Is Budapest an expensive city?

How much money should I expect to bring with me if I am travelling to Budapest from the UK for 4 days on a holiday? Is it expensive?

Is Budapest an expensive city?First of all thank you for your question. Considering the fact that you will arrive from the UK Budapest will seem quite a lot cheaper than what you are used to, but not at all super cheap. One of the big differences is the hotel prices, as you in Budapest can get a room in a five star hotel for around 100 Euro per night, much, much cheaper than in large UK cities such as London, Dublin (ops… not in UK, but in Ireland) and so on. If you go for a hotel with three or four stars you can get even prices around 50-70 Euro per night.

For a service such as an airport transfer you should plan to spend around 25-30 Euro for a normal taxi from the airport to the city center. Taxi in the central parts of Budapest is also cheap, just make sure to order the taxi from your hotel or restaurant, not just jump into one in the city.

Restaurants in Budapest are fairly cheap, and you can find daily menus in quite a lot of Budapest restaurants costing around 1200 HUF (about 4 Euro). A menu in McDonalds cost 1300 HUF (4,5 Euro) and the same prices are valid for Burger King. If you plan on eating in nicer Budapest restaurants you should estimate spending 20-30 Euro per person, that price including 1-2 courses and some drinks. You will of course find cheaper places as well, and also more expensive, but that is a quite average price for a kind of nicer restaurant.

When you visit museums in Budapest several of them have a permanent exhibition free to citizens in the European Union, but if you want to visit the temporary exhibitions you need to pay for that. These entrance fees normally vary between 1000-3000 HUF.

The public transportation in Budapest is also fairly cheap and if you plan on using it quite a lot you should buy a one week pass costing 4600 (Hetijegy is the name in Hungarian). For those planning to shop a lot Budapest has quite international prices, so shopping in Zara or H&M in Budapest costs just as much as it would cost to buy clothes in the same stores in the UK. If you want to buy quality wine that is though cheaper here, at least if you buy the local wine produced in Hungary. A fine bottle of Hungarian wine can cost 10-15 Euro in a winestore.

All in all Budapest is a fairly cheap European capital, but you can spend a lot of money if you would like to. It is hard to answer and tell you exactly how much money is worth bringing, but hopefully this answer will help you calculate yourself how much you would like to bring!

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53 thoughts on “Is Budapest an expensive city?

  1. Budapest Guide says:

    Really sorry about that Paul! Guess the article was written in a hurry, but will try to make sure to not do the same mistake in the future…

  2. Budapest Guide says:

    Yes you are… lots of people change money at home before arriving to Budapest, so this is perfectly legal. If you decide to change in Budapest instead, you can easily use an ATM at the airport, or we can recommend one of the exchange offices in the center of Budapest!

  3. linda says:

    a one week transport pass, does this include the metro, bus, local ferries?
    also to go to Memento park is this also included ?
    thankyou for your help

  4. Budapest Guide says:

    Hello Phil! The prices vary from place to place… in the cheapest pubs and bars a pint of local beer will cost 1 Euro, while it costs more like 2-3 Euros in nicer pubs and bars! In restaurants you will find everything from 2-5 Euros.

  5. Budapest Guide says:

    Hello John,

    I am not to familiar with the prices in Mexico, so hard to say. In general eating and drinking out in Budapest is quite good, but buying clothes etc is quite similar to other cities in Europe. A meal at McDonalds cost 1300 HUF, while a 1/2 beer cost between 300-700 HUF in most pubs!

  6. Garry says:

    Will be in Budapest starting August 10. How necessary is it to exchange Euros to the HUF? Are prices shown in both HUF and Euros?

  7. Budapest Guide says:

    Hey there Garry!! It is recommended to change Euros to HUF, because the rates the shops and stores use as they let you pay in Euro often give you much less for your money, than if you would change your Euro to HUF and pay in the local currency. Many places will show you prices in both HUF and Euro’s, so feel free to compare them, and if you feel as if the prices are similar, then pay with whatever currency you prefer. However, if there is a difference, you will probably do better paying with the Hungarian Forints instead of the Euro.

  8. Jaine says:

    I am planning a long weekend in budapest beginning December 2013. Alot of christmas markets on the agenda. what is the best way to pay. Forints or Euros. Also for dinner and drinks. All very confusing. Just want to exchange my money and go

  9. Budapest Guide says:

    The best way to pay is using the Hungarian Forint. You can pay with Euros, but they will normally charge you more if you decide to pay with Euros instead of Hungarian Forint. The best is therefore to either use an exchange office in central Budapest (check a couple of offices before changing, and change where you find the best exchange rate), or use an ATM somewhere downtown.

