I absolutely love Budapest and I am sure anybody out there would instantly fall in love with it after setting foot here for the first time.
Yes, it’s true, they managed to upset me a bit with their lack of air conditioning during the hot summer months, but that’s still not a real deal breaker. I love Budapest and I’ll never miss an opportunity to visit and spend as much time there as possible!
I like it so much that, for the past several years, I’ve spent, once at a time, one full month in Budapest (and had a few other shorter, week-long visits as well).
Things are always different on each occasion – for example, the last time I visited I also had my first coworking experience at Kaptar. But Budapest is always spectacular and an amazing place for remote workers, digital nomads, and travelers alike.
But in today’s article we’re going to focus on being a digital nomad in Budapest: how much one month of living in Hungary’s capital costs, especially now with the rampant inflation, what are you getting for your money and all the other details I consider important for future visitors.
IMPORTANT: All the cost estimates below are based on the expenses of my family. I am traveling together with my wife and son (he’s now 9).
Accommodation in Budapest
I love AirBnb so it should be no surprise that we usually chose it to find our home for the month. However, in the past couple of years, AirBnb prices have skyrocketed and we’re usually having better results with Booking.com – especially now that they’re also listing apartments.
So definitely check it out and see where you can find better rates. It’s not uncommon for the same property to be listed on multiple sites and for it to have different prices.
We, for example, managed to find a steal of a deal when we first got there – for just €856 for a month (May to June), we booked a spacious, beautiful two bedroom apartment in the heart of the city, close to the Erzebet Boulevard and right between two important metro stations: Blaha Lujza and Octogon.
Here’s our place in case you’re curious to see what such a small amount can give you:
IMPORTANT: In order to score the best deal on accommodation, try to book as early as possible. The best deals are always the ones to get booked first, so make sure you book early.
All in all, I wouldn’t expect to still be able to find such an amazing apartment for the same amount. But it’s still doable, for around 1,200 – 1,500 Euros for a month.
If you’re only passing through Budapest, or you want to be close to the airport, I have an article where I shared my list of the best hotels close to the Budapest airport.
Food in Budapest
Our plan was to eat as healthy as possible and cook at home as often as possible. Well… things didn’t really go as planned, especially since food in Budapest is not only delicious, but also decently priced.
It also doesn’t help that I am a huge fan of Asian cuisine and you have extremely cheap Chinese food places at every corner.
For around 8 Euros, two people can have a good meal there… and the cheap eating out options don’t end up here.
Even the fancier restaurants are decently priced – and we visited those on a few occasions as well (once during our 5-year wedding anniversary), but generally we stuck to eating the cheaper food in local places or the Chinese joints.
We also discovered that their supermarket-made food is extremely cheap and delicious.
We had a Spar nearby (it’s difficult not to have a Spar nearby in Budapest, ha!) and bought some of their cooked food on a few occasions.
We had vegetarian lasagnas, schnitzels and fries, soups and plenty of cakes. We were never disappointed.
In terms of the fancier restaurants, we usually paid around 25 Euros each time we ate out, for the three of us.
These weren’t the fanciest places in Budapest, but were good ones for sure. Our meals usually included a main course and drinks, so nothing over the top, but we never left a restaurant wanting more.
What I liked about their restaurants is that the portion sizes are not crazy huge, but still not too small so that you still feel hungry once you’re done.
I hate it when restaurants give you portions that could feed half the people in my country.
I understand the reasoning behind that and I know that sometimes you just take home the remaining food, but that’s not always possible and in most cases you end up overeating.
Well, not in Budapest, where the portion sizes were – at least at the restaurants we visited – decent.
We also found a self-service vegetarian restaurant near the Budapest Museum or the main market. It’s called Vega City and it had delicious food and it was always extremely cheap. It’s always packed too and a great place to meet new people!
The best thing about eating in Budapest is that you have options no matter what type of diet you’re following.
You have vegetarian restaurants, you have paleo restaurants, bakeries and confectioneries and most ice cream places have at least a couple of no-sugar options. I loved the variety!
Best things we saw in Budapest
You can write tens of articles about things to see in Budapest – and most of their attractions totally deserve dedicated articles, which I plan on doing eventually.
Until then, this short part should do – as well as my more in-depth guide to the best things to see in Budapest that I strongly recommend reading when you’re done with this article.
An interesting thing to have in mind is that we thought we had seen everything during our previous monthly stays. We were, obviously, VERY wrong. There’s always something new and amazing to discover in Budapest, and you will never get bored!
