Where to Stay in Budapest: The Ultimate Accommodation Guide
Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, is a vibrant and captivating destination that offers a rich blend of history, stunning architecture, thermal baths, gastronomy, and an exciting nightlife. If you’re planning a visit to this remarkable city, you’ve made an excellent choice! However, the question that arises next is: where should you stay in Budapest? Fret not, as I’m here to help you make that decision.
Deciding on the perfect district to stay in Budapest can be a daunting task, especially for first-time visitors, considering the city’s size and numerous options. Each district has its own unique vibe, pros, and cons. In this comprehensive accommodation guide, I will provide you with everything you need to know about Budapest’s organization and highlight the best areas for all types of tourists and budgets.
Should You Stay in Buda or Pest?
Deciding whether to stay in Buda or Pest is an important consideration when planning your Budapest stay. Buda, located on the west bank of the Danube River, offers a more suburban and historic experience. It boasts medieval houses, charming streets, and stunning views of the city. On the other hand, Pest, located on the east bank, is vibrant, bustling, and home to most of the city’s tourist attractions. It offers a wide range of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. While both sides are well-connected, Pest is often the preferred choice for tourists due to its central location and abundance of amenities.
Now that you have a better understanding of Budapest’s districts and their unique offerings, you can choose the area that suits your preferences and budget. Remember to book your accommodations in advance, as Budapest is a popular destination and good options tend to sell out quickly. Enjoy your stay in this enchanting city and make the most of everything Budapest has to offer!
Buda vs Pest
Reputation: Classy vs Action-Packed
Buda is often regarded as the classier and more residential side of Budapest. It offers a quieter atmosphere, making it the perfect place for a leisurely sightseeing experience. With its regal landmarks such as the beautiful Fisherman’s Bastion, Buda Castle, and Matthias Church, Buda exudes elegance and grandeur. The presence of thermal spas like the Gellert or Rudas Baths adds to its bougie appeal. If you’re looking for a more relaxed and refined experience, Buda is the place to be.
On the other hand, Pest is where all the action happens. It’s the bustling side of Budapest, known for its vibrant energy and lively atmosphere. If you want to immerse yourself in the touristy scene, hang out at trendy spots, and have fun, Pest is the place to be. The iconic Parliament building and the gorgeous Opera House are just a few of the architectural marvels you can find on the Pest side. The area around Heroes’ Square, with attractions like the Szechenyi Baths, Budapest Zoo, and Vajdahunyad Castle, offers a mix of history and entertainment.
Things to Do: Sightseeing vs Entertainment
In Buda, the view from Gellert Hill or Fisherman’s Bastion is one of the best features. Take a moment to soak in the breathtaking panorama of the city and the Danube River. Buda is also a haven for history enthusiasts, with its castles and landmarks that transport you back in time. The Children’s Railway, a unique attraction run by children, offers a charming experience. Explore picturesque parks, dine at quaint restaurants, and immerse yourself in the cultural vibe of Buda.
Pest offers a plethora of activities to keep you entertained. While the view may not be as scenic as Buda, Pest makes up for it with its vibrant atmosphere. Take a stroll down Vaci utca, one of the best shopping streets in the city, and indulge in some retail therapy. Discover the culinary delights of Pest at its best restaurants and experience the vibrant nightlife in the bars, clubs, and ruin pubs. Don’t forget to visit the famous baths of Pest, where you can relax and unwind after a day of exploration.
Landmarks: Regal vs Architectural Marvels
Buda is home to a plethora of regal landmarks that showcase the city’s rich history and architectural beauty. The Fisherman’s Bastion, with its fairytale-like towers and panoramic views of the Danube, is a must-visit. Buda Castle, perched on Castle Hill, is another iconic landmark that houses museums and art galleries. Don’t miss the chance to explore Matthias Church, known for its stunning Gothic architecture. Buda also boasts elegant thermal spas like the Gellert and Rudas Baths, where you can relax and rejuvenate.
Pest is not to be outdone when it comes to landmarks. The majestic Parliament building is a sight to behold, with its neo-Gothic architecture and intricate details. The Opera House is another architectural gem, known for its stunning interior and world-class performances. As you explore Pest, make sure to visit Heroes’ Square, which pays tribute to Hungary’s historical figures. Here, you can also find the famous Szechenyi Baths, Budapest Zoo, and Vajdahunyad Castle, adding to the allure of Pest.
Experience Both Sides: The Best of Both Worlds
At the end of the day, it’s clear that you must experience both sides of Budapest to truly appreciate the city’s charm. Stay on either side and enjoy the unique offerings they have. Spend your days leisurely exploring Buda, taking in the sights, and immersing yourself in its rich history. In the evenings, head over to Pest to indulge in the vibrant nightlife, culinary delights, and entertainment options. As you cross the beautiful bridges that connect Buda and Pest, marvel at the stunning views of the Danube River.
