Budapest is one of Europe’s most fascinating cities and I’m not just saying that because I’m a local! Unique landmarks, sizzling medicinal baths, eclectic nightlife, and excellent food all contribute to Budapest’s charm.
But if you are planning your first trip to the Hungarian capital then one of the questions at the top of your list will naturally be: where is the best place to stay in Budapest?
Well, you have come to the right place to find out! As a local who has been living in Budapest for more than 6 years, I got to know the city like the back of my hand and I’m here to spill the beans on exactly where to stay in Budapest. My guide not only covers the best areas to stay in Budapest but my favorite hotels in each area as well. So let’s get started, shall we?
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Overview of Where to Stay in Budapest
Located in the northern part of Hungary, Budapest is divided into 23 districts that straddle both sides of the River Danube. The river divides the city into two different parts: Buda and Pest.
Fun fact: Buda and Pest used two be individual cities until 1873 when they were officially merged together with a third part, Óbuda. These 3 parts together created a bigger metropolis, the one we know as Budapest today.
Geographically speaking, 6 of the 23 districts are located on Buda, one is located on an island called Csepel between Buda and Pest, and the rest of the districts are located on the Pest side of the city.
Whichever place you choose to stay, you will be relieved to hear that Budapest is vastly walkable and that the city is well served by public transport when you want to travel further afield.
Where to stay in Budapest: Buda or Pest?
So now you’re probably wondering, which side is better to stay in Budapest: Buda or Pest?
On the western part of the Danube River, you’ll find the hilly Buda side of the city. Buda is home to the medieval old city located on Castle Hill therefore this is where you’ll find some of the oldest monuments and landmarks. The popular Citadel is also located on the Buda side, as well as the second most famous thermal bath in the city, Gellért Thermal Bath.
Although Buda is considered the oldest part of the city, you’ll find the classic city center on the Pest side, east of the Danube river. Avenues swarm with shops and theatres, sidewalk cafes and upscale restaurants, trendy cocktail bars, and cheerful pubs. There are masses of museums, art galleries, and lovely spaces such as Heroes’ Square and City Park.
With most of the historical attractions occupying the Buda side, you might think this side of the river is the best location to stay in Budapest. However, speaking from a local perspective, I would actually recommend the Pest side.
There is so much to see and do in this section of the city and overall these districts provide better dining and nightlife options too. When it comes to public transportation, Pest is more developed than Buda, so it’s easier to get around. The Pest side is also more convenient for getting to and from Budapest Airport.
Therefore, the vast majority of the areas I have selected for this where to stay in Budapest guide are located in Pest. That being said, if you are planning a lot of early starts to visit the best Budapest Instagram spots at sunrise or want to venture out to the Buda Hills during your visit then you might want to consider the Buda side.
While you’re mulling over things, let’s run through a quick overview of the best areas to stay in Budapest and my preferred hotel for each one.
|DISTRICT||BEST FOR||RECOMENDED HOTEL||MORE HOTELS|
|District I||History, Sightseeing, Photography||Hotel Clark Budapest||More hotels in District I|
|District II||Couples, Tranquility, Thermal baths||Novotel Budapest Danube||More hotels in District II|
|District V||First-time visitors, Luxury accommodation, Restaurants||InterContinental Budapest||More hotels in District V|
|District VI||Food, Shopping||Mamaison Residence Izabella Budapest||More hotels in District VI|
|District VII||Nightlife, Food, Street art||KViHotel Budapest||More hotels in District VII|
|District VIII||Budget-friendly accommodation, Museums, Craft beer scene||Bo18 Hotel Superior||More hotels in District VIII|
|District IX||Local life, Shopping, Budget-friendly accommodation||The Three Corners Lifestyle Hotel||More hotels in District IX|
|District XI||Panoramic views, Photography, Thermal baths, Sunrises||Anna Hotel||More hotels in District XI|
|District XIII||Laid-back atmosphere, Families, Couples, Nature||Danubius Hotel Helia||More hotels in District XIII|
Best Areas to Stay in Budapest
If you are hankering for a few more details to help make up your mind then this section is now going to take a deeper dive into where to stay in Budapest. I will share the pros and cons for each district I selected and sign off with three hotel recommendations to suit all budgets.
