Budapest Area Map
Nov. 17, 1873, saw the union of Buda, Pest and Óbuda, creating modern-day Budapest. The city is divided by the Danube River, with flat Pest to the east and the hilly Buda and Óbuda regions to the west. Travelers tend to stick to Buda and Pest, as there aren't many attractions in Óbuda. Budapest is divided into 23 districts: five in Buda, 16 in Pest, one in Óbuda and one on Csepel and Margaret islands, which sit in the middle of the Danube River. Some districts contain one neighborhood, while others are made up of many; each has its own distinct character.
The Pest side of the city is where you'll find the bulk of Budapest's luxury hotels, plus a few popular historic and religious attractions. If you need a break from sightseeing, Pest is also home to a variety of shops and restaurants.
Accessible via Budapesti Közlekedési Központ's M1, M2 and M3 metro lines at Ferenciek tere, Vörösmarty tér, Deák Ferenc tér, Arany János utca and Kossuth Lajos tér stations.
District V comprises two neighborhoods: the Inner City (Belváros) and Leopold Town (Lipótváros). The Inner City's historic architecture, high-end shopping and three- and four-star hotels make it a natural fixture on visitors' itineraries. It'd be easy to spend the whole day in any of the numerous tourist-friendly restaurants and cafes the Inner City has to offer, but be sure to put some time aside to check out the Inner City Parish Church next to Elizabeth Bridge. Other must-dos include browsing the stalls at the Great Market Hall (which sits just outside the Inner City's southern border) and strolling along the Danube Promenade, a sculpture-lined riverfront walkway that spans both District V neighborhoods.
Just north of the Inner City lies pleasant-but-stodgy Leopold Town. Flush with office buildings and government ministries, it isn't the most exciting neighborhood for vacationers. However, it sits within view of Budapest's most iconic bridge – the Széchenyi Chain Bridge – and has two can't-miss sights: the Hungarian Parliament and St. Stephen's Basilica. The two tallest buildings in Budapest are awash in history, and visiting either constitutes an architecture lover's dream afternoon. This region also features the bulk of Budapest's five-star hotels, including Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons outposts.
Accessible via Budapesti Közlekedési Központ's M1 and M3 metro lines at Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út, Opera, Oktogon, Vörösmarty utca, Kodály körönd, Bajza utca and Nyugati pályaudvar stations.
Just east of Leopold Town lies District VI. Here, you'll find Andrássy Street, one of Budapest's most prestigious thoroughfares that doubles as the main boulevard in the district's only neighborhood, Theresa Town (Terézváros). Gorgeous buildings and boutique shops line this popular street. Plus, Theresa Town features several budget-friendly hostels and hotels, as well as popular sights like Heroes' Square, the Hungarian State Opera House and the House of Terror Museum.
Accessible via Budapesti Közlekedési Központ's M2 metro line at Astoria and Blaha Lujza tér stations.
The primary reason to head south of District VI to District VII and its Elizabeth Town (Erzsébetváros) area is to see its main attraction, the remarkable Dohány Street Synagogue. Dripping with culture and history, this up-and-coming neighborhood was used as a Jewish ghetto during the German occupation of Hungary in 1944 and 1945. Today, Elizabeth Town continues to be where the bulk of Budapest's Jewish residents live and, as such, hosts the city's annual Jewish Cultural Festival, a week-long affair celebrating Jewish culture and heritage. What's more, the district's section of Elizabeth Boulevard offers a few five-star accommodation options, such as Queen's Court Hotel and Residence and Corinthia Hotel Budapest.
Buda's main draw is its historic attractions in Castle Hill, but this side of the city also features a few eateries, hotels and specialty museums, such as the Museum of Hungarian Applied Folk Art. For a change of scenery, admire the sights in the lush Gellért Hill area.
Accessible via Budapesti Közlekedési Központ's Buda Castle Funicular, Thermal Heritage Tram (TH) and Heritage Bus (SH).
Castle Hill (Várhegy), also known as District 1 or the Castle District (Várnegyed), promises to be one of the highlights of any trip to Budapest. Castle walls and medieval architecture provide 19th-century ambiance while you stroll the lattice of cobbled streets and explore cafes and shops. The Buda Castle is in the southern tip of Castle Hill and contains a number of museums, including the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. Meanwhile, the northern part of the district is where Matthias Church and the Fisherman's Bastion reside. A few restaurants and upscale properties, including the Hilton Budapest and the St. George Residence All Suite Hotel Deluxe, are available here as well.
South of Castle Hill sits Gellert Hill, a region that straddles the District I and District XI border. This swath of green space is named after Saint Gerard, who was allegedly pushed off of the hill while visiting Budapest to convert its pagan residents to Christianity. The hill now features a memorial dedicated to the missionary, plus a historic citadel and the Liberty Statue.
Óbuda's removed, mostly residential setting is not ideal for sightseeing, but the area does offer a few noteworthy sights. If you decide to stay here, you'll have access to multiple hotels.
Accessible via Budapesti Közlekedési Központ's Nos. 1, 17, 19 and 41 trams.
The heart of District III lies within the former city of Óbuda. Though this area is a bit far from Pest, it does boast some attractions for history and architecture buffs. Ruins from the ancient Roman city of Aquincum are still visible here, and Óbuda's main square exudes Old World charm. Nearby Óbuda Island hosts the massive Sziget Festival every summer.
While Budapest is a relatively safe big city, you should still exercise general safety precautions, especially in light of recent terrorist activity throughout Europe. Make sure to take extra care on public transportation and at major tourist attractions, where pickpockets are more prevalent. Also, do not walk alone at night and avoid political rallies and demonstrations. For additional safety tips, visit the U.S. State Department's website.
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