Budapest might just be one of my favorite cities in Europe. This city’s got character, impressive architecture and a youthful atmosphere.

You can go wine tasting, soak in a thermal bath, visit castles, and learn more about Budapest at one of the many fascinating – albeit historically dark – museums.

What’s more? Budapest is an affordable city to visit, something that definitely sets it apart from other cities in Europe.

With so much to do and see, Budapest is quickly gaining popularity on everyone’s European backpacker itinerary. So if you’re visiting in high season, you’ll want to book ahead for the best accommodation.

We created this neighborhood guide to help you figure out where to stay in Budapest, depending on your travel style.

This guide will help you decide which side of the river to stay on and help you narrow down where to stay in Budapest based on the top things to do in each neighborhood.

Quick Tips – The Best Areas to Stay in Budapest

The following neighborhoods are the best areas in Budapest to stay in:

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

FIRST TIME IN BUDAPEST

Várkerület

District I Várkerület, or the Castle District, is one of the most iconic neighbourhoods in Budapest. Located on the Buda side of the River Danube, this district offers quaint cobblestone streets, grand medieval architecture and picturesque views.

PLACES TO VISIT:
  • Climb (or drive) to the top of Gellért Hill and enjoy panoramic views of the city
  • Explore the Citadel, a 19th-century fortification that sits atop Gellért Hill
  • See the intricate detail and curious architecture of Matthias Church

Budapest Neighborhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN BUDAPEST
Varkerulet, Budapest
FIRST TIME IN BUDAPEST

Várkerület

District I Várkerület, or the Castle District, is one of the most iconic neighbourhoods in Budapest. Located on the Buda side of the River Danube, this district offers quaint cobblestone streets, grand medieval architecture and picturesque views.

ON A BUDGET
Terézváros, Budapest
ON A BUDGET

Terézváros

District VI, Terézváros, is one of the smallest yet most densely populated neighbourhoods in Budapest. Located on the Pest side of the Danube, this lively district is a hub of excitement and activity.

NIGHTLIFE
Erzsebetvaros, Budapest
NIGHTLIFE

Erzsébetváros

The smallest district in Budapest, District VII Erzsébetváros packs a big punch. The city’s historic Jewish Quarter, this central neighbourhood is home to a number of heritage, cultural and religious sites, including several notable synagogues.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Jozsefvaros, Budapest
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Józsefváros

A few years ago, travellers would have avoided Budapest’s District VIII Józsefváros at all costs. Rough and dangerous, it was not a nice place to visit. Thanks to an influx of stylish bars, trendy restaurants and independent boutiques, Józsefváros is now one of the hottest neighbourhoods in the city.

FOR FAMILIES
Belvaros, Budapest
FOR FAMILIES

Belváros

Located on the eastern edge of the River Danube, Belváros or Pest is the downtown and heart of the city. One of the biggest neighbourhoods in Budapest, this is where you’ll find a variety of historic and cultural attractions, including the Parliament Building, the Chain Bridge, and the Central Market Hall.

Grand and magnificent, Budapest is a jewel on the River Danube. Backpackers flock to Budapest in their droves. The capital and largest city in Hungary, Budapest is known for its impressive architecture, historical attractions, youthful atmosphere, and its vibrant nightlife. What’s more, is that Budapest is generally a safe city.

Home to 1.7 million people, Budapest is one of the most popular travel destinations in Central Europe. Each year the city attracts more than 4.4 million international tourists to explore the castles, browse the museums, party in the ruin bars and relax in the thermal baths.

The city of Budapest covers more than 525 square kilometres. Split down the middle by the River Danube, Budapest is divided into 23 distinct districts. Boasting a wide variety of attractions and atmospheres, Budapest a captivating and unique city to visit.

So unique, well, here’s 6 things you can do in Budapest that you can’t do in London.

To help you make the most of your time in Budapest, this guide will break down the top neighbourhoods by interest.

To the west of the River Danube is Várkerület. The Castle District of Budapest, this neighbourhood is famous for stunning landscape, ornate churches and palaces, and impressive views.

Cross over the river and you’ll find yourself in District V. Belváros or Pest is the downtown and modern heart of the city. This neighbourhood is home to great restaurants, impressive architectures, and a number of key cultural and historic sights.

Continuing east you pass through Districts VI, VII and VIII. Terézváros, Erzsébetváros, Józsefváros are located within Budapest’s main core and are home to a variety of world-class restaurants, trendy bars, and unique tourist attractions.

