Neighbourhoods in Budapest explained
Budapest is divided in 23 different districts or neighbourhoods. They are all numbered. The higher the number, the further the area is from the city centre. Of you are going to Hungarian capital you are probably wondering where to stay in Budapest? To help you out you’ll find on this page an explanation of the six most popular areas.
District I. Buda castle area (Várkerület)
About: The Buda Castle district is perhaps the most well-known area in Budapest. And that’s for a reason. Here are some of the main attractions of the city located, like the Fisherman’s bastion, Buda Castle and Matthias Church. In the castle district you’ve got the feeling that you have travelled back in time. The cobbledstoned streets, the meandering little streets and the medieval looking buildings give a special character to this neighbourhood.
Location: It’s the only district on this page which lies on the Buda-side of the city. That straight away makes it one of the more quiet areas belonging to the city centre.
What to do: As is already mentioned, there is a lot to see in the Buda Castle district. You can easily spend half a day to a day – depending on how many days you have in Budapest – in district number one. In the morning you can go bathing in Rudas Bathhouse. After that you walk up the hill to visit the national gallery. For lunch you can visit one of the many spots around Matthias Church. Don’t forget to go for a coffee at the famous Ruszwurm. Then visit the church and watch the sunset from the Fisherman’s Bastion. Finish the day with a good dinner and offcourse a glaas of Hungarian wine.
Why to stay here: If you like to stay in a cozy environment, but a bit more outside of ‘where it all happens’ than this might be the right spot for you.
Disadvantages of staying here: You are a bit more outside of ‘where it all happens’. If you would like to have a hotel which is more close to the more lively neighbourhoods than this is not the right choice for you.
On this page you will find some suggestions for hotels. If you want to see all recommended hotels go to the Hotels in Budapest page.
District V. Inner city & Leopold Town (Belváros-Lipótváros)
About: District 5 consists of two different neighbourhoods: the inner city and Leopold Town. The inner city is the old town of Pest. Here are the most hotels, a lot of shops and it’s rather focused on tourists. North of the inner citty is Leopold Town, which is the political and financial heart of Budapest.
Location: District 5 is situated on the Pest Side of the city. It runs all the way from the Freedoms bridge, close to the Great Market Hall, to the Margaret Bridge next to Margaret Island.
Most famous sights: In this part of the city you find a lot of Budapest’s main atrractions. Amongst them are the Hungarian Parliament, the iconic Chain bridge and the biggest church of the city: Saint Stephen’s Basilica. Vaci Street, the main shopping street, is also situated in this district. And don’t forget about the banks of the Danube, which outline both neighbourhoods on the left side.
What to do: Pay a visit to the hungarian parliament, visit the dome on St. Stephen’s Basilica, eat strudel in the oldest strudel place in town, sit down and relax on Deak Ferenc Square, walk the Chain bridge at night, go shopping on Vaci Utca, wander about the banks of the Danube, take a ride on the ferris wheel.
Why to stay here: The inner city is a lively neigbourhood, with shops and bars around. And there is always a lot to do. There is a nice buzz here. You can go out for a drink at any time. Especially the inner city neighbourhood (Belváros) is very vivid. Leopold Town is a bit more quiet, but also don’t expect to much noise in the inner city itself.
Disadvantages of staying here: The inner citty is the most touristic part of the city.
District VI. Theresa Town (Terézváros)
About: This district is named after Queen Maria Theresa. The population density of this district is quite high. It’s the second most populated district of Budapest. It’s also the second most smallest district.
Location: The famous Andrassy Boulevard, which the Hungarians proudly call their own Champs-Élysées, runs completely through this district. If you walk from Deak Ferenc Ter to Hero Square and the City park everything you see is part of Theresa Town. This district is adjacent to Leopold Town and the Jewish district.
Most famous sights: Among the most famous sights in this district are the already mentioned Andrassy Boulevard, but also the Hungarian State Opera, Heroes’ Square and the House of Terror Museum. Underground you can take a ride in the ‘Millenium Underground’, which was the first subway of continental Europe.
Why to stay here: It’s a very central spot, especially if you stay as close to district V as possible. You can easily reach the inner city, Leopold Town and the Jewish Quarter wich als are all great parts of the city. Also you can do some great designer shopping here and you can go out for great dining. The hotels in this part of the city are mostly cheaper than in the areas mentioned above.
Disadvantages of staying here:
District VII. Elizabeth town (Erzsébetváros)
About: District VII bears the name of queen Elisabeth, also known as Sisi. Half of this district is the historic Jewish quarter. And it’s the smallest and most densely populated district of Budapest. The small streets are full of bars and places to eat. It’s a very atmospheric district and great to stroll around. It’s artistic, it has a vibrant night life and there are some nice little boutiques.
Location: This district is, just like almost all the districts on this page, situated on the Pest side of the city. It’s very central.
Most famous sights: This neighbourhood doesn’t have a lot of big attractions like some of the other districts here. It’s mostly the vibe here which is outstanding. But offcourse there are things to see here. The main attraction is the Great Synagogue located on Dohany street. You can also find some smaller synagogues here. The ruin pubs and the partly covert promenade Goszdu Udvar are worth a visit too.
Why to stay here: It’s a great neighbourhood with lots of entertainment. It’s very central and if you are closely located to the inner city you can see a lot of things on foot.
Disadvantages of staying here: It’s a lively neighbourhood. Which means: it can be noisy during night. If your hotel is located on the wrong spot you might be located above a bar. In any case you might expericence some disturbance from drunk people screaming outside. The streets are a bit more narrow than most parts of Budapest, so it can feel a bit cramped.
District VIII: Joseph Town (Józsefváros)
About: Joseph Town was up untill a couple of years ago a no-go area. But this changed. It’s now considered to be ‘the new cool area’ with alternative cafes, bars and a vibrant art scene. This district is also known as the Palace Quarter, because there are some really nice villa’s build here in the 19th century. It also hosts several libraries, universities and big museums.
Location: Joseph Town lies between two of the three ring roads and it’s adjacent to the Inner City, Elizabeth Town and Francis Town.
Most famous sights: The National Museum and the Hungarian Natural History Museum.
Why to stay here: It’s less touristy than other parts of the city and as mentioned above: it has a unique atsmosphere, with alternative cafes and an interesting art scene.
Disadvantages of staying here: It’s just not the best part of the city, especially the eastern part of the district. It is becoming better and better, but it’s still a little rough around the edges. H
District IX. Francis Town (Ferencváros)
About: Francis Town is an upcoming district, which is getting more popular the last few years. Nice bars and restaurants are popping up, so the place starts to be more and more attractive. Around Kalvin Square there are some nice place to go for a drink.
Location: This district is slightly out of the city centre, But that’s also depending on where you are staying, since it’s quite a big district. The closer to the north you are, the more central it is. Try to stay north of Haller street, places more south are not attractive to be.
Most famous sights: The Great Market Hall, the National Theatre Hall, the Palace of Arts.
Why to stay here: There are much less tourists staying here. So you get a more local vibe in this neighbourhood. Also it’s more quiet than some of the other districts mentioned here. If you love beer you will have some fun here, since Francis Town is also known as the craft-beer district.
Disadvantages of staying here: The outer parts of this district are not the most safe ones. Try and avoid walking there alone at night. All the other parts closer to the inner city are considered safe, so don’t let this straight away turn you off from booking a hotel in this area.
Hotels: Ibis Styles Budapest City (modern rooms and good location)
If you have a question please let me know in the comments below. I will get back to you as soon as possible.