Wondering what’s the best district to stay in Budapest? Is it better to be on the Buda or the Pest side?

Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and it boasts astounding architecture, unique thermal baths, ruin bars, indoor markets, authentic Hungarian cuisine, and unparalleled majestic views.

Because of its popularity as a city destination, with more than 4.5 million tourists visiting each year, you need to plan ahead when deciding on the best place to stay in Budapest.

From the city’s 23 districts, you’ll find areas full of nature and sightseeing and those of a foodies’ paradise.

I’ve explored the city well enough in the past – both as a solo traveller and as part of a group – and I’m now sharing all my recommendations for you on where to stay in Budapest.

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Where to stay in Budapest: Map of the best Budapest districts

Best area to stay in Budapest 

District V – The best place to stay in Budapest for first-time solo travellers

Located on the Pest side, District V is the heart of Budapest and Hungary’s centre of tourism, politics, shopping, and culture.

This district is also called Belváros-Lipótváros, after the two historical neighbourhoods Belváros (which means downtown in Hungarian) and the Inner City of Lipótváros.

The 5th District is by far my favourite place to stay due to it’s central location – it’s perfectly close to the majority of things that should be on your Budapest bucket list! Absolutely perfect for first-time travellers – whether solo or in a group.

Staying in District 5, you’re close to the impressive Országház or the Hungarian Parliament Building, the world’s third-largest parliamentary building. You’ll get to see its amazing architecture and learn more about Hungary’s history and culture.

You’ll also be close to St. Stephen’s Basilica where you can venture to the top of the basilica and experience the most amazing views of Budapest.

During the summer, you’ll definitely want to saunter along Váci utca, Budapest’s most famous shopping street.

And from late November to December (which, by the way, is my favourite time to visit!) District V transforms into the most festive area with spectacular Christmas markets dotted around!

Recommended hotels in District V

District I – Where to stay in Budapest for sightseeing

Várkerület, also known as District I, on the Buda side is where the scenic Budapest Castle District is. It’s the best place to stay in Budapest for sightseeing, with its majestic medieval castles and massive churches.

Various chic shops, fabulous art galleries, trendy restaurants, and cafés also dot the pretty cobblestoned streets.

District 1 is home to the Hungarian Royal Palace, Buda Castle, the National Gallery and Budapest History Museum.

It’s also where you’ll find the towers of the neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque Fisherman’s Bastion – if you stay in this district, you’ll have to stroll to the top to enjoy insane panoramic views!

Staying in District 1 means you’re closer to cultural attractions, such as Matthias Church (with it’s impressive architecture and incredible art collection) and Budapest’s legendary thermal springs. Head to Gellért or Rudas Baths if you’d like a therapeutic bath or massage.

Busy during the day, District 1 is quieter and more peaceful at night. It’s one of the most exclusive places to stay in Budapest, but perfect for people who enjoy luxury and exemplary service, want to be close to all the action, and who won’t mind spending a tad bit more.

Recommended hotels in District I

District VII – Where to stay in Budapest for nightlife

District VII, or Erzsébetváros, is popularly known as the Jewish Quarter and is one of the hippest places to stay in Budapest, with its exciting nightlife at ruin bars, discos, and clubs.

Ruin bars are very cool historic buildings unique to Budapest city. Built into old, derelict properties, the interiors are super interesting with their quirky design and captivating art.

The 7th District is also home to cultural, heritage, and religious sites such as Europe’s largest synagogue, Dohanny, and the Holocaust Museum. It’s a very welcoming place with several chic boutiques, eccentric art galleries, stylish cafés and restaurants. 

The streets of District 7 are filled with impressive street art and, in fact, I highly recommend taking this alternative walking tour so you don’t miss any!

This district draws flocks of travellers in search of a good time and it can get loud and rowdy most of the time. If you’re looking for a sounder sleep, this may not be where you want to stay but if you’re up for a party, then it’s the place to be! 