Still not sure where to stay in Budapest? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered below.

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5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Budapest

Situated on both sides of the Danube River, Budapest is a city comprised of more than 20 neighbourhoods. Each of the different areas has it’s own atmosphere and will cater to different types of visitors.

Do you want to see Budapest’s historic and cultural sights? Maybe you want to experience a night in a ruin bar? Perhaps you’re keen to explore the city’s trendiest hotspots? No matter what your interests there’s an area of Budapest that will be best suited to you.

Whether you’re just visiting for the weekend or planning to stay for a longer time, read on to learn more about the best five neighbourhoods in Budapest broken down by interest.

1. District I / Várkerület (Buda) – Where to Stay in Budapest for your First Time

District I Várkerület, or the Castle District, is one of the most iconic neighbourhoods in Budapest. Located on the Buda side of the River Danube, this district offers quaint cobblestone streets, grand medieval architecture and picturesque views.

Well connected to Pest via public transit, this district is the ideal base for first-time visitors. Popular during the day, but peaceful at night, this district is a relaxing oasis in the city. Enjoy the city’s top attractions, great restaurants and panoramic views right on your doorstep.

Varkerulet, Budapest
With great restaurants and amazing views of Buda Castle, it’s hard to beat District One for your first time in Budapest

Things to See and Do in Várkerület

– Marvel at the neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque architecture of Fisherman’s Bastion. Walk along the terrace and take in the amazing views of the Danube and Pest.

– Wander throughout Buda Castle, the Hungarian Royal Palace which is home to the National Gallery and Budapest History Museum.

– Climb (or drive) to the top of Gellért Hill and enjoy panoramic views of the city.

– Pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for independence at the Liberty Statue.

– Explore the Citadel, a 19th-century fortification that sits atop Gellért Hill.

– Warm up with a cup of coffee at Ruszwurm coffeehouse, one of the oldest cafes in Budapest.

– See the intricate detail and curious architecture of Matthias Church.

– Explore the Hospital in the Rock Nuclear Bunker, a World War II hospital situated in the caverns under Buda Castle. Now a museum, it features waxwork re-creations and authentic equipment.

– Soak in Rudas Baths and feel relaxed and rejuvenated after a long day of sightseeing.

Best Hostel in Várkerület: Art Hotel Gallery

There are no shortage of hostels in Budapest. Located on the banks of the Danube, this hostel is a short walk from the Chain Bridge, Buda Castle and all the city’s top attractions. It is also well connected by public transport. Offering dorm-style accommodations, this hostel is comfortable, welcoming and has a small kitchen for guests to use.

Best Airbnb in Várkerület: Centrally located apartment for 2 or 4

Located just 100m from the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Andrassy Avenue and 30m away from the Budapest Terez Korut, this apartment is perfect anyone visiting Budapest for the first time. There is a variety of Hungarian, Indian, Thai, vegetarian restaurants within close reach and the famous Ruined Pubs of Budapest are within a walking distance, as well as the house of Opera, Parliament, and Danube. The apartment is also stocked with a fully equipped kitchen, wifi, and air conditioning.

Best Hotel in Várkerület: Buda Castle Fashion Hotel

Just steps from Buda Castle, this hotel is ideal for guests staying in Várkerület. Comprised of 25 rooms, this four-star hotel offers guests stylish and spacious rooms equipped with plasma TVs, bottled water and free wifi. Enjoy a delicious meal at the hotel restaurant or nightcap in the chic lounge bar.

Best Hotel in Várkerület: Boutique Hotel Victoria Budapest

On the shores of the Danube, this delightful boutique hotel has stunning views of the river and Pest. The city’s top attractions, including Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge, are just a short walk away. Modern and stylish, this hotel boasts a day spa, sauna and massage service, ideal for unwinding after a day of adventures.

2. District VI / Terézváros – Where to Stay in Budapest on a Budget

District VI, Terézváros, is one of the smallest yet most densely populated neighbourhoods in Budapest. Located on the Pest side of the Danube, this lively district is a hub of excitement and activity.

Visitors can enjoy the iconic Andrassy Avenue, as well as a number of cultural and historic attractions, right at the heart of this downtown district.

Terézváros is also where you’ll find the best budget accommodations in Budapest. From backpacker hostels to boutique hotels, there’s something for travellers of all styles and budgets in this bustling Budapest neighbourhood.

