Whether you’re in Budapest to party in ruin bars or to marvel at the baroque architecture, you don’t need to splash all your forints on expensive accommodation. The best cheap hotels in Budapest provide much more than just a place to crash at night; think free tours, buzzing traveller-friendly bars and unbeatable locations.
This four-star hotel in the Castle District has a five-star location: the spooky labyrinth under Castle Hill, in which Dracula was held captive, is a three-minute stroll between the historic houses of Uri Street, while the colourful Matthias Church is an equally short walk. The hotel, with vaulted ceilings and a leafy garden, fits into the centuries-old vibe of the area, but also provides up-to-date accommodation – pale, classy decor and well-equipped bathrooms.
The popular cafe, with wicker chairs on ancient cobbles, is the beating heart of this central boutique guesthouse. The affordable, luxurious rooms, accessed via an elegant curving stairway, are individual, featuring wrought iron balconies, gilded baroque furniture, and time-worn beams in the attic. Check out the interesting cocktails at the cafe, such as the Pálinka Longer, involving Hungarian quince brandy and elderberry syrup; or in colder weather, try a warming honey-rich mulled wine, spiced with cloves, pimento and cinnamon. All the old town sights are within walking distance and Astoria underground station is at the end of the road.
Right next to Blaha Lujza tér station, Three Cats is within a couple of metro stops from the biggest attractions in Budapest. It has beds on a stylish mezzanine sleeping platform in ingenious, ensuite rooms. Don’t overlook the immediate area; the eccentric Museum of Selfies is just a few doors down and free-to-join pub crawls start nearby at 10pm every evening.
It’s not just a name – there are real students living in the Maverick (mostly on separate floors from the other guests), giving it a youthful vibe. You can opt for pristine private rooms with smart TVs or save money in the dorms, where the stacked-up sleeping pods have curtains, power sockets and reading lights. The cavernous neogothic Market Hall is a five-minute stroll away so you can stock up on Hungarian picnic goodies such as piquant mangalica salami or freshly baked strudel. Then head across the nearby 19th-century Liberty Bridge and climb Gellert Hill for a bench with a view across Budapest and the Danube.
With the slogan “Punk’s not dead”, this cheerful, central hostel on vibrant Király Street, with free wifi and a nearby metro station, has remodelled a 19th-century building that was, previously, a bakery, a parasol factory and a four-star hotel. The dorms and private rooms are airy and spotless, the vaulted womBAR is a travellers’ hub with a retro vibe and there’s a buffet breakfast (for a small fee) served in a funky communal area with a stained-glass ceiling. There’s a communal kitchen too, with all the kit and free pasta.
In an art nouveau building, close to Gyula Paue’s poignant riverside shoe sculptures and Kossuth Lajos tér metro station, Anabelle has affordable and stylish oak-floored lodgings. A fresh, hearty breakfast sets you up for a day of exploring. Big photos of nearby Budapest landmarks encourage you out of bed and into the city. Triple and family rooms mean you can pack in extra people for the best-value city break.
Sipping a Hungarian palinka fruit brandy among orange trees in the bamboo-fringed hotel courtyard, you might think this modestly priced guesthouse is a luxury hotel. Chill out with free Netflix on the vintage leather armchairs in spacious, contemporary bedrooms; or splash out on a suite, with a balcony view of the neighbouring Károlyi Garden. Breakfast is served at a choice of popular cafes and restaurants, all within a short stroll through picturesque downtown Budapest.
Bold style and functional minimalism characterise this pet-friendly modern hostel, with a fairy-lit courtyard and 24-hour reception, in party-central District VII. A couple of blocks away, across the busy Elizabeth Boulevard, dozens of pubs and ruin bars await; including the popular Warm Up bar – home to customised cocktails – and relaxed Kisüzem, where you’ll dine on innovative pub grub, such as a Balkan lamb burger with grilled veg, pureed aubergine and fresh tomatoes.
No need to wait for nightfall for things to get going at the bargain Hostel One. The travel-savvy staff know the best of Budapest, leading free day-time tours plus after-dark ruin-bar crawls. There’s wifi and three communal areas to study, chill or party. And although there’s no breakfast, there is an all-hours kitchen to make your own when you’ve recovered from the night before. Each evening kicks off with a free communal dinner, drinking games and cheap beer until the pub crawl starts.