1. District I – Best area to stay in Budapest for history & sightseeing
District I, or commonly referred to as Castle District, is situated on the Buda side of the city. This is the historical heart of Budapest where you’ll find such important landmarks as Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, and Mattias Church.
District I is definitely one of the best areas to stay in Budapest for sightseeing purposes on the Buda side. It’s also super romantic so it’s an idyllic choice for couples.
Due to the sheer space occupied by the monuments, there isn’t so much room left for the hotels and it’s generally one of the most expensive parts to stay in Budapest. Don’t worry though, you’ll still find options for every budget!
What’s even better is that hotels located on the riverside grant a phenomenal view over the Pest side of the city. Of course, these are a bit pricier but if you want to make your weekend in Budapest more memorable, definitely go for it!
Pros and cons of staying in District I
- Home to many important historical sights.
- Staying in District I makes it easier to wake early and visit the monuments at sunrise or at least before the crowds arrive.
- One of the most beautiful and romantic parts of Budapest.
- Lots of luxury hotels with sweeping views over the Pest side.
- The most touristic area in the city, therefore it’s mostly crowded.
- Public transportation is not so good.
- Dining and nightlife options are limited.
Best places to stay in District I
LUXURY – Hilton Budapest
The Hilton Budapest can be found in the impressive Castle district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, next to the Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church. Explore the romance of old Buda whilst being only 15 minutes from the city center of Pest. Enjoy the great Danube and city views from your luxuriously furnished 31 m² rooms.
MID-RANGE – Hotel Clark Budapest
The adults-only Hotel Clark Budapest is set in the absolute middle of Budapest next to the 0 km stone at Clark Adam square. Rooms have stunning views overlooking the Danube and the Pest side. The terrace has amazing views of all the well-known landmarks in Budapest, the Széchényi Chain Bridge, the Buda Castle, and the Hungarian Parlament.
BUDGET – Buda Castle Hotel Budapest
Buda Castle Hotel Budapest offers accommodation in Budapest, 200 m from Matthias Church. The hotel is in the heart of the Castle District in Budapest, with easy access to the Buda Castle, Fishermans Bastion, and Széchenyi Chain Bridge. All rooms are Air-conditioned.
2. District II – Best area to stay in Budapest for couples
District II is located just north of District I and encompasses a large patch of Buda which runs from the left bank of the Danube to the border of the Buda Hills which are located in District III.
District II is one of the best locations to stay in Budapest if you want to split your time between exploring the highlights of the Castle District and hiking in the nearby hills and woodland.
If you choose this area then my recommendation is to seek accommodation close to the river so that you are not disconnected from the inner city and can easily hop across the water into Pest.
After all that walking you will be pleased to know that District II offers a generous spread of thermal baths. While they make less of a visual impact than the Széchenyi Baths, the options in District II such as the Lukács Baths are less touristic and frequented by locals as well. It’s a calm and serene choice perfect for couples seeking a romantic retreat.
Pros and cons of staying in District II
- Despite its proximity to the Castle District, the second district is relatively overlooked by tourists and you will experience a more local vibe.
- This is a beautiful district with an attractive mix of local and international restaurants.
- Minimal nightlife and a limited supply of hotels.
- While there is allure in the feeling of being off the beaten track you might feel more detached from the inner city.
Best places to stay in District II
LUXURY – Novotel Budapest Danube
Centrally located in Budapest by the River Danube, Novotel Budapest Danube offers a bar and a restaurant with panoramic views of the river and the Hungarian Parliament Building. The UNESCO World Heritage site of the Buda Castle can be reached in 900 meters, while the iconic Chain Bridge is within 1.2 km. Matthias Church and the Fishermen’s Bastion are set 1.1 km away.
