Budapest’s history is easy to see on a trip to the Hungarian capital. The city is a true jewel of eastern Europe and one that is still coming to terms with the end of the Cold War – although it isn’t as noticeable as in years past.
No matter what type of holiday you are looking for, Budapest can offer it. Luxury travelers can explore upscale shopping, restaurants, and hotels. The city’s gorgeous thermal baths provide weary travelers the chance to relax and revitalize their bodies.
Budget travelers can find plenty to love about Budapest as well. From cheap eating and drinking to low-cost accommodation and public transportation, Budapest has everything you could want in a travel destination.
If you fancy a trip to one of eastern Europe’s hidden treasures, then consider one of these brilliant neighborhoods to book your hotel or Airbnb in.
It is important to note that Budapest’s neighborhoods are broken down into conveniently numbered districts. This is possibly a holdover from the days of communism when Hungary was a part of the USSR. The Castle District is also known as Várkerület or District 1. It is the ideal place to stay if it is your first time to visit Budapest.
Budapest is separated by the Danube River with the city laid out on both sides. The Castle District is located on the Buda side of the city. The area is what one would expect of an old eastern European town. It has cobblestone streets, quaint coffee shops, and little stores selling goods.
A trip up to Buda Castle offers you amazing views across the Danube River to Pest. You can see the beautiful, ornate Parliament Building from the castle. While exploring the Castle District, stop off for a visit at Matthias Church. The Gothic church is striking and just yards away from the castle. You can tick off a lot of great sites on one day out in Budapest.
Travelers tip: there are festivals held throughout the year around the castle. You can dive into Hungarian culture on a visit to the castle and enjoy a unique festival.
Best place to stay in Castle District
Baltazar Boutique Hotel. Address: Budapest, Országház u. 31, 1014, Hungary.
Józsefváros has experienced gentrification over the last decade and is now one of the top areas to stay in Budapest. Not long ago, Józsefváros was an area you wouldn’t want to go out in. That has changed as money has flow into it and businesses have opened up.
Like many up-and-coming areas, Józsefváros is popular with students and young people looking for fun on nights out. You will find a number of great ruin bars in the neighborhood. A ruin bar pub crawl in Budapest is one way to see some of the most unique drinking establishments in the city.
What is a ruin bar? They are the most popular places to drink in Budapest. These bars are built in old, abandoned buildings, stores, and parking lots. The trend started in Budapest and is now sweeping Europe.
Józsefváros has a lot to offer for nights out. So, if you are on a trip alone, with friends, or with your significant other, don’t miss your chance to stay in the area.
Best place to stay in Józsefváros
Palazzo Zichy Hotel. Address: Budapest, Lőrinc pap tér 2, 1088, Hungary.
Located in Pest, Belváros is a cosmopolitan area of the capital. It is situated in downtown, right on the edge of the Danube River, and is one of the more expensive areas in Budapest. Culture vultures and historians head out to Belváros to sightsee as this is the best spot for historic buildings and landmarks.
You will find the Parliament Building, Chain Bridge, and Central Market Hall in Belváros. All three are cool, must-see historical venues to explore.
Perhaps the No. 1 historical landmark in Belváros to see is St. Stephen’s Basilica. Completed in 1905, the Neoclassical church is a magnificent building that can be toured for free. Outside its doors are a wealth of cafes, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. You can sit and sip beers and wine at a cafe in the basilica’s shadow.
Best place to stay in Belváros
Bohem Art Hotel. Address: Budapest, Molnár u. 35, 1056, Hungary.
Erzsébetváros is the city’s Jewish Quarter. It is home to the Great Synagogue (Dohány Street Synagogue) as well as Hungarian Jewish culture. The Dohány Street Synagogue is Europe’s largest synagogue and the second largest in the world after Belz Great Synagogue in Jerusalem.
