Wondering where to stay in Budapest? We suggest that you mainly stick to the eastern part of the city (called Pest) since most of the famous attractions and landmarks are located on the east side of the mighty Danube.
With the exception of the area called Buda (on the western side of the river), most of the fun happens on the east side. If you want to find out why, keep reading this guide which presents the five best neighborhoods that the city of Budapest has to offer.
The 5 Best Places to Stay in Budapest
Budapest presents a specific way of ordering its areas. In addition to their proper names, every district in the city has a number. So, sometimes you’ll find the downtown areas called Lipótváros and Belváros, but don’t be surprised if the locals call it District V.
Taking that into account, the eastern part of the city (Pest) is most active, with the exception of District I, where you’ll find the most beautiful castles and palaces.
Our top picks for the best areas to stay in Budapest include:
- Buda (District I): Located on the western side of the Danube, it offers some of the most important landmarks in the city, like the Buda Castle, the Matthias Church, and the Fisherman’s Bastion.
- Lipótváros and Belváros (District V): The proper Downtown of Budapest — we recommend this area to every first-comer in the capital of Hungary.
- Erzsébetváros (District VII): Also known as the Jewish quarter, it offers a lot of landmarks connected to Jewish culture and history and the best nightclubs in Budapest.
- Terézváros (District VI): A hidden gem, located right next to Districts V and VII, it offers great nightclubs, popular streets, and a lot of budget hotels and motels.
- Józsefváros (District VIII): Probably the most versatile area on our list; it is very old and full of interesting museums and cultural institutions.
The Best Areas & Hotels in Budapest
As a major and very old European city full of tradition, culture, history, and well-known cuisine, Budapest is an extremely popular tourist hub.
That being said, it is quite accessible, with a lot of budget and mid-range hotels and hotels while still keeping a pretty high standard and boasting some of the most famous chains of hotels — most of them located in District V.
You won’t find many two or one-star hotels, but there’s no reason to panic. Almost every district presented in our guide offers a bunch of very cheap three-star hotels that definitely cover the budget area.
But if you’re looking for something affordable, you had better stick to Districts VI, VII, and VIII. For luxury, Michelin-star restaurants, and famous chains of hotels, District I and District V are the places you’re looking for, which are also nearest to the Danube.
1. Most Historic Area: Buda (District I)
Staying in Buda — also known as District I — is probably one of the best ways to get to know Budapest. Lipótváros and Belváros are also great choices, but we decided to start with “the old castle district” because some of the most important landmarks in the city area are located here.
Located on the west side of the Danube river, it is the perfect choice for those visitors who want to do a lot of sightseeing.
There are three things that must have a priority on your list, and they are — in the following order: the Buda Castle, the Matthias Church, and the Halászbástya. We listed them by their age since experienced sightseers know that, in this case, what is older is usually better.
Buda Castle was the royal palace of Hungarian kings, first completed in 1265. It got today’s baroque look somewhere around the 18th century, and it is the central building of Castle Hill. Around it, you’ll find the Castle Quarter and many old and beautiful houses.
Matthias Church is a 14th-century Catholic church that, according to the ecclesiastical traditions (but without any material proof), is said to date back to 1015.
Unreasonably beautiful, the church is the witness to the rich history of Hungary and the crowning place of two of its kings. Finally, Halászbástya — better known as Fisherman’s Bastion — was built by the same person that restored Matthias Church.
It was said that its walls were defended by the local fishermen’s guilt, hence the strange name. Some people say that it looks like a real-life Disney castle.
You won’t find any accommodation with less than three stars in District I, but some of them are quite cheap and affordable.
On the other hand, there are a bunch of high-end hotels in Buda, as well as a lot of fancy and beautiful restaurants. We don’t recommend the neighborhood for those who are looking for budget accommodation.
Buda (District I) Budget Hotels
- Hotel Charles is a decent but not very expensive three-star hotel that offers large rooms with kitchenettes and a bus stop in front of its premises. It also offers free Wi-Fi, private parking, a restaurant, a terrace, and daily housekeeping.
- Hotel Orion Várkert is another very cheap three-star hotel with a convenient location, close to many of Buda’s most important landmarks. The hotel has a fitness center, a sauna, and a bar on its premises, and delicious breakfast is served every morning.
Buda (District I) Mid-Range Hotels
- ibis Budapest Castle Hill is a decent three-star hotel that comes quite cheap for a mid-range option. It has a restaurant and a bar on the premises, free Wi-Fi and private parking, a 24-hour desk, and an effective airport shuttle.
