The ‘Inner Town’ is just that – the centre of Pest’s universe, especially when it comes to tourism. This is where you’ll find Váci utca, with its luxury shops, restaurants and bars, and Vörösmarty tér, home to the city’s most celebrated cukrászda (cake shop) and one of its two Michelin-starred restaurants.
Parliament & Around
Bordering Belváros to the north is Lipótváros (Leopold Town), with the landmark Parliament facing the Danube to the west and the equally iconic Basilica of St Stephen to the east. In this guide we’ve included part of Terézváros (Teresa Town), named in honour of Empress Maria Theresa, as well. Budapest's Broadway or West End is that district’s Nagymező utca.
The colourful districts of Józsefváros (Joseph Town) and Ferencváros (Francis, or Franz, Town) – no prizes for guessing which Habsburg emperors these were named after – are traditionally working class and full of students. It’s a lot of fun wandering the backstreets, peeping into courtyards and small, often traditional, shops.
Margaret Island & Northern Pest
Lovely Margaret Island is neither Buda nor Pest, but its shaded walkways, large swimming complexes, thermal spa and gardens offer refuge to the denizens of both sides of the river. Northern Pest in this section means Újlipótváros (New Leopold Town). Vaguely reminiscent of New York’s Upper West Side, it has tree-lined streets, antique shops, boutiques and lovely cafes.
Óbuda & Buda Hills
Óbuda is the oldest part of Buda and retains a lost-in-the-past, village feel; here you’ll find excellent museums, the remains of the Roman settlement of Aquincum and some legendary eateries. The Buda Hills are a breath of fresh air and offer forms of transport that will delight kids of all ages.
Gellért Hill & Tabán
Standing atop Gellért Hill and proclaiming freedom throughout the city is the lovely Liberty Monument, Budapest’s most visible statue. She looks down on the Tabán, a leafy neighbourhood originally settled by the Serbs, and a great many students; the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) is here.
City Park & Beyond
City Park, at the northern end of epic Andrássy út, is the largest park in Budapest but a lot more than just a pretty face. Its main entrance, Heroes’ Sq, is ringed by important museums and significant monuments. The streets on the fringes of the park are paradise for fans of Art Nouveau and Secessionist architecture.