Where to stay in Budapest for first time: 7 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Budapest as a first-time visitor can be a daunting task. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Budapest for first-timers and tourists.

I’ll provide you with my recommendation for the best and safest areas to stay in Budapest, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Budapest and suggest some of the best hotels in Budapest for all budgets.

Budapest is the capital and largest city of Hungary, located in the heart of Central Europe. It is often referred to as the Paris of the Eas” due to its beautiful architecture and rich cultural heritage.

Situated along the banks of the Danube River, Budapest is divided into two parts: Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east bank. The city is known for its stunning panoramic views of the river and the historic architecture on both sides.

Budapest is home to numerous landmarks and historic sites, including Buda Castle, Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, Parliament Building, Heroes’ Square, and Great Synagogue, which is the largest synagogue in Europe.

The city is known for its thermal baths, and it’s often called the City of Spas. It has numerous natural hot springs, and its thermal baths, such as Széchenyi Thermal Bath and Gellert Baths, are famous for their healing properties and beautiful architecture.

Budapest has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, trams, and a metro system. The Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport serves as the main gateway to the city.

Is Budapest safe to visit?

Budapest is generally a safe destination for travelers. But, like any major European city, there are petty crimes such as bag snatching and pick-pocketing, scams in restaurants/bars (overcharge), drink/ food spiking, as well as threat of terrorist attack and public protests/demonstrations.

To stay safe, it’s important to take care of your belongings, be aware of your surroundings, particularly in crowded areas and on public transportation. Also don’t walk in isolated areas at night, watch your drink, check the price menu before ordering food, and follow local news to avoid demonstrations.

Additionally, consider staying in well-reviewed accommodations and asking for recommendations from hotel’s staff or locals regarding specific safety concerns in the area during your visit. Following these precautions should help ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to Budapest.

Where to stay in Budapest for the first time?

The best and safest areas to stay in Budapest for first-time tourists are District 5 Belváros – Lipótváros, District 1 Castle District, District 6 Terézváros, District 7 Erzsébetváros, District 9 Ferencváros, District 13 Angyalföld Ujlipotvaros, and District 8 (Palace District).

District 5 (Belváros – Lipótváros) is the most popular place to stay in Budapest for first-timers who want to have easy access to restaurants, shops, and public transportation. It is a safe area in the heart of Budapest and is known for its historic architecture, the Hungarian Parliament, and St. Stephen’s Basilica.  

District 1 (Castle District) is a quieter and more charming area located on the Buda side, offering stunning views of the Danube and Pest. It is home to the Buda Castle, and Fisherman’s Bastion. It’s generally safe, but it can get quiet at night, so be cautious when walking alone in the dark.

District 6 (Terézváros) is home to the Andrássy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the beautiful Széchenyi Thermal Bath. It is a safe and budget-friendly area in Budapest. 

District 7, also known as the Jewish Quarter, is popular for its ruin bars and vibrant nightlife. While it’s safe for tourists, be mindful of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas at night.

District 9 (Ferencváros) is located along the Danube River and is home to the Great Market Hall. It’s generally safe for tourists during the day. As with any urban area, exercise normal caution at night.

District 13 (Angyalföld Ujlipotvaros) is mainly residential, home to  Margaret Island, but it’s relatively safe. It’s not as popular among tourists as some other districts, but it can still be a pleasant place to stay.

While the city is generally safe, there are some areas you may want to avoid or exercise caution in. While the Palace District of District 8 is safe, you should avoid the outer part of this district as it has higher crime rates. 

During my trip to Budapest, I stayed in District 5 at the Hotel Zenit Budapest Palace. It has a super central location within walking distance to all major sights. Easy access to public transportation for further exploration. The hotel has very good breakfast too.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Budapest for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Budapest first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Budapest first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Budapest, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Budapest have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

6 Safe areas to stay in Budapest for first-timers and tourists

1. District V/ Belváros – Lipótváros  

District V (Belváros – Lipótváros) is an excellent area in Budapest for first-time tourists. It is in the heart of Budapest, making it easy to reach many of the city’s top attractions on foot. You’ll find landmarks like St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Hungarian Parliament Building, and the Chain Bridge nearby.

The district is situated along the Danube River, and you can enjoy beautiful views of Buda Castle and the Fisherman’s Bastion from Pest. The riverside promenade is perfect for a leisurely stroll.

The district is home to several museums, galleries, and historic sites. You can explore the Hungarian National Museum and immerse yourself in Budapest’s rich cultural heritage.

Belváros – Lipótváros offers a wide range of shopping and dining options, from traditional Hungarian restaurants to international cuisine. You can also indulge in some shopping along Váci Street.

The district is well-connected to public transportation, including trams and metro lines, making it easy to explore other parts of the city.

Due to its prime location and popularity, accommodation in this area can be expensive, so book well in advance to have the best deals.

