Budapest is the capital of Hungary, and is a city that genuinely has something for everyone to enjoy. From ruin bars to hot summer music festivals; from freezing winters to thermal spa baths – whatever the season, Budapest is simply a joy to discover.
As one of the more affordable European cities, Budapest not only has something for every kind of traveler, but every budget. A hotspot for budget backpacks making their way through Eastern Europe by rail, Budapest is well equipped for everyone, from savvy and skint traveler to the lavish, luxury explorer.
Budapest can be divided distinctly in two – Buda and Pest, with the mighty Danube River transecting the two. With many a bridge scaling the divide, it is easy for travelers to navigate their way from one side of the city to the other. Did you know that it is a Hungarian tradition to kiss when you float beneath a bridge? At least that is what the cheeky tour guides will tell travelers during a must-do river cruise.
Whether you are thinking of heading to Budapest with your lover or are looking for love – as a family or with friends, there is so much fun to be had in the Hungarian capital.
Let’s explore where to stay in Budapest.
Belváros is the inner city of Budapest, home to the majority of the must-visit sights and landmarks. It is a popular area for weekend mini-breaks and whistle-stop travelers. As a more esteemed neighborhood, Belváros is home to some of the most impressive architecture in Budapest. This is quite the statement, as there is some exquisite architecture in this city.
Within the neighborhood of Belváros, travelers can experience some of the best restaurants and luxurious hotels in the whole city. Despite being the historical center of the city, Belváros is a reasonably laid back district. Even in the high summer season it never seems to get overpopulated.
The walk between Széchenyi Chain Bridge and Elizabeth Bridge, along the tree-lined Danube Promenade, is a great way to take in the views of the Buda side of the city, lying across the river. There are dozens of sculptures and idyllically placed benches dotted along the route.
Good For: Active Travelers, Big Budget Travelers, Budding Historians, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Families, First Time Visitors, Whistle-Stop Travelers,
Neighborhood Highlights: Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Elizabeth Bridge, Danube Promenade, Orthodox Cathedral of Our Lady, Petofi Museum of Literature, Endre Ady Memorial Museum Budapest, Belvárosi Nagyboldogasszony Főplébánia-templom Church, Vigadó Concert Hall, Lion Fountain, Count István Széchenyi Statue.
- Hotel Erzébet City Center – Hotel Erzébet City Center is a very good hotel in Belváros. The decor is arguably a little dated, but the hotel caters for a traveler’s every need. In terms of location, Hotel Erzébet City Center is nearly unbeatable, set right in the heart of Belváros. All rooms have air conditioning.
- Bohem Art Hotel – Bohem Art Hotel is a modern and bright hotel in a great location in Belváros. The rooms are spacious and come with giant ensuite bathrooms. The hotel lounge and lobby area is super cool, with modern furniture and an urban feel. The staff are wonderful and can help with travel arrangements.
- Budapest Marriott Hotel – Subtle and stylish, Budapest Marriott Hotel is one of the best hotels in the city. Guests can enjoy amazing city views from their bedroom windows or watch the world go by from the al fresco cafe right on the Danube Promenade. There is a spa in-house and a good fitness center too.
Unsurprisingly, the most enticing feature of the Palace District is the grand palace itself. Esterhazy Palace is one of the most beautiful buildings in Budapest, and is inspired by Austrian architecture found in Vienna. Behind the palace lies the magnificent Hungarian National Museum and Museum Garden. The museum features collections of archeological gems unearthed from around Hungary, as well as documents and other artifacts of cultural significance.
The Palace District borders Belváros and is just a short hop, skip and jump away from the Danube Promenade. As such, the Palace District is a great place for first-time visitors and whistle-stop travelers to stay in Budapest.
There are some small-scale museums here too. Away from the National Museum of Hungary, travelers can learn about the history of television and radio at Magyar Rádió Épülete. Alternatively, visitors can admire the bronze chimneysweep who stands posed on the facade of Kéményseprő ház.
