A Guide To The Best Districts To Stay In Budapest For First Timers: Ranked

We traveled to Budapest a few times and fell so in love with the wine city that we lived there for a while. We got to know the best and worst places to base yourself, so now we’re here to help you figure out where to stay to ensure you don’t waste time traveling between the best sites.

In this beginner’s guide to the best districts to stay in Budapest for your first visit, we won’t give you details about every district you could stay in because many are not ideal for first-timers! Caleb and I think the best location to stay is *most likely* the same no matter who you’re traveling with – solo, as a family, or as a couple like us.

Spoiler alert: the best district to stay in for first-timers is District V, but we’ll share our second and third picks in the guide, too! Let’s get into it, starting with a video of some Budapest highlights:

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Quick Navigation: Our Best Places To Stay In Budapest – Ranked

1️⃣ District V for a central location. 🏨 Stay in this Art Deco Flat.

2️⃣ District VII for location and nightlife. 🏨 Stay in 7Seasons hotel

3️⃣ District I is for quiet, romance, and Buda Castle. 🏨 Stay in Monastery Boutique Hotel.

A bustling street in Budapest leading to St. Stephen's Basilica, lined with buildings and people walking, under a partly cloudy sky.

Our #1 District For First Timers to Budapest: District V/ Belváros

We vote this as the best place to stay for first-timers because it’s considered the high-end center of downtown and has the highest concentration of restaurants, cafes, and wine bars. ← If you haven’t had Hungarian wine, man, oh man, you’re in for a treat! *drools*

It also has many of the main tourist sites, shopping areas, and a ton of accommodation options.  If you’re only planning to be in Budapest for a few days, staying in District V is going to help you make the most of your time because you can get around to the “must-see-stuff” mostly by foot.

Aerial view of Budapest at sunset, featuring Buda Castle and the surrounding landscape with the Danube River in the foreground.

And then replenish those calories burned walking with comforting Hungarian cuisine, yes? #Vacationlogic.

Reasons to love District V: It is walkable, has tons of restaurants and bars, and is central to almost all tourist attractions. 

Reasons you may not want to choose it: typically the most expensive area.

The Buda Castle in Budapest lit up beautifully at night, with its reflection shimmering on the Danube River.

Where To Stay in District V

We tend to book accommodations that are “mid-budget,” prioritizing location and price over the accommodation being super fancy. We’re never there anyway! 

Our top pick in that travel style is this art deco flat. It is seriously BEAUTIFUL, large and traditional, and in a great location!

>> Click here to check prices, reviews, photos, and availability. <<

>> Or click here to check out the availability of all hotels in District V.
<<

Main tourist attractions in District V

  • St Stephens Cathedral

PRO TIP: The ticket office for Basilica is not in the church. If you face the main entrance, it’s on the right-hand side across the street.

  • Váci Street for shopping
  • Shoes on the Danube
  • Hungarian Parliament building

>> Buy tickets online HERE in advance as they kept getting sold out on us. <<

  • Short walk to the Hungarian Opera House and House of Terror Museum. 

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The interior of a wine bar with wooden tables, chairs, and shelves filled with wine bottles, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.

 Our Favorite Restaurants in District V

  • Hungarikum Bisztro – probably one of the best restaurant experiences in all of Budapest. It feels like a family’s house, and the staff is so nice! The portions are huge, and you have to make a reservation, or you won’t get in.

Trust us; we tried many times before just making a reservation!

  • Porc & Prezli Etterem – A little more modern and trendy, this is the place to get amazing Chicken Paprikash, and they have an excellent wine list!
A plate of fried croquettes and a creamy mushroom sauce served at a restaurant, with a basket of bread and another dish in the background.
  • Cafe Kor – this is a TRUE hidden gem (and Eater agrees with us!) It was almost dead when we visited (it was off-season, though), and inside is super low-key with a huge menu and amazing, traditional food.
  • WINE NOT? – a beautiful and quiet wine bar with an excellent list of Hungarian wines! It’s not the cheapest, but we loved it!
  • Artizan Budapest – the best breakfast/bakery spot. The pistachio cheesecake and cardamom custard tart will make your tastebuds fall off your head.