White-walled air-conditioned apartments with a balcony and garden, fully equipped kitchen, and sitting room: budget-friendly Nova City is the place for home comforts. A few doors down is the popular Freyja bakery, selling kill-to-get-them croissants. A slightly off-centre location in District VII means better rates than some aparthotels and it’s a five-minute walk to Blaha Lujza tér metro station (and the nearest Lidl) or a short bus ride to the major sights.
Why stay by the river when you could stay on it? With incredible views of the Danube River, a prime location next to verdant Margaret Island and just a 15-minute walk away from the famous Parliament Building, the Fortuna Boat Hotel is the ideal base for exploring Budapest. Rooms are simple but well-appointed, with a TV and private bathroom provided as standard amenities, and superior rooms enjoying a generous lounge area. Wifi is on offer throughout the boat, and the on-board Lord Nelson Restaurant offers both international and Hungarian cuisine.
This trendy boutique hotel enjoys a prime location in Budapest’s city centre, offering spectacular views of the nearby St Stephen’s Basilica. Each of the four different room types – standard, superior, panorama or studio – channels contemporary minimalist chic, but adds a note of exuberance with photographic prints and brightly coloured furniture. The spacious studios also include a fully equipped kitchen. Whichever one you go for, you’ll be sleeping in a room akin to the pages of an interior design magazine – hence the hotel’s name. To take a piece of Budapest style home with you, the hotel gives out special pocket-size maps with the addresses of the best design and fashion stores in the area.
With views of the colossal Heroes’ Square and a prime location close to Budapest City Park and the Széchenyi Baths, the Mirage Medic Hotel is central yet within easy access of green space. What sets the hotel apart, however, is the variety of medical services it provides. Guests can visit the on-site Chinese medicine centre, which offers acupuncture and treatments for ailments such as sleep disorders, stress, joint problems and allergies. At the hotel’s restaurant and cafe, guests can sample healthy cuisine incorporating principles of traditional Chinese medicine. If you’re travelling on a budget and want to fly home feeling brand new, this is the hotel for you.
Situated in the delightful Castle District, Maison Bistro and Hotel is an intimate boutique accommodation. Complete with vintage-style furniture, high brick ceilings and modern bathrooms, the chic rooms contrast with the historic building, which dates back to 1464. Nearly ruined following the 1686 siege of the castle, this former factory saw a one-storey baroque-style house built on top of it, known as the Spiegel House bakery until 1964. Guests can even see the original bakery symbol on the arched front gate. After 30 years as a nightclub, followed by 20 years’ closure, Maison opened in 2016. The bistro serves a mixture of refined takes on Hungarian cuisine and diverse international dishes, including a raw, vegan version of traditional flódni layered pastry.
Ideally located in Budapest’s historic city centre, close to the neo-renaissance mansion-lined Andrássy Avenue, the Opera Garden Hotel and Apartments lies inside a charming 110-year-old building. The rooms have one of two themes – the top-floor rooms are vibrant and brightly decorated, while the lower-floor garden-style rooms make use of a more muted palette. Beyond the rooms, guests can relax in the on-site sauna, work out in the fully equipped gym or choose from a selection of in-room massages. There’s even complimentary mulled wine and a menu of pillows to choose from.
Just a stone’s throw from St Stephen’s Basilica, Hotel President Budapest has a unique selling point over similarly priced hotels in the city – its free President Wellness programme. Guests are automatically granted access to a spacious indoor heated pool, a gym with an array of hi-tech workout equipment, jacuzzi and sauna. After a day of shopping and sightseeing, enjoy a drink or two against the backdrop of magnificent views at the Intermezzo roof terrace before retreating to your plush, spacious room.
Tech enthusiasts, look no further than the KViHotel – coined the world’s first smart hotel, where you control your stay through your smartphone. Through a special app, you can regulate the temperature of your room, and enjoy 24/7 access to the building and a virtual reception team. You can even order breakfast through the app and receive a notification when your room has been cleaned. Rooms are minimalist but bright, and if you want an evening drink or a little human interaction, the downstairs lobby bar offers both of these things.
Fusing ultra-modern furniture with such original features as a spiral stone staircase, Hotel Rum Budapest’s interior design was the brainchild of a team of passionate local designers and architects. Whether you opt for an intimate Light Rum or spacious Black Rum room, a stay at this hotel gives guests a real taste of luxury and cutting-edge design at a reasonable price. Set in Budapest’s bustling District V, the accommodation also features the TOPRUM rooftop restaurant and bar, where an array of spirits, wines and cocktails accompany sweeping views of the city centre.
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