Where to Stay in Budapest: Introducing The 5th District (Belváros)
Budapest’s 5th District is the true inner city of Pest, running along the Danube in a long, skinny band from Szent István krt. / Margit híd (Margaret Bridge) in the north, to Vámház Körút / Szabadság híd (Liberty Bridge) in the south. The river forms the western border, while the inner ring road, which consists of Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út and the Múzeum krt., forms the eastern border.
The 5th is home to loads of Budapest’s main attractions, including the breathtaking Hungarian Parliament Building, Shoes on the Danube memorial, the Chain Bridge, Szabadság tér (Liberty Square) and the controversial German Occupation Memorial, Szent István Bazilika (St. Stephen’s Basilica) Váci utca shopping street, and the Great Market Hall. This entire district is rather upmarket, and is home to beautiful wide boulevards and gorgeous cafés that may have you thinking you’re in Paris, not Budapest (especially up near the northern end, near parliament).
Unlike some of the other districts in Budapest, where you want to carefully choose which part of the district you stay in, the entire 5th district is a safe bet in terms of convenience, enjoyment, beauty, and safety!
Also worth noting, Budapest V is home to the 5-star Aria Hotel, which was named the best hotel in the world in the 2017 TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Awards! Even if you choose to stay in a hotel in Budapest that’s easier on the wallet, the Aria has a great rooftop bar that’s worth a drink!
Public Transportation in Budapest 5
Tram #2 runs along the Danube through Budapest V, making it fairly easy to get up and down this long and narrow section of the city quite conveniently. It begins at Jászai Mari tér in the north and runs all the way through the 5th to the 9th, beyond where the average city visitor would have any need to go!
You can also take a public ferry up and down the length of 5th, which takes about one hour and makes for a cheap Danube river cruise. If you want to make it a scenic cruise, we’d suggest you take the boat in between Jászai Mari tér (Margit híd) ferry stop, and Boráros tér H (Petőfi híd) ferry stop in the south. When you disembark at Boráros tér, walk back up the river in the direction you came, and you’ll arrive at the Balena (whale) building, immediately recognizable for its modern glass architecture, and grab a coffee or drink on the terrace!
In addition to Tram 2 and the public ferry, the metro runs throughout the 5th, making it fairly easy to get around quickly. Deák Ferenc Tér, where the 5th more or less meets both the 6th and 7th districts, is also a convenient transit interchange where the M1, M2, and M3 lines all connect.
Who Should Stay in Budapest 5?
Beautiful and upmarket, Budapest V is a great option for those who want to be in the centre of the action, and don’t mind paying a bit extra for it. Many of Budapest’s luxury hotels are located in the 5th, although it’s possible to find some more budget-friendly places to stay as well (Lavender Circus is one of our favorites if you’re on a budget, and Hotel Rum is a nice choice for an “affordable boutique”).
Budapest V is a nice place to stay for mature adults, couples looking for a quiet and romantic trip, and families with kids. While there are plenty of restaurants in the 5th District, many (but not all) of them are geared towards tourists. It’s also not the best place to stay for nightlife: for that, we’d recommend Budapest VI or VII.
Favorite Places in Budapest V
Budapest is a lively city with plenty going on at any time, and there are lots of caf?s, shops, bars and restaurants worth exploring in Budapest 5. This is by no means a comprehensive list: 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. This list is updated as we find new places, and as we become aware of changes to existing places.
Address: Arany János utca 15.
Hours: Monday to Friday, 07:30 to 19:00; Saturday, 09:00 to 18:00; Sunday, 09:00 to 17:00
Consistently at the top of ‘best coffee in Budapest’ lists, this is one of our favorite cafés in Budapest V, and in particular in this part of the city, within an easy walk to the parliament building. In addition to coffee, they have a few sweets on offer: the massive chocolate cookies are quite the hit. Great coffee, great ambience and friendly staff – hard to beat.
Address: Vörösmarty tér 7-8
Hours: Bistro: Monday to Sunday, 12:00 (noon) to 22:00; Confectionary (Cafe): Monday to Sunday, 09:00 to 21:00
One of several of Budapest’s Grand Cafés, Gerbeaud has been in operation since 1858, continuing through the Communist period. The décor is lavish: think chandeliers, marble, and rich woods. The confectionary side offers rich desserts, including traditional Hungarian choices like Esterházy layer cake and Dobos torte. Great place to feel like a Hapsburg, although it comes at a price.
Address: Királyi Pál u. 6
Hours: Monday to Friday, 10:30 to 13:00 AND 13:30 to 18:30; Saturday, 12:00 to 18:00; Closed Sunday
A bean to bar chocolatier that sources their beans directly from growers, Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé has been called a top 10 chocolate shop in the world by Condé Nast. You can pop in for a bar, a box of different chocolate selections, or just taste one or two of their unique flavors, such as lemon oil caramel or coffee and balsamic vinegar.
Address: Hercegprímás u. 18
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 12:00 (noon) to 24:00; Closed Monday
A sweet and cozy bistro that uses local ingredients and buys directly from small producers, don’t expect goulash here, but rather open up to an updated and reimagined version of Hungarian cuisine. Reservations are required, as this place gets busy.
Á la Maison Grand
Address: Szervita tér 3
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 08:00 to 17:00
A bright and airy French bistro on a quiet street in Budapest V, this is a nice option for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The breakfast menu is quite extensive, and includes sweet and savory options, including egg-based and waffle/French Toast based meals. Fairly well priced for location and ambience.
High Note Sky Bar
Address: Hercegprímás u. 5
Hours: Sunday to Wednesday, 11:00 to 24:00; Thursday to Saturday, 11am to 02:00
A rooftop bar atop the Aria Hotel (TripAdvisor?s Travelers Choice Awards #1 Hotel in the World 2017), the standout feature here is the panoramic 360 bar, which offers gorgeous views of the cupola on St. Stephen’s Basilica, as well as views over central Pest. For the best views, reserve a table ahead of time; otherwise, they’ll do their best to accommodate you with the space available. Prices are a bit higher than typical in Budapest, but reasonable compared to top hotel bars in other major European capitals.
Top Budapest Hotels in Budapest V District
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EXPLORE MORE OF THE BEST DISTRICTS TO STAY IN BUDAPEST:
• Budapest I – Castle District • Budapest VI – Terézváros • Budapest VII – Erzsébetváros • Budapest VIII – Józsefváros • Budapest IX – Ferencváros • Budapest XIII – Újlipótváros and Angyalföld • Budapest Map – Our Favorite Places in Budapest