Although the district is known for its history and religious community, Erzsébetváros has become a popular destination for locals and travelers seeking a great night out. The neighborhood has a number of cool ruin bars and food trucks pop up regularly along its streets.
You can find a variety of great places to spend an evening and almost every budget is catered for. After visiting Erzsébetváros during the day for sightseeing, stay late and experience everything it has to offer after dark.
Best place to stay in Erzsébetváros
Corinthia Hotel. Address: Budapest, Erzsébet krt. 43-49, 1073, Hungary.
Terézváros is a funny district of the Hungarian capital. On the one hand, it is home to Andrássy Avenue, an upscale street with expensive shops and restaurants. Andrássy Avenue is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is also the place where you will find a number of popular tourist attractions, including the amazing House of Terror Museum, which unapologetically shows just how the secret police controlled the citizens during the Cold War.
Despite Terézváros being a popular tourist area and place for more expensive shops and restaurants, it is also a mecca for budget travelers. You can find backpacker hostels and low-priced accommodation just off Andrássy Avenue.
If you want a more luxurious hotel experience, you can also find that in Terézváros. It is claimed more high-end hotels are opening up in the area, transforming some of Terézváros’s grittier side into luxury locations.
If you need a break from sightseeing around the neighborhood, stop off at Városliget for a breath of fresh air. Városliget is one of Europe’s largest public parks. Visitors staying in Terézváros are not far from one of Budapest’s most attractive landmarks, the Széchenyi baths.
The amazing thermal baths has 18 pools allowing you to relax outdoors or indoors. One of the best things to do on a cold Budapest day is to relax outdoors in the thermal baths.
Best place to stay in Terézváros
Callas House. Address: Budapest, Andrássy út 20, 1061, Hungary.
Where travel critics stay in Budapest
Want to know where travel critics from publishers like The New York Times, Frommer’s, Fodor’s and Lonely Planet stay in Budapest? Check out our overview of all recommended hotels, hostels and B&Bs in Budapest.
“Spread across several different buildings in central Budapest, this personable and characterful hub offers a range of accommodation from dorms and private rooms in self-catering apartments. All are well maintained and service is friendly and helpful.” — Telegraph.
Address: 1051 Budapest, Szent István tér 3., Hungary.
“Brody House is more than just a super-cool boutique hotel in the up-and-coming Palace District. It’s also a hub of creativity, focused on showcasing and supporting local artists, designers, writers, musicians and other creative types.” — CNN.
Address: Budapest, Bródy Sándor u. 10, 1088, Hungary.
“From the attentive staff to the Zsolnay tiles and Miksa Roth glass work, this is arguably Budapest’s finest hotel. It sits directly opposite the Chain Bridge on the Pest side, and more than a quarter of the 179 rooms overlook the Danube, making for a fairytale view of Buda Castle across the river.” — Frommer’s.
Address: Budapest, Széchenyi István tér 5, 1051, Hungary.
FAQ: Budapest hotel tips
Looking for the best budget, boutique, or luxury hotel in Budapest? Or maybe you’re a backpacker looking for an excellent hostel? Want to know which Budapest hotel serves a great breakfast? Here are the answers to all those and other questions about where to stay in Budapest.
What is the best budget hotel in Budapest?
If you’re looking for a cheap hotel in Budapest, then try Bohem Art Hotel. It’s an excellent budget hotel offering great value for money. It’s in a good location, it’s been recommended by travel experts and the hotel has excellent customer reviews. Also, make sure to read our shortlist of the best cheap hotels in Budapest.
What is the best boutique hotel in Budapest?
Not a fan of big chain hotels? No problem. If you want to stay in a boutique hotel in Budapest, then you should book Baltazár Boutique Hotel. The hotel has been rated highly by previous guests for its boutique style. It has also been recommended by influential travel journalists. Also check out our list of the best boutique hotels in Budapest, it’s a manually curated list of the most unique and romantic hotels in the city.
What is the best hostel in Budapest?
