Where to Stay in Budapest for First Timers in 2024

St. Stephens Basilica facade in Budapest District 5 the most central area to stay in Budapest
St Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest District 5

Where to stay in Budapest the first time around? I can tell you from personal experience that answering this question is much more difficult than it is for many other Central European capitals. 

There are just so many areas of Budapest that have something to recommend them, from the party vibe of the Jewish Quarter to the romantic, crumbling mansions of Jozsefvaros (District 8).

Budapest was once the jewel in the crown of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. While it lost some of its luster during the post-war communist era, the 21st century has seen it regain much of its shine.

With such cheap and effective public transport, you won’t find yourself limited in scope when it comes to deciding on the best place to stay in Budapest. 

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Even if you opt for a relatively budget-friendly option in off-the-beaten-path Ferencvaros (District 9), you’ll still be able to make your way into the center of town in under half an hour via a scenic riverside tram or a cross-town bus.

I’ve stayed in Budapest for over a month in District 7 and have explored in depth all of the best Budapest neighbourhoods in this guide.

Using that experience, I’m going to help you break down the best areas to stay in Budapest according to a variety of factors, including tourist sights, nightlife, the density of restaurants and the general atmosphere. 

By giving you a flavour of what each place has to recommend, you’ll be able to pick the best holiday spot for your preferences. Rest assured, however, that no matter where you choose to lay your head, you’ll never be too far from some beautiful architecture and a big bowl of borscht. Plus there are some really cool Budapest boutique hotels for the choosing.

Where I Stayed in Budapest (and Loved!)

small boutique Budapest hotel room with geometric wallpaper and bath robe hanging in one of the best places to stay in Budapest
Green adorned Budapest hotel living area in the coolest Budapest neighbourhoods
Photo Credit: Booking.com

Stories Boutique Hotel

Rating: 9 / 10 | Reviews: 2,400+

Stories Boutique Hotel was such a perfect place to stay in Budapest because of its happening location in the Jewish Quarter, yet away from the noise of nightlife.

This Budapest hotel is also only an 8-minute walk to St. Stephen’s Basilica, Grand Synagogue and Szimpla Kert ruin bar.

I also loved grabbing my morning coffee at My Little Melbourne, just down the block.

Buda vs Pest

As many locals will delight in telling you, Budapest was originally not one place, but three: Buda, Pest and Obuda

The trio was only united into a single metropolis in 1873, though today most people forget about Obuda (old Buda) and broadly define the Hungarian capital as Buda on the western bank and Pest on the eastern bank.

One of the first questions to ask yourself before you even begin examining the different districts in more detail is where to stay in Budapest: Buda or Pest? 

The former boasts some of the most interesting sights and fantastic views, but the latter is more modern and diverse.

Ultimately, I would recommend that most people stay in Pest because it has a greater breadth of restaurants, bars and cafes. 

While Buda is beautiful, it’s not quite as convenient as a base if you want to go to the buzziest part of town in the evenings.

street perspective with colourful buildings and red roofed ornate building at the end with black spire in most romantic areas to stay in Budapest
Colourful Streets of Budapest District 1 (Buda Castle District)

Understanding Budapest’s Neighbourhood Numbering System

Budapest’s districts are numbered between I and XIII, radiating outwards from the city’s main artery, the Danube River

Buda occupies the hilly west bank, while Pest is on the flatter east bank. Once upon a time, the area was ruled from Buda, as evidenced by the castle. Today, it is Pest’s District 5 that functions as the center.

Best Places to Stay in Budapest Map

map of where to stay in Budapest first time

Where to Stay in Budapest for First Timers

1. Buda (Castle District): Where to Stay in Budapest for Couples

BEST FOR | First Time Visitors, Castle

Fisherman's Bastion white stone spire with arched pathway to staircase over greenery in best place to stay Budapest
Fisherman’s Bastion in Buda Castle District

For lovers of grand architecture and great views, the castle district is one of the best places to stay in Budapest, Hungary. 

The area was first settled in the 1200s, when King Bela IV built his fortress here, in a position where he could dominate the surrounding land.

Today’s Baroque Buda castle was erected several hundred years later, in the 1800s. This impressive beast of a building contains both the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum, which gives an overview of the city’s history and importance.

