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Budapest is a capital city with so much incredible modern history and architecture that it deserves a lot of wandering and admiring. The Chain Bridge, for instance, which connects the Buda and Pest districts, crosses over the famous river Danube and is a must-see.
There are markets, museums, baths, monuments, and more to explore. So, finding the perfect district and figuring out where to stay in Budapest is paramount. It all depends on what you want out of your trip, and luckily, Budapest has something for everyone.
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THE FIVE MAIN DISTRICTS IN BUDAPEST
Here are the five districts you’ll want to explore when considering where to stay in Budapest:
- District I, Varkerület: Best area for traditional architecture and cultural history
- District V, Belváros: Best area for shopping and famous attractions
- District VI, Terézvaros: Best area for budget travellers and café lovers
- District VII, Erzsébetváros: Best area for young hipster bars and restaurants
- District VIII, Jószefváros: Best area for hipster/student art and café culture
As you can see, each district has a very unique and distinguished flavour. They’re also varied in costs. The more luxury hotels are found in districts I and V, while the ideal hotels and hostels for backpackers and students are located in districts VI and VII. Staying in one district, of course, doesn’t prevent you from visiting the others. But convenience is just as important as cost when planning a trip.
WHERE TO STAY IN BUDAPEST
If you’re after a hotel with a specific requirement, need, or quirk, here are a few to consider:
Best hotel for budget travellers: Black Dog Hostel – District VI (this hostel is incredible value for money. The rooms are private, spacious, and quiet; the architecture is stunning; there are cafes and a theatre on the same street). Click here to see the latest prices.
Best themed luxury hotel: Aria Hotel – District V (I have stayed here myself, and I loved every second! Located right next to St. Stephen’s Basilica, this music-themed hotel with piano keys decorating its lobby is in a stand-out location). Click here to see the latest prices.
Best hotel for solo travellers: Hotel Hungaria – District VIII (This mid-range hotel is situated next to the Keleti railway station and provides generously-sized and comfortable private rooms. It’s within walking distance of many of the city’s best landmarks; perfect for solo travellers). Click here to see the latest prices.
District I, Varkerület: Best area for traditional architecture and cultural history
Arguably the most famous district in Budapest, the city’s Castle District is home to all of Budapest’s oldest and most stunning architectural landmarks. This includes the world-famous Fisherman’s Bastion, Buda Castle (which gives the district its name), and the stunning Matthias Church. This district is undeniably the tourist centre of the city. So, it’s perfect for those of you who want to wake up every morning in the middle of the action.
Read my post about the best things to do in Budapest.
Luxury Hotel: Vagabond Broadway
This hotel provides apartment rooms for families and couples to truly feel at home. These apartments include everything a family could need, including a dishwasher, a microwave, and a coffee machine. Everything that you’d expect from a luxury hotel is here: balconies and a garden to enjoy, luxurious bathtubs to relax in, and a central location that’s only a short walk from the State Opera House (which is absolutely worth a visit) and the Hungarian National Museum.
Mid-Range Hotel: K9 Residence
This selection of apartments offers luxury accommodation at mid-range prices. It’s ideal for young couples looking to live a little life of luxury without breaking the bank. The apartments offer a minimalist, bright, natural aesthetic perfect for relaxing in. And the location is enviable to say the least, with every one of the city’s most famous landmarks within walking distance. The apartments guarantee that you can be in the heart of everything but as soon as you return home, you’re in a place of complete calm and convenience.
Budget Hotel: AnVa House
Given that District I is the most up-market part of town, budget accommodation can be hard to find. Conversely, Budapest is a hugely affordable city to travel to and spend time in, meaning that even the budget hotels are still pretty fancy. AnVa House is the perfect example of this. It provides small studio apartments that are only a slight step down in space and quality from the mid-range K9, but at about 60% the cost.
Privacy, a range of household amenities, and a perfectly central location guarantees you’re getting all the best treatment. And once again this is an ideal place to stay in Budapest for young couples looking for a weekend away.
District V, Belváros: Best area for shopping and famous attractions
Belváros, literally meaning ‘downtown’ in Hungarian, is everything you’d expect from a city centre. It’s got all the best shopping streets, intermingled with famous attractions and landmarks such as The Chain Bridge, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the honestly stunning gothic masterpiece that is the Hungarian Parliament Building (seriously, the building is gorgeous).
Beyond that, you can also wander Margaret Island, an ominous little island situated on the Danube, just down from the Chain Bridge. It’s worth a wander to grant a whole new perspective on the city.
Luxury Hotel: Aria Hotel
As I mentioned, this is the luxury hotel I stayed in a few years ago, and it treated me so well. The staff will go to the trouble of learning your name during your stay, and the entire hotel has a classy and beautifully stylised music theme running right through it. King-sized beds, marble tables, and private balconies are what to expect if you stay here.
The crown jewel of the hotel being the High Note (get it?) Sky Bar, which is located on the roof with a ludicrously good view of St. Stephen’s Basilica.
Mid-Range Hotel: D8 Hotel
Located almost at the end of the Chain Bridge, D8 Hotel is in a fantastic location. For a mid-range hotel, you’re getting quite a bit of luxury from this Budapest hotel’s lounge and bar. Including its enviable location and the hotel’s rather unique aesthetics.
From the lounge to the kitchen to the rooms themselves, the orange, blue, black, and white design style makes for a very dynamic and modern setting for your stay. Its bright vibrancy juxtaposes District V’s old gothic architecture in a really fun way,. It makes for a more interesting stay than your average hotel.