MID-RANGE – Hotel Regnum Residence
Hotel Regnum Residence is situated close to the Danube and to Budapest’s Margaret Island. The Hotel Regnum Residence is only steps away from the original Turkish-style Király Thermal Bath. It offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi and free soft drinks from the minibar.
BUDGET – Hotel Papillon
Located in tranquil surroundings in the Rózsadomb district of Budapest, Hotel Papillon is just a 10-minute walk from Buda Castle. The Papillon Hotel’s own facilities include a garden and a roof-top terrace with city views.
3. District V – Best area to stay in Budapest for first-time visitors
Hopping across the river to the Pest side of Budapest, District V occupies the riverside area that is dominated by the mighty Hungarian Parliament Building. Other highlights worthy of whipping out your camera include St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Budapest Eye, and the lively Deák Ferenc Square.
Much of this neighborhood rubs up against the river and hotels are only a short walk from the bankside with some offering heartstopping views.
District V forms the classic city center of Budapest along with District VI and District VII. Being so centrally located and permitting easy access to everywhere else in the city including the Castle District, District V is the best location to stay in Budapest for first-time visitors.
If you’re looking for abundant nightlife with lots of bars and clubs, this is definitely one of the best areas to stay in Budapest for you. Besides bars and clubs, you’ll also find some of the best restaurants here, as well as beloved hotel chains and countless boutique accommodations.
Pros and cons of staying in District V
- Most central location with excellent transport links and the option to walk to most places.
- There are heaps of attractions and restaurants in the immediate area.
- You’ll find lots of hotels that offer scenic views of the river and Castle District.
- The district offers some of the best nightlife options.
- Hotels in this district are more expensive than elsewhere in the city although they are extremely luxurious.
- Noise may be a concern in this busy downtown hub.
Best places to stay in District V
Built in 1906 and entirely renovated in 2004, Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest enjoys an incomparable location in front of the Chain Bridge, offering luxury units, an infinity-edge pool. The ultimate luxury Hotel to stay in Budapest in my humble opinion.
MID-RANGE – InterContinental Budapest
The InterContinental Budapest enjoys an excellent location on the banks of the Danube next to the Chain Bridge. All important sights are within easy walking distance. The Váci shopping street, the Central Market Hall, and the Gellért Baths are nearby, as well. Tram stops can be found right outside the hotel.
Located in the downtown of Budapest, 50 m from popular shopping street Váci Street, Ramada by Wyndham Budapest City Center provides air-conditioned rooms and a bar. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Dohany Street Synagogue, Hungarian National Museum, and Chain Bridge.
4. District VI – Best area to stay in Budapest for budget-friendly accommodation
District VI (or otherwise known as Terézváros) sits to the east of District V and nudges you a little further from the riverside with the promise of budget-friendly digs.
Andrássy Avenue, Budapest’s answer to the Champs-Élysées of Paris, is the main arterial round here and carves its way through the center of the neighborhood before culminating at Heroes’ Square.
In terms of where to stay in Budapest on a budget, Terézváros is the leading contender with a strong offering of low-cost accommodation. Which, if you want to hit the shops on Andrássy Avenue, you’ll really appreciate as the street is known for its designer labels!
The other perk of staying in District VI is that you will be within easy access of the lush City Park which spreads out behind Heroes’ Square and contains the majestic Széchenyi Thermal Baths. On a more practical note, Terézváros is the location of Budapest-Nyugati, the secondary train station in the city.
Pros and cons of staying in District VI
- You can find economically priced hotel rooms that do not compromise on comfort.
- Excellent for shopping.
- Once you leave the glamorous Andrássy Avenue, District VI has a grittier vibe. It’s still safe but families with younger kids may prefer the vibe elsewhere.
