Deciding where to stay in Budapest can be difficult, to say the least. There are so many parts of the Hungarian capital city that have more pros than cons when it boils down to choice of accommodation and the attractions that are encompassed within it. Making a final decision on which part will suit you best is a bit like trying to solve a maze puzzle and ending up banging your head against the wall.
Reading through this ultimate neighborhood guide to Budapest will help you turn the right corner and find the solution to your problem without causing you a lump in the middle of your forehead.
One thing you should know before you start where to stay in Budapest is to explore how to get around in Budapest. The city is divided into districts, each of which is individually numbered. District One is the most central and the rest radiate out numerically from there, which makes things a lot simpler.
No matter how long or where you stay in Budapest there'll be a time when you may need to leave your bags somewhere. If so, you'll find Bounce's luggage storage in Budapest has you covered. Bounce luggage lockers are situated in convenient locations throughout the city so you'll always be able to access your belongings when you need them.
Where To Stay In Budapest
District I - Várkerület
District I, Várkerület or the Castle District, is in the very historic heart of Budapest alongside the River Danube. It is one of the oldest parts of the city and contains many of Budapest's major landmarks and monuments. The Castle District was one of the first parts of Budapest to be settled in the mid-13th century and that's notable in the narrow streets lined with old buildings and churches.
What's In District 1, Budapest
District 1, or the Budapest Castle District, encompasses some of the most significant architecture in Budapest such as Buda Castle, the Sandor Palace, the Chain Bridge, and the Hungarian National Museum as well as the seven-towered Fisherman's Bastion. They're some of the main tourist attractions in the city center along with the castle's funicular railway and Gellart Hill, which is one of the best viewpoints in Budapest, so it's a busy and crowded area for most of the year. District 1 is one part of Budapest everyone visiting the city wants to see. On the plus side, it is within walking distance of some of the top attractions in the city centre, making Castle Hill a perennially popular place to stay.
Hotels In District 1, Budapest
Hotels in Budapest are not expensive, but you can expect to pay a little more for the location and convenience if you choose a hotel in the Budapest Castle District.
To spoil yourself completely, especially if you love to soak up a city's historic atmosphere, stay in one of Budapest's most famous hotels, the Gellert Hotel. The palace-like hotel, befitting the palace district, was built in the early 19th century on the banks of the Danube below Gellert Hill and is right next to the city's famed Gellert Spa Baths. It's easily one of the best hotels in Budapest, and occupies a great location right in the heart of everything.
There are more budget-friendly options in District I like the four-star Hotel Victoria Budapest and the Hotel Castle Gardens which have all the amenities you could ask for, but are just not as historic as the Gellert.
District III - Óbuda-Békásmegyer
If you're not sure where to stay in Budapest, take a look Budapest's District III, Óbuda-Békásmegyer. This district is in the northern suburbs around eight kilometers from the city center and is a popular area of the city for budget travelers.
While it might not be everyone's first choice of places to stay in Budapest, it does have its merits. Accommodation is cheaper here and there are efficient transport links into the city too so it's well worth considering if you're on a budget.
It's also great if you don't enjoy the buzz of a busy city and prefer to stay somewhere with plazas, picturesque streets and from where you can see green fields. If that sums you up, District III could be the right choice for you.
What's In District III, Budapest
District III is a part of the city that was initially built by the Romans and Óbuda-Békásmegyer is where the Aquincum Roman ruins and the Aquincum Museum which houses the artifacts found in the archeological digs conducted in the ruins are located. They’re some of Budapest’s top tourist attractions, along with the Military Town Museum which is also on the same site. For any history buff, they alone make staying in Budapest's District III a good idea as there's a lot more to see there than what you can do in a day.
There are two other good reasons for choosing this district for your stay in Budapest. One is the Roman Beach which is a popular spot for outdoor recreation like canoeing and kayaking along the River Danube. There's also a riverside promenade there which, as well as being ideal for walking or jogging, is lined with restaurants and food trucks serving traditional Hungarian food. The second reason, especially pertinent if you're visiting Budapest in August, is the Sziget Festival on Óbudai Island which is a week-long music festival featuring top international pop and rock stars that hands down beats every other thing there is to do at night in Budapest.
Hotels In District III, Budapest
With District III being well away from the city center accommodation is a lot cheaper, unless you're visiting Budapest in August when the Sziget Festival is on and then they're in short demand and expensive. In this district of Budapest you'll find economic bed and breakfasts, guest houses, and hostels. If you want something a little more upmarket, but still reasonable there's a good selection of one to four starred hotels with continental breakfast included too. This is also a great area of the city to find a boutique hotel if that's more your speed.
