Budget tips for travelers in Hungary

Budapest Castle, photo by Marc Ryckaert

So you’ve decided to visit Hungary, but your budget is a bit tight? Hungary is famous for its amazing cities and cultural and historical attractions, so it must be quite expensive, right? Well, fortunately no – Hungary is surprisingly affordable compared to other Central and Eastern European countries. With a thriving tourist industry, Hungary knows how to make its visitors feel good and return for more – because one visit to Hungary is never enough! So backpackers and budget travelers won’t have a hard time visiting the country without breaking the bank. Here are some budget tips for travelers in Hungary.

Accommodation

If you take a walk through Budapest or any other major city, you’ll see that there are plenty of luxury hotels where celebrities on a trip to Budapest usually stay, but there are few budget hotels – or are there? One tip is to look where you walk, because some hostels have the habit of painting arrows and directions on the sidewalk! Or if you want to plan your visit rather than rely on luck, do a search for budget hotels/hostels and you’ll find lots of them – and most hostels nowadays have very helpful, English speaking staff. You can find some excellent hostels in the center of Budapest for as little as 10-15 euro per night.

Food 

photo by Flóra Soós/flickr

In most countries, eating traditional food on a budget is next to impossible, but not in Hungary. In larger cities (and especially in Budapest), you can find étkezde, eateries or diners usually open only for lunch, which serve simple, hearty home-style meals, and it has a fixed menu each day in most cases. Kifőzde is similar to the étkezde, but it has a buffet-style service, and you can just point and pick your food. They tend to specialize in főzelék, simple vegetable stews that can be eaten as side dishes or main dishes. Alternatively, you can go to a Chinese buffet (Kinai büfé), which are very popular and widespread. Fast food joints like McDonalds and Burger King abound in Hungary, but for more upscale sandwiches, you can try Nordsee, an Austrian chain specializing in seafood and fish.

Attractions 

Street in Budapest, photo by Takkk

Free attractions in Hungary are not that difficult to find: parks don’t charge admission in most cases (and they tend to be beautiful!) and there are even some museums that will let you in for free. Large museums have special prices for students and seniors, and they sometimes have a free day once a month or so. Historical attractions like castles and forts can be visited for free if you just plan to walk around them, but for attractions like exhibitions and tours, you will have to dish out a meager sum. Walking around and discovering cities is one of the best possible budget tips for travelers in Hungary.

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