Best places to stay in District VI
LUXURY – Mystery Hotel Budapest
Mystery Hotel Budapest is a historically themed luxury hotel located in the 6th district in downtown Budapest, in an eclectic palace built in the 19th century. This 5-star hotel offers free WiFi and an in-house spa and wellness area. Hungarian State Opera is 900 m away and St. Stephen’s Basilica is a 15-minute walk from the hotel.
MID-RANGE – Mamaison Residence Izabella Budapest
The Mamaison Residence Izabella Budapest just off the UNESCO-protected Andrassy Avenue and offers spacious and quiet suites with kitchenettes and free Wi-Fi. All suites feature separate bedrooms and living rooms, a fully equipped kitchen.
BUDGET – Medos Hotel
Fully renovated in 2013, the Medos Hotel is situated off Andrássy Avenue, just 100 m away from Liszt Ferenc tér and the Oktogon Metro Station. Most of Budapest’s main sights are reachable within a 5- to 10-minute walk from the Medos Hotel. These include the Opera House, the Danube River, and the Saint Stephen’s Basilica
5. District VII – Best area to stay in Budapest for nightlife
If you’ve been waiting for me to share where is the best place to stay in Budapest for nightlife, then this is it!
Fanning out below District VI, the seventh district in Budapest (referred to as Erzsébetváros) is more commonly known as the Jewish Quarter. This neighborhood has a really eclectic vibe and this is where you’ll find the famous ruin bars that occupy dilapidated buildings.
Where there are great bars there is even greater food, and Erzsébetváros will tantalize your taste buds with kosher street food markets, cool local eateries, and upscale international restaurants.
The Jewish Quarter is a haven for architectural lovers and cultural explorers with three synagogues and fabulous street art. You can easily donate a whole day to padding around these streets.
Pros and cons of staying in District VII
- Excellent food options with a mix of local and tourist clientele.
- The nighttime atmosphere is unbeatable and it really is the best location to stay in Budapest if you’re after a party.
- Its popularity in recent years has inflated the costs of dining, drinking, and accommodation.
- With the rampant nightlife, you might not get much sleep if you forget to pack your earplugs!
Best places to stay in District VII
LUXURY – Anantara New York Palace Budapest
Anantara New York Palace Budapest occupies an elegant 19th-century building in the heart of Budapest, close to the Opera and Andrássy Boulevard. The spacious, air-conditioned rooms feature luxurious Italian furniture and fabrics like silk wallpaper and Murano chandeliers.
MID-RANGE – Hotel Memories Budapest
Hotel Memories Budapest is situated 30 m from Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest. Built in 1900, the property is within 100 m from Deak Ferenc Square interchange metro station. Hungarian National Museum is a 7-minute walk from Hotel Memories Budapest, while St. Stephen’s Basilica is an 8-minute walk away.
BUDGET – KViHotel Budapest
Situated in Budapest, Pest region, KViHotel Budapest – the smart hotel is set 400 m from Dohany Street Synagogue. KViHotel Budapest – the smart hotel is a smart hotel, and everything is digitalized. Check-in happens through their own application: guests can choose their own rooms and use their smartphones as the room key.
6. District VIII – Best area to stay in Budapest for museum lovers
District VIII stretches out to the south of District VII and is characterized by its leafy avenues, 19th-century architecture, and sprawling city parks. This neighborhood has been subject to gentrification over the years and is now one of the best locations to stay in Budapest if you’re seeking a bit of casual luxury.
District VIII was strongly formed in the last two decades but still has a mixed picture getting further from the city center. If you are planning to stay here, choose the areas closer to the city center, or the newly established Corvin avenue.
Also known as Józsefváros, District VIII is where you will find some of the best museums in Budapest, including the National Museum and the Natural History Museum. With the promise of dinosaurs to appease the younger kids, District VIII is a fantastic choice for families who want to be out of the bustle of downtown Budapest.
Józsefváros is also the origin of Budapest’s craft beer scene so if you’re a fan of an artisanal brew you can look forward to finding your favorite in the local bars.
