The Hungarian Parliament Building surrounded by the Danube River in Hungarian capital Budapest

Best Places to Stay in Budapest (Areas for Couples, Nightlife & Sightseeing)

16 Jun 2019 By Adele Grant
The Hungarian Parliament Building surrounded by the Danube River in Hungarian capital Budapest

Slowly becoming one of Europe’s most exciting city break destinations, Budapest is a real mixed bag when it comes to attractions. From an overload of thermal baths inviting you to relax in their healing waters to an interesting nightlife made up of edgy ruin bars and grand architecture overlooking the Danube – there’s something to suit all travel styles.

This divided city comes with two sides Buda and Pest, which are separated by the river, each offering something different. So, to make sure your trip runs as smoothly as possible we’ve listed the best places to stay in Budapest based on its 23 neighbourhoods.

Whether you’re visiting to tick off its sights, experience its romantic side or seeking family-friendly attractions – everyone is catered for.

Várkerület (Castle District)

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Despite being relatively quiet, Budapest’s Castle District is jam-packed with attractions.

Found on the Buda side of the river, everything about this spot is extremely idyllic with palace views, which are often described as the best in the city, enchanting cobblestone streets and traditional restaurants.

As one of the more upmarket areas, expect luxury accommodation and a plethora of beautiful buildings. Things tend to slow down when it comes to evenings, but if you fancy hitting the capital’s livelier side, you can always take advantage of the area’s fantastic public transport links.

The country’s past is proudly on show too, from its castle’s blend of architectural styles after much reconstruction to the area’s UNESCO World Heritage status and a scattering of important medieval monuments.

Best for: Sightseeing – This well-known district is a fantastic spot for sightseeing. In fact, its 13th century castle is one of the city’s most recognised attractions hence its elevated hillside location. Alongside this towering beauty, you’ll also come across a whole host of ancient must-sees.

Area highlights:

  • Buda Castle (National Gallery and Budapest History Museum)
  • Gellért Hill
  • Matthias Church
  • Fisherman’s Bastion
  • Rudas Baths
  • Trinity Square
  • Hospital in the Rock Nuclear Bunker Museum

Top tip: This area can get extremely busy during the day with large crowds heading here to experience the views from the castle. With that in mind, it may be worth heading here after sunset when the tourist numbers have dropped.

Not only will you get to experience undisturbed views of city’s crowning jewel, but it looks even more beautiful when illuminated by those last rays of daylight.

Hotels nearby:

  • Hilton Budapest City: As part of the well-known Hilton chain, you can expect great things from this conveniently placed hotel. And its modern amenities make for the perfect city retreat thanks to its onsite sauna, spacious rooms and Hungarian restaurant.
  • Hotel Belvedere Budapest: With four stars to its name and a fantastic location close to Buda Castle, this stylish hotel is a great option. Head to its top floor for panoramas of the city or relax in your Art Deco inspired room – the choice is yours.

Ferencváros

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This up-and-coming neighbourhood is ideal if you want to sample the city’s trendy side.

Until recently there wasn’t much going on here, but after its popularity with local students it has given birth to a whole host of new bars and restaurants. The spot is also a hub for culture lovers with its fantastic collection of museums.

Well connected to the heart of the city its downtown area is just a 10-minute walk away. This is a great area for value for money too, with prices cheaper than the city’s better-known districts.

One of its biggest attractions has to be the Grand Market Hall, where you’ll find vendors selling all sorts of items from the finest Hungarian produce right down to one-off garments.

On warm days the promenade is perfect for romantic picnics with its views of the Danube River, or you can always head for one of the finest examples of modern architecture in Budapest, where you’ll find a bar offering stunning city vistas.  

Best for: Young couples – This is a great location for couples looking for lively days, particularly in the summer, and laid-back nights.

Its convenient location also means you get to experience the best of both worlds considering you’re within walking distance to one of Budapest’s most popular districts – Belváros.

Area highlights:

  • Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Hungarian National Theatre
  • Grand Market Hall
  • Palace of Arts
  • Zwack Unicum Museum
  • Holocaust Memorial Center

Top tip: For the ultimate date night, Ferencváros is also home to Costes, Budapest’s first Michelin-starred restaurant.

Újlipótváros

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Újlipótváros may not be the most popular district for tourists, but it has plenty to offer. If you want to see how the local Hungarian people live, this residential area should be top of your list of places to stay.

They may not be a great deal going on in terms of attractions and nightlife but with great transport links on hand exploring the rest of the city is easy.

Most people stay in this area due to its close proximity to Margaret Island, a huge public park which is connected to the city by a bridge. You can spend hours here, especially on sunny days with its very own collection of thermal baths complete with waterslides and wave pools.

And that’s just for starters, this vast green space is also home to ancient ruins, a musical fountain and an Art Nouveau style water tower, making it a must-visit for families.

Best for: Families – Mainly populated by locals, this tucked-away neighbourhood is perfect for families seeking some peace and quiet during their time in the city. However, you can still access all of the capital’s major attractions from here.

Area highlights:

  • Margaret Island
  • Watch Tower
  • Open-air theatre
  • Hippie Island
  • Pozsonyi Way
  • Szent István Park

Did you know? The further north you are the cheaper the accommodation, which is great news for families holidaying on a budget.

Hotels nearby:

  • Danubius Health Spa Resort Helia: Taking up a prime spot on the banks of the Danube, take advantage of perks such as complimentary Wi-Fi and a fully-equipped fitness centre complete with four pools – just some of the highlights at this 4 star property.
  • Danubius Health Spa Resort Margitsziget: Set in an old-fashioned building dating back to 1873, this classic establishment lets you experience Budapest’s traditional side. In a prime position for visiting the city’s tranquil Margaret Island, it’s a fantastic choice for taking it easy.

