As one of the top destinations to visit in the entirety of Europe, the Hungarian capital of Budapest has so much to offer visitors. But is Budapest expensive to visit? When viewing photos of the grand cityscapes and thinking of all of the incredible things to do in the city, it can be hard to know what you can expect your overall Budapest trip cost to be.
Budapest has a reputation for being quite a budget-friendly city, but does that stand up to the test? Can you stretch your hard-earned cash further here than you can in other European capitals?
In general, Budapest is not an expensive city with an average daily travel cost of €45-155 ($48-164 USD) per person per day.
Before booking a trip to Budapest, it’s essential to figure out a rough budget and be aware of how much various things are going to cost you. Here, we will outline the average costs of accommodation, transportation, food, activities, and entertainment so nothing comes as a surprise when you visit the beautiful capital city of Hungary.
Budapest Trip Cost Guide
The costs below are just averages and how much your average daily costs are in Budapest are highly dependent on your individual travel style and interests. In general, however, you will find that the city has quite affordable prices and that it is quite feasible to visit Budapest on a budget.
The currency in Hungary is the Hungarian Forint (HUF), however, all prices here are listed in Euro to make things a bit easier to understand.
Accommodation Prices in Budapest
The cost of accommodation in Budapest generally makes the biggest dent in any travel budget, so it’s something that needs consideration.
Luckily, you can get quite good value for money in the Hungarian capital there is ample choice for affordable accommodation close to all of the major attractions and public transport links on both the Buda and Pest sides.
On the budget end, you will find a lot of different options for hostels such as the Lavender Circus Hostel with most dorm beds starting at an average price of about €15-20 per night. This does depend on the season you’re travelling, with prices being lower in the winter and higher in the summer.
On the mid-range, there are plenty of lovely hotels — such as Butterfly Home Danube — that range from around roughly €50-80 per night. If you’re splitting the costs between two people, this can work out to be quite affordable.
Even if you’re looking for something a bit more plush than a mid-range hotel, you will find that some 4-star hotels that are centrally located and boast plenty of amenities are not as pricey as those in many other European cities may be.
If you’re looking to stay in a luxury hotel such as the Maison Bistro & Hotel, expect those to start at around €120-150 per night and can go up from there. This, again, depends on the time of year, day of the week and lots of other variables, as well. However, you generally don’t need to break the bank to stay in style while visiting Budapest.
So, depending on the type of accommodation that you’re after, I’d recommend planning around €15-75 per person per night in this area of your daily budget when you travel to Budapest.
Transportation Prices in Budapest
If you arrive into Budapest airport, then you need to account for the cost of getting from the airport to the city centre. If you go by the direct airport bus, then plan to spend under €5 for this privilege. You can also opt to take a Bolt or taxi or book a private transfer for around €25-30.
Budapest has an extensive public transport system that includes multiple metro, bus, and tram lines. That being said, many of the major sites in the city are quite close together and Budapest itself is quite walkable. However, it is still quite a large city so using the public transport system can be useful and affordable.
If you’re planning on visiting a number of paid attractions, it can be worth it to purchase a Budapest Card. This includes unlimited public transportation along with free and discounted entry into the majority of Budapest’s top attractions. There are lots of different options available, but the savings can be significant if you choose to purchase one.
If you don’t go for the card, you will still find public transit to be quite affordable. Figure out how much you plan to use the metro or tram and make a decision on whether purchasing single-ride tickets or a longer travel card makes sense for you.
A single ticket costs about €1.15 and a 24-hour travel card costs about €6.50 and they are valid on all modes of transport within the city. You can find detailed information about the pricing for Budapest’s public transit on their official website.
If you don’t want to use public transportation or simply want the option of jumping in a taxi, there are a few ride-hailing apps available in Budapest. There is no Uber in Budapest, however, Bolt operates in the city and rides can be affordable.
In general, plan to budget around €5-10 per person per day on transportation, assuming you use the public transport system but throw in a Bolt ride here and there for convenience.
Food Prices in Budapest
The cost of food can really vary in Budapest depending on your habits and where/when you choose to eat out. If you’re really looking to pinch some pennies, you can eat very cheap in Budapest and not go hungry.
If you avoid the tourist trap restaurants along the river or near Castle Hill, eating out in Budapest can be incredibly affordable for visitors. Hungarian food is also unique to that of other Central and Eastern European cuisines so it is very much worth sampling.
There are a number of cheap, international fast food options available for budget travellers as well. For instance, a kebab or falafel from a fast food restaurant will only cost a few euro for a sizable portion. If you want to eat local, expect a langos (a Hungarian-style pizza kind of dish) to also cost around €4-6 depending.
