Where to Stay in Budapest: An Overview of Budapest’s Best Areas to Stay
Where to Stay in Budapest has one goal: to help you find the best area of Budapest to stay, so you have a great trip to Hungary’s gorgeous capital.
We created this overview page for those of you who want a quick introduction to the different places to stay in Budapest. This page focuses on which district to stay in Budapest, rather than specific Budapest hotels. If you’re looking for a hotel suggestion, click through on each of the neighborhoods (below) for the best Budapest hotels in each area.
Introduction: How to Find the Best Neighborhood to Stay in Budapest for You!
At first glance, Budapest seems like a large and overwhelming city, especially when you’re planning a trip and trying to figure out the best district to stay in Budapest. But if you put in a bit of time to understand the city, you’ll realize it’s actually a collection of great little neighborhoods, each of which have their own character. Even better, they are all connected by a fantastic public transit system, and even accessible on foot if you prefer. Budapest has a great tram, metro and bus network, but when the weather is nice we tend to walk everywhere!
After visiting Budapest twice, and then moving here and discovering the city as Canadian expats in Budapest, we realized we were in a unique position to help visitors discover our adopted city. We started Where to Stay in Budapest to share that knowledge.
Consider this page to be an introduction to the best areas to stay in Budapest: you can click through on each neighborhood to find a more comprehensive guide, which also includes our favorite cafés, bars, restaurants and other recommendations in each.
This page is by no means is a complete Budapest neighborhood guide. What it is, however, is an overview of the good places to stay in Budapest for visitors.
Where to Stay in Budapest: A Tale of Two Cities
Before you arrive in Budapest, and certainly before you book a Budapest hotel, it’s helpful to understand the general city orientation and the fact that Budapest used to be two separate cities: Buda and Pest. It wasn’t until 1873 that the two cities merged to create Budapest, and even today, life-long Budapesters have strong feelings about whether they are a Buda person or a Pest person!
Buda and Pest, while connected today, still have a different feeling and vibe in each. Buda is genteel, laid-back and green. Dominated by the Buda Castle, sandcastle-like Fisherman’s Bastion, and the Liberation Monument atop Gellert Hill, Buda is the calm, quiet one among the two siblings.
By contrast, Pest is energetic and raw, with a dynamic mix of areas that keeps things interesting. Pest is the commercial heart of Budapest, and also the heart of the city’s nightlife and dining scene.
When you’re looking at a map, you’ll find Buda on the left (west) bank of the Danube, and Pest on the right (east) bank.
Where to Stay in Budapest: Our Top Tip For Choosing Your Budapest Hotel Location
Far from the neat and tidy grid system you’ll find in some cities, Budapest’s layout is more like a spiderweb, with several ring roads running through Pest’s city center, and other roads radiating out from those. Locally, the two innermost rings are known as the nágykörút (big/grand boulevard – pictured in red below) and the kiskörút (small boulevard – pictured in green below).
If you’re looking for a Budapest hotel in Pest, your best bet is to find something within the two ring roads. This will ensure easy access to transportation, and will also ensure you’re relatively central, for whatever you want to do and see while in Budapest!
Where to Stay in Budapest: A Summary of Budapest’s Best Areas to Stay
Budapest I – The Castle District (Buda): The First District lies in Buda, running along the west (left) bank of the Danube, roughly from Batthyány tér in the north, to Gellert Hill in the south. Budapest I is beautiful and historical, and is home to Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, and Gellert Hill. Budapest I is nice place to stay in Budapest if you’re traveling as a family, as a mature couple, or for a quiet and romantic visit. If you’re coming to Budapest to party, however, it’s a terrible place to stay. For that, you want to be in Pest.
Budapest I Tourist Attractions: ✓Budapest Castle ✓Fisherman’s Bastion ✓St. Matthias Church ✓Gellért Hill ✓Rudas Baths
Budapest I Pros & Cons: ✓Quiet & Romantic ✓Great Views Ⓧ Limited Shopping & Dining Ⓧ Limited Nightlife
Budapest V – Belváros (Pest): Across the river from the Castle District, Budapest’s fifth district is like a slightly larger, mirrored version of Budapest I. It runs along the east (right) bank of the Danube, more or less from from Szent István krt. / Margit híd (Margaret Bridge) in the north, to Vámház Körút / Szabadság híd (Liberty Bridge) in the south. Budapest V is just as gorgeous and historic as Budapest I, and includes the stunning Hungarian Parliament building among its treasures, as well as St. Stephen’s Basilica and the Great Market Hall. Budapest V is the most upmarket and beautiful part of Pest, making it a great place to stay in Budapest for all types of visitors.
