Home > Europe > Hungary > Buda or Pest? Where to live in Budapest

Mociexpat gives us some tips to chose where to live in Budapest – Buda or Pest?


Budapest is a city formed by the union of two ancient cities: Buda and Pest. Buda and Pest are divided by the river Danube, Buda on its West side and Pest to the East. They are connected by seven bridges, one more beautiful than the other. That said, the first thing to decide when we settle in Budapest, is on which side of the river to live: Buda or Pest?
Both areas have their own charm, both have a very nice view on the opposite side, but each has a clearly distinct character.
Pest is currently the largest and most populated area of the city. It occupies two-thirds, the remaining third being occupied by Buda and Obuda (i.e. Old Buda, which before the merge was in fact independent, so that we might say, to be more precise, that Budapest was born from the union of Buda, Pest and Obuda).
Buda is the historical capital of Hungary, rich in hills and woods, with the Buda Castle as indisputable protagonist, primarily associated with “noble” neighborhoods. Pest is mainly the area of social life, where you find the shopping malls and the wide boulevards of the city.
Buda is quieter, with narrow streets and colorful houses, full of monuments and architecture ranging from Gothic to Baroque to modern art. On the other side, Pest is much more noisy and with more traffic, full of beautiful Art Nouveau buildings, modeled on the Paris of the nineteenth century.

buda or pestIn general, we can say that in Buda you mainly find big houses, with gardens (although this does not mean that there are no apartments). In Pest, especially if you want to stay in the central area, there are more apartments (although in the outskirts there are also houses). Flats are for all tastes, in old or new buildings, restored or not, big or small.

As far as transport is concerned, the city’s public transport system is excellent (with vehicles that, despite being old, function well) and has three metro lines, buses, trams and trolleybuses. The subway arrives to both sides of the city, but in Buda it only has two stops, because of the geography of the area, which, as already mentioned, is very hilly. Despite this, the majority of vehicles cover all areas and pass with great frequency. Generally I feel that it’s easier and faster to move in Pest than it is in Buda since, even if the distances are greater and the traffic heavier in Pest, the subway allows you to move almost anywhere very quickly, and there is more choice of transport for a same destination (once again, this may change depending on the destination).

The international schools are all located in Buda. Most are accessible by public transportation, but some can only be reached by private transport. Some have school bus service for students, but prices are generally quite high.

In very general terms I would say that in the case of young couples and / or without children and / or animals, Pest is the right place to live, much closer to the movement and with higher possibilities to walk from one point to another. On the other hand, for those with school-age children or dogs, Buda seems the most appropriate solution, with plenty of space and closer proximity to schools.

buda or pestIt is worth mentioning that Budapest has 23 administrative districts, 16 on the side of Buda and 6 in Pest, plus one on Csepel island, south of the capital. Districts are numbered clockwise, forming larger and larger circles (similar to the Parisian neighbourhoods), starting from Buda, at Gellert Hill.

They are divided into internal and external, depending on where you are inside the circle, and each one –as everything in life- has its advantages and disadvantages. For further information and details on each one of the districts, its features and the pros and cons, I recommend this link: https://www.filolog.com


Budapest, Hungary
February 2012

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