Budget Things to Do in Budapest

Budapest is a great budget place – undoubtedly. Cheap accommodation in Budapest, like cheap Budapest hostels, is abundant, supposing you book in advance, cheap eats, free Budapest sights, and things to do are quite frequent in the Hungarian capital.

View from Gellert Hill Citadel - free attraction

View from Gellert Hill Citadel – free attraction (photo: skittledog)

If you are a budget traveller and are looking for cheap or free things to do in Budapest, cheap but good restaurants, you will not be disappointed with your choice of Budapest as a travel destination. Budapest is a perfect place for budget holidays – if you know what to see, where to go, when to go, and how to avoid more expensive tourist traps.

Things to Do in Budapest on a Budget

Budget Restaurants in Budapest

You can enjoy really great lunch deal meals in Budapest for around 3-6 Euros: you would be surprised but even trendy and otherwise more expensive restaurants are happy to cater for the lunch crowds with their budget menus (2-3 course simple menus). In addition to Budapest Budget Restaurants, you can visit any of the the markets in Budapest for their cheap buffets: sausages, cheap vegetable dishes, budget fish and chips, etc. are available at the local eateries of the market halls (Central Market HallFeny Street Market Hall or Hold Street Market Hall by the lovely Szabadsag Square are all nice places for budget dining in Budapest.

Of course, the absolute budget is to go to the grocery and buy bakery products with some salad or grilled meat: the bigger supermarkets usually have a grill counter where you can get decent grilled chicken thighs, etc. as well as salads with mayo and fresh rolls and baguettes.

Budapest Budget Restaurants

Budapest Budget Restaurants

Would you like to have a stunning romantic dinner at a budget in Budapest? Grab a bottle of wine and some snacks, sandwiches in the local grocery store, take a blanket, a thicker sweater, climb up to the Citadel on Gellert Hill and enjoy the very best views of the city while having your picnic dinner (lunch). To make the most of your dinner, timing is important: pick an hour around dusk, and see how the night lights illuminate the beautiful attractions of Budapest on both sides of the river Danube like true gems. Central Market Hall is only about 8-12 minutes from the foot of Gellert Hill across the Liberty Bridge, where you can get high quality cheeses, sausages, classic Hungarian pickles, great wines and more at a reasonable price. If the weather does not allow an outdoor picnic, make a reservation at one of the cheaper and nicer restaurants in Budapest.

Budget Attractions in Budapest

There are lots of free and budget sights in Budapest, which are well worth a visit. Most museums in Budapest are very cheap (the entrance fee is about 5-7 Euros, with further student discounts), bigger museums like the Museum of Applied Arts, the Hungarian National Gallery, the Ludwig Museum of contemporary art, or the historical museum of Budapest (Budapest History Museum). Quirky specialty museums, like the Postal Museum, the Railway Museum, the Museum of Transport, the Pharmacy Museum, , the Hospital in the Rock bunker museum, etc. can be especially cheap.

Hungarian Fireworks

Hungarian Fireworks- photo: David Lukacs

Budget Accommodation in Budapest

You can find various hostels in Budapest for dirt cheap Budapest accommodation, or 3 star hotels with amazing hotel deals. Pick your favourite place: our list contains the best rated hotels (on Tripadvisor travel forum) with the most favourable prices.

Budget Airlines Budapest

Getting a budget flight to Budapest is so easy that it would be foolish not to enjoy the Budapest flight deals offered by various budget airlines all over Europe, from the UK, France, Netherlands or Spain, but even from Denmark, Norway, the Czech Republic, etc. Here is a comprehensive list of the cheapest flights and budget airlines to Budapest, Hungary.

Free Things to Do in Budapest

What could be more budget than getting amazing things, visiting beautiful sights and enjoying nice concerts – for free?

St Istvan Basilica Altar

St Istvan Basilica Altar, free attraction – photo: Neil Howard

Free sights in Budapest

First of all, there are lots of free attractions in Budapest: did you know that visiting the Fisherman’s Bastion or visiting the St Stephen’s Basilica is free? If you are a tourist from the EU (yes, you from the UK too), you can visit the magnificent Hungarian Parliament for free (including the 45 min tour in English)! If you are with kids in Budapest, you can take them to the free petting zoo on Margaret Island (although Budapest Zoo is a really cool and budget place to visit). Learn more about free attractions in Budapest.

Free Activities in Budapest

One of the best things in Budapest that you can even enjoy sightseeing tours for free. The free walking tours are very popular and well rated / reviewed by tourists.

Free Walks in the most scenic and romantic places in Budapest: taking a nice walk along the Danube Promenade is a must, unless you have no energy or means to walk: one of the best routes for taking a nice walk along the river Danube to see the nearby attractions is to walk from the Margaret Bridge to the Chain Bridge on the Buda side. See more romantic Budapest walks here. For nature lovers, the Margaret Island is a nice option: entering the island is free.

Budapest busker

Budapest busker – photo: cleopatra

Free Events, like concerts, exhibitions etc. are abundant in the city of Budapest. Some of the free concerts are in regular places and at regular times, but most are just published 2-3 weeks before the actual event takes place. Please see our Budapest Events Calendar for free Budapest events (sorry, it may take 8-12 seconds to download).

Some of the regular free events are classical music, or folk concerts or even hiphop, electronica bands playing for free, and other miscellaneous events, for instance:

Policeman statue Budapest

Policeman statue Budapest – photo: Dennis Jarvis

Free Festivals in Budapest

  • Danube Carnival – the annual international folk dance festival called Danube Carnival takes place every year on Vorosmarty square: lots of free folk dance shows in downtown Budapest (although there are several programmes where entrance fee is charged, most open air events on Vorosmarty square are free)
  • Millenaris Picnic mid Jul to end of Aug in Millenaris Park on the Buda side.
  • National Gallop on Heroes’ Square: spectacular horse races and horse show on the Heroes’ Square and in the City Park
  • Terfilmzene Festival: open air cinema, various films throughout the summer
  • Kapcsolat Festival: 1 day event with open air concerts
  • see more free festivals and free Budapest events here (sorry, it may take 8-12 seconds to download).
  • etc.

If you are a student on budget in Budapest, bring along your international and local students cards, which may help you save some money at certain activities and attractions.

Last updated: January 2013