Budapest Where to stay
As with any city with a global stature, Budapest has a wide range of accommodation options depending on what you want to achieve from your stay and how far your budget will stretch. It has luxury five star hotels (many with their own spa as this is an important part of Budapest life) to budget hostels and just about everything else in between.
The first big decision you will have to make with Budapest is which city to stay in! Whilst that may sound like a strange statement, Budapest is in fact made up of two cities – Buda and Pest – which straddle either side of the River Danube. Both sides have their own unique character with the city of Buda traditionally being the more upmarket and classy side but is generally quieter than Pest which is at the centre of the modern day city and is home to the Hungarian parliament.
If you choose one of the larger chain hotels, the choice of which side to stay is not so important as generally they are very close to (or at) the River Danube meaning that it is just a short journey should you wish to visit the other side. The hotels that line the river bank are a good choice if visiting in the summer as the river can provide a breeze to take away some of the often stifling summer heat. The payoff of course is that riverside hotels tend to be more expensive than those further out. Most of the internationally recognised hotel brands choose the Pest side for their properties.
For a cheaper option, there are many relatively recently refurbished large hotels from the communist era. As well as being slightly more affordable, they also offer a fascinating snapshot of this significant era in Hungarian history.
In Buda you will also find many pensions (small privately run properties known in Hungarian as panzió). These are usually conversions in the grand town houses in Buda and thus retain many of the period features of the original buildings. They are often cheaper than the large chain hotels and customer reviews suggest that many can also be more friendly and provide a more personal service.
The Belváros area of Budapest is what constitutes the inner city (Belváros actually means “inner city” in Hungarian and many cities will have an area named as such) and is where you will find many of the major sites as well as a great choice of shopping and dining outlets. Generally speaking, you will find that the hotel prices go down as you radiate out from this district although that depends of course on the type and category of hotel you choose. For example, a pension in Belváros will be cheaper than a five star hotel whereas a four star hotel here might cost more than a five star one elsewhere. The key as with any city is to decide what you want to see and do during your visit and plan your stay accordingly subject to your budget.
The one thing that may help your decision about where to stay is deciding what you want to see and do – our guide will help you with this. Wherever you stay, however, never fear because getting around Budapest is a breeze with the extensive and affordable public transport system.