Ornamenting the castle are some of the city’s other iconic constructions, including the Neo-Romanesque towers and corridors of the Fisherman’s Bastion. This monument runs along the edge of the hill and provides panoramic views of Pest and especially the Hungarian Parliament Building.

Buda is really the heart of the tourist town, with a heavy concentration of historical bronze statues, an elaborate fountain and the gothic Matthias Church with its unique ceramic roof tiles. 

This is arguably the best location in Budapest if you want to be right in the midst of the city’s history. Plus, you can always escape south to the greenery of Gellert Hill if you need a break from the crowds.

Cool Things to Do in Budapest District 1

●     Explore the sprawling Buda Castle complex

●     Snap a shot of the city at night from the castle ramparts

●     Take in the majesty of Pest from the Fisherman’s Bastion

●     Enjoy a concert inside the medieval Matthias Church

●     Examine the exquisite details of the Matthias Fountain

Best Tours of Budapest District 1

Perspective of Matthias Church with gothic architecture, red roof and black spire in Budapest where to stay
Matthias Church in Budapest District 1

Best Restaurants + Cafes in Budapest District 1

Budapest District 1 (Castle District) at a Glance

  • Lots of historical sights to visit
  • Boasts many excellent views across to Pest
  • Elegant and safe neighborhood to stay in
  • Good public transport links to other parts of the city
  • Not much in the way of nightlife
  • Half an hour’s walk from modern downtown Budapest
  • Very touristy part of the city

Best Hotels in Budapest District 1

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Hotel Clark – Adults Only

Rating: 9.2 / 10 | Reviews: 2,200+

Few 5-star hotels in Budapest can beat the views at the Hotel Clark.

This adults-only spot is right beside Buda Castle and Matthias Church, as well as just steps away from the Chain Bridge connecting Buda to Pest.

The rooftop bar is a gorgeous place for evening views of the cityscape.

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Bagatelle Gardenhouse

Rating: 9.9 / 10 | Reviews: 50+

One of the best places to stay Budapest has to offer in the boutique category, this charming villa has just a handful of rooms and is run by a couple rather than a corporate outfit.

Further inland from the Danube and the main tourist haunts, it’s about 15 minutes away from Buda Castle on public transport.

2. Lipotvaros / Belvaros: Where to Stay in Budapest for Central Location

BEST FOR | First Timers, Central Location for Short Stays

Looking up at the white stone architecture of St. Stephens Basilica in the most central area to stay in Budapest
St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest District 5

Where is the best area to stay in Budapest for tourists? Many people would say District 5 because it’s right in the center of town. 

Not only is it easy to reach all the main attractions from here, but there is also a bountiful selection of restaurants, coffee houses, bars and shops from which to choose.

My favourite thing about the 5th District Budapest is the stunning selection of buildings from the late 19th and early 20th century, most of them conceived to commemorate the 1,000-year anniversary of the creation of a Hungarian state. 

None is more impressive than the Neo-Gothic Hungarian Parliament Building, which at its highest point is 96 meters, making it the joint tallest building in the city.

It shares that honour with St. Stephen’s Basilica, a Neo-Classical church filled with gilded surfaces and religious artwork painted by local greats. If you come around Christmas time, the square outside hosts one of Budapest’s most popular Christmas markets.

Complementing these architectural splendours are numerous statues dotting the streets and squares, including the Little Princess and the Fat Policeman.

The most famous sculpture, however, is the Shoes on the Danube Bank, a memorial which remembers the murders of Hungarian Jews during WWII.

Cool Things to Do in Budapest District 5

●     Take the scenic Tram 2 along the Danube

●     Book a tour of the Hungarian Parliament Building

●     Eat a slice of cake at the legendary Café Gerbeaud

●     Climb the cupola of St Stephen’s Basilica to see the city from above

Best Tours in Budapest District 5

ornate Hungarian Partliament Building in 5th district Budapest
Hungarian Parliament Building

Best Restaurants + Cafes in Budapest District 5

Budapest District 5 at a Glance

  • Right in the center of the action
  • Fantastic array of eye-catching buildings from different eras
  • Walkable to almost all the other districts you might want to visit
  • Right next to the nightlife area but not part of the nightlife area
  • One of the most expensive parts of town to stay in
  • Quite a lot of tourists are thrumming the streets

Best Hotels in Budapest District 5

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Matild Palace

Rating: 9.5 / 10 | Reviews: 400+

One of the best luxury hotels in Budapest, the Matild Palace offers rooms fit for a queen.

