Where to Stay in Budapest: Introducing The 1st District (The Castle District)
The only district in Buda (as opposed to Pest) that we’ve included in this list, Budapest’s 1st District is an upscale and quiet part of the city, full of sightseeing treasures, great views, and some cozy bistros to enjoy during the evenings.
Atop Castle Hill, you’ll find Budapest Castle (hence the name – duh!), Fisherman’s Bastion, and St. Matthias Church, along with some more minor attractions. Further south, Gellért Hill and the Liberty Statue have great views over the city; this spot is particularly spectacular at sunset.
The First District runs along the west bank of the Danube, roughly going from Batthyány tér in the north to Gellert Hill in the south.
Public Transportation in Budapest I
Most tourists who stay in Budapest I choose to stay atop Castle Hill. While this is a spectacular part of the city to stay in, it’s somewhat less connected to public transport than other parts of the city. That said, it’s still possible to get around easily – if you know how!
From atop Castle Hill, your best bet is to take a Bus to either Széll Kálmán tér in Buda, a transport hub that connects to Trams #4 and #6 and the M2 (red), or Deák Ferenc tér, another transit hub and part of the city center, where Budapest V, VI, and VII all meet.
Bus #16 goes to both, depending on which direction you choose. Bus 16A will also take you to Széll Kálmán tér, but not to Deák Ferenc tér.
Another option is to walk down the hill to Batthyány tér, which sits on the M2 (red) metro line. This is probably about a 20-minute walk.
Who Should Stay in Budapest I?
The First is a beautiful but quiet district, best suited to those not looking for lively nightlife. In general, this part of Budapest is rather upscale, so it’s also a better fit for those with larger budgets, rather than backpackers looking for a deal.
We think the Castle District is best for mature travellers, those looking for a romantic or quiet holiday, and those who don’t enjoy being in the thick of things, in the city centre.
Favorite Places in Budapest I
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the places to eat and drink in Budapest I: rather, it’s a round-up of the places we find ourselves going back to again and again, and the places we take visitors when we have out-of-town guests. We’ve also included a few spots that are on our wishlist, and will update this section with time!
Address: Szentháromság u. 7
Hours: Daily from 10:00 to 19:00
Touristy? Absolutely! Worth it? Absolutely!
Started in 1827 in the same location it stands today, this place has a ‘stepping back in time’ feel to it; the kind of café in which your great-grandparents might have hung out during their day. Setting the cozy ambiance aside, Ruszwurm is famous for its traditional cakes, including its version of the Hungarian krémes (cream cake) and the layered dobos torte.
Address: Táncsics Mihály u. 12.
Hours: Daily from 10:00 to 18:00
Lacking in the international hipster aesthetic you’ll find over in Pest, this place has a ‘down home’ vibe to it. Not exactly cozy on the inside, it’s still worth a stop in for lunch or a coffee and cake while exploring the castle district.
Address: Budavári Palace (Budapest Castle – looking over the river)
Hours: Daily from 10:00 to 22:00
We’ve yet to go here, but it’s on our list for the next time we have out of town visitors. Worth noting, the reviews aren’t great, and we wouldn’t recommend you go for the food. Instead, this is a place to go for a glass of prosecco, cold lemonade or beer, or a coffee after exploring the castle grounds. What makes it worth visiting are the views over Pest, right from within the Castle grounds. If you want one of the best tables, it’s probably worth making a reservation.
Address: Fortuna utca 14
Hours: Daily from 12:00 to 24:00
An upscale dining experience in a beautiful setting, Pierrot is located in a 13th-century bakery house?and has a lovely terrace/garden when the weather is nice. They have live music, and offer a mix of Hungarian classics and international foods, with a good wine list with a focus on Hungarian wines.
Address: Fortuna u. 3
Hours: Daily from 07:30 to 23:45
Attached to the boutique hotel of the same name, the Pest-Buda Bistro has a classic Hungarian bistro feel, with updated branding. Most of the menu is filled with Hungarian classics, making this a great bet when you’re looking for something hearty. In nice weather, they have a sidewalk terrace to enjoy as well.
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EXPLORE MORE OF THE BEST DISTRICTS TO STAY IN BUDAPEST:
• Budapest V – Belváros • Budapest VI – Terézváros • Budapest VII – Erzsébetváros • Budapest VIII – Józsefváros • Budapest IX – Ferencváros • Budapest XIII – Újlipótváros and Angyalföld • Budapest Map – Our Favorite Places in Budapest