Budapest is a haven for travelers on a budget, with plenty of affordable accommodation, cheap eats and activities to do that won’t break the bank. Being a town with loads of students, this youthful Hunagrian city is the perfect place to travel to for those who are a little short on cash but still want to explore some European culture.
We’ve put together a list of our top five recommendations for things to do in Budapest on a budget, from covering food, drinks and, of course, the famous baths.
Budapest is a fantastic place to indulge in some vintage shopping, and while there are some pricier stores about, some of the lesser-known ones have just as great gems for a fraction of the price. Tatika is a great store for finding great second-hand bargains, while cult favourite Retrock houses the weird and wonderful at a slightly higher rate. For more on vintage shopping in Budapest, head to our other article here.
If you’re after a relaxing, secluded bathing experience, Kiraly is the perfect option for you. Though it’s much smaller than the main baths like Szechenyi and Gellert, it’s also much less well-known, meaning you won’t be fighting people for space and you can relax with a book in peace. Built in the 1500s, Kiraly baths is as rich in history as the water is with nutrients. The main circular bath is in a breathtaking stone room where the only light comes from breaks in the domed roof, making it extremely tranquil.
Budapest is such a beautiful, airy city, and one of the best (and cheapest) ways to see it is by bike. We searched on AirBNB for one that wasn’t too long but still covered all the main sights of the city, helping knock off all those touristy and picturesque spots in a couple of hours. This tour, hosted by Budapest Bike Breeze, ran for about 4.5 hours and included a nourishing lunch of traditional Hungarian goulash at a gorgeous restaurant by the river. You stop past around fifteen different spots, including Fisherman’s Bastion, Heroes’ Square and St Stephen’s Basilica, and with all the stops even those who haven’t ridden a bike for years will feel comfortable on this tour. For only $44AUD (around £25), this tour is an absolute steal.
Great Hall Market
While great, cheap food in Budapest isn’t hard to find, if you want to grab a tasty strudel for breakfast, sausage for lunch or pick up some fresh fruit and cured meats, the Great Hall Market is the place to go. The ground floor is full of dozens of stalls selling fresh produce and baked goods, while the upper floor is where you’ll find knickknacks, souvenirs and a plethora of handmade goods. For those wanting to buy little gifts for friends and family back at home, popular souvenir options like paprika sets can be bought much cheaper here than at stores and tourist spots.
When the sun sets on Budapest, the city comes alive with vibrant nightlife that’s pumping any night of the week. The famous ruin bars are a great place to grab a cheap drink, mingle with travelers from all over the world and enjoy a totally unique experience. Rather than refurbish old and abandoned buildings, dozens of unpretentious bars worked with the ruins and rubble, adding quirky furniture and accessories to create kitschy spaces to enjoy a drink. Most of these bars can be found in the Jewish quarter, with many all walking distance from each other.