Budapest is one of the biggest cities in the EU, and it’s often called the Paris of the East. It remains a popular destination because of its low prices, beautiful architecture, youthful spirit, vibrant nightlife, and history. Plus, it still has that gritty Eastern Europe edge — which adds to its coolness.
This article is part of our City Price Guide Series — Click here to see all our city price guides.
Average Daily Cost For Visiting Budapest
These prices are based on what you’ll need to visit the city comfortably — they don’t include things like big nights out at the bar/pub, club entry fees, souvenir/clothing shopping, tours, random purchases, nicer food, etc. Don’t forget to budget extra for those “non-essentials.”
Daily Cost of Budget Travel in Budapest: $38
- Attractions: $7 (one paid attraction + any free sites)
- Food: $14
- Breakfast: $3
- Lunch: $4
- Dinner: $5.50
- Treat (dessert/beer/wine): $1.50
- Transportation: $2.50
- Accommodation (hostel): $10
Daily Cost of Frugal Travel in Budapest: $20
- Attractions: $4 (free walking tour + visit one of the free sites)
- Food: $7
- Breakfast: $0 (free hostel breakfast)
- Lunch: $2 (ethnic street food or takeaway shop fare)
- Dinner: $4 (make your own meal in the hostel or grab something cheap)
- Beer: $1 (chill out at the park and have a cold one)
- Transportation: $1.50
- Accommodation (cheap hostel bed): $7.50
Budapest Attraction and Museum Prices
Budapest has a load of great attractions which are all affordable or free. The thermal baths are great, so bring a swimsuit or you’ll have to find someplace to buy one (which took me a while when I was there).
- Thermal Baths: 2,900-4,600 HUF ($11-$17 USD)
- Hungarian National Gallery: 1,200 HUF ($4.50)
- Museum of Fine Arts: 1,800 HUF ($7)
- House of Terror Museum: 2,000 HUF ($7.50)
- Pinball Museum: 2,500 HUF ($9.50) includes all you can play pinball
- Walking Tours: Free (but you should tip the guides) — 5,000 HUF/$18.50 (for paid tours)
Budapest Food Prices
You should seek out as much Hungarian food as you can in Budapest. Hungarian food consists of hearty soups, stews, goulash, all sorts of meat, seasonal vegetables, fruits, fresh bread, dairy products, and cheeses — it will fill you up! Prices are very affordable, but try to find where the locals eat to get the best price and quality.
Budget Breakfast: Free-$5
- Many hostels will offer a free, simple breakfast that normally consists of cereal, bread/croissant, and maybe milk, coffee, tea, or juice.
- Breakfast is an important meal in Budapest, so you’ll find plenty of cafés serving up some good options. A pastry costs about $1. A bigger breakfast will run about $4-$5.
- You can also find plenty of budget friendly options at the bakery or grocery store.
Budget Lunch: $2-$6
- Super budget travelers can make a super cheap lunch of bread, cheese, and fruit from any grocery store for a few dollars.
- Takeaway meals (like kebabs with fries) or similar dishes from a takeaway shop will cost about 500 HUF ($1.90).
- Grab a soup to go for 500 HUF ($1.90).
- A pizza will cost around 1,200 HUF ($4.50)
- Budapest has a decent number of ‘self-service restaurants’ (basically cafeterias) that hearken back to the days of communism. The meals are simple but tasty… and cheap. Expect to pay around 1,000 HUF ($3.75) for a main dish.
- A combo meal at McDonalds will cost about 1500 HUF ($6).
Budget Dinner: $5-$7
- Budget travelers will want to look at the many ethnic restaurants — a bowl of Pho will be about 1490 HUF ($5.50).
- An average meal of meat & potatoes will set you back about 1800 HUF ($6.75)
- You can get a nice meal from a non-touristy restaurant for about 1800 HUF ($6.70).
- Many of the options from the Budget Lunch section above also apply for dinner.
Drinks and Alcohol
- A pint of standard beer out: 360 HUF ($1.30)
- Pint of beer from a grocery store: 225 HUF ($.85)
- Bottle of (drinkable) wine from grocery store: 1000 HUF ($4.75)
- Espresso: $1.30
Budapest Transportation Prices
Budapest has a good network of trams, buses, and subways. They’re all affordable, but be sure that you always validate your ticket because they do check riders’ tickets often (and you don’t want to get a fine, which is $30-$60).
Single Ticket: 350 HUF ($1.30)
Book of 10 Single Tickets: 3,000 HUF ($11)
Unlimited Day Pass: 1,650 HUF ($6.15)
Train Ticket Between Airport and City: 400 HUF ($1.50)
Budapest Hostel/Hotel Accommodation Prices
Hostels and hotels are pretty cheap in Budapest. All the hostels I’ve stayed at have been pretty nice, too. There are also a good number of very cheap hotels (they’ll probably be fairly bare-bones), or you can spend a little extra if you want more comforts. Rental apartments are a great option in Budapest (I probably wouldn’t even consider getting a hotel room).
Hostels: $5-$15 (bed in a shared dorm room)
Hostels are cheap in Budapest. The average price per night is about $10, although many hostels raise their prices on the weekend. Remember, these prices are for a bed in a shared dorm room. If you want a private room, expect to pay $40-$60.
We book our hostels through Hostel World.
Budget Hotels: $25-$60
At the low end you can expect very basic accommodation, but once you get around $50/night, the hotels get a bit better. Either way, expect good ol’ Soviet-era charm.
Rental Apartment: $30-$85
From my experience, rental apartments (via Airbnb) tend to be much bigger and much nicer than similarly priced hotel rooms. Plus, you’ll get a kitchen so you can save more money by cooking your own meals — click here to get $30 off your first stay.
Read More About the Cost of Visiting Europe
We’ve created a guide about the costs of backpacking Europe (including more city price guides) — Click here to read more.
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Thanks! — Susan and James