  10. Chris says:

    I’m going to Budapest in May. My guide book says public transport is free for pensioners. Is this true? What do I need to prove I’m a pensioner?
    Thanks and regards

  11. Yohanna Nestarez says:

    Hi! I was thinking in going to Budapest in May. It’s better to exchange money from dollars to HUF or to euros to HUF? And also, in the museums they have a special fare for international students? (I’m from Perú) Thank you in advance for your answer! Yohanna

    • Budapest Guide says:

      Hello! It is pretty much the same if you change USD to HUF or EUR to HUF. The exchange raters as somewhat “similar”, so what is easier for you, change that to Hungarian Forints. If you have an ISIC Student Card that will give you discounts on quite some museums in Budapest!

  12. Roseanne says:

    Hi! We’ll be in Budapest June 1-4….what’s the weather like then?
    Would you recommend the public baths?
    Thanks! Roseanne

  13. andrew says:

    Hi im from india is it possible to get job in hungary and i have portugal passport and what is the salary they pay euro or hungarian currency.

    • Budapest Guide says:

      Hello! Hungary and Budapest is for sure not the promised land for those looking for a job and a good salary. Without knowledge of the Hungarian language it is very hard to get a job, and to make things worse, the Hungarian language is not an easy one to learn. An average salary in Budapest is between 300-400 Euro a month (after taxes), but there are quite a lot of jobs in which you will earn less than this!

  14. Rachel says:


    I’m thinking of travelling to Budapest for two weeks in late July. How much money would you recommend that I take with me, just for spending money (in pounds or euro)? Thanks!

    • Budapest Guide says:

      Dear Rachel, it all depends on how much you plan on spending, but if you like many other tourists plan on eating out for lunch and dinner, have breakfast in your hotel and then do some shopping, then if you plan on eating fairly cheap food, then you should say 30-40 Euro per day. You can eat lunches for between 4-10 Euros easily, and then you can have dinners costing you 10-20 Euro, and then you need to find out how much more you want to spend on visiting museums. If you plan on eating at better restaurants, then you could double the amount of money needed daily.

      Museums have some entrance fees, these are normally between 3-10 Euros! Good luck!

  15. Jay Ferrier says:

    We arrive in Budapest on a river cruise on Friday, June 5. How do we get from the cruise terminal to the railway station and what is the cost? Thanks

    • Budapest Guide says:

      Hello! As there are several railwaystations in Budapest, there is no perfect answer, but you will probably travel from Keleti or from Nyugati Railway station. The easiest is for sure just to jump in a taxi and make sure that the people at the boat reception order one from you, or call City Taxi at +36 1 211 1111 and make them pick you up at where you boat arrives. The price should be nothing more than 3000 HUF for such a taxi ride.

    • Budapest Guide says:

      The average temperature in January is around 0 Celsius, but it can get a bit colder but also warmer. What is tricky is the wind, so often 0 Celsius in Budapest actually feels much colder. So, bring a warm jacket for sure, scarf and if that is not enough, then go shopping!

    • Budapest Guide says:


      As far as we know you need to use cash to change your local currency to HUF, meaning that there is no place where you can use your card to exchange money. But, why not use an ATM which is much better, absolutely no commission rates and so?

  16. Janine Atkinson says:

    Hi there,

    I’m travelling from the Uk for a weeks holiday. Which is better to bring, euros or sterling. Also do hotels exchange money. I’m staying in Budapest, are there exchange shops or do you always have to go to a bank, if so what are their opening hours and are there lots of them ?

    • Budapest Guide says:

      There are lots of exchange places around in Budapest and they often have the best exchange rates, so normally much better than changing in banks or in your hotel. Check two or three exchange shops and use the one with the best rates.

      You can also use an ATM to get the local currency, which might be the best solution. The exchange shops are normally open from 9.00 or 10.00 till 20.00.

      It does not matter if you change to HUF from Euro or Sterling 🙂

  17. Imane says:

    Hello, im going to stay in Budapest from July 22th till August 22th, which is quite a long time. I am a student coming for an internship which means that i didn’t pay for an accomodation and i also get lunch everday from the organisation i am working with. I am planning to bring around 500euros. Is it enough if i want to use transportation everyday, visit museums, do activities like thermal baths, eat in cheap local restaurants, buy some souvenirs, go to clubs ( i don’t drink alcohol) and stuff like these ?

    • Budapest Guide says:

      Hello! I would say that you are on a quite minimal budget. If you plan on using local transportation daily you should buy a monthly card which is about 33 Euro. Eating outside in cheap places (at least once a day) will cost you around 5 Euros a day (if you eat in the cheapest places). If so, you can of course survive on 500 Euro, but I would for sure bring some extras.

