A useful guide to Budapest districts
This article about the various Budapest districts is a great tool for newcomers trying to find a home. One of the most important factors when searching for the right apartment to rent in Budapest is to find the right neighbourhood, as you will spent most of your time in this area. So safety, public transportation, nearby amenities, and of course – the mixture of your new neighbors, are all depending on the district and the neighbourhood you’ll choose.
There are 23 different districts which are divided on both sides of the Danube river. The more central downtown districts are numbered V,VI,VII and parts of districts VIII, IX, and XIII on pest side, and parts of districts I, II, and III on the Buda side of the river.
You can know which districts is an apartment located at by the two middle digits in its zip code, for example – if the zip code of a certain address is 1051, then the apartment is located in the 5th district.
The heart of the city, which is the most central parts of the downtown area, is located within districts V, VI, and VII in Pest side of the river. These districts are abundant with sights, landmarks, shops, leisure hangout places, bars, restaurants and excellent public transportation routes. In recent years, this area has undergone massive gentrification and has become one of the more famous hotpots across Europe, with hundreds of thousands of foreigners living, studying, working and touring across this small part of the city, making it extremely cosmopolitan with a young, dynamic and electrifying atmosphere.
The city centre itself is not very large, and can be covered relatively easily by foot or by a short metro ride, so it is very accessible to any direction.
Districts and neighbourhoods in Budapest:
Besides the 23 Budapest districts diving the city, there are also several quarters and neighbourhoods dividing it, making it more complicated when starting to search for your apartment to rent. If the districts are divided by numbers (I, II, … XXIII), the quarters and neighbourhoods are divided by names within specific areas of the city, the more important inner districts of Pest are listed below:
Neighbourhoods: Inner city (Belváros) and Lipótváros.
The city center of Budapest is combined from two traditional neighbourhoods called Belvaros and Lipótváros.
Belváros, the historical center of Pest, is positioned on the banks of the Danube river, and stretches between Vigadó tér, Deák Ferenc utca, Károly körút, Múzeum körút, Vámház körút and the Danube. Its bordering city center neighborhood to north, Lipótváros, is bounded by Szent István körút, Nyugati tér, Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út, Deák Ferenc tér, Vigadó tér (the southern side of it), and the Danube river.
Some of the attractions in this area include the Szent-Istvan Basilica, Szabadság Square – which is a lovely green part with some wonderful historical buildings surrounding it, The fashion and shopping street (Vaci utca), and the small “Bank district” area, which accommodates modern office buildings and banks. In addition, due to the CEU university situated on Nádor street, there are many international students filling the streets during the day.
This area of Budapest is one of the most expensive ones for renting an apartment, and is very popular with young professionals and the more wealthy, posh individuals. The streets are well maintained, the classical buildings are mostly very well refurbished with their original detail, and it has many lovely pedestrian walkways with fancy restaurants and shops.
District VI (Terézváros)
This central part of Budapest’s downtown area is mostly famous for it’s gorgeous Andrássy avenue, which is home to some of the most luxurious world’s brands. connecting between Deák ter and Hösök tér (Heroes square), this district is very popular with students and diplomats, as it’s extremely central, yet is a bit cheaper for renting an apartment than in its neighboring Vth district, and a bit quieter than its bordering VII district (which is also referred to as the “party district”). The part which is closer to Heroes square is quite lavish, home to many embassies, and offers downtown villas and private homes as well as luxury apartments along the avenue.
Some of the more famous landmarks in district VI are the National Opera house, Liszt Ferenc ter (and the music academy which is located on the square), Oktogon square, and the City Park, with its many attractions and major museums.
District VII (Erzsébetváros)
District VII in Budapest was in the past the Jewish neighborhood of Pest. Today, it is still considered as the center of Jewish life in the city, however due to the gentrification of the district over the last couple of years, it is not also a trendy hotspot, full of bars, restaurants and clubs, and generally speaking one of the most up-and-running areas in Budapest for purchasing or renting a flat.
