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WHERE TO STAY IN BUDAPEST

We will arrive in Budapest in mid May, 2 days before our Viking river cruise. Not knowing where we will board

the ship, nor anything about Budapest, these are 2 choices. Bellevue B&B..in the World Heritage Area, just below

the. Or Hotel Charles at the foot of Gellert hill. Both have good reviews,and are about the same rate.

Any input will be appreciated...thanks

Posted by
10681 posts

Neither one is particularly well located. I believe that Viking docks on the Pest side, I know others whe were taking Viking had made that statement. Even if Viking did dock on Buda side, Buda is a very, very, very small part of what there is to see and do in Budapest. Sure, if you have a week and don't mind making the commute from Buda it might be okay but I don't think it is particularly convenient if you want to maximize your time in Budapest. A good Budapest visit is a full three days. That means three days other than arrival day and departure day. If for some reason you must pick one of those two I would choose the Bellevue hands down based on location but I haven't stayed in either so I can't give you any better advice. The only hotel i have stayed in in Buda was the Art o'tel and i wouldn't recommend it. If i were to stay in Buda it would be at the Gellert; but that just for the history and the bath house. I understand its not a "great" hotel.

IF, however you have more latitude then I suggest you look on the Pest side. I think the most advantageous area to stay in is along the M1 line. Go to Google Maps and enter "Oktogon Budapest, Hungary". This will take you to a major intersection on Andrassy ut (Avenue). Now draw a mental line from the Oktogon down the center of Andrassy ut and beyond until you reach the Danube river. You want to find a place that is maybe 2 blocks above that line or three blocks below that line. If you now type "Hotel" in the search window you will get markers for hotels in the general area. This is how i do it every time i go someplace new. I think the best all around hotel in the zone is the K&K Opera. If that is too expensive for you look at Opera Garden Hotel which gets good reviews. I've only stayed in the K&K and across Andrassy ut at the Casati; both were very nice and both ideally located. You also might think about renting an apartment in the neighborhood.

If you come up with some other choices let me know and I will tell you what I know about the neighborhood and ease to reach the sights.

Hope this helps a little.

Here is a sort of top 11 sites of Budapest. Test your accommodations location with Google Maps. Put in your accommodation address in from and the BOLD text below in to and then check the walk and metro times and distances. Also look for accommodations that get you where you want to go fairly quickly on foot or tram vs. the underground. The one exception I would make to that is the M1 which is in and of its self an attraction.
1. Castle Hill (address for the lower station of the funicular) Budapest, Clark Ádám tér
2. Danube Cruise Budapest, Vigadó tér
3. Hungarian State Opera Budapest, Hungarian State Opera
4. Central Market Hall Budapest, Central Market Hall
5. Sechenyi Bath House Budapest, Széchenyi bath house
6. Chain Bridge Budapest, Széchenyi István tér
7. Parliament Building Budapest Parliament Building
8. Andrassy Avenue, Budapest, Andrassy ut 30
9. Dobb Street Synagogue, Budapest, Dohány Street Synagogue
10. Vaci utca (sort of a mid-point of the best of the street), Budapest, Piarista utca 6
11. St. Stephen's Basilica, Budapest St. Stephen’s Basilica
For evening dining and strolling the best options are lower Andrassy ut (use the Opera House as a point for distance), Vörösmarty tér and the nearby Danube embankment, and courtyard in front of St. Stephen’s Basilica. There are others like Kiraly utca, but these are my favorites.

Posted by
144 posts

I stayed at Carat Boutique Hotel in Budapest and it was fine for us. About 75USD per night and a nice breakfast. It is about 2-3 blocks from main Subway station and I don't think it would be to far to reach the cruise ship. After 2 days of walking and seeing the city you would know how far the cruise ship is and your best option for getting your luggage there.

Posted by
10681 posts

The Carat Boutique is in exactly the zone I was talking about. I don't know a thing about the hotel, but the location puts you near the 47/49 tram that will take you to the past the synagogue to the Market Hall. The trams are great hop-on/hop-off site seeing busses at a fraction of the cost. The location is also a couple of minute walk to the Deak Ferenc ter metro station where you can get on the M1 for all the sights along Andrassy ut or the M2 to go over to Buda. You will also find yourself about 10 minutes to number 2 tram which runs the length of the Danube embankment. Another great advantage is you are on Kiraly utca, one of my favorite streets in town. Sort of 25% tourist and 75% Hungarian. Lovely street with some antiques, design shops, restaurants, and it leads to the entrance of Distirct 7 which is the old Jewish ghetto and one of the most remarkable districts in Budapest.

The carat Boutique is about a 10 - 15 minute walk from where I THINK your boat will be docked. Still to get to the ship; call a cab. Will cost less than $10 most likely and will make hauling luggage easier. My favorite is City Taxi http://www.citytaxi.hu/

Posted by
1420 posts

I, myself, really like staying on the Buda side. Between the trams and the metro at Batthyány tér, it's really very quick and easy to get around.

Of the two that you are looking at, I would definitely choose the Bellevue B&B and would move on it quickly, as it tends to be completely booked early. If your budget is a bit more elastic, also consider the Hotel Victoria's rooms with a Danube view - it's spectacular! The evening walks along the Danube on the Buda side, IMO, have the very best views.