Budapest V Tourist Attractions: ✓Parliament Building ✓St. Stephen’s Basilica ✓Chain Bridge & LIberty Bridge ✓Shoes on the Danube ✓Szabadság Square ✓Great Market Hall ✓Váci Street
Budapest V Pros & Cons: ✓Upscale & Vibrant ✓Central & Convenient ✓Shopping & Dining ✓Quiet at Night Ⓧ Expensive
Budapest VI – Terézváros – (Pest): Tucked behind the northern end of Budapest V, the dominating feature of Budapest VI is Andrássy út, a wide, tree-lined boulevard with grand buildings, and the beautiful State Opera House. Overall, however, the 6th has a more raw and youthful vibe when compared to Budapest V, and you’re just as likely to come across cute hole-in-the-wall restaurants and bars as you are grand cafés and luxury hotels. Depending on where in the 6th you decide to stay, this district could be a great choice for all types of travelers, as there are both budget and luxury accommodations to choose from, depending on where you stay.
Budapest VI Tourist Attractions: ✓State Opera House ✓Andrássy út ✓House of Terror Museum ✓Heroes Square
Budapest VI Pros & Cons: ✓Lively & Central ✓Dining & Nightlife Ⓧ Gritty in Parts Ⓧ Loud in Parts Due to Nightlife
Budapest VII (Pest): South of the 6th and east of the 5th lies the 7th, parts of which make up the former Jewish ghetto, and still today filled with Kosher delis and gorgeous synagogues. The 7th is the undisputed nightlife hub of Budapest, and is where you’ll find many of the city’s famous ruin pubs, a vibrant dining scene, and funky shops. The downside to all this vibrancy, of course, is noise, so check reviews carefully before booking your hotel. Budapest VII is a great place to stay for those looking to be in the heart of the action, and for young and young-at-heart travelers.
Budapest VII Tourist Attractions: ✓Jewish Quarter & Dohány St. Synagogue ✓New York Café ✓Gozsdu Alley ✓Ruin Pubs
Budapest VI Pros & Cons: ✓Lively & Central ✓Dining & Nightlife Ⓧ Loud in Parts Due to Nightlife
Budapest VIII (Pest): An ‘all or nothing’ district if ever there was one in Budapest, the outer 8th district and inner 8th district couldn’t be further from each other in terms of appeal. The eastern part of the district, running from József krt. and east, is generally pretty gritty and run-down. This is the last of the inner city to be renovated and gentrified and is the place to invest in property if you don’t mind sitting on it for another decade or so. The inner 8th, however, is known as the Palace District and is a completely different story, and is home to the lovely National Museum and its gardens, some nice squares, and a great alternative scene.
Budapest VIII Tourist Attractions: ✓National Museum ✓Natural History Museum ✓Almássy Palace (House of Hungarian Architects) ✓Degenfeld-Schonburg Palace ✓Gróf Festetics Palace ✓Gróf Károlyi Alajos Palace ✓House of Representative (Italian Institute) ✓Pálffy Palace ✓Törley Palace ✓Wenckheim Palace ✓Erkel Theatre
Budapest VIII Pros & Cons: ✓Affordable ✓Central ✓Hidden Gems (Palace District) Ⓧ Gritty and Run-Down (Outer District)
Budapest IX (Pest): Recently nicknamed the craft beer district, the 9th is full of cool cafés and bars (including Élesztőház, the gravitational center of Budapest’s craft beer scene) most of which you’re unlikely to find tourists in. Indeed, being ever so slightly farther away from the dead center of the city and most tourist attractions means the 9th is a very local district, perfect for those interested in slow and immersive travel, or those who want to save a few bucks by staying a bit farther out. We have to stress though, we really do mean “a bit” farther out – the 9th is still very convenient if you find the right place.