If you’re looking for a great hostel in Budapest, then you should check out Pal’s Hostel & Apartments. The hostel has magnificent reviews by backpackers, it has been recommended by well-known travel experts and it’s in a good location. Also make sure to read our shortlist of the best hostels in Budapest.
What is the best luxury hotel in Budapest?
If money isn’t a problem and you’re looking for a luxury hotel in Budapest, then go for Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace. The hotel offers excellent service, it’s in a top location, it has been rated very highly by previous guests and renowned travel critics have recommended it. Also check out our list of the best luxury hotels in Budapest, it’s a manually curated list of the most exclusive 5-star hotels in the city.
What is the best bed & breakfast in Budapest?
Looking for a cozy place to stay in Budapest that serves you handmade and fresh breakfast in the morning? Go and check out B&B Parliament House. The B&B has been recommended by well-known travel experts and recent guests have given it top ratings.
How much does it cost to stay in a Budapest hotel for a night?
A 3-star hotel in Budapest will cost you around $95 per night. For a 4-star hotel you will have to pay $140 per night and a luxury 5-star hotel in Budapest will cost you around $270 per night.
Which Budapest hotels offer a good breakfast?
If you’re looking for Budapest hotels that offer a good breakfast, try the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace or the Corinthia Hotel. Both hotels have excellent customer reviews ratings for their breakfast.
Best time to visit Budapest
If you’re looking for warm weather and outdoor activities, the best time to visit Budapest is between May and September. During these months, the weather is pleasant, and the city comes alive with festivals and events. From music festivals to food fairs, there is no shortage of things to see and do in Budapest during the summer months.
However, if you’re looking for a more peaceful and less crowded experience, then the best time to visit Budapest is during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. During these times, the crowds are thinner, and the weather is still pleasant enough to enjoy outdoor activities. Plus, with fewer tourists, you’ll have an easier time finding affordable accommodation and avoiding long lines at popular attractions.
If you’re looking for a winter wonderland experience, then the best time to visit Budapest is during the winter months. Budapest is known for its beautiful Christmas markets and festive atmosphere during the holiday season. Plus, the thermal baths and cozy cafes make for a perfect winter retreat.
Best things to do in Budapest
There are a lot of things to do in Budapest and surrounding areas, including day trips, attractions, museums, sightseeing tours and many other activities. Here’s our list of 3 things you should definitely do when you’re in Budapest:
Budapest Segway Tour
See the sights of Budapest as you cruise the city on a Segway. This tour offers a choice of durations for your guided trip around central Pest. Price: $43. More info.
Budapest: 1-Hour Sightseeing Cruise with Welcome Drink
See the sights of Budapest from the River Danube on a 1-hour sightseeing cruise, and enjoy a seasonal cocktail or soft drink along the way. Glide past landmark monuments such as Buda Castle and the Vigado Concert Hall. Stay connected with free Wi-Fi. Price: $11. More info.
Skip the Line: Széchenyi Spa Full Day Package
Skip the line at Budapest’s world-famous thermal spring spa, Széchenyi Bath. Choose from a weekday or weekend ticket to the elegant spa. The largest thermal spring bath complex in Europe, it comprises 3 outdoor and 15 indoor pools. Price: $30. More info.
Deciding where to stay in Budapest
As a closing note, let’s summarize this travel guide. We covered the best areas of Budapest so you can decide which part of town you want to stay in.
Top 5 areas to stay in Budapest
- Castle District
As you have seen in this article, there are a lot of things to explore, and deciding where to stay in Budapest is important. Whether you stay in Castle District, Terézváros, Erzsébetváros, Belváros or Józsefváros, all those neighborhoods are in good locations.
The atmosphere of the area, whether you travel for leisure or business, whether you travel with your family or friends, and proximity to the attractions you prefer to visit should probably be the deciding factors. Whatever your preference is, you’ll have a great time in Budapest.
Check out our other guides about the best places to stay in Budapest: