As for the districts and neighborhoods 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:
Budapest’s 1st District is an upscale and quiet part of the city, full of sightseeing treasures, great views, and some cozy bistros to enjoy during the evenings.
Atop Castle Hill, you’ll find Budapest Castle (hence the name – duh!), Fisherman’s Bastion, and St. Matthias Church, along with some more minor attractions. Further south, Gellért Hill and the Liberty Statue have great views over the city; this spot is particularly spectacular at sunset.
The First District runs along the west bank of the Danube, roughly going from Batthyány tér in the north to Gellert Hill in the south.
Named “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.
The easiest and fastest means of transport taking you to District I is, without a doubt, Metro line 2 (M2). Get off at Batthyány tér (Batthyány Square), take a look around the Market Hall’s shops, then trot up the stairs leading to Buda Castle. You can also hop off at Széll Kálmán tér (Széll Kálmán Square), where three bus lines (16, 16A, and 116) climb the picturesque hills, so you don’t have to break a sweat. If you’d like to reach the vicinity of Gellért-hegy (Gellért Hill), take bus 27 from Móricz Zsigmond körtér (Móricz Zsigmond Square). For a well-rounded trip around the District I take a ride on bus 178.
District II (Víziváros)
The residents of Budapest”s Second District are envied throughout the city for a reason. Although most neighbourhoods are kilometers away from lively downtown areas, this supposed disadvantage is what makes the Second District so attractive: quiet streets surrounded by flora and fauna soothe your mind and soul, and provide a shelter from the city’s chaos. Regardless, it”s still supplemented by a cosmopolitan vibe, so the district”s image is not as clear-cut as it seems.
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)
Óbuda (translates to: Old Buda) is a historical part of Budapest in the 3rd District. The territory covered by the Óbuda of today is only a fragment of the historical settlement of Óbuda that was united with Buda and Pest in 1873 to form Budapest.
It roughly corresponds with the end-of-19th-century urban areas of the one-time settlement. The greater part of the lovely former city of Óbuda, unfortunately, fell prey to the housing development programs of the Communist Era, resulting in a dramatic contrast between the microdistricts and the charming baroque historical center. When visiting Aquincum, get off the HÉV (urban railway) early and take a walk in the local center.
Sights and museums in Óbuda: Roman Amphitheatre, Vasarely Museum, Zichy Palace, Goldberger Factory and the Kiscelli Museum.
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. 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.
District XI (Újbuda)
This is 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 university sports center.
In Újbuda, students (BME), hikers (Gellért Hill) and enthusiastic gallery visitors, (Faur Zsófi Gallery), mingle without a worry. The district is easily accessible; buses, trams and the metro line 4 all run here, and most of them meet at Móricz Zsigmond Square. Bartók Béla Street promises particularly attractive features: for example, we can sip our expresso under the green plant wall of Moha café.
Gdansk, the local port of Polish culture, is much more minimal than Szatyor Bar and Gallery, and also offers delicious marinated herring. We can further recommend Kelet for books and dim lights, A38 for a good concert, Gellért Bath for a relaxing dip. And if we feel like seeing turtles, we can always head to the Feneketlen (Bottomless) Pond.
District XII (Hegyvidék)
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.
Being the only district in Buda which has not got a connection to the river Danube, it lies on the green, hilly suburban area of Budapest. It borders 2nd district to the north, the 1st district (Castle district and Gellérthegy) to the east and 11th district (Kelenföld and Sashegy) to the south. Its western border marks the border of the whole city as well.
Hegyvidék is said to be the lung of Budapest, as it gives place to many of the untouched green forests of the city and it also houses the highest hill of the entire urban area, János-hegy (527 m above sea level).
The Cost of Living
Generally speaking, Hungary is a lot cheaper than many Western European countries. Expats who have previously lived in cities with a particularly high cost of living will notice the difference right away. But don’t get too excited. Budapest, being the capital of the country, is a lot more expensive than smaller towns or rural areas. Moreover, in relation to local salaries the cost of living in Budapest is rather high. Whether you will lead a comfortable life in Budapest or if you will live in a tiny room somewhere on the outskirts of the city ultimately depends on your salary and how high your living standards are.
The cost of living in Budapest is also something you need to keep in mind when organizing your apartment search there. First of all, the rental prices largely depend on the area in which you choose to live.
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