Budapest is one of the biggest cities in the EU and is often called the Paris of the East. It remains a popular destination because of its low prices, beautiful architecture, youthful spirit, vibrant nightlife, and rich history. Plus, it still has that gritty Eastern Europe edge — which adds to its coolness. In this travel price guide, we’ll outline the estimated travel expenses for food, accommodation, attractions, alcohol, and other things that you’ll experience when you visit Budapest.
This article is part of our City Price Guide Series — Click here to see all our European 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.”
NOTE: We’ve converted all prices to US Dollars since the Hungarian Forint (HUF) is a bit confusing to convert on-the-fly. Check out XE.com for the latest exchange rates.
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.
A Few Budget Breakfast Spots:
- 9BAR: Tasty cappuccino, espresso, and a few pastry options.
- VINYL & WOOD: A hip little spot serving up coffee and pastries.
- Bite Bakery Cafe: Coffee, huge cinnamon rolls, and chocolate rolls.
- Inez Bagel Shop: Bagel sandwiches.
- Cserpes Tejivo: A cozy spot with coffee, pastries, and sandwiches.
- Duran Szendvics: Traditional Hungarian breakfast sandwiches.
Budget Lunch: $2-$6
- Super budget travelers can make a super cheap lunch of bread, lunch meat, 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 ($1.85).
- 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 the main dish.
- A combo meal at McDonald’s 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.
A Few Budget-Friendly Lunch and Dinner Spots:
- Street Food Karavan: A spot with multiple food trucks/stalls serving up different food and beer.
- Klauzal Cafe: Authentic Hungarian spot serving up traditional fare.
- Bors GasztroBar: Super tasty soups and sandwiches.
- Regos Restaurant: Hearty traditional Hungarian food.
- Hoppacska: Filling Hungarian sandwiches.
- Buddies Burger: Cheap and tasty burgers.
- Local Korner: Excellent pizza in a super fun atmosphere.
- Hai Nam Vietnamese Bistro & Pho Bar: Solid Pho spot.
Drinks and Alcohol
- A pint of standard beer out: 360 HUF ($1.30)
- A pint of beer from a grocery store: 225 HUF ($.85)
- Bottle of (drinkable) wine from the 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 — 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, & Rental Apartment Accommodation Prices
Hostels and hotels are pretty cheap in Budapest. All the hostels we’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 can also be a nice option in Budapest.
Hostel Bed: $10-$20/night
Hostels are cheap in Budapest. The average price of a bed per night is about $14 — 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 Hostelworld.
Budget Hotels: $25-$70/night
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.
We suggest checking out Booking.com to see hotel prices for your dates since they’re always changing.
Rental Apartment: $30-$85/night
Budapest has a decent amount of rental apartments throughout the city. They can be a good option for large groups or travelers who want a little more space (and a kitchen). On the other hand, you may also have to deal with inconvenient check-in processes and things like extra cleaning fees and service charges. For short stays, we prefer hotels but longer stays are ideal for rental apartments.
Learn More About the Cost of Visiting Europe
We’ve created a guide about the costs of traveling through Europe (including more city price guides) — Click here to read more about Europe Travel Costs.
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Thanks For Reading! — Susan and James