Budapest’s Districts: An Overview
Budapest is divided into 23 districts, each with its own distinct character and attractions. Understanding the layout of the city will help you make an informed decision about where to stay. Here’s a brief overview of the most popular distric
District V / Belváros – Lipótváros: The Best Area for First-Timers
District V, also known as Belváros – Lipótváros, is the heart and soul of Budapest and the ideal area for first-time visitors. Located on the Pest side of the city, District V offers proximity to all the main tourist attractions, cafes, bars, and restaurants. You’ll find iconic landmarks such as the Parliament building, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the famous Chain Bridge in this district. However, it’s important to note that accommodations in District V can be quite expensive due to its popularity. Luxury travelers will find a plethora of 5-star hotels, while budget travelers may prefer to explore the numerous hostels in the area. Some highly recommended accommodations in District V include:
- Aria Hotel Budapest by Library Hotel Collection: This upscale thermal hotel in Budapest offers 5-star service and impeccable reviews, making it the epitome of luxury.
- InterContinental Hotel Budapest: Another excellent choice for luxury travelers, this hotel boasts a flawless location, river views, and excellent service.
- Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest: Indulge in a royal experience at this Budapest spa hotel, featuring world-class relaxation, exquisite rooms, and a stunning building.
- Budapest Marriott Hotel: Enjoy a Danube hotel experience with rooms that offer breathtaking views of the river. Every room in this hotel is designed to showcase the beauty of the Danube.
- Amber Terrace Studios: This 3-star hotel provides all the necessary facilities for a comfortable stay in Budapest, including a central location near the Great Market Hall and the Danube riverbank.
- TG Design Suites Aparthotel Budapest: For affordable aparthotel options, this property offers beautiful rooms, an on-site restaurant, and bar facilities.
- Amber Studios: Ideal for budget travelers, these simple yet charming studios offer an excellent location surrounded by restaurants, grocery stores, bars, and cafes.
- Maverick Hostel & Ensuites: Known as one of the best hotels in Budapest for budget travelers and backpackers, this hostel offers affordable prices, clean rooms, and a friendly atmosphere.
District I / Budavár (Castle District): The Best Area for Luxury
For those interested in sightseeing and experiencing the best tourist places in Budapest, District I, also known as Budavár or the Castle District, is the perfect choice. Located on the Buda side of the city, District I offers iconic attractions such as the Budapest Castle, Széchenyi Chain Bridge, and Rudas Thermal Baths. The area is also adorned with beautiful historical buildings, providing a luxurious and exclusive atmosphere. Luxury travelers will find a range of upscale hotels, chic shops, bars, and world-class restaurants in this area. Some recommended accommodations in District I include:
- Hilton Budapest: This 5-star hotel offers stunning views of the city and a central location in the heart of the Castle District. Guests can enjoy the fitness center, sauna, and massage services.
- Monastery Boutique Hotel: Located close to Fisherman’s Bastion, this 4-star boutique hotel offers free Wi-Fi, a delicious buffet breakfast, and a range of comfortable rooms.
- PEST-BUDA Design Hotel by Zsidai Hotels at Buda Castle: If you appreciate unique contemporary design, this hotel is the perfect choice. The bright, clean rooms and cool decor make for an unforgettable stay.
- Christine Apartment close to the Buda Castle: This 4-star hotel offers great prices, a convenient location above a grill restaurant, and cozy rooms.
- Hotel Castle Garden: This beautiful boutique-style hotel features stylish air-conditioned rooms and a uniquely styled bistro restaurant surrounded by a lush garden.
- Ékszerdoboz A Budai Vár Alatt: Enjoy the comfort of an entire apartment at an affordable price. This accommodation offers an excellent location and great value for the price.
- Hotel Orion Várkert: This budget hotel provides comfortable rooms and the added advantage of a free on-site sauna and fitness center.
District II / Rózsadomb: Where to Stay for Families
If you’re traveling with your family, District II, also known as Rózsadomb, is the perfect neighborhood for you. Located north of the Castle District, Rózsadomb offers a local’s perspective of Budapest and a charming atmosphere. Take a romantic walk along the beautiful streets, relax at one of the three thermal baths in the area (Lukács Thermal Bath, Veli Bej, or Kiraly Bath), or indulge in local food at Fény Street Market Hall. While District II may not be the epicenter of tourist spots in Budapest, it offers a calm and family-friendly environment away from the hustle and bustle of the city center. Recommended accommodations in District II include:
- The Hotel Unforgettable – Hotel Tiliana by Homoky Hotels: This 4-star hotel provides a luxurious experience, with cozy rooms and a playground for children, as well as an outdoor swimming pool.