- Monastery Boutique Hotel Budapest is a very good four-star hotel that’s particularly suitable for couples. It has spacious rooms furnished with flat-screen TVs, a restaurant, and a bar.
Buda (District I) Luxury Hotels
- Hilton Budapest is both a luxurious five-star hotel and a historic building full of old statues, relics, and a Dominican cloister. In terms of modern amenities, it has a restaurant, a bar, a fitness center, and professional room service.
- Hotel Clark Budapest – Adults Only is a five-star hotel which — as the name suggests — is particularly suitable for couples. It offers elegantly furnished rooms, a restaurant, and a bar, as well as a fitness center and a quick airport shuttle.
2. Best Area to See Everything: Belváros-Lipótváros (District V)
On the opposite side of the Danube lies Budapest’s District V, better known as Belváros-Lipótváros, which roughly translates as “Inner City” and “Leopold Town.”
The proper downtown of the city, District V, is Budapest’s economic, administrative, and business center and the obvious choice for first-time visitors. Moreover, Belváros-Lipótváros is as beautiful as the old Buda area and full of monuments, old buildings, and museums.
Let’s start with the architecture. What Buda castle is to the Buda area, the Hungarian Parliament Building is to District V. A sublime gothic building that looks like it came from a painter’s canvas or a writer’s book, it is more than a century old and still the biggest building in the whole of Hungary.
The Parliament building is located on the banks of the Danube and spontaneously leads to the Dunakorzó, or the Danube Embankment, definitely the best strolling location in the city.
Following it from the north to the south, you’ll reach — without even planning it — many other important landmarks in Belváros.
Highlights include the Shoes on the Danube Bank, dedicated to the massacred Jews during the Nazi era, and the art-nouveau Gresham Palace, which today is the Four Seasons hotel.
Moving from the river and the embankment to the depths of the mainland, more and more things get in your way.
- The 18th-century Vaci Street, today full of restaurants, cafes, and expensive shops;
- The sublime St. Stephen’s Basilica, the third-largest church in Hungary;
- The Danube Palace (theater);
- The Hungarian State Opera, and much much more.
One more thing that you have to know if you’re thinking about staying in District V: since the area is full of tourists, there are a lot of accommodations and restaurants, but they are far from cheap.
There’s almost nothing lower than three stars, and if you prefer a more budget-oriented option, we recommend that you move away from the center of the city.
Belváros-Lipótváros Budget Hotels
- D8 Hotel is a very cheap three-star hotel located very close to St. Stephen Basilica. Every room has a private bathroom and a flat-screen TV. There’s a bar on the premises of the hotel, an airport shuttle, daily housekeeping, and a good breakfast.
- Danubius Hotel Erzsébet City Center is another very cheap three-star hotel with a good location, just a few steps away from the famous shopping street called Vaci utca. Particularly suitable for couples, it offers a nice breakfast, housekeeping, and free Wi-Fi.
Belváros-Lipótváros Mid-Range Hotels
- Promenade City Hotel is a decent three-star hotel that comes at a really reasonable price. It is located right in the center of the city, on the pedestrian Vaci utca. It offers a 24-hour desk, an airport shuttle, good breakfast, and facilities for disabled guests.
- Gerlóczy Boutique Hotel is a four-star hotel located in a historic 19th-century building and decorated in Parisian style. It offers free Wi-Fi, airport shuttles, room service, a terrace, and a bar and a restaurant on the premises.
Belváros-Lipótváros Luxury Hotels
- Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest is a very expensive and luxurious five-star hotel, which was built in 1906, and fully renovated in the early 20th century. The hotel has an indoor swimming pool, a spa and wellness center, a fitness center, a restaurant, and a bar.
- The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest is a very expensive and very upscale hotel located just a few minutes away from both St. Stephen Basilica and the Danube. It has a spa and wellness center, an indoor swimming pool, a restaurant, a bar, and a superb breakfast.
3. Best Area for Nightlife: Erzsébetváros (District VII)
Erzsébetváros, like many of Budapest’s areas, is known by two other names: District VII and the Jewish Quarter. It is one of the smallest and most densely populated districts in the city.
If you choose Erzsébetváros as your base, you should expect a lot of things connected to Jewish history and culture, as well as vibrant nightlife and a hip, urbane atmosphere.
Let’s move to the inner half of the area, the one which is the Jewish quarter proper. The center of the district is the immense Great Synagogue (Nagy Zsinagoga), the second biggest religious building of its kind in the world.
After you’ve seen it, continue to the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives and check out its huge collection. But that’s not all. The whole quarter is very beautiful and brimming with historical traces. Just strolling around it is an experience in itself.