Good For: Active Travelers, Mid Budget Travelers, Budding Historians, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Families, First Time Visitors, Whistle-Stop Travelers,
Neighborhood Highlights: Esterhazy Palace, National Museum of Hungary, Museum Garden, Magyar Rádió Épülete, Kéményseprő ház, Danube Promenade, Molnar Gallery, Altair Tea House
- Hotel Museum Budapest – Just a few steps from the National Museum in the Palace District, is Hotel Museum Budapest. It is a very good hotel in the heart of the neighborhood, offering everything guests could need and more. The rooms have plenty of space to unpack and all feature generous ensuite bathrooms.
- Hotel Palazzo Zichy – With modern rooms and a high level of service, Hotel Palazzo Zichy is a superb hotel in the heart of the Palace District. The staff are very accommodating and will go out of their way to ensure guests have a pleasant stay. The cocktail bar has a great drinks menu.
- The Three Corners Hotel Anna Superior – The Three Corners Hotel Anna Superior is one of the most popular hotels in the Palace District. Guests are welcome to come and go as they please – the reception is open 24-hours a day, with no lockout. Each room features an ensuite bathroom, with a walk-in shower and complimentary toiletries.
Lipótváros is the neighborhood that sits directly above inner-city Belváros – there is some confusion as to where Belváros ends and Lipótváros begins. Both neighborhoods, for example, share the famous Danube Promenade.
Along the Lipótváros section of the Danube Promenade, travelers can discover some of the more famous bronze statues. Shoes on the Danube is a haunting series of shoe sculptures that serve as a memorial to all those killed during WWII by the fascist regime.
Perhaps the most imposing landmark in Lipótváros is the Hungarian Parliament Building. As one of the most famous parliament buildings in Europe, the Országház gains a lot of attention from tourists. Built in Gothic Revival style, the interior decor is as impressive as the ornate exterior. Travelers can explore the visitor’s center and learn about the frenetic political history of Hungary.
Lipótváros is another of Budapest’s more affluent and luxurious neighborhoods to stay in that is well geared up for travelers, whatever the season.
Good For: Active Travelers, Art Lovers, Architecture Enthusiasts, Mid-Big Budget Travelers, Budding Historians, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Families, First Time Visitors, Whistle-Stop Travelers
Neighborhood Highlights: Hungarian Parliament Building, Shoes on the Danube, Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Liberty Square, The Glass House, OSA Archives, Soviet War Memorial, Ronald Reagan Statue, The Fat Policeman Statue, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Statue of Imre Nagy, Count István Széchenyi Statue
- Prestige Hotel – Prestige Hotel is a luxurious hotel in the heart of Lipótváros. Guests can stay in a lavish room or a signature Prestige Suite. The breakfast at the Prestige Hotel is absolutely superb and provides a great start to the day. The in-house restaurant boasts a Michelin star and rave reviews.
- Starlight Suiten Hotel – Starlight Suiten Hotel is a great hotel option in Lipótváros, especially for a traveler who is looking to have a bit of their own space while in Budapest. There are classic suites for the most affordable rates, up to more expensive deluxe suites. Both options have a lounge area and ensuite bathroom.
- Iberostar Grand Budapest – Offering high-tech amenities such as an iPod dock in every room, free WiFi, and a flat-screen TV, Iberostar Grand Budapest is a great choice in Lipótváros. Guests are welcomed with a complimentary beverage on arrival and there is an in-house bar where guests will find a great cocktail menu.
Józsefváros is the 8th district of Budapest, also known as District VIII, and shares a few streets with the Palace District. Set to the south of the busy, more expensive areas of Lipótváros and Belváros, Józsefváros is a great place to stay in Budapest for travelers who wish to stay in the heart of the action but not break the budget.
As one of the older suburbs of Budapest, Józsefváros features buildings that date back to the 18th Century. There are a number of fascinating – and harrowing – museums to explore in Józsefváros. The Holocaust Memorial Centre is a memorial to victims of the WWII holocaust from Hungary. It is set within a refurbished synagogue that was originally but in the 1920’s.
