The costs of travel in Budapest have followed the upward trend of its popularity as a tourist destination. But that's not to say that you can't experience the city and still have a few Forints to spare.
Budapest Budget Tips
We know we sound like a broken record, but we love tourist offices. So make one your first stop in Budapest. The downtown office, located at Sütõ u. 2., is open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily. A second office, at Liszt Ferenc tér (the Oktogon branch), is open from 12 p.m. until 8 p.m. daily.
There are three offices at the Ferihegy Airport. The first, in Terminal 1, is open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily. The office in Terminal 2A is open everyday from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. and the one in Terminal 2B is open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily.
For more information, visit the Budapest Board of Tourism's official Web site.
Museums Prices and Passes
Here are admission prices to the main attractions in Budapest, for adults and children:
Műcsarnok Palace of Art: HUF1400 (adults); HUF700 (reduced); HUF2000 (family - one adult/two children); HUF2600 (family - two adults/two children); free (children under six). Note: Additional charges apply for special exhibits.
House of Royal Wines and Cellar Museum: HUF900(adults); HUF500 (reduced); tastings are available for an additional fee
Hungarian State Opera House: HUF2900 (adults); HUF1900 (students); free (children under six)
Gellért Baths: HUF3600-HUF3900 (adults); HUF1900-HUF2000 (reduced); free (children under six). Note: HUF300 is reimbursed if you leave within two hours
Budapest Zoo: HUF1990 (adults); HUF1390 (reduced); HUF5700 (family - two adults/two children), HUF980 for each additional child after 2); free (children under 2)
Buda Castle Labyrinth: HUF2000 (adults); HUF1500 (reduced); HUF4000 (family - two adults/two children); free (disabled guests). Note: Entrance free includes a guided tour
Hungarian National Museum: HUF1100 (adults; HUF550 (reduced; free (children under 6 and adults over 70)
Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art: HUF1300 (adults); HUF2500 (one adult/one child); HUF3000 (family - one adult/up to four children); HUF5000 (family - two adults/up to four children); free (children under six)
The Budapest Card is a great value, offering free or discounted admission to museums, attractions, restaurants and spas. The card also covers free travel on public transport, free access to select walking tours and travel accident insurance.
Cards cost HUF6300 for a 48-hour period and HUF7500 for a 72-hour period. You can purchase the Budapest Card at a tourist information office, or online. Note: If you aren't planning to spend most of the day in museums, the card might not be the best bargain.
"Free" is one of our favorite words, and lucky for us it's a common word in Budapest. Many of the favorite sights and attractions in Budapest are (you guessed it!) free. If you're up for a hike, trek up to the Citadella for amazing views of the city (admission to the museum is HUF1200).
A stroll on Margrit Island is good for some lovely scenery, as is Varosliget (the central park).You can also visit the Aquincumi Museum (also sometimes known as the Roman Military Amphitheatre) without having to pay.
For cheap eats, souvenirs, and an overall great day, The Great Market Hall is ideal. Go there once or many times. It's a feast for the senses, bustling with food, noises and souvenir carts. If you're missing food stands, this is the place to go for a quick lunch, where you can choose from fresh fruit and bread or a mile-high plate of pasta for as little as HUF725.
Senior travelers can get discounts all over Budapest. To obtain some discounts, membership in a particular senior association may be required. Members of the AARP receive discounts on hotels, airfares and car rentals in Budapest. They can be reached in the United States at 1-800-424-3410 or accessed online at the AARP Web site.
The International Student Identity Card, ISIC, the most widely accepted form of student ID, provides discounts on sights, accommodations, food and transportation. Some places offer admission discounts of 20%-50% to ISIC members. All cardholders have access to a 24-hour emergency helpline. In the United States call 1-800-223-7986 or click onto the ISIC site. Applicants must be degree seekers of a secondary or post-secondary school and must be at least 12 years of age. The card costs about US$22 depending on what city you buy it in, and is valid until the end of the year issued. For non-students 25 years or younger, the International Youth Card, IYTC, also offers many of the same benefits as the ISIC.