How Much We Spent Traveling in Budapest
In July Andy and I spent a week in Budapest. It was a wonderful city, and I wish we could’ve stayed longer. It was a nice escape to break up the long stretch of time we had at home, and it was a trip to really test out working on the road. We did a lot while we were there, but working meant we skipped a few things we might have spent money on otherwise. Here’s how much we spent traveling in Budapest for a week.
Total Budapest travel costs
Amounts are listed in Hungarian forints (HUF) and US dollars.
106,870 HUF / $460.35 – accommodation
10,600 HUF / $47.16 – public transportation
78,160 HUF / $347.11 – food and alcohol
4,400 HUF / $19.58 – activities
5,090 HUF / $22.65 – miscellaneous
205,120 HUF / $896.85 – total
We also spent 177€ (US$238.95) on our two round trip train tickets from Freiburg to Budapest. I wish we had spent more on a day train instead of taking the overnight train that wasn’t even a sleeper train.
Lodging costs in Budapest – $460.35
Spending a full week in one place meant renting an apartment. Hotel rooms get old quick, and we love having the extra space an apartment provides. Plus it also allows us to save money by eating breakfast in, and we even made a few other meals ourselves instead of eating out the whole time. Since we were working part of the week, being able to make sandwiches for lunch really helped. Once again, we rented an apartment through Airbnb, and this averaged out to $65.76 per night for seven nights, or $32.88 per person per night.
Transportation expenses in Budapest – $47.16
When we arrived in Budapest, we decided to get a weekly pass for the public transportation system. The ticket scheme for single rides seemed complicated (one price for short trips, a different for longer trips, another for having to switch lines) and we decided it was just easier to have a pass.
In hindsight, we probably should’ve just figured out which types of single tickets we needed because most of what we did was close enough to walk. We probably didn’t get full use of our passes, but sometimes they’re just easier to deal with. We also had to buy a couple of singles on our last day since it was technically day eight. The weekly passes cost 4,950 HUF, or about $22, per person.
Cost of food in Budapest – $347.11
As I mentioned, we ate most of our breakfasts in the apartment plus three lunches and two dinners. The rest was eating out, a few drinks, and some snacks. I found food to be pretty inexpensive in Budapest. Our most expensive dinner was about $40, and that included one meal each, three beers for Andy and two lemonades for me. For eight days, we averaged $43.39 per day, or about $21.69 per person per day on food and alcohol.
Cost of activities in Budapest – $19.58
We didn’t actually do a lot that involved a cost while we were in Budapest. The funicular up to Castle Hill, which I counted as entertainment instead of transportation, was 1,700 HUF ($7.56) per person round trip, and the tickets to go to the top of St. Stephen’s Basilica were 500 HUF ($2.23) per person. Visiting the other castle and going to see Hero’s Square were both free.
Budapest is well-known for its baths, which we skipped, and that would’ve added anywhere from $30 to $50 to this category. Boat tours on the Danube River are popular as well, but we skipped that. We also took a food tour with Taste Hungary, which we got for free, but I definitely would have paid for it otherwise. That would’ve added another $87 per person.
Read a full review of our Budapest food tour here.
Total miscellaneous spending – $22.65
This was for a t-shirt, some postcards, and a souvenir thimble for my mom.
Budapest isn’t the cheapest place in the world, but it wasn’t so expensive either. Sometimes it helps just to go somewhere that doesn’t use the euro (or the pound or Swiss franc for that matter). Groceries were cheap, eating at restaurants was reasonable, and transport was cheap. There’s not much I would’ve done to make this trip less expensive, though you could certainly look at hostels and skip the transport pass if you’re looking to cut a few corners here. For eight days traveling in Budapest, we averaged $112.10 per day, or $56.05 per person per day. This does not include our train tickets to Budapest.
You might also enjoy:
- How Much I Spent Traveling in Copenhagen
- How Much I Spent Traveling for One Week in Paris
- How Much I Spent Traveling in Cyprus and Northern Cyprus
- Or read more posts about travel spending
August 28, 2014 @ 9:16 AM
Budapest sounds like a really economical and interesting place to visit. I think it would even fall into my range of budget affordability.
I really like that Budapest has trams. It reminds me of when I was much younger and living in Melbourne and catching trams to school that look just like the ones in Budapest albeit the Melbourne trams were made locally.
Although Budapest seems to have a complicated ticketing system, I think it’s much better that the Myki card which is used on virtually all public transport in the Australian state of Victoria that cost over $1 billion dollars to implement and will be obsolete within a decade. On top of that it is often faulty too. I’d take papers tickets and Budapest’s system any day.
August 28, 2014 @ 9:47 AM
Not as cheap as Southeast Asia, but Budapest is definitely cheaper than Germany. I liked the trams too, although we only rode in one once. Mostly we took the metros and a couple buses. The ticketing system seemed complicated, but I’m sure it’s just that we weren’t used to it. Which is why we ended up with the weekly pass instead, which probably wasn’t worth it for us. All I remember about the transport system in Melbourne was having to buy a pass at 7eleven and then I didn’t know I had to validate it, but luckily the ticket checker was really nice about it and even helped me when I realized I was going the wrong direction.