How much spending money do you need for a day in Budapest?

Budapest is the capital city of Hungary, known for its grand architecture, rich history, thermal baths and lively nightlife. It’s also a very affordable destination, especially compared to other European capitals like London, Paris or Rome. With careful budgeting, you can fully experience Budapest on a modest daily budget.


Hostel dorm beds in Budapest cost around $10-15 USD per night. Private single or double rooms in hostels run $30-60 per night. Budget hotels and Airbnbs can be found for $50-100 per night for a room. Luxury hotels in the city center average around $150-300 per night.

So budget $10-15 per day if staying in a hostel dorm, $30-60 for a hostel private room, $50-100 for a basic hotel/Airbnb, or $150+ for high-end lodging.


Hungarian food is generally very affordable. Budget $5-10 USD per meal at inexpensive restaurants and food stalls. Sit-down restaurants with table service average $10-20 per entrée. A three-course meal at a nice restaurant might cost $30-50 per person with wine.

If eating mainly street food and budget restaurants, plan for around $15-30 per day on meals. At mid-range restaurants, budget $40-60 per day. And at higher-end places, $70+ per day.


Budapest has an excellent public transportation system. A single bus, metro or tram ticket costs 350 HUF ($1 USD). A 24-hour travel pass is 1,650 HUF ($4.50) and a 72-hour pass is 4,150 HUF ($11.50).

Other transportation options and average costs:

  • Taxi: Base fare of 700 HUF ($2), then 300 HUF ($1) per km
  • Uber/Bolt: Around 200-300 HUF ($0.60-1) per km
  • Bicycle rental: 1,000-2,000 HUF ($3-6) per day
  • River boat: 1,500-2,000 HUF ($5-7) per hour

Budget $5-15 USD per day for getting around the city, depending on the modes used.

Sights & Activities

Many of Budapest’s top sights and landmarks have free entry, including Heroes’ Square, Buda Castle Hill, Fisherman’s Bastion, Margaret Island and much of the Jewish Quarter. Paid attractions average around $5-20 per entry.

Other typical Budapest activity costs:

  • Thermal baths – $15-50 per day
  • Walking tours – Free to $25 per person
  • River cruises – $15-30 per hour
  • Opera/concerts – $10-70 per ticket
  • Museums – $5-15 per entry

Budget $20-60+ per day for paid attractions and activities depending on your interests.

Shopping & Souvenirs

Budapest offers plenty of shopping, from large malls to quirky boutiques. Clothing and shoes cost similar prices to most European and American cities. Hungary is known for its paprika and goose liver pâté (foie gras) which make good food souvenirs. Other popular souvenirs include embroidery, ceramics, handcrafted items, art and antiques. Budget $10-30 per day for some shopping and picking up souvenirs.


Budapest has an exciting nightlife scene with “ruin pubs”, bars, clubs and more. Local beers cost around $2-3 USD each at supermarkets and $3-6 at bars and clubs. Cocktails run $6-10 per drink. Wine by the glass is $3-8. Entry fees at nightclubs are around $5-20.

If planning on a big night out, budget $30-60+ for drinks, cover charges and late night food.

Daily Budget for Budapest

Budapest can be done very cheaply on a backpacker budget, or in more lavish style if you want to splash out. Here is an estimated daily budget breakdown by style of travel:

Expense Backpacker Mid-range Luxury
Accommodation $15 dorm bed $60 hotel/Airbnb $200 luxury hotel
Food $20 street food & fast food $50 restaurants $100 fine dining
Transport $5 metro & walking $10 taxis & transit $20 private taxis
Sights & Activities $10 (free & budget sights) $30 (paid attractions) $100 (tours, shows, etc)
Shopping & Souvenirs $10 $20 $50
Nightlife $10 $40 $100+
Daily Total $60-80 $200-250 $500+

Average Cost Per Day

Based on the above estimates, the average daily cost for a mid-range Budapest trip would be around $120-200 USD per day per person. This allows for comfortable lodging, good meals, paid attractions and activities, shopping and nightlife at local prices.