- Hotel Regnum Residence: Offering luxurious service and facilities, this 4-star hotel features beautiful rooms, free Wi-Fi, and an on-site restaurant serving great food.
- PEST-BUDA Design Hotel by Zsidai Hotels at Buda Castle: With its unique contemporary design, this hotel offers bright, clean rooms and a cool atmosphere. The hotel has a rich history, having opened in 1696.
- Ria’s Apartment: This apartment offers hotel-style facilities, including a sauna, cozy rooms, and free private parking. It’s a great option for families or small groups.
- Grand Jules – Boat Hotel: Experience a unique stay on a boat hotel located on the Danube riverbank. Enjoy amazing views of the Parliament Building and a memorable experience.
- BI&BI: This bed and breakfast is an excellent choice for budget travelers, offering various types of rooms in a central location close to public transport and amenities.
- Klebelsberg Kastély Budapest: This budget hotel offers comfortable rooms, free Wi-Fi, a 24-hour front desk, and a buffet breakfast.
District VI / Terézváros: Where to Stay in Budapest on a Budget
Traveling on a budget? For budget travelers, District VI, also known as Terézváros, is the ideal neighborhood to stay in Budapest. Located on the Pest side of the city, District VI offers affordable accommodations and a vibrant atmosphere. The area is home to the famous Szechenyi Baths, upscale and boutique shops, and the Hungarian State Opera. Andrassy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage site, runs through the district and provides a lively and convenient location for exploring the city center. Recommended accommodations in District VI include:
- Hotel Moments Budapest: This high-end hotel offers tasteful decor, a central location on Andrassy Avenue, and a rooftop terrace for relaxation.
- Barceló Budapest: Experience elegance at this hotel, which features an on-site restaurant, bar, garden, and excellent rooms.
- Medosz Hotel: This conveniently located 3-star hotel offers clean and nicely decorated rooms near the Opera House and St. Stephen’s Basilica.
- T62 Hotel: Known for its modern design and floor-to-ceiling windows, this hotel provides vibrant and tasteful rooms, an on-site bar, and an airport shuttle.
- Maverick City Lodge: This popular hostel offers affordable prices, clean rooms, and a welcoming atmosphere, making it a great choice for budget travelers and backpackers.
- Connection Guesthouse: Experience a cozy and homely stay at this guesthouse, where you’ll enjoy free Wi-Fi, clean rooms, and friendly staff.
District VII / Jewish Quarter: The Best Area for Budapest Nightlife
Erzsébetváros, also known as the historic Jewish Quarter, is the best area for tourists interested in vibrant nightlife. District VII offers a diverse range of bars, pubs, ruin bars, and local restaurants serving international cuisine. Iconic attractions in the area include the New York Palace and the Dohány Street Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Europe. District VII is the smallest neighborhood in Budapest but packs a punch when it comes to entertainment. Recommended accommodations in the Jewish Quarter include:
- New York Palace, The Dedica Anthology, Autograph Collection: This iconic hotel offers impeccable 5-star service, a prime location, and a luxurious experience in the heart of the Jewish Quarter.
- Corinthia Budapest: Indulge in a Budapest spa hotel experience at this 5-star hotel, featuring a royal spa, three restaurants, and superb rooms.
- Tempo Life Apartment: This modern apartment offers a great location near the city center and top tourist spots, making it a convenient option for travelers.
- City-Hotel Budapest: Enjoy comfortable rooms and excellent prices at this 4-star hotel located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter, close to the Opera House.
- Maverick City Lodge: This budget-friendly hostel offers affordable prices, clean rooms, and a great location for exploring Budapest’s nightlife.
- Sakuranbo – Guest House: Experience a cozy stay at this guest house, which offers comfortable rooms and a traditional decor.
District VIII: The Coolest Neighborhood in Budapest
District VIII, also known as Józsefváros or the Palace District, is one of the coolest and most artistic neighborhoods in Budapest. Located on the Pest side of the city, this district offers a mix of historical landmarks, art galleries, hipster bars, and local restaurants. Highlights include the National Museum, Natural History Museum, and Szabó Ervin Library. While District VIII may not be the first choice for tourists, it provides a unique and vibrant atmosphere. Recommended accommodations in District VIII include:
- Bo18 Hotel Superior: This upscale hotel offers a stunning design, Finnish and infrared saunas, a hot tub, and fitness facilities for a truly relaxing stay.
- Hotel Palazzo Zichy Budapest: Enjoy free use of the sauna and fitness center at this 4-star hotel, which offers beautiful rooms and a rooftop terrace.