  18. Angie says:

    Hi thinking of coming in february for 4 days…which is best area to stay in a central location for easy sightseeing etc

    • Budapest Guide says:

      I would recommend living in the fifth district, near Vaci Utca… That means in the area near the Vorosmarty ter. If things would be in around 1 km from this are it should still be considered fairly central!

  19. Peter says:

    Dear Budapest Guide,
    I have read your advice about using HUF in Budapest. We are own on a four day visit to this most promising of cities. You recommend changing money through ATMs.Are there any ATMs at the airport; i.e. can we do all our foreign exchange there on arrival as I am not keen to use Sterling or Euro? Many Thanks

    • Budapest Guide says:

      Hello 🙂 There are ATMs at the airport, so you can easily use them! It is not smart to change money at the airport, because the places are really expensive. So, either use an ATM at the airport, or change your money when you get into town in a good exchange office.

  20. Malcolm says:

    Dear Budapest Guide,
    …We would like to visit Budapest for a weeks stay and have looked at a possibly self catering rental near Nyugati railway station. Can we get an airport transfer to this location either train or bus. And also we would like to visit Lake Balaton for a day visit as I believe its about 100km from the apartment? can you please advice…

    • Budapest Guide says:

      It is no problem with an airport transfer, you can also order it here in the Budapest Guide. For a day trip to Lake Balaton you can either go by train which is the cheapest, or you could hire a private driver (which is much more expensive)!

  21. Jozie lane says:

    Hi there, me and some friends are visiting Budapest in August for 4 days. We will be sight seeing by day but partying at night. Can you recommend any holiday rentals/ apartments? I’ve seen many on trip advisor but not with any reviews! Just feels unsafe.
    We want to be by szechenyi baths. Thank you for a well informed site, just reading all the comments has been helpful.

    • Budapest Guide says:

      First of all, if you want to be out partying at night, then I would not want an apartment by the Szechenyi Thermal baths. It is quite a distance from the main city center and from the popular ruin pubs and popular areas. So, I would skip that, and rather use the metro and travel to the area whenever you want to be there, but live somewhere else instead. When it comes to holiday rentals and apartments, I would probably just visit or and do a search and read through reviews from earlier customers. You will get a lot wiser based on such information and since they are written by actual users and tourists, they are likely to be correct and true.

  22. karen says:

    I am planning a trip to Budapest in July. My husband will be there working for business so I plan to come for a week during that time. As he will be working during the day, is it safe in Budapest for a woman to walk the streets alone to sightsee. We will be staying at the Marriott in Budapest and I believe it is by the river.

    • Budapest Guide says:

      there should be no problem at all walking the streets of Budapest alone during daytime. It really shouldn’t be in the evening either, but of course it is wise to watch out. The center of Budapest is really safe, and you should be able to walk around without any fear or trouble, just shopping, discovering the beauties of the city and so on!

  23. Loran Wall says:

    I will be visiting Budapest next week and I’m unsure as to how much spends I may need. I am visiting for a tourist experience so I will be sight seeing and dining out most days. I will be there for 3nights 4 days and considering changing £300 into HUF? Do you think this will be enough? I have already pre paid for the spa bath experience.


    • Budapest Guide says:

      Hello Loran,
      if you are traveling alone, I believe this amount should be enough. I guess you have paid for your hotel already, so your 300 GBP will be used for activities and eating. If that is so, then it should be more than enough. Entrance fees are normally around 3-10 GBP (depending on where you go), so you can visit a whole lot of places, and still have used far less than 100 GBP. If you then plan on using about 200 GBP on eating out, you can eat fairly well and at better places, and still be within budget (easily). So, I would say that it should be more than enough, but of course, if you plan on doing shopping and buying exclusive clothes, exclusive wines and stuff, then it will not be enough!

  24. Alan Perkins says:

    My wife and I are visiting for 4 days in December. I am over 65. I gather that means i can travel for free. How does this work? Do i need my senior citizen pass I use in UK. Does free travel also include to and from Airport on the bus. We do not fly back until late evening – do hotels allow visitors to leave bags after check out and then pick up before they leave.

    • Budapest Guide says:


      you need your passport to confirm that you are an EU citizen, and to confirm your age! This can be used for public transportation, but it is not valid for the airport bus taking you directly from the airport to the city center. According to our sources, the direct airport bus (100 E) should be free to use for EU citizens above 65 years, so you can freely use this one as well. And yes, there is a luggage storage in almost every hotel in which you can store your luggage until you leave in the evening!

    • Budapest Guide says:

      I would go and ask Google and read some of the reviews there. Not exactly our specialty, so I guess sites more specialized on this topic can help you in a much better and solid and trustworthy way!

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