The Natural History Museum can be found in Józsefváros. A great place to visit for all the family, there is an expansive collection on display. The highlight of the museum is the real whale skeleton that can be found in the main hall.
Good For: Active Travelers, Architecture Enthusiasts, Budget Travelers, Budding Historians, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Families, First Time Visitors, Whistle-Stop Travelers
Neighborhood Highlights: Natural History Museum, Holocaust Memorial Centre, Orczy Garden, Flag Museum, Martsa Műterem és Művészkert, József Attila Memorial, Dandár Gyógyfürdő Spa, Erkel Theater, Kegyeleti Múzeum
- Bo18 Hotel Superior – Bo18 Hotel Superior is a boutique hotel in the heart of Józsefváros. Boasting a wonderful spa, Bo18 Hotel has a Jacuzzi and sauna for complimentary use. In addition to the spa, there is a tech space in the lobby where guests can use the hotel’s laptops, iPads and Play Station. There an amazing breakfast buffet daily.
- Corvin Plaza Apartments & Suites – Corvin Plaza Apartments & Suites are bright, modern and minimalist apartments in the center of Józsefváros. There is WiFi throughout the hotel and in each apartment. This is a great option for families or groups of travelers. The two-bedroom apartments can sleep up to six people comfortably.
- Hotel City Inn – Hotel City Inn is an affordable hotel just 500-meters from Corvin-negyed Metro Station. Each room comes with all the facilities guest could ask for, including coffee making facilities, a private bathroom and a wardrobe. There is a complimentary breakfast buffet served each day that is the highlight of the stay for many.
Sitting immediately behind Belavos is the neighborhood of District VI, featuring Budapest’s famous Andrassy Avenue. Andrassy Avenue is the Champs Elysees of Budapest. Home to some beautiful high fashion stores, elegant Neo-Renaissance palaces and a few hidden-away hostels for good measure, District VI is a little gem.
For budget travelers who want a hostel in the heart of the action, luxury travelers who want a spacious studio apartment to spread out in, or city slickers who want to experience a more frenetic side of Budapest, District VI is the place to stay.
District VI is home to the famous Ruin Bars of Budapest. Head off Andrassy Avenue and explore Budapest’s incredible nightlife scene. In the balmy summer months the Ruin Bars are the most popular hangout spots for travelers of a late afternoon, and long, long into the night. Drinking Pálinka with locals and dancing on tables is something of a rite of passage in Budapest.
Good For: Active Travelers, Architecture Enthusiasts, Budget Travelers, Budding Historians, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Foodies, Fun-Loving Travelers, Party People
Neighborhood Highlights: Simple Kert Ruin Bar, Csendes Vintage Bar, Andrassy Avenue, Széchenyi thermal bath, Instant Nightclub, Budapest Puppet Theater, Zoltán Kodály Memorial Museum, Hungarian Electrotechnical Museum, Postal Museum, House of Terror, Vajdahunyad Castle, City Park
- Bo33 Hotel Family & Suites – For travelers seeking to live like a local in Budapest, Bo33 Hotel Family & Suites is a great place to consider. The spacious suites come with a fully equipped kitchen, lounge area, and super modern bathrooms. As the sister property to Bo18 in Józsefváros, Bo33 offers the same boutique feel and outstanding service.
- Royal Park Boutique Hotel – Royal Park Boutique Hotel is just a 10-minute walk from Andrassy Avenue. All rooms are soundproofed and guests always have a good night’s sleep thanks to the comfortable beds. The rooms all feature contemporary furniture and plenty of natural light. The breakfast buffet is an impressive spread.
- Budapest Heart Bed & Breakfast – Authentic and homely, the Budapest Heart Bed & Breakfast can be found at the heart of District VI, within the neighborhood of Erzsébetváros. Family rooms are available, as well as deluxe queen studios. All rooms have a coffee machine. There is free parking on site and free WiFi throughout the property.
Anyone who comes away from the Hungarian capital chanting ‘Pest is Best’ has clearly not spent enough time on the other side of the Danube. Hopping over the river to the Buda side of the city is the gorgeous neighborhood of Kelenföld.
