drink. The vibe here is just a tad more to my liking.

Best Hotels in Lipótváros – Belváros

2. Erzsébetváros (District VII) , an alternative area to stay in Budapest

Dohány Street Synagogue
Dohány Street Synagogue

I’ll never forget my first stroll through Erzsébetváros, nestled just south of Terézváros. This is Budapest’s Jewish Quarter, and it’s a world unto itself. The area’s crown jewels? The Great Synagogue and the Hungarian Jewish Museum. These spots aren’t just tourist attractions; they’re gateways to a rich, historical tapestry.

Erzsébetváros has this unique, alternative vibe that’s hard to put into words. It’s like stepping into a different era, yet it’s vibrantly alive with the present. The Jewish Quarter isn’t just about history; it’s a living, breathing part of Budapest that constantly evolves.

Now, the westernmost part of Erzsébetváros, bordering Belváros, might not be everyone’s first pick for a stay in Budapest. But hear me out – if you’re on a budget or if the idea of a buzzing nightlife excites you, this area is worth a second look. It’s a different side of Budapest, less polished maybe, but undeniably authentic and full of life.

Best Hotels in Erzsébetváros

3. Buda (District I), best neighborhood to stay in Budapest for attractions

Buda Castle
Buda Castle

Let me take you on a journey to Buda, a part of Budapest that’s like stepping into a storybook. It’s spread across several neighborhoods, but most people, including myself, gravitate towards District I. This is where the old part of the city perches on a hill, almost like it’s watching over the rest of Budapest.

In this district, you’re surrounded by medieval wonders – the Royal Palace, Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church, and so many more. Staying here is perfect if you’re eager to be close to these historical treasures. And if you’re traveling with kids, it’s a dream. Sure, Pest has its charms, but Buda? It’s on another level.

However, Buda has a quieter soul compared to the lively Pest. During the day, it’s a tourist haven, but come nightfall, it transforms into a peaceful retreat. There are some excellent restaurants and a few bars and clubs, but for a real night out, Pest is where the action is.

Getting to Pest is a breeze. Just cross the Chain Bridge, and you’re there. It’s a beautiful walk across the Danube. But a word of caution – if your hotel is at the top of the hill and you venture out to Pest for dinner or drinks, you might want to return by public transport or taxi. Trust me, climbing that hill at night is no small feat. It’s safe, but it’s quite a workout!

Best Hotels in Buda

4. Terézváros (District VI), best place to stay for shopping and nightlife

Heroes' Square
Heroes' Square

Tucked right behind Belváros, I discovered the charm of District VI, or Terézváros. This part of Budapest is like its own little Paris, with Andrassy Avenue mirroring the Champs Elysees. It’s a street lined with stunning Neo-Renaissance palaces and high-end fashion boutiques, yet surprisingly, it also shelters some hidden, budget-friendly hostels.

This blend of luxury and affordability makes the Sixth District a treasure often missed by many. For budget travelers, it’s a jackpot – hostels right in the heart of the city’s vibrant pulse. And for those who lean towards luxury, spacious rental apartments abound.

But the real heartbeat of District VI? The Ruin Bars. These are the epicenters of nightlife, buzzing from late afternoon deep into the night. Imagine sipping Palinka, Hungary’s fiery spirit, and dancing on tables with locals – it’s an experience unique to Budapest.

The district is a kaleidoscope of attractions. From the cozy Csendes Vintage Bar to the eclectic Széchenyi thermal baths, the grandeur of Andrassy Avenue, and the quirky Budapest Puppet Theater. Not to mention the pulsating Instant Nightclub, the Zoltán Kodály Memorial Museum’s tranquility, the intriguing Postal Museum, and the historic Vajdahunyad Castle. Let’s not forget the sprawling City Park and the haunting House of Terror.

District VI is a haven for everyone – whether you’re on a tight budget, seeking fun, or a party animal. It’s a slice of Budapest where the Hungarian pulse is most alive, and the nightlife never seems to end.

Best Hotels in Terézváros

5. Ferencváros (District IX), best area to stay in Budapest for foodies

Budapest Great Market Hall
Budapest Great Market Hall / photo: wikipedia

In Budapest, District IX, or Ferencváros, is where I found an incredible mix of everything. It’s similar to Józsefváros in vibe, but Ferencváros is unique. It’s one of the fastest-growing areas in the city, but it’s not without its challenges. The district grapples with environmental and social issues, and many of its historic monuments are crying out for restoration.

One of the most significant projects here is the transformation of the old Expo ’96 site along the Danube. It’s a symbol of the district’s evolution.

Despite the challenges, Ferencváros has its perks. It’s budget-friendly for travelers, and culturally, it’s a goldmine. Think concerts, theaters, museums – the works.

A few years back, Hungary unveiled the new National Theater right on the Pest bank of the Danube, near Rákóczi Bridge. And right next to it, in 2005, the Palace of Arts was completed. This place is a cultural hub, housing the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art and the National Concert Hall.

Now, I won’t say Ferencváros rivals the nightlife of the Old Jewish Quarter or the grandeur of District VIII’s pre-war buildings. But for those with time to explore, it’s a district worth wandering through.