The area itself is quite small, running along part of Wesselényi street up from Astoria, to Blaha Lujza metro station, Dob street, and bordered by the Grand Boulvard. It is an extremely popular with students and expats from all over the world, district VII is a thriving, electrifying neighborhood of Budapest, commonly referred to as “the party district”, with some of the most famous ruin bars, which are rundown buildings converted to bars service cheap alcohol, and many other types of contemporary art exhibitions and leisure hangout venues, the most famous of which are the Szimpla kert or Gozsdu Udvar.
Some of the more famous locations include the big Synagogue and the masterpiece building of Boscolo hotel, and the closest university is Szent-Itvan Univeristy and McDaniel College.
Besides the mixture of old classical buildings and newly, trendy luxury homes, variety shops and local designer shops, the area is extremely well served by public transportation, with easy access to tram, metro and buses (made even easier to reach due to the neighborhood’s limited size).
District VIII (Józsefváros)
In the past, this part of the city had a bad reputation for being unsafe and neglected, however – these days, after massive gentrification procedures of some of it’s areas, it has some pockets which are the most sought after for living by international people, mainly due to the Corvin Promenade and the surrounding area which practically Single-handedly transformed district VIII into a very popular places for renting flats for long or short periods, though of course, the fact that the Semmelweis university and it’s clinics are spread across the district, also contributed substantially to its development.
District IX (Ferencvaros)
The central part of district IX, which have seen massive redevelopment and modern construction, is now one of the liveliest and trendiest pockets in the city. Bordering with The Danube and the Fashion street on one side, and Astoria on the other, the area is filled with shops, restaurants, markets and easily accessible to a few of the main universities, including the new Corvinus campus just next to the newly constructed riverfront area, stretching along from Szabadsag Bridge to Petofi Bridge.
Some of the more poplar streets and areas for renting flats for long term in this district are around Lónyay steet, the wonderful Ráday street with its numerous restaurants and colorful classical houses, and the area surrounding Kálvin tér metro station, which is within minutes walk fro the national museum, ELTE university, and the shopping street located just across the road in district V.
Neighbourhoods: Angyalföld and Újlipótváros
This area is a neat, quieter and more “family friendly” area of downtown Budapest. Is has several shopping centers, parks and may modern office buildings, making it quite popular with professionals looking to rent an apartment in Budapest which is central, yet more homely and in a more peaceful environment, which is a bit farther from the city’s bustling noises. There are several international schools located just on the opposite side of the river (in Buda) which also attracts expatriates and families with young kids who prefer to live in Pest, while benefiting from the school system across the river.
As for the districts and neighbourhoods located in Buda, the areas most relevant for foreigners looking for apartments in Budapest for rent are the ones which are closer to the river and that are easily accessible to public transportation or to the international schools for foreigners. See the list below for more information about the top districts in Buda for foreigners living in Hungary:
District I (Várnegyed)
Names “the castle district”, this area of Buda is considered the most beautiful part of the city, as well as the richest in history, as it dates back to the 13th century. This small area, which encompasses the Royal palace and overlooking the Danube river below, has some of the most breathtaking views and home to a few of the city’s most renowned buildings, such as St. Matthias Church, and the Fisherman’s Bastion.
District II (Víziváros)
This area of Budapest is the more affluent part of the city, especially in its Rózsadomb (Rose Hill) neighborhood, which is filled with luxurious villas, green areas, and spectacular views of the city. Cheaper apartments for rent can be found around Széll Kálmán tér, which although doesn’t offer the luxurious and fashionable lifestyle of Rózsadomb, it is a major public transportation hub which connects between Pest and Buda within a few minutes ride by metro or tram.
District III (Óbuda)
This is the oldest and one of the largest districts in Budapest. The history of this district dates back to Roman times, when it was settled as a colony named Aquincum. The Hajógyári-sziget (or Óbuda Island) is a small island located in district III, which is a very popular leisure area and home to the world famous Sziget festival.
District XI (Újbuda)
The most populated district in Budapest, which is popular with international students and staff of BME university, which has its campus and biggest student dormitory located within its borders, as well as ELTE’s univeristy sports center.
Another very luxurious green area, filled with astonishing villas and elegant private homes, this part of Budapest is nicknamed “The Hollywood hills of Budapest” and has spectacular views across the city. It is not so easy to get around this area via public transportation, so most residents of the area are families with cars.