That being said, you have to visit at least three other things: the Kazinczy Street Synagogue, The Tree of Life, and the Wallenberg Holocaust Memorial Park.
In the after hours, Erzsébetváros turns from a historic district into a vibrant nightlife hub full of young people and parties.
Budapest is especially famous for its so-called “ruin bars,” which — as the name suggests — are a combination of bars, galleries, and restaurants located in ruined buildings. Most of them also offer some kind of interactive fun activities.
We recommend the following clubs and places:
The prices of accommodations get lower as you go away from the center.
Here, you’ll find a lot of budget and mid-range hotels but significantly fewer five-star accommodations (there are only two). It may not be the cheapest place in Budapest, but it’s significantly cheaper than Buda and Belváros.
Erzsébetváros Budget Hotels
- City Hotel UNIO superior is a very cheap three-star hotel located close to almost every important landmark both in District VII and the whole of Budapest. It offers free Wi-Fi, an airport shuttle, daily housekeeping, a 24-hour front desk, and breakfast.
- Hotel Sissy Residence is an even cheaper three-star hotel with a great location in District VII. Every room is equipped with a private bathroom, flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, and a fridge. The hotel also provides a nice breakfast and an airport shuttle.
Erzsébetváros Mid-Range Hotels
- Royal Park Boutique Hotel is a decent but not very expensive four-star hotel that offers sound-proof rooms with Wi-Fi. Aside from the great location in Erzsébetváros, it is approximately five minutes away from St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
- Danubius Hotel Hungaria City Center is another great, not very expensive four-star hotel. It offers free Wi-Fi, private parking, a fine restaurant on the premises of the hotel, as well as a bar and facilities for disabled people.
Erzsébetváros Luxury Hotels
- Corinthia Budapest is a long-lasting five-star hotel that’s definitely the most upscale and luxurious accommodation in District VII. Existing since the late 1800s, it offers an indoor swimming pool, spa and wellness center, a gym, a restaurant, and a bar on the premises.
- Anantara New York Palace Budapest is the second five-star hotel in Erzsébetváros which comes really close to the exquisiteness of the best accommodations in the city. The rooms are furnished with Italian furniture and boast all the amenities. The hotel also has a swimming pool, a gym, bar, and a restaurant.
4. Most Budget-Friendly Area: Terézváros (VI)
Just to the east of Belváros and to the north of Erzsébetváros (District V and District VII) lies Terézváros, which is also known as District VI.
It’s Budapest’s hidden gem because it is not as famous as the first or the fifth districts, but it’s as elegant and full of beautiful architecture as both of the central areas.
But the best part about Terézváros is that it’s very cheap, and it’s a perfect match for budget travelers. You should do your explorations around district VI from Budapest’s Champs Elysees, a street called Andrassy Avenue.
This broad street was constructed in the 19th century. It’s lined up with trees from both sides and surrounded by elegant, historic buildings and a lot of shops.
We’ve already mentioned that Budapest is a walkable city, and Andrassy Avenue definitely is a part of it. Terézváros is a versatile area and offers everything that the other districts have to offer, but concentrated on a smaller space.
It has a lot of cultural institutions:
- The Hungarian State Opera House,
- The Budapest Operetta Theatre,
- The Budapest Puppet Theater;
- The House of Terror Museum;
- The Museum of Sweets & Selfies,
- Franc Liszt Memorial Museum.
But, what’s even more interesting, the partying atmosphere from Erzsébetváros and its ruin bars are also part of District VI. We recommend Peaches and Cream Club, the interactive Palinka Experience Budapest, and the colorful Tuk Tuk Bár.
What kind of people would like to stay in Terézváros? As you can see from our small list of cultural institutions, museums, and nightclubs, the answer is everybody.
There is something of interest for all kinds of people here, whether they’re interested in art, culture, shopping, architecture or nightlife. On top of that, District VI is the definite budget area in Budapest, with a lot of cheap hotels and hostels.
Terézváros Budget Hotels
- Avenue Hostel offers rooms with shared and private bathrooms at a very low price. There’s free Wi-Fi on the premises and parking. The front desk works 24 hours a day, and there’s an airport shuttle at your disposal.
- Easy Star Hotel is a very cheap three-star hotel with a great location that’s particularly suitable for couples. The hotel provides free Wi-Fi, an airport shuttle, a designated smoking area, and a nice breakfast. There’s also a supermarket around 50 meters from the hotel.
Terézváros Mid-Range Hotels
- Medos Hotel is a decent three-star hotel located very close to the area’s metro station. It offers free Wi-Fi and private parking, as well as rooms equipped with private bathrooms and flat-screen TVs. It also offers breakfast and daily housekeeping.
