Posted: 10/29/2023 | October 29th, 2023
Budapest is one of the most fun — and most underrated — cities in Europe. While it’s become more popular in recent years, it still sees only a fraction of tourists compared to London or Paris (about 80% fewer, to be exact).
Popular with backpackers who come to enjoy the lively nightlife, it is also bursting with incredible historic sights, lots of cheap eats, and a plethora of relaxing thermal baths. There’s a ton to see and do, and it’s super affordable compared to Western Europe.
Since it actually comprises three cities (Buda, Pest, and Obuda), picking the right area to stay in is important. While Budapest isn’t massive, you’ll waste a lot of time in transit if you don’t pick the right area for your plans.
To help you save time and money, here’s my list of the best neighborhoods, so you know exactly where to stay in Budapest. These are the areas I stay in myself, because they are close to all the action, so you never have to travel far to get around.
Located on the Buda side of town, this popular district is home to Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, and the towering Gellért Hill, which offers stunning views over the city. The famous Rudas and Gellért Baths (popular thermal spas) are also here. It’s a gorgeous area to stay in and leans upscale, with plenty of luxe accommodations and many fancy eateries. The photogenic Széchenyi Chain Bridge, which connects to District V, is nearby too.
Best places to stay in the Castle District:
This is the heart of the city, so if it’s your first time or you only have a few nights, stay here. You’ll be within walking distance of many of the top sights, including the massive Parliament building as well as St. Stephen’s Basilica. The photogenic chain bridge is nearby too, as is the massive Central Market. Just keep in mind that this district isn’t the cheapest. But if you want to splurge (a little or a lot), then it won’t disappoint!
Best places to stay in Parliament & Belváros:
This budget-friendly area, located on the Pest side of town, is home to the most popular thermal bath, Széchenyi. There are many other tourist sites too, such as the Terror Museum and the Opera House. Andrássy Avenue, a UNESCO site meant to imitate the famous Champs-Élysées in Paris, is also here.
While there is plenty to see and do, the neighborhood is not crammed with hotels like other areas. That means you get a good mix of convenience (you can still walk downtown) while also experiencing a bit more of the local pace of life.
Best places to stay in Terézváros:
The Dohány Street Synagogue is a must-see stop for anyone who visits Budapest. However, the main draw in this district is the nightlife. Specifically, the ruin bars.
Once underground party venues hidden away in abandoned buildings, they are now a massive part of the city’s thriving nightlife. The bars are unique and eclectic, unlike any other bar you’ve been to — a must for first-time visitors. The most popular (and coolest) bar, Szimpla Kert, and the massive Instant-Fogas Complex (a ruin bar and club) are both in this district.
The popular Karaván outdoor food market (right near Szimpla) is also here, offering a wide variety of amazing eats. And if you’re vegan, some of the best veg restaurants in town are nearby.
Best places to stay in the Jewish Quarter:
While there are lots of other districts to stay in Budapest, these are the neighborhoods most travelers spend all their time in — including myself. If you’re here to see the main sights, enjoy the nightlife, learn about the city’s past, and feast on its incredible cuisine, these are the best neighborhoods to focus on. They won’t disappoint!
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If you’re looking for more places to stay, here is a complete list of my favorite hostels in Budapest!
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Want More Information on Budapest?
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