INSIDER TIP: check out Fagel, right next door. It’s an oatmeal shop (like, the breakfast kind) that is owned by Artizan and it’s amazing!

Don’t miss our other Budapest tips to make your trip planning easier!

A slice of cheesecake topped with chopped pistachios served on a gray plate, with a staircase and dining area in the background.

Safety Concerns In District V

We honestly felt safer in Budapest than we have in many other European countries (and we’ve visited almost all of them.  Since District V is the main “touristy area,” the most common thing you need to watch for is pickpockets.

You’re very unlikely to run into any kind of murdery people here. You know what I mean.

As usual, don’t take random gifts on the street from people (trust us, they’re not free gifts), and don’t walk down dark alleys at night. Be smart.

Our Map Of District V

Here are the places we mention on a map for easy access: 

How to use this map: Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the index. Click the star next to the map’s title to add it to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu, and go to ‘Your Places’/’ Maps.’ If you want to print the map or see it in a bigger window, click on ‘View larger map’ in the top right corner.

Our #2 Pick For First Timers: District VII / Erzsébetváros

We vote this as the second best place to stay for first-timers because it’s pretty close to District V and is LOADED with awesome restaurants, bars, and clubs including the famous ruin bars.

When we lived in Budapest, it was in this district, and we loved the younger, hip, more authentic, artsy vibe. Being a couple who likes good cocktail and wine bars, it’s the perfect location. Honestly, we didn’t find the club scene to be that loud or rowdy, and we lived right next to the Ruin Bars.  We wouldn’t let what others say about this being the “party area” sway you. Sure, maybe don’t stay here if you have kids, but if you’re a couple like us, it’s PERFECT.

A low-angle shot of a tall clock tower of a grand building, showing detailed brickwork and architectural features, under a clear blue sky.

It’s also the Jewish Quarter, so there is lots of history and synagogues to explore!

Reasons to love District V: it’s walkable, has tons of restaurants and bars, is in a central location, is slightly cheaper than District V, and has good nightlife and lots of history. 

Reasons you may not want to choose it: it feels a bit more “gritty” and can be a *little* bit louder with the ruined bars/nightlife.

The Chain Bridge in Budapest illuminated at night, reflecting on the Danube River, with a couple sitting on a bench by the riverbank.

Where To Stay in District VII

Our favorite place we’ve stayed in all of Budapest is the 7Seasons Hotel. Technically, it’s considered District VI, but it’s right smack dab in the middle of V and VII.

We love it because it’s located in this central passageway with restaurants and even a laundromat and so close to all the attractions. The accommodations are large apartments for a really good price within our budget as a couple, but there is also a front desk.

You get the benefit of hotel service with a bigger, more “liveable” space to stay!

>> Click here to check prices, reviews, photos, and availability. <<

>> Or click here to check out the availability of all hotels in District VII. <<

The Danube River at sunset with dark clouds overhead, city lights reflecting on the water, and a bridge in the distance.

Main tourist attractions in District VII

  • Ruin Bars
  • Gozsdu Udvar
  • Dohány Street Synagogue

If you’re trying to stay healthy on vacay, there is an awesome gym in Gozsdu that we’ve used called “Go Active.”

A close-up shot of colorful cocktails on a black table, with glasses and a water pitcher, all placed on vibrant red coasters.

Our Favorite Restaurants/Bars in District VII

  • Kek Rosa – feels like a totally local experience with simple, traditional food and big portions. 
  • Getto Gulyas – a romantic, modern vibe with simple Hungarian fare featuring interesting takes on Gulyas and Paprikash. I LOVED the venison!
  • Tati Farm to Table – one of the most modern/trendy/date-nighty vibes in the city with unique, farm-to-table style eats. They have some traditional options and then some more creative options that we LOVED.
  • TukTuk Bar – one of our favorite cocktail bars in all of Europe. Amazing, inventive, Asian-style cocktails.

