Top Tips for Visiting Budapest on a Budget
If you have never really been into the idea of a European mini-break before due to suffering with the misconception they are overpriced and too short lived to do any worthwhile exploring, your preconceived misgivings might be disproved after a break in Budapest.
Chloe Ward booked a trip on an extremely tight budget (£200 including flights) and this was a last minute decision, leaving only a short time to research what she wanted to do and see during the break.
However despite these obstacles she still managed to gain a lot out of the break and discovered Budapest to be a beautiful and lively city with a variety of experiences on offer, most of which are free or low cost.
Here she shares her top recommendations for experiencing the best of Budapest on the cheap.
Don't Travel in Summer
Summer is one of the most popular times of year to visit Budapest and thousands of tourists book trips between June and September.
Due to the amount of tourists visiting during this period prices for flights and accommodation are at a premium. If possible, try to avoid visiting during summer and consider a different time of year which will be more friendly to your wallet.
Spring (April and May) and autumn (September and October) are highly recommend when temperatures are more pleasant and also prices are cheaper.
Work Out a Budget
How long are you planning to visit for? How much money do you have available to spend? If you work this out you can generally try to budget per day for how much you can spend. To have an idea of how much money you have every day will help you to plan and keep to a budget.
Getting to Budapest
These airlines fly direct to Budapest from UK: British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, Jet2, Wizz Air and Flybe.
Other airlines which fly to Budapest from other destinations include: Austrian Airlines, Aegean Airlines, KLM, eurowings, Norwegian, Lufthansa, Vueling Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Air France, Norwegian Air International, Pegasus Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Aeroflot, Aer Lingus, SWISS, Turkish Airlines, Iberia, Czech Airlines, Finnair, LOT and Smart Wings.
To get the best deals book well in advance and fly with a low budget airline. Use Skyscanner to get the best deals.
You can also attempt to put all your belongings in hand luggage, this will not only decrease your check-in time but will also save you the hefty baggage fees.
Getting from Budapest Airport to City Center
DO pre-book transport to your accommodation. There is a good bus service available and it will save you an awful lot compared with the prices un-booked taxis from the airport will charge.
Use the buses and underground systems, both are inexpensive, simple to use and run a regular service. It’s an efficient way to get around and will save you a fortune in comparison to getting taxis everywhere. You can also walk to most places in the main city centre and touristy areas which is totally free!
Some of the best photographs and experiences were soaked in by simply walking around. A particularly pleasant route is too start at the Erzsebet Hid bridge and follow the riverside path down to the Szechenyi Lanchid bridge, then crossover and explore what the Buda side of the city has to offer.
Food & Eating Out
If you are on a budget walking ten minutes out of the main city centre will almost half your restaurant bill, the food is just as nice and it’s good to kick back and enjoy some peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle.
If you’re a coffee lover be sure to try one of Budapest’s iced coffees, often served with cream and all the trimmings it will not disappoint. There are also some great places for vegans and vegetarians n Budapest.
Free Things to do in Budapest
There are so many completely free touristy things to do in Budapest, helping you to save money towards food and entertainment. Here are some of the best things which don't cost anything:
- Climb up Castle Hill
- Visit Fisherman’s Bastion
- People watch in Heroes Square
- Walk around the Jewish Quarter
- See the Parliament building up-close
- Visit the Shoes on the Danube Bank
- See the resting place for famous dead people in the Kerepesi Cemetery
- Admire statues and the Vajdahunyad Castle in City Park
- Go in search of the best church
- See sunset from Gellert Hill
- Take a trip to Margaret’s Island in the middle of the Danube in the north of the city
- Explore the Great Market
- Cross the famous bridges of Budapest
- Join a free walking tour
Low Cost Things to Do in Budapest
Here are some top things to do on a budget:
Spend a Day at One of Budapest's Thermal Baths
My choice was the Széchenyi Baths and they did not disappoint. Although the entry price seemed rather steep on a budget (around £10) it was completely worth the expense.
The baths are heated and there is a variety of both indoor and outdoor pools set in a very tranquil and grand building. It is worth saving this experience for the end of your trip as if you have any left over spending money you can indulge in a reasonably priced massage from the spa within the building.
It’s is one of the best days out you can enjoy in Europe and the perfect way to relax and unwind.
Visit the Saint Stephen's Basilica
The building itself is pretty spectacular and for a small fee you can climb the stairs to the top and gain a great view of the city below.
So if you do find yourself in Budapest either on a mini-break or as part of a more extensive European travelling trip then be sure to explore some of the sights mentioned and experience for yourself what a lively, beautiful and culturally rich city Budapest is.
By Chloe Ward