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So, you’re all ready to visit Budapest and now you just need to book your accommodation. But which side of Budapest should you stay on?!
I had this exact same question when I was planning my stay, but now that I’m a few weeks into my Budapest trip I’m here to help.
The truth is, when it comes to Buda vs. Pest it’s not even close. If you want to stop reading now, Pest is the one for you. I can pretty much 100% guarantee it. But, I am a writer after all, so I’ll break down all the reasons why below.
If you don’t want to blindly take my recommendation, don’t worry. Keep reading for the complete Buda vs. Pest showdown!
If you’re coming to Budapest, you’ve probably got nightlife on the brain. This is one of the best cities in the world to drink craft beer, sip wine in a romantic location, or party all night in the clubs and world famous ruin bars.
The best district for nightlife in a neighborhood called The Jewish Quarter (also called the Party District of District 7). It’s on the Pest side, which means that if you stay in Buda you’ll either be paying for a metro or taxi home every night or get a lot of exercise on the walks home.
In Pest I also visited quite a few breweries and interesting bars and even joined in a little botellón (drinking in the streets) in the square in front of St. Stephen’s Basilica. If you like to drink even a little, the Pest side is the one for you.
Buda vs. Pest Nightlife Winner: Pest
I put food after nightlife on this list even though we all know it’s the most important factor in this decision. Daniel and I have eaten at some amazing restaurants here in the city and they’re all on the Pest side.
This isn’t just anecdotal either. The free walking tour that we did finished on the Buda side and I was starving and asked our guide, a Budapest local, if there was anywhere good nearby to eat. She honestly told us a flat no, and that we were much better off heading back to the Pest side for cheaper and better food.
Buda vs. Pest Food Winner: Pest
This one is closer than the first two categories. Both Buda and Pest battle it out with some must-see tourist attractions on their turf.
On the Buda side, you ‘ll find:
- the Fisherman’s Bastion
- Mathias Church
- Gellert Hill lookout point
- Buda Castle (now a museum)
- views of the iconic Parliament building
On the Pest side, you can visit:
- Central Market Hall
- Ruin Bars
- Szechenyi Baths
- the Parliament Building
- the Opera House
- Hero’s Square and the City Park
- St. Stephen’s Basilica
- and plenty of pedestrian streets
Daniel and I have been in Budapest for a few weeks now and went over to the Buda side twice. Pretty much everything there can be seen in a day. On the other hand, I still feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface on all that Pest has to offer!
Although this round really is close, Pest comes out ahead again.
Buda vs. Pest Tourist Attractions: Pest
Ease of Living
If you’re a digital nomad like me, you might also be interested in “ease of living” category for this showdown. Basically, it takes into account day to day stuff that vacationers might not need, like grocery stores, pharmacies, metros and more.
When it comes to food, there are plenty of supermarkets in Budapest… but almost all of them are on the Pest side, including all three Aldi stores in the city. Buda has a couple grocery stores but Pest has a greater quantity and variety.
Additionally, the metro is a bit more convenient on the Pest side as well. If you look at a map, you’ll see the three major lines (M1, M2, and M3) all intersect on the Pest side, so you can walk to this station and access them easily without transferring. In addition, two of three train stations in the city are on the Pest side as well, including the international Budapest-Kelati station.
Finally, I’m just going to throw in the simple fact that Pest is flat and Buda is full of rolling hills. The midwesterner in me loves to be on even ground at all times, so this perk seals the deal.
Buda vs. Pest Ease of Living Winner: Pest
And the Winner Is…
Pest! The four to zero score makes it pretty obvious why the Pest side is where you should stay. It has more nightlife, better restaurants, a wide variety of tourist attractions and is easier to live in for a long-term visit as well.
For me, this case is closed and I’ll choose Pest every time.