- 12 Revay Hotel is a slightly more expensive and upscale mid-range hotel located around 300 meters away from the St. Stephen Basilica. It offers a cool on-site bar, an airport shuttle, a 24-hour front desk, and facilities for disabled people.
Terézváros Luxury Hotels
- Hard Rock Hotel Budapest is one of the two five-star hotels in District VI. It offers all the things you would expect from a hotel of its kind: a restaurant, fitness center, and bar on the premises, but also very quick room service and facilities for disabled guests.
- Mystery Hotel Budapest is the second five-star hotel in Terézváros, and it’s quite a catch. Very luxurious and quite expensive, it has a restaurant and a bar on the premises, as well as a spa center and a fitness center. There’s also room service and breakfast options.
5. Best Area for Museums: Józsefváros (District VIII)
Budapest’s District VIII, also called Józsefváros — named after emperor Joseph II — is one of the oldest in the city. Usually classified as a “cool” area, it’s full of beautiful architecture and has a lot of museums, universities, and libraries.
The district is great for strolling and can be a fascinating place for lovers of culture and history.
Józsefváros has a special place in the hearts of the residents of all Budapest since most of the action in The Paul Street Boys by Ferenc Molnár — one of the most famous Hungarian novels for younger people — takes place in locations around the area like Füvészkert (botanical garden), Mária utca, and Pál utca.
We recommend you start your adventure by visiting the Natural History Museum. It dates back to the early 19th century and has the biggest natural history collection in the whole of Hungary.
That makes it one of its most important attractions worth visiting, even if you are not staying at District VIII.
Very close to the Natural History Museum you’ll find Erkel Theatre, part of the already mentioned Hungarian State Opera House; the Corvin Budapest Film Palace, which is a famous multiplex cinema; and Orczy-kert, Budapest’s biggest garden.
There’s an area in Józsefváros called the “Palace Quarter,” where you’ll find most of the old universities and libraries if you’re into such activities and love books.
But the Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library located in Wenckheim Palace is definitely to everybody’s taste and preferences. Like in other aspects, District VIII is also versatile and all-around in terms of accommodation.
In comparison to the other areas, it is neither very cheap and budget-friendly nor very luxurious and over the top in terms of prices.
If you’re looking for a decent three-star hotel, Józsefváros is definitely the place for you. The restaurant options are also nice and quite versatile, offering both Hungarian cuisine and international and European options.
Józsefváros Budget Hotels
- Central Hotel 21 and Apartments is a very cheap three-star hotel with stylishly decorated rooms and a hearty breakfast to prepare you for a hard day of strolling. It also offers free Wi-Fi and parking, a bar and a beautiful garden.
- Triple M Hotel is another very cheap but decent three-star hotel located less than a mile from the metro station. Every room has a private bathroom, a desk, and TV, and the hotel offers free Wi-Fi, parking, a nice bar, and great breakfast.
Józsefváros Mid-Range Hotels
- House Beletage-Boutique Hotel is a three-star hotel that offers free Wi-Fi and air conditioning and has a private parking area available for those guests who have cars. The hotel is particularly suitable for couples and also offers an airport shuttle.
- The Three Corners Hotel Anna Superior is a great three-star hotel located less than half a mile from the Hungarian National Museum. It has free Wi-Fi and private parking, an on-site bar, great breakfast, and it also offers an airport shuttle.
Józsefváros Luxury Hotels
- EST Grand Hotel Savoy is a very luxurious hotel, equipped like an upscale five-star hotel, but not that expensive. It has an indoor pool, a spa and wellness center, a fitness center, a bar, and a restaurant on the premises.
- Kozmo Hotel Suites & Spa is a very upscale and luxurious five-star hotel with an indoor swimming pool, spa and fitness centers, a great restaurant, and a bar. The breakfast server every morning is usually described as “superb.”
So, Where Should You Stay in Budapest?
Once you get over the long and difficult middle-European name (Hungarian is not the easiest language in the world) and the numbering of the districts, Budapest is a very practical and easy city to navigate through.
To clear things up, let’s do a quick recap and give a summary of our main findings:
|🏰 Most Historic Area
|Buda (District I)
|🏆Best for First-Time Visitors
|Lipótváros and Belváros (District V)
|🍺 Best Area for Nightlife
|Erzsébetváros (District VII)
|💲 Most Budget-Friendly Area
|Terézváros (District VI)
|🏛️ Home to the Most Museums
|Józsefváros (District VIII)
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip to Budapest and experience all this lovely city has to offer today!