Terezvaros, Budapest
If you are on a budget – look no further! Terézváros is perfect for you

Things to See and Do in Terézváros

– Dive deep into Hungary’s communist and fascist history at the House of Terror Museum.

– Enjoy a cosy atmosphere and great cocktails at Tuk Tuk Bar.

– Wander along the iconic Andrassy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

– Dine on a delicious dishes and a variety of cuisines at an affordable price at Vakvarjú Restaurant.

– Savour that first sip of coffee and a stellar pastry at Bite Bakery Café.

– Get back to nature and take a relaxing stroll through Városliget, one of the largest public parks in the city.

– Stand at the centre of Heroes Square, a massive statue complex featuring the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars and other iconic Hungarian leaders.

– See works of art by local artists at abc Galéria.

– Kick back and enjoy a pint at Kertem, an outdoor beer garden with a lively atmosphere.

– Visit all the best pubs and bars by taking a free pub crawl tour of Budapest.

Best Hostel in Terézváros: Good Vibe Hostel

Less than one kilometre to the city centre, this hostel is close to everything from the city’s top sights and ruins bars to the thermals baths and Chain Bridge. Well equipped with everyone you might possibly need, this hostel has private and shared accommodations that are comfortable and clean.

Best Airbnb in Terézváros: Cozy Home for 4

This apartment located in the city center has 2 bedrooms and can accommodate up to 4 guests. It has a living room, kitchen, and bathroom with needed essentials. The best thing about the apartment is the location which is within close range to many popular attractions like Basilica, Chain Bridge, Vörösmarty square and the Parliament.

Best Hotel in Terézváros: 12 Revay Hotel

Modern and spacious, 12 Revay Hotel is one of the best value hotels in Budapest. Surrounded by bars, shops and restaurants, this hotel is conveniently located near Terézváros’ top attractions.

With 56 recently refurbished rooms, this three-star hotel offers guests a comfortable and relaxing base in the heart of the city.

Best Hotel in Terézváros: Star Inn Hotel Budapest Centrum by Comfort

Rest and recharge after a day of sightseeing at the Star Inn Hotel Budapest. Located in the Terézváros district, this three-star hotel is within walking distance of Heroes Square and the House of Terror. Guests can relax in the garden or enjoy a unique meal at the on-site restaurant.

3. District VII / Erzsébetváros – Where to Stay in Budapest for Nightlife

The smallest district in Budapest, District VII Erzsébetváros packs a big punch. The city’s historic Jewish Quarter, this central neighbourhood is home to a number of heritage, cultural and religious sites, including several notable synagogues.

Erzsébetváros is also the best area to stay in Budapest for nightlife. The liveliest district in the city, Erzsébetváros is home to trendy bars, vibrant clubs, hip restaurants, and rustic street food. If you’re looking for a great night out in Budapest, Erzsébetváros is the place to be.

Erzsebetvaros, Budapest
You like a bit nightlife? Then District VII is the best neighborhood in Budapest for you

Things to See and Do in Erzsébetváros

– Enjoy chic cocktails and stunning décor at the iconic New York Palace.

– Visit the extraordinary Dohany Street Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Europe, and second largest in the world.

– Sip sophisticated cocktails at Jardin Bar.

– Drink, dance, and laugh the night away at Doboz, an open-air ruin bar where the music’s great and the drinks are cheap.

– Spend a night at Szimpla Kert. Built in a former factory this converted open-air space was the first ruin bar in the city.

– Savour custom cocktails and a charming atmosphere at Warmup Bar.

– Enjoy urbane cocktails at Bar Pharma, a stylish speakeasy in the city.

– Dance the night away at Instant, a forest themed ruin bar with six floors of great drinks and music to choose from.

– Wander the streets and look at the massive murals and street art that bring life and colour to once mundane grey buildings.

Best Hostel in Erzsébetváros: Hostel One Budapest

Keep the party going all day long at Hostel One Budapest, a lively and social hostel in Erzsébetváros. Surrounded by ruin bars, clubs, and restaurants, this hostel is within walking distance of Budapest’s best nightlife spots. Enjoy clean and comfortable dorms and a fun atmosphere at this conveniently located hostel.

Best Airbnb in Erzsébetváros: Newly renovated boutique apartment

This newly renovated flat with a Parisian feel is centrally located near quirky bakeries and a hand-crafted chocolate artisan. The metro station is 150m away and after two stops awaits the Ruin Pub Zone which is full of pubs and restaurants. The apartment has self-check-in and every amenity you can possibly need for your stay, including a washer and dryer.