Opulence is the keyword here, from the Belle Epoque facades to the recently renovated interiors.

This hotel’s facilities include a soothing spa, rooftop bar and an eatery from celebrity restaurateur Wolfgang Puck.

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Verno House

Rating: 9.5 / 10 | Reviews: 40+

Just off Liberty Square, Verno House is among the best places to stay that Budapest District 5 has to offer.

Situated right in the middle of everything, downtown is on your doorstep, with St. Stephen’s Basilica a 5-minute walk and the Hungarian Parliament Building a 10-minute walk.

All the rooms are sizable and have tastefully luxurious decoration.

Planning to visit Prague, too? Here are the best areas to stay in Prague for first timers

3. Terezvaros: Best Place to Stay in Budapest for Budget Travellers

BEST FOR | Budget Travellers

white stone Hungarian Opera House in 6th district Budapest
Hungarian Opera House in Budapest District 6

The 6th District Budapest is defined by Andrassy Avenue, which stretches from St. Stephen’s Basilica to Heroes Square

Along this road, which some refer to as the city’s answer to the Champs-Elysees, you’ll find high-end shops, mansions-turned-embassies and villas of the well-to-do.

Continuing my obsession with awesome buildings, make sure you check out the Neo-Renaissance Hungarian Opera House, which is mounted with statues of a famous composer, as well as the Franz Liszt Academy of Music with its Art Nouveau façade featuring buff naked men. 

For all you history buffs, don’t forget a visit to the city’s House of Terror, and it’s not what you think. The House of Terror is a haunting museum that details how the Nazi and Soviet regimes in Hungary affected the country and is a memorial to its victims. The best museum in Budapest, in my humble opinion.

Another highlight of this area is the world-famous Szechenyi Thermal Baths. Taking a dip here is a must on your visit to Budapest. I mean, have you even been to Budapest if you haven’t been to the baths at Szechenyi?

What puts District 6 in contention as the best area to stay Budapest has to offer is the quirky dichotomy between the fancy part we just mentioned and the more grungy, less chic areas that exist away from Andrassy Avenue. 

It’s here you’ll find cheap unassuming bars, local greengrocers and simple meat shops like Pinczi Hús-Hentesáru selling roast pork belly for small change.

Beneath all this runs the most aged part of the world’s second oldest metro system (Budapest was pipped to the post by London). 

The M1 line is remarkably well preserved, so much so that it was highlighted by UNESCO in its World Heritage Site citation of central Budapest. 

Cool Things to Do in Budapest District 6

●     Parade down Andrassy Avenue like you own the place

●     Visit the House of Terror museum for Hungary’s Communism past

●     Ride the world’s second-oldest metro line

●     Go for a soak in the thermal baths of Szechenyi

Best Tours in Budapest’s District 6

Best Restaurants + Cafes in Budapest District 6

Budapest District 6 at a Glance

  • Still very central in terms of location
  • Cheaper accommodation options available compared to District 1 or District 5
  • You can experience both the local high life and the local everyday life in proximity
  • A bit rough around the edges in places
  • Can be loud in the evenings

Best Hotels in Budapest District 6

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Butik Art Hotel

Rating: 9 / 10 | Reviews: 450+

Probably one of the coolest hotels Budapest has, each of the Butik Art Hotel’s rooms has been individually decorated to provide a unique experience.

Think zany, colourful murals, furniture that resembles a Jeff Koons sculpture and other eccentric lighting touches.

Despite the bohemian aesthetic, everything is thoroughly spick and span.

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Alice Hotel

Rating: 9.3 / 10 | Reviews: 1,300+

Located in one of the glamorous mansions off Andrassy Avenue, 4-star hotels in Budapest don’t come better situated than Alice Hotel.

Surrounded by embassies, it’s just a few minutes from Heroes Square and the relaxing environs of City Park beyond.

The recently renovated rooms have been given a fresh lick of colourful paint to jazz them up a bit.

4. Erzsebetvaros (Jewish Quarter): Best Area to Stay in Budapest for Ruin Bars & Nightlife

BEST FOR | Nightlife, Trendy Cafes, Young Travellers

The onion-shaped spires of Dohany Street Synagogue in 7th District Budapest
Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest District 7

Where is the best place to stay in Budapest if you want to party the night away? Oddly enough, the former Jewish Quarter. Here, hidden amidst the 7th District Budapest streets, you’ll find the (in)famous ruin bars.

