budapest on budget

How to do Budapest on a Budget

Budapest is extremely beautiful even if all you can afford is to walk the streets and admire the architecture, the breathtaking Danube River and the many public statues.

Budapest has just been announced as the winner of an annual competition of the best destination in Europe for 2019. Budapest came ahead of popular cities such as London, Paris and Barcelona.

In addition to that, Budapest is also listed among the best budget cities of Europe: British Post Office Money ranked forty-eight cities and Budapest is the eleventh on the list on the City Cost Barometer 2019.

Budapest is considered to be the best destination for “Lovers, City break, Culture, Christmas, Nightlife, Wellness, Instagram”

All in one, actually. 🙂   

Like many of the Eastern European countries, Hungary – and its capital Budapest – is relatively cheap compared to the western European capitals.Sure, there are a couple of tricks you can learn to save even more.

Where should you stay in Budapest on a budget? Generally, a hostel is still your most budget-friendly option — but not always.

Remember: cost isn’t everything.

If you’re more interested in meeting a local, choose a private room in an Airbnb.

Looking to socialize with other travelers? Live up the hostel life.

Would you rather be left alone with you significant other? Go for a hotel or entire house on Airbnb.

The city is full of hotels of all kinds, just check out my recommendations and tips.

If you feel like splurging on a hotel and getting some extra privacy for not much more, do it.

Getting around

Buy a 10 transportation tickets pack right at the airport and use a single ticket when you can not walk to your desired destination.

Budapest is a very walkable city, so it might be enough for your whole stay.

Have a look at the one-day itinerary with walking routes both on Pest and Buda sides! 

Affordable meals

You will quickly see that there are a plenty of places where you find delicious food for cheap.

Just to name a few:

Budget breakfast

Plenty of cafes are serving great breakfasts. You can find the budget friendly options at bakeries, supermarkets or grocery stores.

A pastry costs about $1. Something more filling will cost about $5.

Budget Breakfast Spots:

9BAR: Tasty cappuccino, espresso, and a few pastry options.

Budapest, Lázár u. 5, 1065


Pizzica: great pizzas

Nagymező u. 21, Budapest, 1065

Bite Bakery Cafe: Coffee, huge cinnamon rolls, and chocolate rolls.

📍VI. Teréz körút 62.📍VI. Oktogon tér 4.📍 VII. Király utca 59.

Inez Bagel Shop: Bagel sandwiches

Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 40.
1054 Budapest

Cserpes Tejivó: A cozy spot with coffee, pastries, and sandwiches

We love love LOVE their salads and hot sandwiches!




Best brunch places

Kiosk Budapest

Március 15. tér 4
1052 Budapest

Kiosk Budapest
Kiosk Budapest lunch

Sarki Fűszeres

1137 Pozsonyi út 53-55

Sarki fűszeres

or try the Great Market Hall

Budapest, Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093

Central Market Hall

Budget lunch

If you wouldn’t like to buy something super cheap at one of the supermarkets, grocery stores or markets, a takeaway meal (like a gyros, kebab or a Chinese meal) will cost about $6. You can also buy a soup for just $2, while a whole pizza costs about $4.50.

We also have self-service restaurants where the meals are simple and cheap. One of these places is Főzelékfaló right at the Ferenciek Square metro station.

Belvárosi Disznótoros is always a good option if you would like to taste Hungarian cuisine fast and cheap.

Károlyi Mihály u. 17.
1053 Budapest

Street Food Kolbice

They have several stores, check them here.

Something not to skip: thermal baths

Széchenyi Baths

Even if you are on a budget, try one of the baths. I recommend Széchenyi baths, because it is huge, it has several inside and outside pools and you can spend here many-many hours so it is worth paying the entrance fee.

Király and Lukács baths are cheaper, they are great too, but in my opinion Széchenyi or Gellért are the go to places for first time visitors.

Check out a ruin bar

Many of the ruin bars are situated in the narrow streets of the Jewish Quarter

If you have time only to visit one of the ruin bars, then it should be the most famous of all, Szimpla.

Visit the free attractions

Buda Castle – Royal Palace, Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion

There is a supermarket very near to Matthias Church with normal prices. Here you can buy something to drink or even to eat.

Rétesvár (Strudel castle) is also a great place at 4 Balta köz. Their strudels are quite cheap and very delicious.

Explore the Castle Garden and have a picnic there!

Castle Garden
Castle Garden Buda

Get lost in the maze of narrow streets in the Jewish Quarter and admire its street art and tiny details. 

man of the year mural

Watch the sunrise of the sunset from one of the lookout terraces of the Citadel at the top of the Gellért Hill or from Garden of Philosophers.

Bring something with you to drink (maybe a bottle of wine) and bite and enjoy the view.

Heroes’ square and its surroundings is a great place to hang around in every season.  Here you find the City Park, City Park Lake, Vajdahunyad Castle and also the Budapest Zoo

City Park Budapest

Zig zag on the bridges, the view is super from all of them! 

View from Buda Castle, the Chain Bridge
Liberty Bridge

Rent a bike on Margaret island and visit the mini zoo (its free) and the Japanese garden (it is also free).

Go hiking to Normafa and climb up to Elisabeth lookout.


Make sure you visit the Parliament. It is an architectural masterpiece. You can also attend a guided tour, if you are interested. 

Hungarian Parliament in summer

Visit some of the most Instagramable spots and take a few pics for great memories! 🙂

See my post about money and costs in Budapest, too! 

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