We all know how it is when you travel for a while and money starts to become a bit more of an issue. Thankfully, Budapest is much cheaper than a lot of other destinations in Europe!
That being said, there are still a lot of tips and tricks you can learn on how to save money while still getting to enjoy the nightlife and other city activities to the max. Here is the Partybookers Budapest guide to the city on a budget - whether for students, backpackers, or just those who like to get the most bang for their buck.
GENERAL MONEY SAVING ADVICE
For the purposes of this guide, we’re not going to include the cost of accommodation in the 24 euros, as the cost will vary widely depending on the time of year. (And also because...let’s be realistic.) The cheapest way to visit the city is through staying in one of the many hostels that are on offer. There are lots of websites and apps you can use to find the highest rated hostels in the city, but usually if you book through these they will take a “finder’s fee” on top of the hostel’s actual cost, costing you more overall. Top tip: always book directly with the hostel, either through their website or email, as this will usually get you around 10% off the price! You’d also do well to read up on the most common scams in Budapest to make sure you don’t lose money unnecessarily.
GO OUT FOR BRUNCH (Max spend: €4)
Let’s start your day in Budapest. And what better way to get the ball rolling than to fuel yourself with some delicious brunch - two meals for the price of one! There are plenty of places to find delicious food in the city for cheap - from quick eats to affordable sit down meals. From incredible sandwiches and soup at Bors, to a variety of street food at Karavan, to laden pitta breads at Hummus Bar, to incredible pizza at Pizzica, to build-your-own breakfasts at 10 Sixty-Six Bar & Breakfast - you can get a full belly for around €4 or less. Vegetarian or vegan? Don’t worry, we help you out with where to go in this guide.
JOIN A FREE WALKING TOUR (Max spend: €3)
Want to see most of the main sights and stunning architecture in the city, while hearing about history and cool facts? Then this is what to do in Budapest. As a seasoned traveller, you’ve probably attended one of these before in other cities, so you know the drill. Free walking tours are one of the easiest ways to get to know something about a city in short space of time, at only the cost of whatever you want to tip your guide. There are walking tours every day in Budapest - they leave from the front steps of St Stephen’s Basilica at 10.30am and 2.30pm.
VISIT THE THERMAL BATHS ((Max spend: €7-10)
One of the most famous of Budapest activities is soaking it up in the thermal baths. (And if you’ve been partying the night before, these are especially good at getting rid of hangovers, in our experienced opinion…) The two most frequented baths are Szechenyi and Gellert, however they’re also the most expensive at around €17 for a day pass. There are many other baths in the city that offer a cheaper two hour ticket, which is especially well priced for students at just under €7. Even non-students will only pay around €10. Where to go for these cheaper tickets? Check out Lukacs or Kiraly baths for the best prices.
Or, if baths aren’t your thing or you aren’t feeling like chilling, then keep that money in your pocket for partying later on - you could do some silly challenges while seeing cool bars on Bingo Bar Crawl, join Ultimate Ruin Pub Crawl, or just keep it in your pocket for a few beers!
SAMPLE HUNGARIAN FOOD FOR DINNER (Max spend: €5)
Hungarian food is incredibly hearty and filling and good value-for-money. There are all sorts of places that you can try to get huge portions of food for around a mere €5. Try the cheap and cheerful Frici Papa, or even indulge in three courses of Hungarian cuisine for the same price at Drum Cafe, or if you just want an enormous portion of the famous beef goulash (heads up - everything else is quite expensive at this particular joint) then head on down to For Sale Pub.
CHECK OUT A RUIN BAR (Spend: €2-5)
What would a visit to Budapest be without a visit to one of the famous ruin bars? The ruin bars originate from the dilapidated buildings left following World War II, particularly in the city’s Jewish District. During the 2000s, some bright spark in Budapest decided to take a risk on some condemned building blocks and open up a bar inside. Roof missing? It’s the outdoor garden and smoking area! Old abandoned car? Spray paint it and turn it into a seating area! Old phone box? Build a robot out of scrap metal and stick it on in there! With all the eclectic and creative decoration, the ruin bars have a shabby-chic vibe all of their own that is unique to the Budapest nightlife scene.
If you only have time for one, then it has to be the most famous of them all, Szimpla. Open Monday to Sunday, it’s one of those bars you can easily buy one beer to enjoy while wandering through all of the different rooms. Check out our guide to other ruin bars here.
Or if you decided you didn’t want to do the baths and you kept that money in your pocket, then you might be able to join Bingo Bar Crawl (which usually hits up some ruin bars) or our Ultimate Ruin Bar Crawl!
CITADEL SUNRISE (Free!)
After a killer day in the city seeing all of the sights and trying all of the food, it’s definitely worth using whatever change you have left in your pockets to buy a couple of cans of beer or a cheap bottle of wine from the shops and heading on up to the citadel, aka the highest point in Budapest. Drinks in hand, and maybe even with some new friends you’ve met on the way, it’s hands down the best view to see the sun rise over the city and the Danube before you continue on your travels (or, more likely, before you decide to extend your stay in Budapest!)
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