Originally, these drinking dens sprang up in neglected buildings and abandoned courtyards, to provide a place for young people to escape their cares. 

Today, they have become heavily commercialized, from the so-famous-you-have-to-go-even-if-every-tourist-goes Szimpla Kert (go to the Sunday morning market for a different vibe) to the wild party complex of Instant-Fogas.

Fortunately, you can still find some places that retain the original laid-back vibe in the Budapest nightlife area, such as Koleves Kert.

If drinking isn’t your thing, there are also a heap of nice cafes, including one of the city’s first specialist coffee shops, My Little Melbourne, and the much newer, and ever-so-popular Aran Bakery. Please don’t leave Budapest without getting at least one pastry from Aran Bakery.

The Jewish Quarter is, of course, also home to plenty of Jewish history, including Europe’s largest synagogue

Located on Dohany Street, it is easily recognizable from its twin onion-domed towers. Inside, if you aren’t instantly blinded by the bling-bling chandeliers, you’ll notice there are two separate levels, one for men and one for women.

Complementing the Jewish heritage are a whole bunch of Jewish eateries, from the unvarnished traditional fare of Hanna Orthodox Kosher Restaurant to the modern cool of Mazel Tov.

woman in white top and black pants exploring the intricate interiors of the ruin bars in Budapest Jewish Quarter
Szimpla Kert Ruin Bar in the Jewish Quarter

Cool Things to Do in Budapest District 7

Best Tours of Budapest’s Jewish Quarter

Best Restaurants + Cafes in Budapest District 7

exquisite ornate interiors of the New York Cafe Budapest dining room with red chairs
New York Cafe in Budapest’s District 7

Budapest District 7 at a Glance

  • The party never stops
  • Bar options to suit all different kinds of tastes
  • Streets brimming with Jewish history
  • Hidden gems concealed behind unostentatious exteriors
  • The party never stops
  • Gets quite loud and busy at night
  • Further away from the city’s sights
  • Lots of overpriced spots targeting tourists

Best Hotels in Budapest District 7

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Stories Boutique Hotel

Rating: 9 / 10 | Reviews: 2,400+

One of the Stories Boutique Hotel’s most striking features is the restaurant/bar space at the heart of the building, which resembles an oversized conservatory with its leafy foliage.

This Budapest lodging is adjacent to lots of bars and restaurants, making it the perfect recommendation if you’re wondering where to stay in Budapest for nightlife.

Photos Credit: Booking.com


Rating: 9.2 / 10 | Reviews: 80+

Boasting tons of square footage, S23 is a fully equipped apartment situated on the cusp of the Jewish Quarter.

Outside the most chaotic part of District 7’s bar scene, it’s arguably one of the best locations to stay in Budapest if you want to be close to the nightlife but not in the middle of the nightlife.

5. Jozsefvaros (The Palace District): Coolest Budapest Neighbourhood

BEST FOR | Coolest Neighborhood in Budapest

Streets of 8th district Budapest with orange, grey and cream coloured buildings
Streets of Budapest District 8 on a Gloomy Day

If you prefer to situate yourself further away from other tourists, 8th District Budapest is the choice for you. 

Also known as the Palace District, this area was once home to aristocrats and wealthy magnates. That all changed with the arrival of communism when everything fell into disrepair.

Not many guides will list Jozsefvaros among the best areas to stay Budapest boasts, partly because even today a lot of it remains dilapidated and unsightly. 

More and more, however, extensive renovations of the older buildings are taking place in tandem with the demolition of concrete communist blocks, as gentrification begins to pick up the pace.

It’s here you’ll find lots of lesser-visited gems, including the former Wenckheim Palace. This striking building has since been turned into the Metropolitan Ervin Szabo Library, but some of the extravagant interiors have been retained and turned into reading rooms.

Another fantastic find is the Kerepesi Cemetery, which is filled with striking mausoleums and sculptures. For those interested in Hungarian history, the most elaborate tombs are a who’s who of the country’s greatest personages.

And speaking of Hungarian history, District 8 is also where you’ll find the Hungarian National Museum. In between gawping at the stunning interiors, you can trace the nation’s evolution through the centuries.