We ended up taking a LOCAL here who had never heard of it and she loved it! You need reservations because it’s small!

  • Warm Up Bar – an incredible cocktail bar with no menu – just tell them your fav flavors and they surprise you.
  • Kadarka – a super chill, low key wine bar with a HUGE selection of wine with good prices!
The Budapest chain bridge from a different angle, captured at sunset with an orange and pink sky, highlighting the silhouette of the bridge and historical buildings in the background.

Safety Concerns In District VII

Because this *is* more of a “party atmosphere,” you’re slightly more at risk of things like pickpocketing at night with drunk people being around. But it never happened to us, and we never felt unsafe.

Our Map Of District VII

Here are the places we mention on a map for easy access: 

The Buda Castle in Budapest at dusk, with the Chain Bridge in the foreground, reflecting the warm lights on the Danube River.

Our #3 Pick For First Timers: District I / Budavar

We vote this as the third best place to stay for first-timers because it’s the closest district to the main sites on the “Buda” side of Budapest, which is ideal if you have a *very* short time in Budapest and do not want to waste time walking.

The castle district is also super pretty, quieter, and more romantic, so if you’re a couple like us, that could be a big plus!

A person enjoys a thermal bath in a historic indoor pool, with a statue and 36°C temperature sign in the background, surrounded by teal tiles and ornate walls.

It’s also home to many of the thermal baths, which we love, and you can still easily reach the pest side if you don’t mind walking a little bit. Remember, amazing Hungarian food and wine are waiting, so you got this!

Reasons to love District V: it’s walkable to the castle and Fisherman’s Bastion, it’s romantic and beautiful, and close to many of the thermal baths.

Reasons you may not want to choose it: fewer options for bars and restaurants and it’s quite far from the Pest side if you plan to walk. It’s also quieter, which could be a pro or con for you!

A woman in a pink beanie and black coat gazes at the Chain Bridge and historical buildings in Budapest during a beautiful sunset.

Where To Stay In District I

We recommend you stay in the Monastery Boutique Hotel. The rooms are large and decorated in a beautiful and modern way. The breakfast is amazing. Did you see that glass room where you could eat breakfast?

Plus, the location is excellent to the main sites on the Buda side!

>> Click here to check prices, reviews, photos, and availability. <<

>> Or click here to check out the availability of all hotels in District I <<

A scenic view of a historic church with intricate architecture, surrounded by other old buildings, under a soft orange sunset sky.

Main tourist attractions in District I

  • Buda Castle
  • Matthias Church
  • Thermal baths like Rudas and Gellert.
  • Fisherman’s Bastion

Let’s set expectations for a sec: chances are, you’ve seen gorgeous photos of a Fisherman’s Bastion with no people, which means you may be disappointed when you get there, and it’s loaded with tourists.

PRO TIP: If you want to see it at its most stunning and least busy, get there for sunrise. We got photos like the below photo when we did that.

A woman sitting on the edge of Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest, enjoying a sunset view over the city and the Danube River

Our Favorite Restaurants in District I

Honestly, we prefer the restaurants on the Pest side, but here are some recommendations:

Fishermans Bastion in Budpest against a blue sky with a few dark shadows walking in front of it

Safety Concerns In District I:

Because it’s quieter than the Pest side of Budapest and quite touristy, you’re unlikely to feel unsafe in District I!

Our Map Of District I

Here are the places we mention on a map for easy access: 

Well, peeps, that’s a wrap on our honest guide on where to stay in Budapest for the first time! Regardless of which area you pick, you’ll be drinking epic wine and eating comforting, flavor-explosion food in a GORG city, so we know you’ll have the best time! Just let us know in the comments if you have any questions!

But, choosing the right district won’t matter if you choose the wrong way to get around Budapest because you’ll waste precious time! We’re here to help with our guide to navigating Budapest!

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