Pros and cons of staying in District VIII
- Convenient if you want to book intercity or international train travel as Keleti Train Station is located in this district.
- Thriving craft beer scene.
- Lots of interesting museums.
- Metro coverage is limited the further east you stay.
- Further away from the main attractions.
Best places to stay in District VIII
LUXURY – Hotel Palazzo Zichy Budapest
Located in the historic Palace Quarter in Budapest’s center, Hotel Palazzo Zichy Budapest offers a free sauna and a free fitness center. This neo-Baroque palace dating from 1899. An American-style breakfast buffet is served daily in the glass-covered breakfast room. The lobby bar offers fine cocktails.
MID-RANGE – Courtyard by Marriott Budapest City Center
The Courtyard Budapest City Center enjoys a convenient location in the center of the city, on Blaha Lujza Square with its metro, bus and tram stops. Each room in the Courtyard Budapest City Centre offers high-speed wireless internet access, a well-lit work desk, and an ergonomic chair.
BUDGET – Bo18 Hotel Superior
The 3-star superior Bo18 Hotel is located only 300 m from Budapest’s Corvin Shopping Centre and Corvin promenade. The hotel’s wellness corner comprises Finnish and infrared sauna, hot tub, and fitness facilities, which can all be used free of charge
7. District IX – Best area to stay in Budapest for local life
The boundaries of District IX stretch southwards from the Liberty Bridge and cling to the river. Now that we are venturing down south, District IX and the subsequent areas require more travel time in order to reach the major attractions and landmarks of downtown Budapest.
However, one major highlight of booking accommodation in Ferencváros is that you will have the Central Market Hall right on your doorstep: Budapest’s one-stop shop for fresh produce and souvenirs!
District IX also has an offbeat vibe and is less popular with first-time visitors and weekend trippers so you will spend your time mingling with locals in the sidewalk cafes and craft beer pubs. This is also the closest option for getting to and from the airport.
Offbeat but utterly captivating, District IX is one of the best places to stay in Budapest for returning visitors or travelers looking to experience local life.
Pros and cons of staying in District IX
- One of the most off the beaten track areas in the city with a local vibe.
- Hotels in District IX are perfect for lower budgets.
- More travel time is required to visit the touristic center.
Best places to stay in District IX
Situated in Budapest, 2 km from Great Market Hall and 2 km from Hungarian National Museum, Sweet Home at the Danube with wellness features air-conditioned accommodation with a balcony and free WiFi. This apartment features a private pool, a garden, and free private parking.
MID-RANGE – The Three Corners Lifestyle Hotel
The brand new The Three Corners Lifestyle Hotel is located in the center of Budapest, 700 m from Great Market Hall, and boasts a terrace and sauna. The property is located 100 m from the amazing and famous Raday street with its cozy terraces and restaurants. Hungarian National Museum is 800 m from The Three Corners Lifestyle Hotel, while Gellért Thermal Baths is 1.2 km
BUDGET – B&B Hotel Budapest City
Located in Budapest, 1.1 km from Great Market Hall, B&B Hotel Budapest City provides accommodation with a fitness center, private parking, a bar, and a terrace. Popular points of interest near B&B Hotel Budapest City include Hungarian National Museum, Gellért Thermal Baths, and Gellért Hill.
8. District XI – Best area to stay in Budapest for panoramic views
Hopping back to the Buda side of Budapest, District XI, or otherwise known as Újbuda is considered by most locals and tourists as one of the trendiest parts of town.
Újbuda is actually a huge district, therefore I recommend choosing accommodation closer to the riverside and Gellért Hill. Otherwise, you will need to rely heavily on public buses or even hire a car to reach the center.
District XI is one of the best places to visit in Budapest that offers panoramic views and a spectacular thermal bath (both are courtesy of Gellért Hill!). If you’re planning a spa weekend, then this is one of the best areas to stay in Budapest.