Terézvaros

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Terézvaros may be one of Budapest’s smallest districts, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in the action department.

There’s always something going on here, whether you choose to explore the prestigious Andrássy Avenue, a lengthy boulevard filled with upscale shops alongside The Hungarian State Opera – one of the city’s most striking buildings due to its Neo-Renaissance design.

On the other hand, wander a little further and you’ll feel like your worlds away from Andrássy’s high-end charms as you’re greeted by the area’s urban side.

This is also where you’ll find West End style entertainment with Opera House, Liszt Ferenc Music Academy and Operetta Theater all at your disposal. In a nutshell, it’s a great all-rounder with something to suit most tastes.

Best for: Solo travellers – Not only are you well located with access to some of the city’s best transport links, but there’s a great selection of accommodation, particularly for the budget conscious.

Area highlights:

  • House of Terror Museum
  • Andrássy Avenue
  • Hungarian State Opera House
  • St. Theresa of Ávila Church
  • Városliget
  • Heroes Square
  • Liszt Ferenc Music Academy
  • Operetta Theater
  • Széchenyi thermal bath
  • Instant Nightclub

Top tip: To experience the best of what this area has to offer we suggest starting at Erzsébet Square and walking to Heroes Square – this will take around 30 minutes.

Erzsébetváros (Jewish Quarter)

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If you’re looking for lively nights, you’ve come to the right place. Although only small, the action is non-stop in Erzsébetváros. Better known as the Jewish Quarter, this is where you’ll find The Great Synagogue of Budapest, which is the largest in Europe.

Attracting tourists and locals alike, days are best spent trying out its many brunch spots and tasty street food, while evenings are an energetic affair with a nightlife scene to suit every kind of partier.

It’s also a top choice with stags thanks to its great selection of late-night ruin bars, allowing you to easily hop from one drinking spot to the next.

You’ll find everything from craft beer right down to handcrafted cocktails thanks to its interesting mix of upbeat venues. For something a little more sophisticated you can’t miss a trip to New York Cafe.

Said to be the most beautiful cafe in the world, its elaborate interior is breathtaking with Renaissance ceiling frescoes, decorative Venetian lamps and grand marble columns.

Best for: Nightlife – Home to the city’s trendiest bars, this district is one for party animals. Showing off Budapest’s bohemian side, you’re guaranteed a fantastic night out with a fantastic mix of bars and clubs at your fingertips.

Area highlights:

  • Szimpla Kert
  • New York Cafe
  • Great Synagogue of Budapest
  • Kazinczy Orthodox Synagogue
  • Carl Lutz Memorial
  • Bar Pharma
  • Warmup Bar
  • Fogas Ház

Top tip: Make sure you pay Szimpla Kert a visit. This popular ruin bar was actually the first of its kind. As a converted factory set across multiple floors, its mish-mash decor is the main lure.

Find everything from graffiti gracing the walls, a kangaroo statue and a bathtub among its attractions.

Hotels nearby:

  • Soho Boutique Hotel: If the vibrant colour scheme doesn’t instantly grab your attention, the modish furnishings will! Close to a great selection of bars, you’re in a fantastic position for sampling the city’s best party spots. There’s also free Wi-Fi throughout when you want to stay connected to your family and friends back home.
  • Continental Hotel Budapest: Found on the site of what was once a Hungarian bath, this hotel has an interesting history to say the least. Decorated with classy interiors, you’re in for an elegant stay. From an indoor infinity pool sitting on the seventh floor to rooftop dips with excellent views of the city, it certainly gets our vote.

Budapest holiday deals

Belváros (Downtown)

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With beauty on its side, there’s plenty to marvel at while walking through this picturesque district. From its luxurious boutique shops to its Neoclassical buildings and its pretty pedestrianised streets – it’s got bags of charm.

As one of Budapest’s biggest neighbourhoods, it attracts a constant stream of tourists. However, never seems overcrowded due to its large size. Classed as an extremely upmarket area with a good selection of luxury hotels and fine dining restaurants, you’re in for a lavish stay.

Proudly placed on the banks of the Danube is the not-to-be-missed Hungarian Parliament Building. Not only is it the largest in Europe, but its domed neo-Gothic exterior is mesmerising.

When winter comes around, Vörösmarty Square takes on a completely different feel with its six-week-long Christmas markets.

Best for: First timers – this is one of the best places to stay in terms of location, considering it sits in the heart of the city with a great selection of cafes, restaurants, bars and landmarks on your doorstep.

It’s a great choice for first time visitors as you can experience the best of the capital’s historical and cultural wonders by foot, allowing you to get a real feel for the place.

Area highlights:

  • St Stephen’s Basilica
  • Hungarian Parliament building
  • Shoes on the Danube
  • Liberty Square
  • Chain Bridge
  • Vaci Street
  • Károly Garden
  • Vörösmarty Square
  • Gresham Palace
  • Hungarian National Bank building
  • Danube Promenade
  • Elizabeth Square
  • Budapest Eye

Did you know? St Stephen’s Basilica and the Hungarian Parliament Building are level in height, making them the tallest buildings in Budapest.

Hotels nearby:

  • Marmara Design Hotel: With oriental-inspired decor and a boutique style, Marmara Design Hotel makes for a luxurious stay in the heart of the city. Perks include free Wi-Fi and well-equipped rooms, not to mention a breakfast buffet.
  • Zenit Budapest Palace: Not only are you in a great location close to some of the city’s top attractions, but the hotel’s interiors are awe-inspiring with a beautiful glass ceiling inviting you in. When you’re not out sightseeing, you can head for the onsite restaurant for international favourites or sweat out any unwanted toxins in the sauna.

So now you have an idea of where to stay, get your Hungry adventure off to a great start and explore this stunning city from your preferred base.

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