With these in mind, here are some of the things we saw and loved in Budapest during our full month there:
Basically, one of the most amazing things about Budapest is that, as long as you are in the city center, you can just start roaming the streets without a particular goal in mind.
Dump the map, too. It’s impossible not to stumble upon some amazing places or things to see.
Budapest has a lot to offer and we were extremely happy to discover all the small places during our random explorations that we tried to do daily.
Best part? Most of these attractions can be visited for free – or at least parts of them are free to visit. Perfection!
What I like the most about Budapest
It would be a really good summary to simply say that I like everything about Budapest.
But I’ll give you some examples of things I love. This is regular stuff in the more civilized countries – but you’ll be surprised to find out that it’s not the case in many, many places over the world.
For example, I found out that public transportation in Budapest works flawlessly. The number of buses and trains is also large enough that they’re never packed, even during the rush hours.
You can even download apps that are updated in real time, telling you exactly when the next bus or train will arrive to your station. Really cool and extremely useful – especially since it’s also available in English.
Car traffic is also very civilized there. I’m coming from a country where pedestrians are rarely allowed to cross the street, where drivers honk like mad men, for whatever reasons and where rules exist only to be broken.
It’s no surprise that there are tons of accidents happening constantly – but this still doesn’t change anything.
In Budapest, on the other hand, things are beautiful: drivers stop and let you cross the street even when you are alone (I found out that usually drivers are less polite with male pedestrians than they are with female ones, or when kids are round… but not in Budapest).
I rarely heard any cars honking, I never saw – as I do in my country – cars driving on the bus line, people swearing in traffic, red faced and angry.
An interest thing happened at the vegetarian restaurant I talked about earlier: my wife forgot her iPhone there.
Things like this happen when you are traveling with kids and you have to deal with tantrums, carrying three hundred bags and holding three different types of snacks.
She wasn’t even 100% sure that she left it there and it had already been a couple of hours when she realized it was missing.
A lost cause, we thought, but she still decided to go ask the people at Vega City. We were both surprised that not only a customer had found it and returned it, but the people working there also returned it to my wife without a problem.
A very pleasant surprise and something that wouldn’t happen in many places around the world (although I hope that it would in more places than I believe it would).
All in all, it’s a city where, despite the waves of tourists who can sometimes behave badly, you will always feel safe, entertained and happy. We sure did!
Our costs for living a month in Budapest
Now, let’s get to the important part for many people reading this article: money! Below, I have the costs for our stay in Budapest.
IMPORTANT: I am updating the list below based on the previous travels we had there, but also considering the current state of the prices. This way, you will get a more accurate budget for spending a month in the city.
It doesn’t make sense to keep the initial budget when I first wrote this article a few years ago – although it did look good. For the sake of keeping track of things, we spent 2,360 Euros during our first full-month in the city.
While that is still doable, I would budget things a bit differently, as seen below:
Rent: 1,200 Eur
Food (including eating out): 700 Eur
Entertainment / Misc: 800
Total: 2,700 Euros
It’s not cheap, for sure, but it’s still pretty much affordable. And have in mind that these estimated costs for living in Budapest for a month are for a family of three.
Sure, these amounts can go up quickly if you choose to eat out at fancier restaurants most of the time, but if you’re at least a bit oriented, I don’t think it would be a problem spending the estimated amount above (maybe even less).
I have included in the budget above both the health insurance for us, as well as train ticket prices to get there. We came from nearby Romania and trains are cheap – have this in mind, especially if you’re planning to come by plane. This can add A LOT to your costs.
All in all, we weren’t there on an unlimited budget and tried to keep costs as low as possible, but we didn’t always manage to do so.
We ate out a lot and, even though the cheap takeaway food we mostly ate was… well… cheap, it still costs more than what it would take to cook at home more often
We went a bit overboard with our gifts for friends and family and we also visited a lot of places with entrance fees (Museums, the Zoo, we went to their Aqua Park once and so on) – but Budapest has many beautiful things you can see for free.
In the end, I believe that a couple – or even a family – can easily cut a few hundred Euros off the costs share above and still enjoy their time there a lot. But in the end, the “ifs” and “coulds” don’t matter and our actual costs are above.
All in all, we were really satisfied with how things ended and, even though it wasn’t cheap in our books, we always enjoy getting back to Budapest and spending time there.
If you have also spent time in Hungary’s capital, don’t hesitate to share your experience with us all by commenting below.