Best Hotel in Erzsébetváros: Continental Hotel Budapest

Enjoy four-star accommodations at the heart of Budapest’s party district at the Continental Hotel Budapest. Featuring a relaxing wellness centre, guests can rest up after a night on the town in the sauna or by taking a dip in the indoor/outdoor pool. Each spacious room features modern décor, A/C, a mini-bar, and on-demand movies.

Best Hotel in Erzsébetváros: Queen’s Court Hotel & Residence

The Queen’s Court Hotel & Residence is a five-star property located in the Erzsébetváros neighbourhood. Surrounded by restaurants and bars, this luxurious hotel is at the heart of Budapest’s nightlife scene. Enjoy a drink at the bar before a night on the town at this conveniently located hotel.

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4. District VIII / Józsefváros – Coolest Area to Stay in Budapest

A few years ago, travellers would have avoided Budapest’s District VIII Józsefváros at all costs. Rough and dangerous, it was not a nice place to visit. Thanks to an influx of stylish bars, trendy restaurants and independent boutiques, Józsefváros is now one of the hottest neighbourhoods in the city.

Popular with students, Józsefváros is a lively and social neighbourhood. Here you’ll find a number of great ruin bars, casual eateries, hip shops and stylish galleries. Stay in Józsefváros and enjoy life in one of the hottest districts in Europe.

Jozsefvaros, Budapest
Józsefváros has been seriously gentrified over the past few years meaning it is much safer and cooler now!

Things to See and Do in Józsefváros

– Take a deep dive into Hungarian history at the Hungarian National Museum.

– Enjoy a lively atmosphere and delicious food at Zappa Bistro.

– Dance the night away at Trafik, where DJs spin the best music until the early morning.

– Browse the racks at Iguana, a high-end thrift shop where you can often find designer labels.

– Feast on hearty Hungarian fare at Darsham Udvar Etterem.

– Dine on Eastern-influenced dishes at the rustic and chic Café Csiga.

– Enjoy a great mix of Hungarian and Jewish cuisines at Fülemüle.

– Rustic and charming, the courtyard of Gondozo Kert is great for late-night drinks.

– Drink under the star on the rooftop terrace of Corvinteto, a ruin bar built in a former supermarket.

– Party late into the night at the Corvin Club, one of Budapest’s most iconic nightclubs.

– Stop and smell the roses, flora and fauna at the Botanical Garden.

Best Hostel in Józsefváros: Hipster Hostel

Tucked away in Józsefváros, this hip hostel is within walking distance of bars, restaurants and public transit. This hostel has private and shared accommodations and offers four different styles of rooms, perfect for singles, couples, friends, and groups. Guests can enjoy free wifi, comfortable beds and a social atmosphere.

Best Airbnb in Józsefváros: 19th Century Home in Budapest City Centre

Built-in 1890, this traditional city house has its own quiet courtyard. It is located in District five which is the historic downtown of Budapest and is absolutely ideal for sightseeing and soaking up into the beauty of Budapest. The apartment retains many of the original 19th Century architectural features such as the 4-meter high molded ceiling, original brass door, and window handles, decorated door panels and large glass doors leading to a stone balcony from where you can enjoy views of the Budapest Eye Ferris wheel and the Chain Bridge. This unique place has a gallery which used as an area and has a kitchenette with all necessary essntials, wall and floor heating and complimentary Wifi.

Best Hotel in Józsefváros: Eurostars Danube Budapest

Set at the centre of Budapest, this hotel is close to the city’s main attractions and hottest bars. Providing four-star accommodations, each room has free wifi, a mini-bar and a flat-screen TV. Guests can unwind in the stylish lounge or on-site restaurants at the end of an exciting day.

Best Hotel in Józsefváros: Bo33 Hotel Family & Suites

Modern and spacious, this hotel is a relaxing hideaway in one of Budapest’s most exciting districts. Guests can relax and recover after a night on the town on the rooftop terrace or in the sauna. Enjoy daily breakfast and an on-site bar at this stylish four-star hotel.

5. District V / Belváros (Pest) – Where to Stay in Budapest for Families

Located on the eastern edge of the River Danube, Belváros or Pest is the downtown and heart of the city. One of the biggest neighbourhoods in Budapest, this is where you’ll find a variety of historic and cultural attractions, including the Parliament Building, the Chain Bridge, and the Central Market Hall.