Recommended hotels in District VII

District XI – Where to stay in Budapest for foodies

Eat your way through the foodie district of District 11 (Újbuda). District XI is an up and coming diverse district which has drawn a lot of businesses, mainly because of the recent urban renewal of the area.

It’s considered the coolest part of Buda where the young and intellectual crowds hang out in its designer cafés, restaurants, and art galleries.

You can work while sipping your cappuccino in Kelet, one of the more popular speciality coffee shops, lined up with hundreds of books.

Your friendly neighbourhood bakery churns out delectable pastries like the traditional túrós táska (chocolate roll) and kakaós csiga (cottage cheese-filled pastry – yum!).

A melting pot of international cuisine, from Vietnamese to German to Polish, is side by side in the 11th District, along with authentic Hungarian cuisine. Several ruin bars and rooftop bars serving craft beers, cocktails, and all the wine are present here too.

If you’re interested in art, you’ll find its main boulevard, Bartók Béla, lined with galleries alongside numerous cafés. You’ll never miss an exhibit here as you’ll be near KÉK or Contemporary Architecture Center, the Godot Gallery, and Faur Zsófi Gallery.

Recommended hotels in District XI

District VIII – Where to stay in Budapest on a budget

Let’s face it, sometimes you need to travel on a budget, so if you find yourself in Budapest and not wanting to spend a fortune, check out the more relaxed neighbourhood of Józsefváros, or District VIII.

This emerging district has up and coming restaurants, fashionable boutiques, and avant-garde galleries popping up amongst the old, pre-war buildings, but with a slightly laid-back atmosphere.

The outer part of District 8 is still trying to catch up with the progress, but it’s getting transformed by newcomers, turning derelict buildings into cool residential buildings.

It’s come a long way from years before when it was a bit sketchy, thanks to the hip crowd from the six universities nearby. It’s now a mix of the old and the new coming together in a backdrop of its affluent past and the vibe of its younger mainstays.

Numerous key historical attractions and cultural highlights are also located in Józsefváros, such as the Hungarian National Museum, Natural History Museum, Szabó Ervin Library, and the Hungarian State Opera House. District VIII is also known as the Palace Quarter because it’s home to numerous palaces built in the early 1900s for the aristocrats and nobles.

District VIII is the perfect choice for any budget traveller in Budapest. 

Recommended hotels in District VIII

District IX – Where to stay in Budapest for families

District IX, commonly known as Ferencváros, is a diverse neighbourhood on the Pest side, with a convenient location in southern Budapest.

Though District 9 isn’t as hectic as the Jewish Quarter, it’s a quieter option and the perfect location for families to explore. You can find families with little kids playing in the streets or students lounging around trendy cafes everywhere around the 9th District.

Central Market Hall is officially part of District 9 and you’ll get to enjoy authentic Hungarian cuisine like langos and the local sausages here. It’s also nice to have the biggest indoor market on your doorstep, ready for you to shop for fresh produce and groceries every day, just as the locals do.

For food options, you’ll find stalls and pastry shops on Raday Street selling traditional Hungarian food and pastries. And if you get the chance, you can check out the city’s first Michelin-starred restaurant Costes.

The Müpa cultural complex, Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art and the National Theatre, are also here in this district. And Zwack Museum, which showcases Hungary’s national drink, Unicum, is just right next to it.

Most locals and tourists go to relax at Dandár Thermal Baths or just lounge around the Danube River promenade lined with bars and cafés.

Recommended hotels in District IX

District XIII – Where to stay in Budapest for walking and nature

District XIII is located in the northernmost part of Pest and is made up of Angyalföld, Népsziget, Újlipótváros, Vizafogó, and Margaret Island. Most tourists don’t make it to this part so it has a charming, quieter vibe.

If you’re wondering what area to stay in Budapest with wide-open green spaces, District 13 is the place to be as it’s nearest to parks, expansive gardens, and the island-park, Margaret Island.