- Central Hotel 21: This hotel provides great value for money, offering comfortable rooms and apartments in a central location near the Opera House and Saint Stephen’s Basilica.
- The Three Corners Hotel Anna Superior: Experience modern design at this hotel, which opened in 2017. Enjoy an on-site bar, airport shuttle, and uniquely decorated rooms.
- Vajda 15 Hostel Budapest: This affordable hostel offers spacious rooms, friendly staff, and a lovely garden. It’s a great choice for budget travelers.
- Flow Hostel: Enjoy a vibrant and colorful stay at this hostel, which features a shared terrace, lounge, and a friendly atmosphere.
District IX: Where to Stay in Budapest for Foodies
Ferencváros, the ninth district of Budapest, offers a diverse and versatile experience for all types of travelers. Located in the south of Budapest, Ferencváros provides a quiet and residential atmosphere, reminiscent of Buda. The district is known for its range of dining options, from traditional food stalls serving lángos to high-end establishments like Costes, which has a Michelin star. Other highlights include the National Theatre, Müpa Budapest, and Dandár Thermal Bath. While Ferencváros is not within walking distance of the city center, it offers excellent public transport connections. Recommended accommodations in District IX include:
- The Three Corners Lifestyle Hotel: This 4-star hotel offers a cozy atmosphere, a terrace, and sauna facilities for relaxation after a day of exploring.
- Ensana Thermal Margaret Island: Indulge in a Budapest spa hotel experience with indoor and outdoor pools, a central location on Margaret Island, and a luxurious stay.
- Ensana Grand: Located on Margaret Island, this landmark hotel offers access to a beautiful spa and a great value stay in Budapest.
- Szőnyi Garden Hotel Pest: This 3-star hotel provides excellent value for money, with comfortable rooms, free Wi-Fi, and a big garden surrounding the property.
- Corner Hotel Budapest: This modern hotel offers affordable rates and a convenient location for budget travelers looking to explore District IX.
- Evergreen Budapest Guest House: Experience a cozy stay at this guest house, offering daily breakfast, spacious rooms, and traditional decor.
District XIII / Angyalföld: If You Love Green Areas
Although located on the Pest side of the city, District XIII, also known as Angyalföld, offers a calm and residential atmosphere similar to Buda. The district is a great choice for laid-back travelers seeking green spaces and charming streets away from the city center. Highlights of District XIII include the National Theatre, Natural History Museum, and Margaret Island, a gorgeous park perfect for relaxation. It’s important to note that District XIII is not within walking distance of the city center, so public transport is necessary. Recommended accommodations in District XIII include:
- Ensana Thermal Margaret Island: This Budapest spa hotel offers a range of facilities, including indoor and outdoor pools, for a relaxing stay.
- Arpad Bridge Apartments: Located close to the Danube river, this hotel offers beautiful rooms with stunning views of the city.
- Ensana Grand: Experience a great value stay on Margaret Island at this landmark hotel, which provides access to a beautiful spa.
- Szőnyi Garden Hotel Pest: This budget-friendly hotel offers comfortable rooms, free Wi-Fi, and a big garden surrounding the property.
- Water Tower Budapest 1097: Enjoy a spacious and affordable stay at this hotel with access to a lovely garden and comfortable rooms.
- Flow Hostel: For a budget-friendly stay, this colorful hostel offers a vibrant atmosphere, a shared terrace, and easy access to public transport.
Best Apartments in Budapest
If you prefer a homey feeling during your trip to Budapest, renting an apartment is a great option. Airbnb provides a wide range of fabulous choices in the city, offering a more spacious and affordable alternative to hotels. Staying in an apartment is particularly suitable for larger groups and families. Here are some highly recommended Airbnb options in Budapest’s downtown area, District V:
- Beautiful apartment in perfect location: This high-quality, romantic apartment offers an excellent location near Matthias Church, the Central Market Hall, and other top tourist spots.
- Modern apartment with panoramic views: Enjoy a bright and sparkling clean apartment with a great location and easy access to Budapest’s best attractions.
- Top Location Brand NEW STUDIO 2: Experience a modern and beautiful apartment at a reasonable price. This recently renovated accommodation offers convenience and comfort.
- Design home next to the Basilica (self-check-in): Ideal for couples or small groups, this cute and romantic apartment provides a central location near bus stations, subway lines, and numerous bars, restaurants, and cafes.
- Metropolitan Apartment – City Break: This comfortable and homey apartment provides affordable prices and a relaxing atmosphere, perfect for a good night’s sleep.
- OktoHome Suite: Enjoy a budget-friendly stay in the heart of the city with this apartment option, offering great prices and a central location.