Pros and cons of staying in District XI
- Handy for Gellért Hill and Gellért Thermal Bath.
- Extremely picturesque and offers an offbeat vibe.
- There are few hotels in District XI although there are some excellent apartments that offer scenic views.
- This southerly setting is far away from attractions such as Margaret Island and City Park.
Best places to stay in District XI
LUXURY – Danubius Hotel Gellért
Built in wonderful Art Nouveau-style and opened in 1918, the impressive Gellért hotel shares the building with the world-famous Gellért Spa, located on the Danube riverbanks, at the foot of Gellért Hill. The famous Gellért Bath and Spa Budapest, connected to the Danubius Hotel Gellért, offers relaxation and recuperation to guests.
MID-RANGE – Anna Hotel
Situated in Budapest, 3.9 km from Great Market Hall, Anna Hotel features accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a bar, and a shared lounge. Featuring a garden, the property is located within 5 km of Citadella.
BUDGET – ELLA Apartment
Offering free WiFi and city views, ELLA Apartment is an accommodation located in Budapest, just 1.3 km from Great Market Hall and 1.7 km from Gellért Thermal Baths. The apartment features 1 bedroom, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, an equipped kitchen with a microwave and a fridge, a washing machine, and 1 bathroom with a shower.
9. District XIII – Best place to stay in Budapest for families
My final recommendation for where to stay in Budapest whisks us back up to the northern section of Pest. District XIII is a peaceful area that snuggles up against the Danube and is home to Margaret Island where you can enjoy the green space and thermal baths.
The district is actually divided into 5 different neighborhoods, each with different vibes. Újlipótváros is the closest part to the city center where the long streets are lined with boutiques, bookstores, and casual cafes. Lőportárdűlő is more of a business center with lots of modern offices while the other parts of District XIII are more residential.
District XIII feels fairly remote and has more of a small-town vibe yet it’s within walking distance of District V so you get the best of both worlds. This harmony also makes the area particularly suitable for couples looking for a quiet holiday and families.
Pros and cons of staying in District XIII
- The setting provides a unique perspective of the city that you rarely see in typical photographs.
- Perfect for when you fancy swapping urban sights for a splash of greenery.
- There are fewer hotels in this district although it is a great option to choose if you would rather stay in an apartment.
Best places to stay in District XIII
LUXURY– Danubius Hotel Helia
The Danubius Hotel Helia can be found right on the banks of the Danube river opposite Budapest’s Margaret Island and offers you great fitness, spa, and conference facilities. Budapest’s historic city center can be reached within 15 minutes from the Danubius Hotel Helia.
MID-RANGE – NH Budapest City
The NH Budapest City is located in the city center, a 10-minute walk from the Hungarian Parliament Building, the Danube river, and Margaret Island. It offers free WiFi, a sauna, and a fitness center.
BUDGET – Hotel Metro
Hotel Metro is located in a quiet side street between the Western Railway Station (Nyugati Pályaudvar) and the Westend City Center shopping mall. It offers free WiFi access. All Hotel Metro’s rooms offer air conditioning, flat-screen cable TV, a hairdryer, a fan, and a kettle.
That concludes my guide to the best places to stay in Budapest. I hope that this article has helped you make sense of the layout of the city and determined which neighborhood is the best fit for you.
Now that you know where to stay in Budapest you might also want to check out my 2 day Budapest itinerary or my 4 day Budapest itinerary to help you plan what to do in the city. And if you’re interested in photography, I have a super detailed article about the most Instagrammable places in Budapest as well!
If you have any questions about traveling to Budapest or Hungary in general from a local perspective, please let me know in the comments or send me a message via email or social media. Have you already been to Budapest? Let me know below if you want to recommend a neighborhood or hotel!
The Perfect 2 Day Budapest Itinerary
Top 20 Budapest Instagram Spots
18 Incredible Breakfast Places in Budapest
Want to read more about Hungary?
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