The presence of international university students adds a vibrant layer to the area. They’ve brought with them a flourishing craft beer scene and a fresh energy, transforming this once quiet working-class neighborhood.

The real gem of District 9? The Danube River Promenade. Starting from the Great Market Hall, you can take a leisurely 30-minute stroll right down to the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s a walk that offers expansive river views and a sense of calm amidst the city bustle.

The district is also home to the Corvinus University of Budapest, nestled beside the Renaissance Revival palace. This university, once known as Karl Marx University and before that a customs house, has evolved significantly. In 2007, it moved to a modern building on Közraktár Street, marking the birth of one of Budapest’s most cutting-edge public university facilities. It’s a development that Budapest can truly be proud of.

Best Hotels in Ferencváros

6. Újlipótváros-Angyalföld (District XIII), best area to stay in Budapest for families with kids

Comedy Theatre of Budapest
Comedy Theatre of Budapest / photo: wikipedia

Tucked away in the northern reaches of Pest, Budapest’s 13th district is a place I’ve come to adore. It stretches from the bustling Nyugati train station, curving along the big ring road and across the river to the tranquil Margit Island. This district, with its unique boundaries, is a blend of urban charm and riverside serenity.

What really sets the 13th apart is its rich Jewish heritage, creating a neighborhood that’s both beautiful and welcoming. It’s a treasure trove for any discerning traveler. From the Comedy Theatre to the Budapest Jazz Club, and from the lush Szent István park to the quirky Pinball Museum, there’s no shortage of cultural gems. And let’s not forget Margit Island – a paradise with gardens, water parks, and a mini zoo, offering delights for all ages.

The district is split into two distinct areas. Újlipótváros, from the ring road to Hungáriakörút, feels like an extension of the city center, bustling and vibrant. In contrast, Angyalföld, spreading out from Hungáriakörút, retains its traditional working-class roots, adding to the district’s diverse character.

Getting around the 13th might not be as straightforward as in other districts, but it’s still pretty easy. The M3 metro line, or the ‘blue line’, slices through the district, connecting six stations from Nyugati to Gyöngyösi utca. It’s your gateway to the airport and beyond. For a faster airport connection, the 100E bus is your best bet.

Tram lines 4/6, running 24/7, briefly grace the 13th, offering a quick link to Margit Island. Meanwhile, trams 1, 17, 19, and 41 navigate the outer Hungáriakörút. Tram 1 is particularly handy for a quick trip to Hero Square and the Széchenyi Thermal Baths in the neighboring 14th district.

For a scenic journey, tram 2 and ferry 11/12 are must-tries. Starting at Jászai Mari tér, tram 2 offers stunning riverside views, especially around the Parliament building. The ferry, on the other hand, provides a leisurely river cruise, perfect for a relaxed hour of sightseeing.

Did you know that the Budapest Card offers unlimited public transport and free entry to many museums? It’s a great way to explore the city, available for 1 to 5 days.

So, who should stay in Budapest 13? It’s a haven for young families and couples, thanks to its laid-back vibe and proximity to green spaces like Margit Island and the City Park. Shopaholics will love the West End City Centre mall, a paradise for retail therapy.

As for my favorite spots in Budapest XIII, they’re always evolving. New bars and cafes are popping up, adding to the district’s vibrant scene. I’ll keep you updated on the latest discoveries in this ever-changing, delightful part of Budapest.

7. Józsefváros (District VIII), best place to stay in Budapest on a budget

Nestled between the 9th and 7th districts, Budapest’s 8th district is a unique blend of history and modernity. It’s not your typical tourist hotspot, but that’s exactly what makes it intriguing. The district stretches from Kálvin tér to Astoria, wrapping around the Keleti train station and brushing against the Múzeum körút. It’s a place where the past and present collide, with bullet-marked buildings from World War II and the 1956 uprising standing alongside vibrant cafes and art spaces.

I’ve always found the 8th district fascinating, especially the eastern part known as Józsefváros. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but that’s where its charm lies. You’ll find the Erkel Theatre and the Hungarian Natural History Museum here, both worth a visit.

The inner third of the district, between Múzeum körút and József krt., is known as the Palace district. It’s a world of cobbled streets and historic palaces like the National Museum, Almássy Palace, and Wenckheim Palace. Mikszáth Kálmán tér is a delightful square, perfect for a leisurely coffee or lunch.

Public transport in Budapest 8 is excellent. The M2, M3, and M4 metro lines connect you to the rest of the city, while trams #4 and #6 offer 24/7 service along the Nágykorut. And for those heading to the airport, the 100E bus from Kálvin tér is a convenient option.

Who should stay in Budapest 8? It’s a haven for those seeking an alternative, artistic vibe, away from the crowded Jewish quarter. The inner part of the district is great for families, offering a peaceful evening atmosphere, while the area beyond the Nagykörút appeals more to young people and couples.

As for my favorite spots in Budapest VIII, they’re always changing. The district is evolving rapidly, with new eateries and bars popping up regularly. I’ll keep you posted on the latest gems I discover in this dynamic and intriguing part of Budapest.

Best Hotels in Józsefváros

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