When it comes to its different neighborhoods, Budapest is a beautiful tapestry of unique architecture, grand boulevards, winding backstreets, tranquil parks, cozy basement bars and charming cafés on open and inviting city squares. Walk for hours in any direction and we promise you’ll never run out of things to see. Here are five major neighborhoods worth exploring.
1. City Center (5th & 6th districts)
This is the closest thing Budapest has to a city center – a neighborhood of smart streets, lined with trendy cocktail bars, high-end dining establishments and neatly clipped green spaces – as well as one of the city’s most iconic sights, such as the Parliament that just happens to be one of the largest in Europe.
2. Jewish Quarter (7th & and parts of 6th districts)
Walk the streets and you’ll notice a real old and new contrast to this neighborhood – remnants of the old Jewish Ghetto wall sitting among nice street food spots, trendy coffee bars, and little boutique stores – of which this area now has many hundreds of. The other reason people come here is for the nightlife, and in particular, the ruin pubs for which Budapest has become famous.
3. Palace District (8th & and some parts of 9th districts)
The Palace District could be considered the bohemian area of the city, lively in atmosphere thanks to several universities in the vicinity and buzzing with hip cafés, coffee shops, and bars. In a lot of ways, it retains some of the charm that the Jewish Quarter has lost to gentrification. You’ll also find some of Budapest’s most beautiful mansions in this area.
4. Castle District (1st district)
It’s impossible to come to Budapest and not feel the urge to wander up here after seeing the magnificent Buda Castle, Matthias Church – with its unique and colorful roof tiles – and Fisherman’s Bastion crowning the riverside skyline. Here you’ll have the pleasure of seeing and exploring some of the oldest buildings in the city, carefully renovated and restored to give you a feel for how the city once was.
The area is accessible via a reasonably steep, but visually rewarding hill climb, or by taking a ride on the old-fashioned Funicular from Clark Adam Square. Once up there, you’ll get the chance to wonder some of the neighborhoods most beautiful squares, including Bécsi Kapu and Holy Trinity.
5. Gellérthegy and Tabán Center (1st & 11th districts)
Accessible with just a short walk over Liberty Bridge, this neighborhood is a great place to spend the day and get a feel for the more “relaxed” atmosphere of Budapest. Once again benefiting from a student filled atmosphere, the area is home to some great food spots and watering holes.
The major tourist attraction in this area is Gellért Hill, which takes some time to walk up, but gives a unique view down the river and across both banks of the city. You can also look out from under the Liberty Statue – one of the few statues from the Soviet era which was not ripped down at the end of the 80s.