Budapest’s 8th district is nestled neatly between the 9th district to the south and the 7th district to the north. It also sits conveniently between two of three ring roads (körút). The western boundary is a short stretch of the Múzeum körút, just over half a kilometer (1/3 mile) from Kálvin tér to Astoria. Here it takes a right turn onto Rákóczi út and follows on around Keleti train station until it hits Hungária körút. The eastern boundary is formed by Hungária körút, between Puskás Ferenc and Népliget, and here it meets Üllői út (the main artery to the airport) and follows it back to Kálvin tér.
We won’t lie. The 8th wouldn’t be at the top of most lists for districts of Budapest to visit. It’s the last of the central districts to get developed and while you’ll see more than a few building sites and new developments, the eastern section known as Józsefváros (fanning out from the large ring road – József krt. – to Hungária körút) remains a rather crumbled and run-down area, with many buildings still pockmarked with bullet holes from the second world war and 1956 uprising. That aside, it is an area of the city beloved of many an expat due to its burgeoning alternative cafe, bar and art scene and worth a visit, should you have the time. Erkel Színház (public theatre) and the Hungarian Natural History Museum are both located in the 8th.
The inner-third between Múzeum körút and József krt. is quite different from the rest of the district, and it is this area which gives the 8th its nickname of the Palace district. Starting with the National Museum and its gardens, wander around these cobbled streets and visit Almássy Palace (House of Hungarian Architects), Degenfeld-Schonburg Palace, Gráf Festetics Palace, Gráf Károlyi Alajos Palace, House of Representative (Italian Institute), Pálffy Palace, Törley Palace and Wenckheim Palace. Mikszáth Kálmán tér is a charming square and home to a number of lovely bars and cafes; a convenient spot for a quick lunch or a coffee.
Public Transportation in Budapest 8
Budapest 8 is well served by public transport links. The M2 metro line (the red line) runs along the northern boundary from Blaha Lujza tér to Puskás Ferenc, while the M3 (the blue line) runs under Üllői út and has four stops along the southern border of the 8th (Corvin, Klinikák, Nagyvárad tér and Népliget). The M4 (the green line) cuts across the northeastern section, from Kálvin tér to Keleti train station, and connects to Buda.
The #4 and #6 trams, which run 24/7 along the Nágykorut (the “big boulevard”, the name of which changes depending on where you are along the boulevard, but it’s József krt. in the 8th, before changing to Erzsébet krt. in the 7th), is a convenient option going through the 8th from Corvin in the south, curving around to Blaha Lujza tér on the north. The short walk along the Múzeum körút from Kálvin to Astoria is covered in three quick tram stops, and #47/49 trams run regularly up and down this stretch.
A new airport bus (100E) was introduced in the summer of 2017 and from Kálvin tér, you can travel direct to the airport in just over 50 minutes. At 900ft, it is a little more expensive than the transfer ticket of 550ft and while there?s little difference in the journey time, it will save you changing from the metro to the bus at Kőbánya-Kispest station.
Did You Know?
The Budapest Card includes free, unlimited public transportation for the duration of the card, and is available as a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5-day card. In addition to free public transport, the card includes free entry to many museums, a complimentary tour, discounts throughout the city, and more.
Who Should Stay in Budapest 8?
Not the first choice for most tourists, but there is great value to be found in the 8th. An alternative district with plenty of chilled nightlife, it?s an ideal spot for budget hunters who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the ever popular Jewish quarter (Budapest VII) and explore a more artistic, avant-garde side of the Hungarian capital.
The “inner” one-third of the district, between Múzeum körút and the Nagykörút (József krt.), is a popular sport for holiday apartment rentals and will keep you within walking distance of all the usual sites, but is generally pretty relaxed and quiet in the evening, so could work well for families with younger children.
Beyond the Nagykörút is more suitable for young people and couples. Due to its rundown quality, it can feel a little unnerving in the dark, and although it isn’t dangerous, we wouldn’t recommend it to nervous solo travelers.
Favorite Places in Budapest VIII
A district that is reinventing itself and benefitting from great investment, there is plenty to eat and drink in The Eighth. With the speed of development, it seems there is a new spot opening every few weeks, so while this is a list of spots we find ourselves drifting back to again and again, we are always on the look-out for new ones. We will be sure to update this list as we find ones we love, and as we become aware of changes to existing places.
Address: Horánszky u. 5
Hours: Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 00:00; Saturday 10.00 to 00.00; Sunday 10.00 to 22.00
This downtown cafe-cum-art gallery is tiny but precisely designed spot. Great coffee and lots of outdoor seating so best suited for when the weather is good enough to sit out. With a focus on photography, you can peruse the monthly exhibitions while enjoying a well-crafted flat white.
Nem Adom Fel Cafe and Bar
Address: Magdolna utca 1.
Hours: Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 22:00; Saturday 09.00 to 20.00; Sunday closed
The first cafe in Budapest to hire differently-abled people, this socially aware business is well worth a visit should you find yourself further east in Józsefváros. A nice selection of snacks and sandwiches awaits you, as well as delicious hot chocolate and reliable WIFI. Eclectic and comfortable furniture means this is a good spot to get some work done, although be warned that outlets are hard to come by.
Address: Baross utca 10.
Hours: Monday to Friday, 10:00 to 01:00; Saturday 12.00 to 01.00; Sunday 14.00 to 01.00
A cozy dark basement greets you as you make your way down off street level. A curved ceiling makes for an intimate and comfortable space, and with hearty plates of fried and stewed food, this is an excellent spot to spend a few hours playing board games and enjoying some delicious beers on tap. In the summer, a large sunny area on the pedestrianized corner of Baross utca is a great spot to grab some rays and a homemade lemonade. A popular spot for students as the main city library is right next door.
Address: Stáhly u. 14
Hours: Monday to Thursday 09.00 to 00.00; Friday 09.00 to 02.00; Saturday 10.00 to 02.00; Sunday closed
Just kool enough for skool, this bar/cafe/gallery/vintage clothes store has plenty going on. A great place to hang out for a few hours over a lemonade or a local IPA, and just new enough that you won’t hear many tourists here. Sunny days mean the glass doors are thrown wide open, as patrons spill out onto the street and weekends usually involve a chill DJ set. Brunch is highly recommended.
Black Cab Burger
Address: Rákóczi út. 19
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11:00 to 00:00
Sometimes life calls for a good burger and fries and nothing else will do. Then, look no further. A perennial, BCB cooks their fries in peanut oil and serves the most delicious juicy, well stacked burgers in town. A fast food joint to all intents and purposes with red plastic trays and counter service, but there are some bottled beers and ciders in the fridge as well as some foreign sodas. Meat lovers, you won’t regret it; trust us!
Address: Vásár utca 2.
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10:00 to 00:00
An uber popular spot with students, this cozy bar/cafe serves some delicious and very reasonably priced plates. Getting a table at lunch time can be something of a challenge but the staff are incredibly friendly and accommodating and if you?re patient, you’ll get looked after (best to come after the 12.30-13.30 lunch rush though). Delicious lemonade and great coffees, good access to outlets and comfortable seats mean (a) the students hang around (!) and (b) this entry would have sat quite happily in the cafe section below. However, the nice range of beers on tap and the cool, relaxed vibe here in the evening means we usually end up then, rather than at lunch.