If you’d prefer to eat at a sit-down, mid-range restaurant, a two-course meal will only cost about €10-15 per person and a meal at a budget restaurant will be even less. You can obviously spend more if you’re looking to eat at more upmarket spots or do a food tour but these are just some starting-off figures.
If you are staying in a place that has self-catering facilities and would prefer to cook your own meals, groceries are also quite affordable in Budapest and you won’t have to spend much to eat.
On average, plan to spend about €10-20 per person per day on food in Budapest depending on your habits and preferences.
Activities Prices in Budapest
While it is incredibly possible to experience Budapest to its fullest without spending a cent on activities, sometimes it is nice to visit a museum or historical landmark and most do charge admission fees.
Most museum tickets cost around €10 at full price, and there are a number of discounts available as well. For example, most places offer significant discounts for students, youths (under 25’s), and seniors (over 65’s). You can also get entry to a number of museums for free with a purchase of a Budapest Card.
Some of the top museums in Budapest include the House of Terror (with entry at around €10 full-price) and the Budapest History Museum at the Buda Castle, which is also around €10 for entry. Other museums, like the Hospital in the Rock museum, can be more expensive at around €25. Entry into the Dohany Street Synagogue is similarly priced.
There are also plenty of great free walking tours to take advantage of in Budapest, for which you are only financially responsible for the guide’s tip. In general, plan to tip at least €5-10 per person depending on the quality of the tour – or more, if you think it’s worth it!
If you want to go on a more specialised, paid walking tour, expect these to start at around €10-15 and to go up from there, depending on the type of tour and the group size, particularly for Jewish history or communism tours.
One of the most popular activities in Budapest includes going to one of its many thermal bathhouses, and admission to these can range in price depending on where you go. The popular Széchenyi Thermal Baths, for example, are also among the most expensive, starting at around €25 for basic entry.
My recommendation would be to head to the more local, less touristy bathhouses such as the Rudas Baths where entry prices start at around €15.
Of course, another popular activity in Budapest is to go on a cruise along the mighty Danube. These are frequent and won’t break the bank depending on the type of cruise you book. Expect prices to average around €10-15.
In general, plan to spend roughly €10-30 per person per day on activities for your Budapest travel costs, depending on how many things you want to do and if you choose to purchase any discount cards.
Entertainment Prices in Budapest
Budapest is becoming internationally recognised for its unique nightlife and it is incredibly accessible to experience all the Hungarian capital has to offer while visiting Budapest on a budget. Whether you’re looking to hop from ruin bar to ruin bar until the wee hours of the night or grab a solitary beer or coffee, entertainment prices are something you need to be aware of.
Budapest has some affordably priced alcohol and it doesn’t cost much to grab a pint of beer. Expect a half-litre of local lager to cost roughly €2.50 depending on where you are.
A glass of local wine is priced similarly, however, a basic cocktail such as a gin and tonic or an Aperol Spritz will cost somewhere around €5-8 depending on the establishment. These prices are what you can expect at some of Budapest’s famous ruin bars, like Szimpla Kert, or at other bars and restaurants as well.
If you’re looking to grab a coffee out, plan for an espresso drink like a cappuccino to cost around €2.50, as well.
How much you end up spending on the entertainment end really depends on the kind of holiday you’re looking to have. If you’re the type who wants to enjoy a coffee or a beer at the end of the day, then you will only need to budget about €5 per day. If you’re visiting Budapest to party, plan to budget a bit more.
Average Budapest Budget
To sum it up, this is how much you should expect to spend daily while visiting Budapest. This is assuming that you’re splitting some costs like accommodation and intend to use public transportation.
Accommodation: €15-75 / night
Transport: €5-10 / day
Food: €10-20 / day
Activities: €10-30 / day
Entertainment: €5-20 / day
All in all, your average Budapest cost per day to land somewhere around €45-155 per person, factoring in all of the aforementioned costs. This means that if you’re planning a 4-day budget for Budapest, then expect to spend around €180-620 per person.
This doesn’t include any pre-trip expenses such as flights or travel insurance. For travel insurance, World Nomads offers flexible and simple travel insurance policies with coverage for more than 150 activities that you can buy or extend while on the road.
Budapest can be an affordable city to visit if you know how much to budget and where to spend your money. In general, you can have a great trip to the Hungarian capital even if you don’t have a lot of extra cash to spend!
Are you planning a trip to Budapest? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!