Posted by
10681 posts

Diane, that's one of the great things about Budapest, it has so many faces. You've obviously been on a number of occasions and tried different parts of town until you found the one that best suited you. It's one of the reasons we can return 3 times a year and never get tired of the town. Theater District, Jewish District, Mansion District, Shopping District, Country Estate District, Bar District; its all there. I think its the fabric that ties it all together that is the most amazing. We were returning so often that eventually we had to make more permanent accommodation arrangements. We asked ourselves what made a perfect week in Bpest and we identified; the theater, a couple of our favorite restaurants, our favorite strolling street, our favorite wine bar, moments on the Danube embankment, great architecture, heart tugging history and base from which we could hare Budapest when friends and relatives joined us. When we triangulated it all we ended up in the Andrassy ut UNESCO World Heritage zone between Andrassy ut and Kiraly utca. Many years later we still think we made the decision that worked best for us; much like you love of laid back Buda. We have friends that are raising kids up in the Buda hills and I couldn't imagine a better place for that life; I have other very young friends that stay in District VII near District VIII so they are close to the night life.

This is a great place; every bit of it is wonderful. If you take it for what it is you really cant do wrong.

Posted by
150 posts

When Googled there are two posts on the web, one a PDF from Viking Cruises, listing the docking site of the cruise ships. There was no date on either of these though but they both indicated Viking is docking on the Pest side of the city between the Elizabeth Bridge and the Chain Bridge. Arrive early if you can Budapest is great.

Posted by
10681 posts

Taxis are cheap in Budapest. I wouldnt choose a place to stay based on the dock location, but I would choose based on time and distance to the places you want to see and experience.

Posted by
516 posts

Here is another vote for the Bellevue B&B. They are wonderful people. Out the door to the left quarter block to the staircase and you are on castle hill. Very quiet also with great views.

Posted by
5 posts

We took a Viking Christmas cruise arriving in Budapest. Our boat and 3 others that arrived within a day of each other all docked on either side of the Chain Bridge. I would also recommend staying on the Pest side and hiring a guide for the days before you join Viking. Budapest has so much to see and it is spread out. We spent 3 days after the cruise and are planning our return to see all that we did not have time to see & do. I contacted Andrea Makkay at www.privateguidebudapest.com. She was not able to personally guide for us but set us up with a wonderful guide. There were 11 of us so she also arranged for a small bus to pick us up from the boat and do a half day tour and then take us to our hotel. We did 2 half day tours that were packed with history, sites, life today and the price with the bus was very reasonable. We left Budapest on the train so she arranged for the bus to pick us up and take us to the train station for less that a bunch of taxi would have cost. Viking does not take you to the Parliament building and your guide cannot take you inside but they can bring you in the morning to get tickets for an afternoon time. Guides get to go to the front of the line so you do not waste time picking up the tickets. Guides can not guide in "The Hospital in the Rock" but can take you into the "House of Terror", The Royal Palace, The Great Synagogue. Viking will take you to Mathias Church and Castle Hill. You should not miss one of the baths or the Great Market Hall on your own. Do not be afraid to take public transit on your own.
We stayed at the Marriott Executive Apartments Millennium Court. The rooms are all suites with a kitchen but breakfast was included in our rate. We had 3 families with 5 teenagers so the 2 bedroom suite with 2 bathrooms was great and it was very reasonable. It is very quiet and is located off the Vaci Utca, about a block from the Elizabeth bridge, close to trams and metro.

Posted by
10681 posts

gillen1236 , Thanks for posting all the information. I'm glad you enjoyed Budapest. Careful, you may end up like us and find yourself making Budapest a more permanent part of your life. When you do plan your return, since you have seen all the typical sites, let me help you with your return trip.

Posted by
1 posts

We are 2 females on a budget travelling to budapest for 3 days the first of March. I am confused where to stay? Buda? Pest? any affordable, safe, conveniently located places to stay you could recommend? Many thanks!

Posted by
10681 posts

I know people who love to stay up in the hills of Buda for the green and the fresh air, I know one person who swears by Obuda to escape the tourists and one who loves the Gypsy district for its rustic once upon a time feeling. But I think the best place for a first time tourist with general interests who wants to walk outside the door of their accommodations and be someplace special would be as follows:

Go to google maps. Find Andrasssy ut which is Budapest’s version of Paris’ Champs-Élysées. On Andrassy ut there is an intersection called the Oktogon. Now draw a line from the Oktogon down the center of Andrassy ut and beyond to the River Danube. Look for a hotel within a block north or three blocks south of that line. If you need one reference to start then look at the K&K Opera Hotel.

This area and most of Budapest is as safe or safer for two women than just about any major city in Western Europe, and probably more so than most cities in the US. And its a beautiful area well connected to the rest of Budapest.

Posted by
6536 posts

If you go to GoogleMaps.com and drop a street name and city, it'll pull the city map up.
Then, hit "+" about 3 times, and it'll magnify the neighborhood you're interested in.

All of the available accommodations for the area will be shown in little "bed" icons.

Double click on the little icon and it'll direct you to the hotel/b&b's direct website.

GoogleMaps is a great place to find rooms.
James is very knowledgeable about Budapest and he's putting you in the middle of the interesting sites.