Budapest IX Tourist Attractions: ✓Whale Building & Terrace ✓Müpa Budapest ✓National Theatre ✓Holocaust Museum ✓Trafó Arts Centre ✓Great Market Hall (borders 5th) ✓Corvinus University
Budapest IX Pros & Cons: ✓Affordable ✓Relatively Central ✓Local Living Ⓧ Slightly Away from Main Attractions
Budapest XIII (Pest): A quiet neighborhood in the north of Pest, the 13th is a favorite among young families, and apartments in this area are snapped up quickly. If you’re coming to Budapest to party, do yourself a favour and don’t stay in the 13th. However, if you’re looking for a holiday apartment in a tranquil area, the13th might be just what the doctor ordered! Bonus in the summer, this neighborhood gives you easy access to Margarit Island, a favorite of Budapesters!
Budapest IX Tourist Attractions: ✓Margit (Margaret) Island ✓Budapest Pinball Museum ✓Hungarian Railway Museum ✓Szent István park
Budapest XIII Pros & Cons: ✓Affordable ✓Relatively Central ✓Local Living Ⓧ Slightly Away from Main Attractions
A Quick Summary of The Best Place to Stay in Budapest for Tourists
If you’re still wondering about Budapest’s best location to stay, we’ve tried to summarize our thoughts on the matter below. We hope it helps!
- Budapest I – The Castle District – This district is great for mature travelers, those with young kids who will be in bed early, and couples looking for a romantic trip. Staying atop Castle Hill means you’ll have gorgeous views over the city, and can catch them early in the morning and late at night, when most of the tourists have gone back to Pest. On the downside, this part of Budapest is a bit sleepier, and you’ll have trouble finding much to do, other than some nice restaurants, in the evenings. See Our Full Guide to Budapest I.
- Budapest V – Belváros – Budapest V is nice for pretty much everyone, and is the most upscale and beautiful district in Pest. Here you’ll find most of the large luxury brand hotels (The Four Seasons, Sofitel, Kempinski, Ritz Carlton, etc. are in Budapest V), and while you can find affordable hotels as well, this district does come with a slightly higher price tag than other areas in Pest. If you’re here for a short visit and don’t mind the splurge, Budapest V is a great choice. See Our Full Guide to Budapest V.
- Budapest VI – Terézváros – To the south and west of Budapest VI, this district includes the gorgeous State Opera House, the high-end pedestrianized area along Liszt Ferenc tér, and the junction with Budapest V and VII at the super central Deák Ferenc Tér. As you move further north and further east, you’ll find a few gritty-looking (but still very safe) streets thrown into the mix, with more of a budget travel vibe, and a few nightclubs and late-night bars. That makes Budapest VI a great option for any type of traveler, but it’s worth picking the right part of the neighborhood, based on your own travel style and budget. See Our Full Guide to Budapest VI.
- Budapest VII – Erzsébetváros – Budapest VII is a great option for those who are interested in Budapest’s famous nightlife, and especially in the ruin bar scene. While there are plenty of places to stay in the 7th that are quiet, overall it’s the liveliest district and is full of bars and restaurants to enjoy. Budapest VII is also the site of the former Budapest ghetto; prior to WWII, there was a large Jewish community in this district (which is today rebounding), making this a great area to stay in Budapest for those interested in Jewish history and heritage. See our Full Guide to Budapest VII.
- Budapest VIII – Jószefváros – For those looking for budget accommodation, or those who want to experience an alternative scene in Budapest, the 8th is a good bet. While it’s generally grittier than the other city centre districts, there are still gems to be found in this area of the city, especially in the Palace District (inner 8th). See Our Full Guide to Budapest VIII.
- Budapest IX – Ferencváros – If you want to stay in an area with few tourists and lots of locals, consider staying in the inner part of the 9th, which also happens to be known for all its craft beer bars! This is a great part of the inner city to stay if you want cheaper accommodation, or if you’re looking to live like a local in Budapest. Due to its craft beer bars, it’s also a good district for those who enjoy low-key nightlife focused on conversation and tasty drinks. See Our Full Guide to Budapest IX.
- Budapest XIII – Újlipótváros and Angyalföld – Another “live like a local” part of the city, the 13th is a great option for young families, mature travelers, and couples. As Margrit Island is included in this district, it’s also a great place to stay in the summer if you plan on spending lots of time on the island (as Budapesters tend to do!). As there aren’t a lot of hotels in the 13th, this is an area to consider if you want a holiday apartment rental in a pretty neighborhood. See Our Full Guide to Budapest XIII.