As I was visiting hot Budapest in September 2012, I decided to publish already before a bit of information about its district for a better orientation.
The Districts of Buda
I – Várnegyed: the Castle District
This district is definitely the big attraction for tourists, and for good reason. It’s the most historic of the districts, dating back to the 13th century – with some sites even older than that! This small district includes the Royal Palace and its grounds on the southern end of its plateau, and ancient winding streets, old homes, St. Matthias Church, and the Fisherman’s Bastion on the northern end.
II – Víziváros: Watertown
Víziváros is aptly named for its position right on the waterfront. The district is a long, narrow strip between the Castle District and the Danube River. The steep sloping streets along the side of Castle Hill were historically home to fishermen and artisans; however, today much of the district is made up of high-priced neighborhoods for residents and tourists. Rózsadomb and Buda Hills in particular are some of the city’s ritziest and most luxurious neighborhoods.
III – Óbuda
This district is largely residential these days. It stretches along the Danube coast, and has long been a popular resort for workers. Here you’ll find the fascinating Roman ruins of Aquincum, as well as an amazingly well- preserved old town square. While you’ll find a few hotels here, the district is somewhat removed from the main city, so transportation could be a hassle.
The Districts of Pest
IV – Belváros: the Inner City
The name Belváros literally means “city center”, which this district historically was for many years. The ancient heart of Budapest city boasts a considerable number of historic sites and buildings inside the Inner Ring, as well as many of the city’s best luxury hotels and top shopping streets.
Lipótváros, or “Leopold town” makes up the second half of district IV and sits just north of Belváros. This area came under development during the late 18th century as the businesses and government of Pest developed. This area quickly became the seat of Parliament and the home of government, banking and business facilities. Understandably, at the time it was considered to be a high bourgeoisie neighborhood.
V – Terézváros: Theresa Town
This district is largely distinguished by the Andrássy út. This grand boulevard runs from the Heroes’ Square, straight through Oktogon into the Inner City. The street epitomizes old world elegance, and is considered the best address in town. Of note, the city boasts a collection of small theaters that can be found in this district around Nagymezo utca.
VII – Erzsébetváros: Elizabeth Town
This district is the historic Jewish district, and while much of its history has been replaced by up and coming developments, glimpses of its history are evident throughout. During the German occupation in 1944 and 1945, thousands of Jews were sequestered in ghettos, where many ultimately died. This district is still the heart of Budapest’s Jewish community.
VIII – Józsefváros: Joseph Town
This is the largest – and arguably, least desirable – of Budapest’s districts. It is working hard at new development however, and there is still much that is worth your time and energy to visit. Finally, if you are having troubles tofind where to stay in Budapest, you should consider staying at Gorden Park Hotel!