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In November, I spent 4 days and 5 nights in the beautiful capital of Hungary: Budapest. I like travelling in November because it’s usually way more affordable than in high season. As a mid-range travel writer, I don’t mind spending a bit of extra cash on a good trip, but if I can do it more affordably – why not? In this Budapest Budget post, I wanted to share exactly how much me and my boyfriend spent during our trip to Budapest. I hope this gives you a good idea of how much a 4 day trip to Budapest really costs and how to budget to do a similar trip.
Note: You could easily do Budapest on an even cheaper budget than this. I’m a mid-range traveller, meaning that I like a bit of comfort when I travel. I try to avoid hostels and I don’t mind spending a bit of money on a more luxurious dining experience.
£64 per person – Return from Manchester to Budapest
Flying to Budapest definitely doesn’t have to be expensive. There are tons of budget airlines that connect Budapest with the rest of the world. But with a little extra research, you may be able to even cut some money off those budget prices.
- Be flexible: Different dates have different prices. The best way to secure cheap tickets is to be flexible with your departure and arrival dates. I love using Google Flights to cheap what the cheapest flights are because they make it super easy to see the different prices on their calendar.
- Check different airlines: We flew to Budapest by using Easyjet and we flew back to Manchester with Ryanair. I don’t really have a preference when it comes to budget airlines, but this way we saved quite a bit of money. When you’re certain about your dates, it won’t hurt to check other budget airlines to see if one way may be cheaper with them.
- Book on time: Flight prices tend to shoot up closer to the departure date. To avoid this, make sure you book your flights as early as possible.
Airbnb 5 nights = £183.75 / 2 = £91.87 per person.
Rather than staying in a hostel or a hotel, we decided to stay in an Airbnb because it was so affordable in Budapest. For five nights in this beautiful apartment, we only paid £183.75 (about £33 per night). What I liked about renting an Airbnb for a change is that we had a full apartment for ourselves. You can find the apartment we stayed at here. Especially because we walked a LOT in Budapest, it was really nice to have a good bed and an entire place to ourselves to unwind.
- Save money by staying in a hostel instead? You can obviously cut costs on this if you want by staying in a hostel instead. The average price of a hostel bed in a shared room sits between £9-£15 per night. I’m not a huge fan of hostels, personally, and because the entire apartment wasn’t that expensive compared to hotels, we decided to go with this one.
- Save money on your Airbnb? You can save some extra money by signing up to Airbnb through this link. This way, you’ll save £34 on your first booking.
Food & Drinks
£82.79 per person for 4 full days and 2 travel days
For someone who travelled to Budapest from the UK, the food was super affordable. Just under £83 for breakfast, lunch AND dinner for 4 full days (plus some extra food on our two travel days) – that’s bananas! And it’s not like we only ate cheap streetfood (even though it looked and smelled delicious!). On our second day, we had the fanciest dinner in a private room of a high-end Japanese restaurant. For a 3-course meal, we paid £16 per person (which was our most expensive meal).
- Have snacks in your backpack: Our Airbnb was super close to a Spar Supermarket. We made sure to buy some snacks (apples, breakfast bars, etc.) and put them in our backpack. Especially because you’ll be walking a lot in Budapest, it’s good to have some calories with you to eat when you start getting snack-ish 😉
- Go to independent coffee shops/lunchrooms: Support locals! That in itself is already super important when travelling, but it’s also usually cheaper compared to the hyped-up restaurant chains and Instagram restaurants (I’m looking at you New York Cafe). We were able to get breakfast or lunch for as little as £2- £5 – and the food was always delicious!
- Try local dishes: Travelling and food go hand-in-hand. Even though I literally was just talking about that high-end Japanese restaurant (come on, you all know I love Japanese), Hungarian dishes are a must-try. They’re also usually a lot more affordable compared to foreign cuisine. Try some goulash, paprikash, strudel, langos and enjoy a cheap, but tasty meal!
£8.49 per person (two airport transfer bus tickets + public transport tickets)
- Airport shuttle bus: To get to Budapest from Budapest airport by shuttle bus, you need to purchase an airport transfer bus ticket. These can be bought at the ticket machines outside the airport. The 100E bus will cost you 900 HUF (£2.32) and takes you to the centre of the city.
- Public transport: You can use a single ticket for public transport on buses, metros, trams and pretty much any form of public transport in Budapest. You buy them at any metro station or newsstand. One ticket will cost you 350 HUF (£0.90). But it’s cheaper to buy a 10-pack for 3000 HUF (£7.69). We barely used public transport when spending 4 days in Budapest – 5 tickets each was enough!
- Walking instead of public transport?: Budapest is a big city. I was actually quite surprised at the sheer size of it! Despite the size, we managed to walk most of the distances. In my 4 day Budapest itinerary, you can find out how I have broken up the days in different areas of the city. This way, we avoided using public transport too much. I also really enjoyed walking from one spot to the other, because it gave us the opportunity to experience and see more of the city.
£64.55 per person
Of course, you can this section as cheap or as expensive as you want. Once again, I don’t mind spending a bit extra on a really cool experience. I think that’s what travelling is about – experiencing new, cool things! And Budapest being the city of spas (with 125 natural hot springs), it was obvious that I wanted to spend some time in one (or two… don’t judge!) thermal baths during my time in Budapest. We also paid to go inside the Dohany Street Synagogue because it included a tour. And we also paid to go up the Buda Hill Funicular. Considering we also had a massage at one of the thermal baths, I think 65 quid really isn’t too bad!
- The thermal baths: There are so many thermal baths in Budapest, giving you tons of options. We visited Gellert Thermal Spas and Szechenyi Thermal Baths for an afternoon each. Entree sits around 6000 HUF (£15.37) per person for a day ticket. At Gellert Baths, we also had a 20-minute massage, which only costs us 7500 HUF (£19.22) each – totally worth it! Avoid extra costs by bringing your own towel and slippers!
- Buda Hill Funicular: You can, of course, choose to just walk up Buda Hill. It’s really not a big climb, but riding a funicular that has been operating since 1870 seemed like a pretty cool thing to do! Plus, for 1200 HUF (£3.07) each, it was an easy decision 😉
- Budapest Card or not?: The Budapest card gives you free access to a few sights and museums, free public transport and discount to some other sights. Personally, I don’t think it was worth the money for the trip that I had planned. A 3-day pass will cost you around £36 (a 4-day pass costs £45) – and we simply wouldn’t make that money back with the sights we planned on seeing. It’s best to make a little plan on what you really want to see and do, and then compare the prices with the Budapest Card deals.
Total Expenses – 4 days in Budapest Costs
Let’s all that all together! How much does a 4 day (& 5 night) mid-range trip to Budapest really cost us?
Food and drinks: £82.79
Total expenses: £311.64 per person for 4 days & 5 nights in Budapest
I really hope this gave you a better idea of how much it costs to travel to Budapest. If you’d like to know what we did every day on our trip, check out my 4 days in Budapest travel guide.