Best places to stay in Budapest in District V for first-time visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): InterContinental Budapest, an IHG Hotel, 5-star hotel, conveniently located in Downtown Budapest, on the banks of the Danube next to the Chain Bridge. It is within a short distance from most important sights and close to a tram stop. It has Superb breakfast, an indoor swimming pool, and paid Airport shuttle services.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Zenit Budapest Palace, popular 4-star hotel, centrally located within a short walk from major attractions and many cafés and restaurants in the Váci utca pedestrian shopping street. Also close to the airport bus stop, and Deak Square for services to 3 metro lines (M1, M2, M3).
  • Budget ($): D8 Hotel, 3-star hotel, located within walking distance from the Chain Bridge, the Parliament building, and St. Stephen’s Basilica. Easy access to the city tour bus stops, river boat tours, and airport shuttle bus stops.

2. District I/ Várkerület (Castle District) 

District I, also known as Várkerület or the Castle District, is a unique and charming area for first-timers in Budapest. It is best suited for those who prefer a quieter, more historic, and romantic setting with stunning views, and you don’t mind a bit of walking or using public transport to reach the downtown.

The Castle District is one of the most historic and picturesque areas of Budapest. It is known for its medieval streets, historic architecture, and a rich cultural heritage. It’s home to Buda Castle and the stunning Matthias Church.

The district offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Danube River and the Pest side. You can visit the Fisherman’s Bastion to enjoy these views and take memorable photos.

In addition to Buda Castle and Matthias Church, you can explore the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum, and other cultural sites.

The district’s narrow, winding streets are perfect for leisurely walks. You can also find charming cafes, restaurants, and artisan shops tucked away in these streets.

The Castle District is within walking distance of Gellért Hill, which offers more stunning views of the city and is known for the Gellért Thermal Baths.

While not as centrally located as District V, the Castle District is well-connected to public transportation. You can easily access trams and buses to explore other parts of the city.

Best places to stay in Budapest District I/ Várkerület for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hilton Budapest, 5-star hotel, centrally located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Castle district, right next to the Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church. It offers great views of the city and Danube River. It also has Fabulous breakfast and private parking for those who drive.
  • Mid-range ($$): Monastery Boutique Hotel Budapest, great 4-star hotel located within walking distance from major sights such as the Fisherman’s Bastion and Chain Bridge. You can enjoy Fabulous breakfast, comfortable rooms, and great river views.
  • Budget ($): Váralja Home, 3-star accommodation that has Laundry services, family rooms, airport shuttle services, and 24-hour front desk. It is in a quiet area underneath the castle, close to the  Fisherman’s Bastion and a bus stop for the bus to the downtown area.

3. District VI/ Terézváros 

District VI/ Terézváros is a great base for budget-conscious travelers who want central locations and easy access to major sights. Terézváros is well-connected by public transportation, including the M1 metro line, trams, and buses. This makes it easy to explore other parts of Budapest.

Terézváros is home to Andrássy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its elegant architecture, high-end boutiques, and cultural institutions. It’s a great place for shopping and people-watching.

The district is home to several museums and cultural sites, including the Hungarian State Opera House and the House of Terror Museum, which offer insight into Hungary’s history and arts.

A short walk from Terézváros, you’ll find City Park, a large green space with attractions like Vajdahunyad Castle, the Széchenyi Thermal Bath, and the Budapest Zoo.

Best places to stay in Budapest in District VI for first-time tourists:

  • Luxury ($$$): Mystery Hotel Budapest, 5-star hotel located in the 6th district in downtown Budapest, 20 mins walk from the city center, you can use Bolt taxis which is a cheap and convenient way to get around when you are tired of walking. Also close to the main train station and  bus stops if you want to use public transport to explore the city.
  • Mid-range ($$): Radisson Blu Béke Hotel, Budapest, popular 4-star hotel located within walking distance from House of Terror museum, the State Opera House, and Andrássy Avenue. Also close to Nyugati Train Station as well as metro, bus and tram stops on Oktogon Square. You can enjoy a quiet room with good sound proof and superb breakfast.
  • Budget ($): Medos Hotel, 3-star hotel, located just off Andrássy Avenue,a few steps from Liszt Ferenc tér and the Oktogon Metro Station. Easy distance from main sights such as the Opera House, the River and Saint Stephen’s Basilica.

4. District VII/ Erzsébetváros  

District VII, Erzsébetváros, is known for its vibrant and eclectic atmosphere. This district is a popular choice for tourists who are interested in exploring Budapest’s unique nightlife and historic Jewish Quarter. 

Erzsébetváros is famous for its “ruin bars,” which are unique, funky, and often artsy bars and pubs set in abandoned buildings. Szimpla Kert, one of the city’s most iconic ruin bars, is located here. These bars offer a distinctive Budapest experience.

If you’re looking for nightlife and entertainment, District VII is the place to be. In addition to ruin bars, you’ll find a variety of clubs, live music venues, and dance bars that cater to different tastes.

The district is home to Budapest’s historic Jewish Quarter, which includes the Dohány Street Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Europe, and the Jewish Museum. You can explore the rich Jewish heritage and history of the area.

Erzsébetváros is known for its vibrant street art scene. The district is filled with colorful murals and graffiti, adding to the area’s unique character.

