Before arriving to Budapest many ask themselves the question where to stay/live while in Budapest. The question will have a different answer depending on the length of your stay and of course what is important to you and what requirements you have. Still there are some general advices that can be given. We will answer the question about where to live in Budapest in three different ways. The first part of our answer will be directed towards those coming to Budapest as tourists (1-14 days). The second part of our answer will be directed towards those who come to stay in Budapest for a reason for a period of between 2 weeks and half a year (short term visitors), and the third part of our answer will be to those who plan on staying in Budapest for half a year or a longer period (long term visitors)!
Where to live in Budapest as a tourist?
Budapest is a city divided in two by the river Danube, the beautiful river giving Budapest one of the most beautiful panoramas in the entire world. The first question is therefor whether you should live on the Pest or on the Buda side. In general it can be said that the Buda side is a bit more quiet, greener and with more parks and at times less traffic. The most important places at the Buda side as a tourist is the Gellert Hill and the Castle hill with the Castle of Buda as the main attraction. Some shopping malls can also be found on the Buda side.
The Pest side is where you find the popular tourist areas such as the shopping street Váci Utca, the most popular shopping malls, most of the popular restaurants, quite some museums, the Big Market Hall and of course the Heroes Square and the exclusive shopping street Andrassy út.
Based on the information given here the general tourist will find it preferable to live on the Pest side and rather visit the Buda side once or twice during their stay. If you do the opposite you will often find yourself constantly walking across the Danube (or grabbing a taxi) to do anything at all, and that is time that could be used in a better way. The walk along and across the Danube is of course beautiful, but since most of your time will be spent on the Pest side, our recommendation would be to book a hotel on the Pest side of Budapest.
Where to live in Budapest as short term visitor?
If you come to Budapest as a short term visitor (between 15 days and 1/2 year) you probably have a reason to be here. Maybe you come to work in a special office for a while or maybe you are part of an exchange program, thus having to attend a school in the Hungarian capital for a short/long period of time. There might be plenty of reasons for you to come, but if this is you, then our main recommendation would be to find a place to live near your office or wherever you have to go frequently. It is not so important whether you stay in Pest or in Buda, but look for an apartment near your office. If your office/school or whatever is a bit outside the city center, check the possibilities on how to get there with public transportation and if there are good opportunities, find a place to live near a station which will easily take you to the place you need to visit regularly.
Where to live in Budapest as a long term visitor?
Maybe you have met a beautiful Hungarian girl and would like to get married and live in Budapest for a long, long time (until death do as part)? Or maybe you have received an offer of a dream job somewhere in Budapest and now you need to find a place to live in a hurry. No need to worry, there are plenty of flats available for sale and for rent in Budapest, and if needed, you can easily find a place to live within less than a week (if you have the money ready).
You might ask the frequently asked question; where should i live? In Buda or in Pest? The general Hungarian would often answer that Buda is best and Pest is a bit like it sais… a pest and a plague. Buda is in general a bit more peaceful and on a long term stay that might influence your choice. Compared to many districts on the Pest side Buda also has less crime, stealing of cars and such problems, also a plus and point to the Buda side. If you come to Budapest as a foreigner with children you should consider where the children will attend school or kindergarten. There are quite a lot of great English schools and kindergartens in Budapest, and it is for sure ideal if you manage to find a place to live near any of these. For those coming because of a job you should of course take your office location into consideration and try to live not to far away from it, or at least make it easily accessible with public transportation. You might have a nice sport car, but when the traffic jams come to Budapest, your engine will not help you get quicker to work than if you had an old Lada.
If you want to live in the most luxurious areas of Budapest you should consider buying a real estate at the Rozsadomb, the Buda hills not far from the Margaret Bridge. Another option is to find a nice flat or house in the area around the Gellert Hill, or between the Danube and the Fishermens Bastion.
These are some simple advices, but feel free to share your thoughts on the subject writing a comment further down on this page.