But, besides the deep Hungarian history of this Budapest district, District 8 is emerging as one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the city

With hole-in-the-wall coffee shops, new-age brunch cafes (like Lumen Cafe) and Budapest boutique hotels, this is the area to stay if you want to live like a hipster local and sip coffee at a streetside cafe.

Cool Things to Do in Budapest District 8

  • Pay homage to Hungary’s heroes at the Kerepesi Cemetery
  • Create your own walking tour of the numerous palaces that fill the area
  • Read an improving book amidst the gilded glamour of the Metropolitan Ervin Szabo Library
  • Brush up on your local history at the Hungarian National Museum

Best Restaurants + Cafes in Budapest District 8

Budapest District 8 at a Glance

  • One of the least touristy parts of the city
  • Beautiful old architecture abounds
  • Underappreciated gems wait to be discovered
  • Train station provides access to other parts of Hungary
  • Arguably the least safe part of town after dark
  • Dilapidation sits uncomfortably against gentrification
  • Most of the district is at least half an hour’s walk from the center of town

Best Hotels in Budapest District 8

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Hotel Collect

Rating: 9.2 / 10 | Reviews: 800+

Right in the northeastern part of the Palace District, Hotel Collect is a boutique, adults-only accommodation with stylish furnishings.

About 10 minute walk to the cool bars of the Jewish Quarter and 15 minutes walk to St. Stephen’s Basilica, it’s in the best area of Budapest to stay if you want to be near the sights but outside touristy areas.

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Kozmo Hotel Suites & Spa

Rating: 9.5 / 10 | Reviews: 2,100+

Part of the Leading Hotels of the World group, Kozmo Hotel Suites & Spa is all about understated luxury in a fabulous old building.

Deep into District 8, it’s well away from the usual tourist haunts but a great base for exploring Budapest’s coolest neighbourhood.

Facilities include a spa, a gym and a restaurant.

Other Great Areas to Stay in Budapest 

6. Ferencvaros: Best Area to Stay in Budapest for Local Living & Markets

BEST FOR | Market, Local Feel, Budget Travellers

Great Market Hall in Budapest perspective
Great Market Hall in Budapest District 9

There are bargains to be had in Ferencvaros, Budapest’s 9th District – and we’re not just talking in terms of cheap accommodation. 

This part of town is most famous for hosting the Great Market Hall: an emporium of (largely) food spread across three floors.

Here, you’ll find spices and sausages, fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and meat, Tokaj wine and even a few souvenirs. 

If you’re feeling peckish, pick up a langos (deep-fried flatbread with garlic, sour cream and cheese) on the mezzanine level.

Just a touch to the south and west, sitting beside the Danube, is Esetleg Bistro, where you can relax with a drink and some soothing river views.

The further south you go in Ferencvaros, the more local everything feels. You’ll find quite a few trendy bars and restaurants, all stacked with Budapest natives.

If you have the time, head to Mupa, the so-called Palace of the Arts, where exhibition spaces, performance spaces and art installations collide.

7. Rozsadomb: Where to Stay in Budapest for Families 

BEST FOR | Families

historic red painted building with awning and streetside chairs in Budapest best area to stay
Streets of Rozasadomb bordering District 1

If you were to ask a local where should I stay in Budapest if I have children, one of the most popular responses would be Rozsadomb. This is a fashionable, well-to-do residential area where accommodation comes at a premium price tag.

The area’s name, Rose Hill, stems from the legend that the first roses planted in Hungary were nurtured here by Ottoman invaders. In particular, a man by the name of Gul Baba is accorded the honour of being the first man to grow the flower here, and his tomb is still visitable today.

Situated just north of the Castle District, it has great access to Buda’s top attractions and quieter streetside cafes, like Home of Franziska and Cinnamon

Head further out into the depths of District 2 and you’ll encounter some of the city’s most luxuriant green spaces, which are popular places for locals to go hiking and make the region a great place for nature lovers to stay. 

If you are staying here to see Budapest’s tourist sites, I recommend holing up in a fantastic boutique hotel in the district’s southeast corner.

If you do venture into the wilds though, make sure you don’t miss the views from Kaan Karoly Lookout Tower.

For architecture aficionados, District 2 also hosts a Bauhaus enclave, situated in the Pasaret neighbourhood.