The district features vintage and second-hand shops, making it a great place for unique shopping finds.

Best places to stay in Budapest in District VII for first-time travelers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Corinthia Budapest, 5-star hotel, offering Superb breakfast, Indoor swimming pool, 4 on-site restaurants, and airport shuttles. Easy access to tram and metro.
  • Mid-range ($$): Stories Boutique Hotel, 4-star hotel centrally located within walking distance from Dohany Street Synagogue, easy access to major landmarks, featuring Very good breakfast and 24-hour front desk.
  • Budget ($): Nova Aparthotel, 3-star accommodation, located within a short walk from Blaha Lujza Square, Ruin bars, Street Food Karavan Budapest, the underground station. You can easily find many restaurants, bars, and clubs nearby. 

5. District IX/Ferencváros 

District IX, also known as Ferencváros, is an up-and-coming neighborhood in Budapest, located on the Pest side of the Danube River. It is a great base if you’re interested in a more local and less touristy experience while still having access to historical sites, cultural attractions, and a growing food scene. 

You can explore the Central Market Hall, a beautiful 19th-century market, and the Hungarian National Theatre, a modern architectural masterpiece.

The district hosts cultural attractions like the Museum of Applied Arts, which showcases Hungarian design and applied arts, and the Zwack Unicum Museum, where you can learn about Hungary’s famous herbal liqueur.

 The district is home to the Liberty Bridge, which is one of Budapest’s iconic bridges. It offers a scenic walk across the Danube to Gellért Hill and the Gellért Baths.

Fővám Square is a central point in Ferencváros and a great place to enjoy coffee or a meal in one of the many cafes and restaurants.

Best places to stay in Budapest district 9 Ferencváros for first-timers:

  • Mid-range ($$): Corvin Hotel Budapest Corvin Wing, great 4-star hotel located in a quiet area, within walking distance from the Corvin Mall and Corvin Negyed metro station for easy access to other parts of the city. It has comfortable spacious rooms, Private parking for those who drive.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Three Corners Lifestyle Hotel, popular 4-star hotel located within walking distance from the Great Market Hall and  Raday street, easy access to metro, offering a paid private parking and Superb breakfast.
  • Budget ($): Corvin Hotel Budapest Sissi Wing, 3-star hotel located in Angyal utca, in a quiet area within easy walk the Grand Boulevard and the Corvin-negyed M3 Metro Station. Also close to r Danube, and the HÉV Suburban-railway for links to the National Theatre.

6. District XIII/ Angyalföld – Ujlipotvaros

District XIII, including Újlipótváros and Angyalföld areas, located on the Pest side of the Danube, close to the Margaret Island (Margitsziget), a popular recreational area.

The district is home to cultural institutions like the Hungarian Museum of Transport and the Budapest Jazz Club. You can explore the unique blend of old and new Budapest.

You can visit local markets such as the Lehel Market, offering fresh produce, food stalls, and more. The WestEnd City Center, one of the largest shopping malls in Budapest, is located in this area.

District XIII offers a more residential experience, allowing you to get a sense of everyday life in Budapest.

Best places to stay in Budapest district 13 for first-time visitors:

  • Mid-range ($$): Ensana Thermal Margaret Island,  great 4-star hotel located in a quiet area on Margaret Island, featuring 3 swimming pools including indoor and outdoor pools. You can find a bus stop close to the hotel for connection to the city center.
  • Mid-range ($$): Danubius Hotel Helia, 4-star hotel located on the banks of the Danube river right in front of Margaret Island, right next to a spacious car and bus park. It has Fabulous breakfast and an Indoor swimming pool.
  • Budget ($): T62 Hotel, great 3-star accommodation that has Fabulous breakfast, family rooms, and 24-hour front desk. Close to Nyugati Train Station.

7. District VIII/ Palace District

 District VIII is dotted with beautiful palaces and historic buildings, many of which have been renovated in recent years. These include the Károlyi Palace, the Wenckheim Palace, and the Orczy Garden. These buildings often host cultural events and exhibitions.

Best places to stay in Budapest district 8 for first-time visitors:

  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Rum Budapest, 5-star hotel located within a short walk from the Great Market Hall and The Kálvin tér M3 Metro Stop. The hotel has a Michelin Star fine dining restaurant and Fabulous breakfast.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Museum Budapest, 4-star hotel located in the heart of the city, close to National Museum, Váci street, the St. Steven’s Basilica and the Jewish Synagogue.
  • Budget ($): The Three Corners Hotel Anna Superior, popular 3-star accommodation, located  close to the Hungarian National Museum and Dohany Street Synagogue.

In conclusion, District 5 Belváros – Lipótváros, District 1 Castle District, District 6 Terézváros, District 7 Erzsébetváros, District 9, District 13, and District 8 are the best places to stay in Budapest for first-timers and tourists. These are safe central areas with plenty of accommodations for all budgets.

If you are visiting Budapest during Christmas season, you can check this article: Best areas to Stay in Budapest for Christmas Markets.

I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful. If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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