Our Costs To Visit Budapest: What We Spent As A Food And Wine Loving Couple

Caleb and I have visited Budapest a number of times and even lived there. So, we’ve spent a lot of time and money exploring the beautiful city with wine so good, it’ll make you hate all other wines. ← Not an exaggeration. 🍷

You may have heard that Budapest is super cheap, so now you’re wondering exactly how much to budget as a couple to visit Budapest so that you can enjoy it without skimping out or breaking the bank.

In this guide, we’re sharing exactly how much it cost us,  a “foodie couple,” to visit for 3 days, eat great food, drink good wine, and see all the main sites so that you can use it as a helpful guide to budget for your trip too! Spoiler alert: it was around $1100 USD, but let’s get into the details, starting with a sneak peek of the must-do wine tasting we spent some dough on!

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A woman with long brown hair is reaching into a black box of appetizers while a glass of white wine and a small dish with food are in front of her.

A Quick Note On Hungarian Currency

Hungary’s official currency is the Hungarian Forint (Ft or HUF).  While most places take Euros or USD, it will be at a horrible exchange rate, so you are better off using local currency or a credit card.

PRO TIP: If you pay by card, always choose to pay in the local currency instead of your own currency, as you’ll get a better exchange rate!

A man in a patterned shirt is sitting at a wooden table, sipping red wine. A charcuterie board with various meats, cheeses, and bread is in front of him.

IMPORTANT: These are the average prices in Budapest for *our * travel style…

And that might not be your travel style!  We call ourselves “bougie backpackers” because we live in this weird limbo of wanting to save money where we can (like on hotels) and also wanting to splurge when we think it’s worth it – usually on good food, cocktails, wine, and unique/local experiences.

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So, the rest of our guide on what we spent is going to follow that, and it’s what we actually spent according to our credit card receipts.  Not a range of what we researched that you might spend based on your travel style. Keep that in mind when planning your trip!

An assortment of pastries and baked goods is displayed on a wooden board inside a bakery, with various pastries labeled and customers in the background.

How Much We Spent on Food and Drinks

Obviously, we’re starting with the good stuff: the average food and drink prices in Budapest for the best places to eat!

  • Bakeries: $2-$4 USD per pastry, depending on how “fancy.”
  • Coffee: around $2.50-3.00 for an Americano at a nice coffee shop.
  • Nice brunch restaurants: Around $13-$15 a person
  • Dinners: The cost of dinner in Budapest can range but roughly $40-$60 per couple (with a glass of house wine.) This is for a nicer restaurant but not fine-dining.
  • Langos: roughly $10-$11 for a loaded langos you can share
  • Chimney Cake: roughly $10 for a *good* one you can share (you can get them cheaper at little stalls, but they suck.)
  • Wine bars:  roughly $4-$6 USD for a glass of wine
  • Fancy cocktail bars: around $13 USD per cocktail

IMPORTANT NOTE: we typically eat a big brunch, grab a snack in the afternoon (like a Langos or a baked good) if we are hungry, then get dinner and a cocktail or wine (or two 😅.)  So, you won’t see “lunch prices” here, but they are similar to dinner if you sit down at a restaurant

A Note On Tipping In Restaurants:

We recommend 10-12% in restaurants, and many restaurants add it to the bill already, so double check that before throwin’ down your cash.

A plate of traditional Hungarian goulash with spaetzle, garnished with fresh herbs, served at a restaurant with other dishes in the background

How Much We Spent On Accommodation

We’ve stayed in a few different places and districts in Budapest, but our favorite is always District 7. It has great cocktail bars and is in a good, central location that is walkable to everything. It’s a smidge cheaper than District 5 which is the “central district” to stay for tourists.

Our favorite accommodation has been the 7seasons Hotel because it’s right between Districts 5 and 7 for an optimal location, the apartments are huge and cheap, and you get the benefit of having a front desk service like a hotel.

We paid a nightly price of: $63 USD 

Aerial view of Budapest at sunset, featuring Buda Castle and the surrounding landscape with the Danube River in the foreground.

Average Costs For The Main Sites

Now, we’ll  break down the average prices in Budapest for the main sites/tourist activities that we did:

  • Hungarian Parliament Tour: around $32 per person.
  • Thermal Baths: around $30 per person for the day with just a locker use.
  • St. Stephens Basilica: $17 USD per person to see all parts of it.
  • Fisherman’s Bastion: Mostly free, but you can pay around $5 USD to get to some other nice views.
  • Buda Castle: FREE to walk around, or around $15 USD per person for a guided tour (that you don’t need, TBH.)
  • Heroes Square: FREE 🙌🏻
  • Dohany Synagogue: around $30 per person
A couple dressed in winter clothing is sitting and standing on a ledge outside Matthias Church in Budapest, with its distinctive spires and roof tiles visible.

