Best areas to stay in Budapest

Top areas to stay in Budapest

With a wonderful natural setting straddling the River Danube and beautiful architecture, Budapest is one of the most rewarding cities in Europe to visit. Budapest’s accommodation is improving all the time, both in terms of availability and quality. The city is flush with high-end hotels, affordable three-star hotels, guest houses and hostels.

  1. Enjoy staying in the lively Pest area of the capital
  2. Make the most of a more peaceful stay in Buda
  3. Enjoy one of the most vibrant areas in the capital, Ferencváros
  4. Head to Buda for an outdoor camping experience
  5. Discover the creative area of the Palace Quarter

Fundamental to the city’s layout and history, the River Danube (Duna) - which is seldom blue - separates Buda on the hilly west bank from Pest on the eastern plain. It’s key to navigating yourself around the city and finding the neighbourhood you’re staying in. In terms of areas, there is plenty on offer in Budapest. From the lively bars of Pest to the great outdoors, you won’t be stuck for where to stay. Inspired? Have a look at our fantastic Budapest holidays.

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1. Enjoy staying in the lively Pest area of the capital

The greatest choice of accommodation, particularly hotels and hostels, is in Pest, which is where you’ll also find the greatest concentration of restaurants and bars - though you will have to contend with more traffic noise. The grand hotels that lined the riverbank were all destroyed during World War II, and while their replacements - such as the Marriott and InterContinental - offer fantastic views, they don’t have quite the same elegance. Going in the other direction, there are plenty of hotels along and beyond the Grand Boulevard (Nagykörút) and up towards City Park. Pest is much larger than Buda and so provides plenty of opportunities for sightseeing. Head to the National Parliament to see some incredible architecture and don’t forget the world-famous thermal spa, Széchenyi Baths - enjoy taking a swim and marvelling at the spectacular mosaics in the entrance.

Area: East

While you’re there: Szimpla Kert, the first ruin bar in Budapest, definitely warrants a visit.

2. Make the most of a more peaceful stay in Buda

Across the water, Buda offers more restful possibilities, especially within the Castle District where there are several first-rate hotels, with more along the riverfront. It’s on this side of the river, too, that you’ll find Budapest’s most appealing pensions, notably up in the Buda Hills, which is within easy reach of Széll Kálmán tér. In this city of baths, it’s no surprise that several of the big hotels offer spa packages: the Gellért and the Danubius (on Margaret Island, Margit-sziget) hotels were built next to springs, while several other five-star hotels in the centre have luxury spa complexes. Top attractions in the area include Buda Castle, which houses a tremendous Hungarian art collection and the Fisherman’s Bastion, a fortress which offers incredible views of the water.

Area: West

While you’re there: Don’t miss a visit to Mattias Church, a Late-Gothic Roman piece of architecture.

3. Enjoy one of the most vibrant areas in the capital, Ferencváros

Ferencváros is one of the liveliest areas of Budapest. The area is home to the Central Market Hall which attracts an impressive food scene. The superb building is a great spot for buying a foodie souvenir or stocking up on picnic goodies. Close by you will find Ráday Street which is again home to some fantastic restaurants, like Costes, Budapest’s first Michelin-star restaurant, and lots of bars for a local tipple after dining. Another top place to visit in the National Theatre to catch a rewarding performance.

Area: East

While you’re there: While at the Central Market Hall, indulge in tasty lángos, a fried dough which is often smothered in sour cream and cheese.

4. Head to Buda for an outdoor camping experience

Budapest’s campsites are generally well equipped and pleasant, with trees, grass and sometimes even a pool. They can get crowded between June and September, when smaller places might run out of space. It is illegal to camp anywhere else, and the parks are patrolled to enforce this. The campsites in Buda are the most appealing.

Area: The West outdoors!

While you’re there: Zugligeti Niche Camping is a great option. It’s a small, terraced ravine site in the woods.

5. Discover the creative area of the Palace Quarter

The Palace Quarter is one of the most impressive areas in Budapest. It’s home to some trendy second-hand shops and plenty of bars which attract visitors. It’s full of other tourist spots too, such as the Hungarian National Museum for any history buffs and the Szabó Ervin Library for literature fans. There is a feminist art gallery FERi on offer for any arty folk. It’s definitely the best neighbourhood in Budapest for any creative travellers to stay.

Area: East

While you’re there: The Museum Garden is a wonderful place for a stroll.

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