Backpackers can get by on $50-80 per day by staying in dorms, eating cheaply, using free activities and nightlife, and using discounts.

For a luxury vacation, plan on spending $400+ per day if staying at high-end hotels, eating at the best restaurants, taking private tours and not limiting costs.

How to Save Money in Budapest

There are many ways to save money and make the most of your budget while visiting Budapest:

  • Walk or use public transportation – the city is very walkable and transit is affordable.
  • Eat street food, cafeteria-style restaurants and avoid excessive alcohol – Hungarian street food is delicious!
  • Stay in dorms or find an Airbnb apartment rental.
  • Visit the many excellent free sights and parks.
  • Take free walking tours.
  • See the changing of the guard ceremonies at the Parliament.
  • Ride a bike or scooter to get around.
  • Buy a Budapest Card for free transportation and discounts.
  • Shop at markets for souvenirs rather than malls.
  • Drink at ruin pubs rather than high-end clubs.

Hidden Costs to Watch Out For

While Budapest is largely an affordable city, there are a few things that may cost more than expected:

  • Taxis – Only use official taxis with meters, watch for scams
  • Currency exchange – Avoid airport exchanges, use ATMs
  • Restaurants on the main square – Often overpriced tourist traps
  • Hotels in summer – Rates increase in peak season
  • Spas – Thermal baths have multiple add-on fees
  • Tips – Tip 10-15% at restaurants, bars, taxis
  • Sales tax – Hungary has 27% VAT on purchases

Money Saving Tips for Budapest

The Hungarian currency is the Forint (HUF). Dollars and Euros can be easily exchanged for HUF, but avoid airport exchanges. ATMs usually have the best rates. Credit cards are widely accepted.

To save money in Budapest:

  • Get a Budapest Card – Saves on attractions, transportation.
  • Book accommodation ahead – For the best deals.
  • Walk & use public transit – Excellent network, affordable.
  • Eat local cuisine – Avoid overpriced tourist areas.
  • Visit outdoor markets – Great prices on food, gifts.
  • Take free walking tours – Tip-based guides.
  • See free sights – Many top attractions are free.

How to Budget for a Longer Trip

If you are planning a longer trip to Budapest or Hungary, you may be able to decrease your average daily costs by:

  • Booking weekly/monthly accommodation rates
  • Purchasing a monthly public transportation pass
  • Joining a sports club, yoga studio or gym for monthly rates
  • Taking Hungarian language or cooking classes
  • Volunteering or working (like at a hostel) to offset costs
  • Traveling slower to spread out expenses

Also when planning a longer stay, budget more upfront for things like:

  • Visa fees
  • Vaccinations
  • Insurance (travel, health, luggage)
  • International flights
  • Mobile phone
  • Luggage, travel gear
  • Emergency fund

Typical Prices in Budapest

Here are some typical prices for common expenses in Budapest:

Item Average Price
Hostel dorm bed $10-15 per night
Hostel private room $30-60 per night
Mid-range hotel $80-150 per night
Airbnb apartment $50-100 per night
Meal at inexpensive restaurant $5-10
Meal at nice restaurant with wine $25-50 for two
Craft beer at bar $3-5
Cappuccino at cafe $2-3
Single metro/bus ticket $1
Taxi – 1km $1.50
Bicycle rental per day $5-10
Attraction entry $5-20
Thermal bath entry $10-25


Budapest offers an affordable central European experience for travelers on any budget. By staying in budget accommodation, walking and using public transit, eating local cuisine, visiting free attractions, and limiting extravagances, it’s easy to vacation in Budapest on a daily budget of around $60-120 USD or less per person.

To live more lavishly, plan for $200-500+ per day if you wish to splurge on luxury hotels, fine dining, guided tours, shows and VIP treatment. But Budapest can be enjoyed thoroughly without breaking the bank, leaving you with wonderful memories and stories to share.

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