Hungarian wine tasting: $55 USD per person (best wine tasting we’ve ever done!)
Hungarian cooking class with a local: $75 USD per person (flowing wine!)

A couple is relaxing in an outdoor hot tub overlooking the Danube River and Budapest at sunset.

Average Costs For Transportation

If you decide not to walk to get around Budapest, you may need to take some public transportation.

  • Bus/tram/metro ticket: around $1.50 USD for a single ticket per person or around $6 USD per person from the airport to the city center each way. You can read more about prices here.
  • Taxis/Ride Share: These prices are standardized across Budapest and are 1100 Ft base ($3 USD) + 440 Ft ($1.50 USD) per km +  110 Ft (.50 USD) (<15 km/h) min.
  • Car rental: you do not need to rent a car if you’re just in Budapest for a few days, as we break down in this budget guide. But, for your reference, we decided to visit Lake Balaton and rented a car for 3 days, and it cost us $63 USD.
A couple is sitting and enjoying the sunset under an archway at Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest, with the city skyline in the background.

Our cost for visiting for 3 days/4 nights as a couple: $1080

We typically recommend at least 3 days in Budapest (but 2 is doable if you must), and more is even better! But, to give you a sense of how you could budget for Budapest as a couple, this 3-day number is a good guide.

If you stay for more or fewer days, it will, of course, change. If you eat out more or less or drink more or less, it will, of course, change. If you skip some of the activities we did, like cooking class or wine tasting (BUT WHY! Those were the best ones), it could also be less.

But, if you travel similarly to us, this is a good guide for you!

A woman sitting on the edge of Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest, enjoying a sunset view over the city and the Danube River

In that number, we’ve factored in: the price of the accommodation we listed for 4 nights and 3 days, where breakfast was a nice brunch with a coffee,  a langos/chimney cake/bakery snack, a nice dinner, 2 fancy cocktails, one night, and 8 glasses of wine (2 nights with 2 glasses of wine each.) We’ve also included ALL the activities under our activity section, minus the synagogue, only one thermal bath visit, and the bus to and from the airport.

We did not include any other public transport or car rental. 

The Buda Castle in Budapest at dusk, with the Chain Bridge in the foreground, reflecting the warm lights on the Danube River.

The Sad Truth: Hungary Has Gotten Significantly More Expensive

Were you surprised?  We have to keep it real with you: Budapest has gotten significantly more expensive in the last few years.

When we visited in 2020, it was honestly almost dirt cheap. Then, we went back in December a few years later and were shocked at the prices of Christmas market eats. We went back again to live there, and our brains almost fell out of our heads when saw those prices continue!

Yes, it’s still relatively cheap compared to many other European countries, but let’s not ignore the elephant in the room: the “cheapness” of Budapest ain’t what it used to be! We just want you guys to know what’s up before going!

A man in a gray beanie and blue jacket is tasting white wine inside a rustic restaurant with brick and tiled walls.

Quick Tips To Save Money So You Can Eat More Food And Drink More Wine

Because isn’t that the best reason to save money? 😏 That’s what we think, at least! Here are our best Budapest tips and ways we usually save money so we can splurge on the things that matter to us, like good food, drinks, and cool experiences:

  1. Book cheaper hotels over luxurious, expensive ones.  If you’re like us, you won’t be in the room much anyway. 
  2. Take free walking tours – Remember, tipping is expected. 🙂
  3. Get the Budapest Pass – if you plan to take public transportation, the Budapest Pass can save you money! You can buy it for a certain number of days and get unlimited rides on all forms of public transportation (not taxi/Bolt) and discounts on some attractions!
  4. Walk more – it’s free and burns calories for more food and wine. Do you see our priorities? 😅 We walked everywhere.
  5. See free sights.
  6. Skip visiting the Synagogue – We don’t think it’s worth $30 per person.

Well, friends, there you have it! If you’re a couple like us who travels for good food and wine and doesn’t mind not splurging on hotels, this is a very realistic breakdown of what you might spend for 3 days in Budapest. If you have any questions, just let us know!

Now that you know what we spent, you need to know our favorite activities that we spent money on! To help you, we wrote a guide to the 3 unmissable experiences in Budapest for food and wine loving couples!

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