Budget Hotel: Pal’s Hostel and Apartments
This Budapest accommodation offers a really great range of options. From a single bed in a four-bed room costing as little as $31, to a private studio apartment with a sofa and double bed, ideal for couples, at only $93. You really can’t go wrong. Whether a budget backpacker looking for the cheapest choices possible or a vacationing couple of any age, this Budapest hotel has something ideal to fit your needs. Beyond that, its location in the heart of Budapest cannot be beaten.
District VI, Terézvaros: Best area for budget travellers and café lovers
Terézvaros has something for everyone, budget-wise. The district houses some of the city’s most gorgeous architecture, and therefore some very impressive high-end hotels to match. It also, however, has a cheaper side, with simpler buildings and more affordable places to eat and drink out. This guarantees that those looking for a budget-price hotel or hostel will find it here. Ultimately, District VI offers the widest range of accommodation options in Budapest due to its two wildly different sides.
Luxury Hotel: Corinthia Hotel
The rooms in the Corinthia range from mid-range to extreme luxury. And the hotel’s pool is an absolute winning feature with an aesthetic that looks far closer to a roman bath than a simple swimming pool. The lobby, staircase, corridors, every inch of this hotel screams glitz and glamour.
Corinthia Hotel also offers a spa with a range of relaxation options to enjoy during your stay. This is one of the more classically luxurious hotels in Budapest, with fantastic architecture and unparalleled taste in décor.
Mid-Range Hotel: Diamond Apartments
A quick browse of the photos used by Diamond Apartments in their advertising will leave you immediately wanting to move in permanently. This building offers a selection of different apartments of the most modern of modern design styles. With different sizes on offer, some with balconies, you can choose the apartment that matches both your needs and your budget. But no matter what you settle on, you’re guaranteed a very comfortable, spacious, and generous stay. These apartments are fantastic.
Budget Hotel: Black Dog Hostel
This affordable hostel in the heart of the city is an absolute treasure. It’s situated just around the corner from the must-visit House of Terror. And it’s one of the most architecturally stunning budget hostels you’ll ever stay in, I guarantee.
The apartments are shared, with private rooms for groups, couples, or solo travellers, and there’s a long avenue of coffee shops just outside, as well as an easy walk to the city’s markets, opera house, and local restaurants. Black Dog has a cool name and is great value for money.
District VII, Erzsébetváros: Best area for nightlife
What was historically the old Jewish quarter is now the centre of Budapest’s club scene and nightlife. The city’s best bars and clubs can be found here, with an electric atmosphere to accompany them. The best thing about the district, however, is that it’s not exclusive. Those who prefer to veer away from the nightlife don’t have to avoid the area.
By day, it’s still a sprawling hipster district full of artisan coffee shops and quiet pubs serving local ales. Whether you prefer to be active by day or by night, District VII will please.
Luxury Hotel: Bo33 Hotel Family & Suites
Although District VII is the best in Budapest for nightlife, it’s still a great location for families and couples, nestled as it is next to District I. This hotel with its spacious and obscenely comfortable rooms, and extra amenities like a sauna and hot tub, as well as a very well-stocked and well-staffed bar, makes it an ideal place for families to relax. The views offered are also fantastic.
Mid-Range Hotel: Sissy Residence
A favourite Budapest accommodation amongst couples, this collection of apartments is a lot closer to luxury in its appearance, but with very reasonably-priced rooms. High ceilings and tall windows combine an old gothic effect with a very modern interior aesthetic.
Here you’re also a few steps away from the State Opera House and the Hungarian National Museum. Its location alone makes it a great pick when looking at where to stay in Budapest.
Budget Hotel: Capital Guesthouse
This is one of Budapest’s best budget hotels. While most budget accommodation in Budapest is in the form of hostels, this guesthouse offers studios, double rooms, and twin rooms, making it the ideal place for friends, couples, or solo travellers to enjoy a private, secure, and very reasonably-priced stay in the centre of Budapest.
District VIII, Jószefváros: Best area for hipster/student art and café culture
Within District VIII sits the city’s Palace District, and I highly recommend you stick to accommodation in this area. District VIII is big, and not all of it is friendly. But if you stick to the Palace District, it is absolutely worth your time.
With a hipster vibe and myriad coffee shops, bars, art galleries, and artisan cafes to choose from, you’ll find yourself spoiled for choice. Budapest’s National Museum can be found here, as well as a collection of stunning mansion buildings and their grounds, which can be photographed and admired to your heart’s content. This district of Budapest is definitely recommended to all my fellow millennials out there.
Luxury Hotel: Utto Luxury Suites
One of the city’s most architecturally stunning hotels also offers continental breakfasts every morning, and some of the most open and bright rooms offered by any hotel in Budapest. The hotel’s privilege suites are bigger than most apartments you’re likely to ever set foot in. And the hotel’s staff is particularly friendly and eager to help with anything you need. Not only do they speak English, but also Spanish, if that’s more to your preference.
Mid-Range Hotel: Triple M Hotel
The most charming thing about this hotel is its incredible access to natural light. It streams in through the generously huge windows into rooms that are decorated with pastel colours and wood panelling, making for one of the happiest atmospheres in any Budapest hotel. The rooms are beautifully decorated, and the location is right in the centre of a collection of great restaurants and cafes. Great for couples!
Budget Hotel: Hotel Rila
With big rooms with rows of beds, this is the perfect place for a big group of mates on an adventure to stop in and enjoy the city. It’s located on the very edge of District VIII and is right beside the Groupama Arena, which makes it the perfect place to stay for those coming to Budapest for a football match or a big concert. When thinking about where to stay in Budapest on a budget, Hotel Rila is particularly excellent value for money. Especially for those travelling in groups.