Offering views of the Danube and a more authentic glance at daily life in Hungary, Kelenföld is an ideal location for intrepid explorers seeking an alternative experience in Budapest There is a lot of estate-like housing in Kelenföld that was built in the 1970’s. This neighborhood offers a more urban contrast to the historic neighborhoods across the river in Pest.
Barba Negra Music Club is the highlight of Kelenföld for party people in Budapest. It is an outdoor music venue that is unrefined in design but has an awesome atmosphere. There are live bands and DJs playing most nights, especially in summer.
The Botanic Garden Buda is a little secret spot in Kelenföld, perfect for a breath of fresh air.
Good For: Architecture Enthusiasts, Budget Travelers, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Foodies, Fun-Loving Travelers, Off-the-Beaten-Track Travelers, Party People,
Neighborhood Highlights: Barba Negra Music Club, Botanic Garden Buda, Kopaszi gát Park, Savoya Park Shopping Mall, Szent Gellért’s Church
- Danubius Hotel Flamenco – Danubius Hotel Flamenco is a good hotel in Kelenföld. Offering a great selection of rooms, and plenty of them, Danubius Hotel Flamenco is rarely booked out. An ideal choice for last minute trips to Budapest. The rooms are simple but ample. The beds are comfortable and each room has an ensuite bathroom.
- Anna Hotel – Anna Hotel is a fabulous hotel in Kelenföld. Set within a modern, eye-catching building, Hotel Anna ticks all the right boxes. An airport shuttle service is available and can be arranged by chatting with the lovely staff at reception. Each room comes with a private outdoor seating area.
- Aranyseo Vendégház Csorbai – Aranyseo Vendégház Csorbai is a locally-run hotel set within a traditional Hungarian home. There is an outdoor pool that is refreshing in summer and freezing in winter. Each room comes with a private bathroom and shower unit. There is a balcony off each room that offers garden views and a dining table.
Krisztinaváros & Taban
Krisztinaváros is the most popular neighborhood in Buda for travelers to stay in. Set just west of Castle Hill, Krisztinaváros offers great views of Pest across the river and is well connected to the rest of the city.
The Metro system in Budapest is comprehensive and runs late into the night. What’s more, it is very affordable and easy to use. Budapest and London were in a race to be the first city in the world to create an underground train network. London just pipped Budapest to the post.
There is plenty to see and do here. The tiny neighborhood of Taban borders Krisztinaváros and is another great area to explore. Tiny Taban is home to Gellért Hill, the iconic Gerard of Csanád Monument and the Citadella.
One free activity in Krisztinaváros is statue spotting. There is Turul Statue, Statue of the Independence War and the Statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy, just for starters.
Good For: Active Travelers, Big Budget Travelers, Budding Historians, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Families, First Time Visitors, Whistle-Stop Travelers,
Neighborhood Highlights: Turul Statue, Statue of the Independence War, Statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy, Mace Tower, The House of Houdini, Budapest Castle Hill Funicular, Fisherman’s Bastion, Hospital in the Rock – Bunker, Matthias Church, Gellért Hill, Gerard of Csanád Monument, Citadella.
- Mercure Budapest – Mercure Budapest is a modern, luxury hotel in Krisztinaváros. Guests can dine at one of the two in-house restaurants or enjoy some of the authentic Hungarian diners that are within a short walk of the front entrance. Many of the rooms offer impressive city views. Each room has an ensuite bathroom.
- Buda Castle Fashion Hotel – Buda Castle Fashion Hotel is a boutique accommodation in the heart of Krisztinaváros. Located just 200-meters from Matthias Church, Buda Castle Fashion Hotel is in an ideal location. The rooms have excellent amenities, like a laptop-size safe, minibar and flat-screen TV. There is free and reliable WiFi throughout the hotel.
- Hilton Budapest – Hilton Budapest is a beautiful hotel in Krisztinaváros that can be found next to Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church. Hilton Budapest has all the amenities guests could ask for, including an in-house restaurant, fitness center and a lounge bar too. There is private parking available and an airport shuttle on request.