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The best places to live in Budapest
Budapest is divided into 23 districts. Buda, the area west of the Danube, contains six districts; Pest, on the east bank, encompasses 16 districts; and there is also one district between the two on Csepel Island in the middle of the river. On the Buda side are also a number of suburbs that some expats, particularly those with children, choose to live in.
The districts are numbered in a clockwise direction from the centre of the city outwards, with the downtown districts having low numbers and the suburban districts having higher numbers. Of Buda’s six districts, the most popular ones for expats are districts 11 and 22. On the Pest side, districts 5, 6, 7 and 13 are favoured by expats.
Suburban life in Buda
District 11 (Újbuda) is an affluent hilly residential area southwest of the city centre. The Sashegy and Sasad areas in this district are the most popular. District 11 straddles Gellért Hill and provides one of the most spectacular panoramic views of Budapest. Outdoorsy expats who love hiking are likely to enjoy living in this area.
Also known as the ‘town of wine and champagne’, District 22 (Budafok-Tétény) is home to several of Hungary’s major wine producers. The district allows spectacular views of the city and offers numerous restaurants and shopping centres, including the Campona Mall. There are also plenty of transportation options in District 22. Property prices have risen in this district in recent years, with demand highest in the upper parts of Rózsavölgy. The area is popular with artists and musicians.
City living in Pest
Budapest's District 5 (Belváros) is as central as it gets. Apartments are the favoured choice of accommodation here. Belváros is close to restaurants, bars, pubs and shopping centres, as well as the main banking and financial district, and even Hungary’s parliament buildings. District 5 also plays host to other popular attractions like St Stephen's Basilica and the Soviet War Memorial – so during the high tourist season, this district can be busy. Because of its central location, accommodation in Belváros tends to be more expensive and generally smaller than in other areas.
District 6 (Terézváros) is great for expats who enjoy cultural entertainment. It is close to the Liszt School of Music and the Budapest Opera House. Public transportation in this district is a breeze and there are a number of shopping and nightlife options within easy walking distance of one another. However, Terézváros also has its downside; a number of small alleyways in the area are home to many potentially seedy pubs and bars and noise levels can be irritating.
Historically, District 7 (Erzsébetváros) was home to Budapest’s Jewish population. Currently, there are still a number of beautiful synagogues in the area as well as the city’s medical and veterinary universities. District 7 is a hip and trendy area and young expats are sure to enjoy the neighbourhood's bars, design shops and speciality cafés.
District 13 (Angyalföld and Újlipótváros) is a clean and well-kept area in downtown Budapest. The city has spent a lot of money improving the area and setting up a paved pathway alongside the river. The area has a number of malls and shopping centres and is conveniently close to the business district; however, all the international schools are located on the opposite side of the river, which can pose a problem for families with kids.
►Moving to Budapest with children? Then Education and Schools in Budapest is essential reading.
"The area or suburb depends on the expat’s needs. Families should probably live in Buda, District 2, 11 and 12. Singles can live anywhere, but the action is in Pest, Districts 5, 6, 7,9, 13. Really any place is great as long as you’re close to public transport and markets."
Read more about American expat Gary's experiences in Budapest.
Are you an expat living in Budapest?
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