8. Angyalfold

BEST FOR | Residential Feel, Green Parks, Longer Stays

Rounding out this Budapest district guide is District 13, which for me conjures unfortunate memories of the Hunger Games films (I read all the books, too!). 

Angyalfold isn’t as dystopian as all that, though it doesn’t quite live up to its name, which means ‘Angel’s Field.’

Having said that, the Ujlipotvaros part of District 13 is becoming an increasingly chic area just north of the Hungarian Parliament, building upon the long-standing cool of its Bauhaus buildings. 

Meaning ‘New Leopold Town’, Ujlipotvaros is one of the more recently developed parts of Budapest. While it may not be quite as happening as District 7, it does host a few of the city’s trendiest restaurants as well as some cool cafes. 

Plus, there’s a lovely promenade along the Danube if you fancy a light stroll.

From Ujlipotvaros, you can easily cross over onto Margaret Island, which is essentially one big park with a couple of food joints, a couple of thermal spa retreats and stages for live performances during the summer. 

Again, it’s a very restful part of Budapest in which to reside.

Street food park entrance in 7th district Budapest where to stay
Karavan Street Food Park in Budapest District 7

Best Budapest Tours

Taking a guided tour when visiting a city for the first time is one of the best things you can do. I love that you can untethered access to a knowledgeable local guide to learn about Budapest’s history and culture. And everything is taken care of for you! Win, win.

These are the most popular, highly-rated Budapest tours:

Budapest City Card

Don’t forget to grab your Budapest City Card

Benefits of a Budapest City Pass:

  • Unlimited public transport
  • Complimentary entrance to the city’s best museums and attractions
  • Special discounts (up to 50%) on attractions and tours
  • Guided sightseeing tour of Buda and Pest
  • Lukacs Thermal Bath entrance pass

What’s Included in the Budapest City Card:

  • 24, 48, 75, 96 or 120-hour inclusion
  • Entry to all selected museums listed
  • Special discounts for card holders

If you choose the 72-hour Plus City Card you get:

  • Complimentary Airport transfers
  • Complimentary Danube River cruise
  • Buda Castle Funicular Ride
  • Mattias Church entrance
  • Complimentary chimney cake dessert
Budapest River cruise boat floating in the Danube
Budapest River Cruise

How to Get Around Budapest

Budapest Airport to City Centre

When you first arrive in town, there’s a very convenient shuttle service, the 100E, that connects Budapest Ferenc Airport to the city center and runs throughout the whole night.

Better yet, book yourself this popular shared airport shuttle transfer.


If you stay in one of the more central areas, such as District 5 or District 1, you will probably find yourself walking everywhere, as the city is largely pedestrian-friendly – excluding, perhaps, the steep ascent to Buda Castle if you don’t take the funicular.

I stayed in the 7th district and walked entirely of the city, from Heroes Square to Buda Castle to the Great Market Hall. Walking is definitely my preferred and recommended way to get around Budapest.

budapest historic tram line with green in the foreground and grey brown buildings in the distance
Tram Line running along the border of District 5 and the Jewish Quarter

Public Transportation

Buses are the most popular form of transport with locals, as there are numerous lines that traverse the entire city. 

For visitors, however, the tram lines are the more scenic way to go. In particular, I recommend taking Tram Line 2 down the Pest side of the Danube River for some gorgeous views.

The underground system is also a very easy-to-navigate method of getting to many of the major sights. Even if you end up walking most of the time, venture down at least once along Metro Line 1 to see some of the best-preserved early stations.

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

Like most cities in Europe, Budapest can be easily explored by a hop-on hop-off bus. YOu can book your pass in 24, 48 and 72-hour durations. Once you hop on board the bus, you are given an audio guide for your listening pleasure. 

A hop-on hop-off bus pass is a great way to see Budapest without all the walking, especially if you are short on time! 

red hop on hop off bus in Budapest streets
Popular Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus in Budapest

Best Time to Visit Budapest

The shoulder seasons of April-June and September-October are the ideal times to visit Budapest, similar to other cities in Central Europe. 

This is when the weather is at its most temperate and you’ll avoid the huge crowds of tourists that arrive in high summer.

September is the Month to Visit Budapest

If you need an added incentive to visit in September, that’s when the city has a wine festival that’s romantically hosted in the courtyards of Buda Castle.