District V - Belváros-Lipótváros
District V, Belváros-Lipótváros, is on the opposite side of the River Danube to District 1 where Buda Castle is. It is reputed to be one of the best and safest places to stay in Budapest. With its wide avenue-like streets lined with historic buildings and trees on each side, it's also one of the most attractive. District V contains as many of the city's main tourist attractions as District 1 does so you won't need to travel far to see the best sights and even if you do want to go exploring another district, you'll find the transport connections are excellent. Overlooked by Fisherman's Bastion and Budapest's Castle District, this is an area for your stay in Budapest that's hard to beat.
What's In District V, Budapest
Sometimes you just can’t beat being centrally located and in reality, what's not in District V would be easier to mention as this Budapest district is chock-full of places you have to see while there. Often called Downtown Budapest or the Inner City, District V is where you'll find the Széchenyi Chain Bridge which was the historic connection between Buda and Pest when they were two separate cities, the impressive Hungarian Parliament Building, Elizabeth Square, and the best shopping street in the city, the Váci utca, which is world-renowned as this city’s fashion street. Standing monumentally tall at the center of this district is the impressive St Stephen's Basilica and if you haven't seen that, or the Great Market Hall, you really haven't been in Budapest.
Hotels In District V, Budapest
You'll find the choice of hotel accommodation in District V as good as it is in District I, but on the whole less expensive even though it's still smack bang in the city center. In this district, the closer you get to the riverfront, the more you'll pay as everyone wants a view of the River Danube from their room. Since you'll most likely be spending time outside of your hotel room, finding accommodation outside of District V, could allow you to splurge on other things like going out for the best brunch in Budapest. In truth, there are more hotels, hostels, and guest houses in District V than there are trash bins so no matter what your vacation budget is, you'll find one to suit and if you want a luxury hotel, you'll find the Four Seasons Gresham Palace with its exquisite on-site restaurant at around five hundred euros a night will probably fit the bill.
District VI – Terézváros
District VI, Terézváros, borders District V, so is still a very central part of Budapest. It's an area of the city with a real cosmopolitan feel to it. If you've been to Paris or Rome and loved it then you'll definitely enjoy the street cafe vibe of this part of Budapest. It's also the best part of Budapest to stay if you're someone who likes to attend live orchestral or dramatic performances, browse art galleries, explore castles or stroll through beautiful park areas while listening to the buzz of traffic in the distance.
What's In District VI, Budapest
Stay in District VI and you'll have enough things to do right on your hotel doorstep that you may forsake exploring other districts. District VI is bordered to the north by the Varosliget or City Park and as well as being one of Budapest's main public green spaces, the park is home to more than a few of Budapest's more popular attractions.
At the heart of the park right by the lakeside is the fairytale-like Vajdahunyad Castle which is a true sight to see. Just as impressive is the Neo-Baroque palace that houses the Szechenyi Baths and Pool, one of the top places in Budapest to bathe in thermal spa waters. The Museum of Fine Arts is housed in a columned and temple-like structure that occupies a northeastern corner of City Park.
Outside of the park's perimeter is one of the most famous streets in Budapest, Andrássy Avenue. Andrássy Avenue is a broad tree-lined street lined with so many historical buildings it's been granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
There are numerous museums on the side streets of District VI that are as diverse as the House of Terror Museum which is dedicated to the darker side of Budapest's history to the Museum of Sweets and Selfies. There are theaters on almost every side street too, so catching a show in District VI isn't difficult. District VI is also where the Hungarian State Opera House is located.
Hotels In District VI, Budapest
District VI is not short of places to stay and the choice goes right across the budget range from economical to downright expensive. You won't even need to search hard to find a decent one-star hotel providing rooms for less than thirty euros a night which, considering the city center location, is an absolute bargain.
For less than a hundred euros a night you can sleep somewhere more deluxe like the Queen's Court Hotel with its indoor pool, sauna, and fitness center or the Hilton Garden Inn Budapest which has a rooftop pool and terrace from where there are incredible views of the city.
Knowing which attractions are in which district of the city can make all the difference when you're deciding where to stay in Budapest. In Districts 1, V, and VI everything you'll want to see and do will be within walking distance or just a short trip away on public transport. District III is a little further out, but not so far out of the city that you'll spend more time traveling than sightseeing.
In general, hotels in Budapest are not expensive unless you want to spoil yourself with some well-deserved luxury. Budapest is, in fact, one of the best cities in Europe for a budget break that won't break the bank even if you stay in the inner city. It's a city with everything, great restaurants, vibrant nightlife where ruin bars are the on-trend drinking holes, and enough historical sites to make sightseeing a month-long occupation. What more could you ask for?