Újlipótváros is a pretty posh and fashionable area of District 13. Although this district doesn’t have famous landmarks, it’s home to modernist Bauhaus-style apartments, the Budapest Jazz Club, and restaurants and cafes.

The Szent István Park is located here in the 13th District, and it features gorgeous flower beds and manicured lawns with stunning views of the Danube River. Perfect for those who want to avoid the tourists!

You can stroll around charming streets lined with quaint cafés, cosy restaurants and bookshops here. If you’d like to explore more of the capital, you’ll have to rely on trains, trams, and buses to get to the city centre from here, but it’s worth the commute if you want to stay close to nature.

Recommended hotels in District XIII

District III – Where to stay in Budapest for the Sziget Festival

Every August, the Sziget Festival in Budapest turns the Old Obuda Island or Óbudai-sziget into one of the largest cultural and musical celebrations in Europe. It’s amazing!! 

If you’re going to the Sziget Festival and not keen on camping on Obuda Island (it’s definitely an experience, but there are literally tents everywhere!), then District III or Óbuda-Aquincum is the best area to stay in Budapest. It’s in the same district as the festival island so you can easily get back and forth through public transportation 24/7.

For a week, more than half a million party-goers from all over the world come to enjoy international music from pop, rock, EDM, and more. It’s not only music but there are art zones, dance and theatre performances, cool circus, tattooing, sports, chill zones, and there’s even a life-sized foosball!

I’ve been to many a music festival, and Sziget is by far the best I’ve ever been to. 

Recommended hotels in District III

Buda or Pest: Where to stay 

Buda and Pest sides of Budapest
Photo by Elio Santos on Unsplash

Halved by the famed Danube River, Budapest is a fascinating city that offers a lot to its visitors on both sides.

But choosing where to stay in Budapest can be challenging because Buda and Pest sides have very different vibes. So, where to stay – Buda or Pest??

The vivacious Pest is where most of the tourist attractions are and its perfect for first-time visitors. This is where most of the action is and you’ll always find another captivating gem of Budapest, whether it’s in a book-lined café or a trendy ruin bar on a rooftop.

The charming Buda is a quieter and more local side of Budapest. Buda is perfect for digital nomads, laid-back travellers, or people who like slow travel over a longer period of time. It’s more residential and relaxed compared to the active districts of the Pest side.

What to consider when choosing which area to stay in Budapest 

There are a few things to consider when choosing which area to stay in Budapest: budget, transportation, attractions, safety and convenience. You’ll want to consider your needs and preferences when picking where to stay in the city.

If you’re looking for more affordable options, District VIII or IX are great for exploring Budapest without breaking the bank.

For a more vibrant nightlife, District VI or VII are ideal. And if you’re looking for something quieter and closer to nature, head to District XIII.

No matter where you stay, the city is easily accessible by public transport so you can explore all of its attractions hassle-free.

Where to stay long term in Budapest 

If you’re a digital nomad or want to stay in the city for a longer time, consider some of these neighbourhoods in Budapest that are perfect for a lengthier stay. 

Where to stay in Budapest long term


Angyalföld, which means Angel’s Land, is in the outer section of District 13, the northernmost Pest district. It used to be a traditional neighbourhood of the working class and it hosts a diverse collection of churches and synagogues.

In the 1980s, Angel’s Land saw many high-rise residential buildings, modern office-blocks, and fancy car showrooms.

Because of the recent urban renewal plan of Budapest, it’s now an upcoming district with exciting new places popping up all the time.

More and more people are being drawn to the more residential Angyalföld since it’s also home to amazing architecture, cultural buildings, and other cosmopolitan amenities. It’s retained it’s industrial feel with a strong hardworking character of the working middle class.

Since it’s also near Szent István park, you can have a wander through the park and then find a cozy café or restaurants to chill out in. You’ll also find local Hungarian fare, Middle Eastern food, Italian, and Belgian cuisine in this district.


Your main concern in deciding where to stay in Budapest long-term may be budget, and Terézváros is considered the friendliest to your pocket. Located on the Pest side, this small yet densely populated neighbourhood is a hub for reasonably-priced accommodations.