Winter in Budapest

Otherwise, Budapest is an underrated destination for a cozy winter getaway because of its selection of hot spring spas

You’ll also be able to take advantage of the city’s buzzing Christmas markets.

Panoramic view of Budapest and the Hungarian Parliament Building across the Danube River with fall foliage in the foreground
Budapest, Hungary in Fall / Autumn

How Many Days in Budapest

I recommend spending 2-3 days in Budapest, provided you stay in a reasonably central part of town.

A simple 2 day Budapest itinerary could look like this:

2 Day Budapest Itinerary – Day 1:

Start your trip in District 1, exploring the grounds of Buda Castle and walking the aisles of Matthias Church and admiring the views from Fisherman’s Bastion

From there, you can easily cross one of the many bridges spanning the Danube to see more modern monuments on the Pest side, such as the Hungarian Parliament Building and St. Stephen’s Basilica. In the evening take a stroll down the Danube River promenade.

2 Day Budapest Itinerary – Day 2:

On your second day, explore Andrassy Avenue up to Heroes Square, before taking a relaxing soak in the Széchenyi Thermal Bath

Have afternoon coffee at the ornately decorated New York Cafe and check out the plethora of food and souvenir stalls at Great Market Hall

Then, loosen up for a night on the town in Jewish Quarter’s ruin bars.

white painted ferris wheel of budapest with trees in the foreground in Budapest district 5
Ferris Wheel on Budapest in District 5

Where to Stay in Budapest Frequently Asked Questions

Where to Stay for the First Time in Budapest?

Budapest District 5 is at the center of everything, which makes it an ideal choice for first-time visitors to the city. 

Stay at the Matild Palace and you can basically walk to all the main attractions, retiring in the evenings to your luxurious hotel room for a bit of rest and relaxation.

What is the Best Place to Stay in Budapest for Nightlife?

The #1 nightlife district Budapest has to offer is the former Jewish Quarter. It’s here you’ll find ruin bars and nightclubs squirrelled away in once-neglected buildings and courtyards, all within proximity to one another. 

Stay in the Stories Boutique Hotel if you want to be where the party never stops.

Where to Stay in Budapest for Couples?

The best district in Budapest for couples is District 1. This is the most historic part of the city, not to mention where you’ll find some of the best views

Bagatelle Gardenhouse may be a little further outside the main tourist hotspots, but the beautiful surroundings and personal touches make it a great option for a romantic escape.

What is the Best Area to Stay for Christmas Markets?

The Budapest best district to stay in during the winter is hands down District 5. That’s because it’s where you’ll find the main Christmas markets, including the most popular one in front of St. Stephen’s Basilica and the largest one at Vorosmarty Square.

Verno House is very close to both, so you won’t have to walk too far in the chilly winter weather to get your hands on some handcrafted gifts.

Where to Stay in Budapest Conclusion

Hopefully, I’ve been able to give you a lot of different perspectives on where it is best to stay in Budapest. 

For my part, I find each of the Budapest neighbourhoods has its own attractions, from the convenience of District 5 to the up-and-coming cool of District 8. Regardless of the areas of Budapest you ultimately decide to stay in, I’m sure you’ll have a great time!

Budapest Travel Planning Guide

What is the best way to book my Budapest accommodation?

I always use booking.com for all my accommodations worldwide, and Budapest is no exception. I stayed in some really epic places on my adventure around the islands.

For more cozy apartment-style accommodation try VRBO (better and safer than Airbnb).

What are the best day tours in Budapest?

Taking a day tour in Budapest is a great way to experience the top attractions and learn from a knowledgeable guide.

I highly recommend these Budapest tours:

Should I rent a car in the Hungary?

If you are flying in and out of Budapest and don’t plan to leave the city, I don’t recommend renting a car. You can easily get around Budapest by walking or taking public transportation.

If you plan to take day trips from Budaapest around the Hungary I would highly recommend renting a car in Budapest. Trams and buses are a little slower in the rural part of the country, so to maximize your holiday time, definitely rent a car at the Budapest Airport.

What is the best site to buy flights to Budapest?

For finding cheap flights to Budapest, I recommend booking through Skyscanner.

Can you drink tap water in Budapest?

Yes! You can drink straight from the tap in Budapest.

If you plan to do a lot of walking in Budapest I recommend bringing my favourite self-filtering water bottle with you, just in case.

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