Hungary is located in central Europe and is one of the most overlooked gems of this region. Most people think of Budapest when they think of Hungary, but the country has so much to offer as a spectacular destination to visit. Hungary is rich in culture, delicious food, beautiful scenery, and Christmas markets will brighten your spirits in the winter.
The population of Hungary is approximately ten million. A quarter of the people of the entire country live in Budapest. Budapest has grown over the years, with many expats making it their home.
Hungary has an interesting history, going back to the invasion by the Mongols, Turks, and Austrians. During WWI, the demise of the Austro-Hungarian empire was when Hungary broke away and became a small nation. Unfortunately, Hungary always aligned itself with the losing nations, becoming a communist country ruled by the Soviet Union. Following WW2, Hungary was ruled by communism. When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, regiments of this historical time period can still be seen as you wander the streets.
Being easily accessible and economically friendly to visit for travel (than its Western European countries) makes for a keen tourist destination. Of course, most travelers visit Budapest, but there is so much more to explore throughout the country. The lush landscape, affluent history, diverse population, tasty foods, and friendly people make traveling to Hungary an experience you won’t ever forget.
Finding it to be an affordable and easy destination to reach, Hungary is one of my favorite countries, and I’m certain you’d enjoy visiting it too!
Hostels are incredibly affordable in Hungary, costing around 3,200 HUF per night for a bed in a dorm-style hostel. Private rooms cost as little as 5,500 HUF per night. Free Wi-Fi and breakfast are standard.
Budget hotels can be found for as little as 9,800 HUF per night. However, for a double room with Wi-Fi and complimentary breakfast, you can expect to pay closer to 15,300 HUF.
If you wish to stay in a private Airbnb room, the starting nightly rate is approximately 7,000 HUF per night (though they average 15,000 HUF).
Food – Hungarian dishes consist of ‘meat and potatoes’ cooked as a stew, casserole, or dumplings. If you eat traditional Hungarian foods, you will find them to be very inexpensive.
A meal at a restaurant serving traditional cuisine costs around 2,000 HUF. For a multi-course meal and a drink at a restaurant, expect to pay closer to 5,000 HUF. In the larger cities, fast food costs around 1,600 HUF. Beer costs around 500 HUF, while a latte may cost 450 HUF.
(To find a restaurant and read reviews, visit TripAdvisor.com.)
Public transportation is well established in Hungary. Cities outside of Budapest utilize buses and trams. The average public transportation ticket costs 350 HUF, while the day-pass costs around 1,650 HUF. Traveling on local public buses, you will need to validate your ticket when you board or risk being fined for your offenses.
Hungary’s train network is still being modernized, and there is a big difference in comfort between local trains and long-distance trains. Most of Hungary’s rail system was designed around Budapest. While traveling cross country in Hungary, you will most likely visit one of the following stations: Keleti, Nyugati, or Deli. When traveling by rail in Hungary, you can choose to take the cheaper and slower local trains or pay extra for more modern and faster InterCity rail services (be sure to reserve a seat in advance if you’re taking the InterCity train).
Volánbusz is the main bus company in Hungary. It’s cheap and is sometimes even faster than the train. Flixbus also has routes that connect to nearby countries like Austria, Czech Republic, and Slovakia.
We drove our car to Hungary, but if you rent a car, please remember to bring with you an International Driving Permit. Like any old city, parking can be a challenge. If you can, leave your car at the hotel (or wherever you are staying), because it is best to use public transportation than have to deal with the very complicated and costly parking.
Suggested daily budget – Average daily budget should be approximately $80 per person, including hotel transportation, meals, and sightseeing. For example, a two-week vacation for two people costs roughly $2,240 staying at mid-range hotels.