Well connected to neighbourhoods throughout the city, Belváros is a great base for families visiting Budapest. Within walking distance of many top attractions, little legs won’t get too tired while exploring this part of the city.

Belvaros, Budapest
A great location near all of the sights – District V is a great area in Budapest for families

Things to See and Do in Belváros

– Visit the statue of Imre Nagy, a communist Hungarian politician, and take a snap of yourself standing alongside him.

– Stand in awe at St Stephen’s Basilica, a Roman Catholic basilica and architectural marvel.

– Marvel at the impressive Hungarian Parliament building.

– See the Shoes on the Danube bronze statues that serve as a memorial for 3,500 people who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen during World War II.

– Take a night cruise along the Danube and see the city’s most iconic sights illuminated and glowing.

– Walk across the Chain Bridge that connected Buda and Pest, and one of the most iconic locations in Budapest

– Pack a picnic and spent a relaxing afternoon on Margaret Island, a lush green space located between Buda and Pest.

– Sample delicious sweets, treats and authentic Hungarian fare at the Central Market Hall.

– Indulge in a delicious gelato at Gelarto Rosa where the scoops are sculpted into the shape of a flower.

Best Hostel in Belváros: Best Choice Hostel

Located a short walk from the Danube, this hostel is at the heart of Belváros. Providing shared and private rooms, this hostel is calm, clean and family-friendly. Guests can enjoy a wide variety of features including free wifi, unlimited coffee and tea, and cooking and washing facilities.

Best Airbnb in Belváros: Vintage style downtown family home

This vintage downtown house is a unique and bright place located in the heart of Budapest at the end of the Jewish district. It has a fully equipped kitchen and bathroom and it is suitable for small families that want to explore Budapest and enjoy a quiet place to call home.

Best Hotel in Belváros: Iberostar Grand Hotel Budapest

Luxurious and refined, the Iberostar Grand Hotel Budapest is the best hotel in the city. Located in the Belváros district, this five-star hotel has spacious rooms equipped with a variety of modern amenities. Enjoy a relaxing steam or drinks on the terrace after a long day of exploring Pest.

Best Hotel in Belváros: Starlight Suiten Hotel

Conveniently located in central Budapest, this four-star hotel is ideal for families. It’s contemporary and cosy are rooms are outfitted with kitchenettes that include a mini-bar and refrigerator. Surrounded by restaurants and cafes, this hotel is a short walk to great food and wonderful sights.

Review of Top Places to Stay in Budapest

Looking for a specific place to stay in Budapest? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Budapest. Make sure to check out our guide on Budapest’s best hostels too!

Best Hostel in Budapest: Good Vibe Hostel

Less than one kilometre to the city centre, we think this is the best place to stay in Budapest for solo travelers and backpackers alike. This hostel is close to everything from the city’s top sights and ruins bars to the thermals baths and the Chain Bridge. Well equipped with everyone you might possibly need, this hostel has private and shared accommodations that are comfortable and clean.

Best Airbnb in Budapest: Centrally located apartment for 2 or 4

Located just 100m from the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Andrassy Avenue and 30m away from the Budapest Terez Korut, this apartment is perfect anyone visiting Budapest for the first time. There is a variety of Hungarian, Indian, Thai, vegetarian restaurants within close reach and the famous Ruined Pubs of Budapest are within a walking distance, as well as the house of Opera, Parliament, and Danube. The apartment is also stocked with a fully equipped kitchen, wifi, and air conditioning.

Best Hotel in Budapest: Iberostar Grand Hotel Budapest

Luxurious and refined, the Iberostar Grand Hotel Budapest is the best hotel in the city. Located in the Belváros district, this five-star hotel has spacious rooms equipped with a variety of modern amenities. Enjoy a relaxing steam or drinks on the terrace after a long day of exploring Pest.

Sunset in Budapest
Sunset in Budapest

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Budapest

We hope our neighborhood guide will help you decide where to stay in Budapest. Some neighborhood are better for visiting museums and attractions, and others are closer to the best bars and clubs. Choosing the right neighborhood will make your trip more relaxing and fun, especially with so many awesome and unique things to do in Budapest.

If you’re still not sure where to stay in Budapest, we highly recommend Good Vibe Hostel as one of the best hostels in Budapest. If you’re looking for something more luxurious, you can’t go wrong with Iberostar Grand Hotel Budapest!

Did we miss anything? Let us know below!

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