From boutique hotels to backpacker hostels, you’ll find a range of unique stays with great amenities.

There’s also a plethora of exciting things to do around here that you can work on any budget – fancy a pub crawl?.

The highlights of this district include Andrassy Avenue (a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can find Heroes’ Park and City Park) and the most famous Széchenyi Thermal Baths. All right next to your doorstep if you’re staying here.


Budafolk-Tétény is on the Pest side of the city. It’s unique from the other 22 districts because of its rich cultural heritage. It’s also the wine and champagne hub of Budapest.

The 25 km- cellar network of wine cellars (yep, you read that right!) was built here in 1880 and still exists today. If you’re here in the autumn months of September and October, you’ll have the chance to take part in the wine festival, with tastings and guided tours of its countless wine cellars.

For 200 years, Budafolk-Tétény has been Budapest’s producer of wine and champagne for export and you’ll find rows and rows of wineries, factories, and warehouses here.

There are apartments, rooms, and houses for rent to choose from with beautiful countryside views overlooking vineyards.

If you stay here, you’ll also get to experience a myriad of cultural activities like theatre, dance, and performances of Hungary’s best orchestras.


Újbuda is foodie heaven and an artistic hub on the Buda side of the city. You’ll likely find students, young professionals, and middle-class locals in its many hip cafés, bars, and restaurants in this area.

It also offers reasonably-priced accommodations for students and the international community looking for longer stays in Budapest.

For those who want to stay in Buda with an abundant selection of food choices, Újbuda is teeming with local favourites, student-priced canteens, and diverse international food. The prices are a lot cheaper here than in other parts of the city and there are plenty of cool places to hang out or to sit down and work.

The urban transformation of Újbuda also brought about a surge of fashion shops, designer stores, and art galleries to this area. And it’s actively reigniting its cultural scene by providing its residents and entrepreneurs with more online and offline spaces to participate in cultural activities.

How to get around Budapest 

Budapest Tram
Photo by Benjamin Sharpe on Unsplash

Budapest is a very walkable city and pretty much all the top sights are closely situated.

The best way (and most practical) to enjoy these is by walking. Another alternative is by bike which is also easily accessible and inexpensive, with bike-sharing spots (look out for the lime green bikes) scattered around the city.

You might also want to get on a boat to appreciate more of the magnificent architecture of Budapest and the Danube River (and to avoid traffic!).

If you want to straddle both sides of the Danube, there’s an extensive and efficient transportation system of trains, trams, and buses that can get you from any district to another, at all times of the day.

So even if you’re staying in some of the further afield districts, you’ll still be able to get into the city centre easily. 

FAQs: Where to stay in Budapest

Where is the best place to stay in Budapest?

The best district to stay in Budapest is District V or District I because of their proximity to the best sightseeing spots. There’s also a wide range of accommodations with plenty of cafés and restaurants around.

For foodies, the best area to stay is District XI and for those looking for the best nightlife, District VII is the best place to stay. 

Where to stay in Budapest for Christmas markets?

District V is the best neighbourhood to stay in because this is where the majority of Christmas markets are located in Budapest.

How long should you stay in Budapest?

Staying in Budapest for three days is enough to cover and explore the key sights of the city. But if you only have 1 day in Budapest, you can still see a good amount of the city if you plan out an itinerary.

Is it cheap to stay in Budapest?

For the most part, Budapest is a very affordable city with lots of reasonably priced accommodation. An average daily spend of USD 40-60 in Budapest is slightly cheaper than in other European capitals.


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Where to stay in Budapest: The Verdict

Hands down, District V is my choice for the best place to stay in Budapest! Whether you’re a first-timer or not, you’ll want to make your base where everything is close by, and that’s the 5th District.

Budapest is a beautiful and diverse city to explore and no matter what you’re looking for – the food, nature, budget accommodation – you’ll find a district that meets your needs from the list above.


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