Is the Budapest Card worth it? Exploring Budapest with the Budapest Card

Tourism in European cities tends to be very organized. The national and city tourism boards tend to do a great job at packaging, especially when it comes to creating a pass that works. For instance, Parks Canada offers a wonderful pass that is both useful and highly cost effective for families. You can find my 2014 review below (note, that I’ve had passes from Parks Canada since 2013 till now – in fact for my AirBnB rentals, each house comes with a Parks Canada pass). Budapest Card worth Budapest Card worth Budapest Card worth

For me to consider a city or national pass to have value, it has to offer activities that I would be interested in, at a cheaper rate than it would be to buy individual tickets, along with a highly convenient, easily recognized path of access. For example, I thought that the Prague Card, Helsinki Card, Paris Pass, Barcelona Card or anywhere else on the popular Central European backpacking routes were all not worth it. While they all tout the money they’re saving you, you also have all to cram all your museum visits into that single time period. God forbid that you love a museum to spend half a day there … you’re instantly losing money. In fact, the “saving” math of these passes is made possible by the knowledge that less than 10% of travellers will have the time/energy to crush it.

From my research, I’ve found the following notes from other travel bloggers and here’s the official exchange rate as of the time of writing:

  1. : Budapest Card Worth Buying? - Click HERE to expand

    Single ticket for transportation costs 350 HUF. Transfer ticket is 530 HUF. 24h ticket is 1,650 HUF (5 EUR) and the 72h ticket is 4,150 HUF (13 EUR). Two mentioned tours cost 10 EUR each. So in case you wanna buy a daily transportation ticket and do a walking tour that’s already 15 EUR which is a price of the 24h Budapest Card. If you wanna visit one of the museums eg. Hungarian National Museum (entrance is 5 EUR) and Lukács Baths (entrance 10 EUR) you already made some savings.
    However, these cards don’t always bring value. This totally depends on you and your traveling style. A lot of attractions in Budapest are at a walking distance so you might not need the transportation ticket at all. This also applies to cyclists. If you are in Budapest for only a day and you would like to attend the walking tour and then mix some sightseeing by yourself with a visit to a museum I think getting the card is a good idea. You may also try some Hungarian foods or visit bars so you will get more savings.
    I think the cards give a good value for money especially the 48h and 72h ones. That’s because you’ll spend more time in the city and you’ll be able to visit some attractions which you probably couldn’t visit during 1 day time in Budapest. Lukács Baths are a good example because the entry ticket is 10 EUR. Add a walking tour to that, a visit to a museum and some shopping and you already saved yourself some money.
  2. :Discovering the sights of Budapest? - Click HERE to expand

    Without a doubt yes it’s totally worth it. During the time we spent in Budapest we used the card multiple times a day, not only for catching transport to the central market hall, Parliament building, Fishermans Bastion, plus many other destinations. We also used it to receive a discount at Budapest zoo and Szechenyi Spa Baths. But not only does it save you money, it also saves you a lot of time over the duration of your stay. Instead of queueing to buy tickets for the public transport, a quick flash of your card to the conductor and you’re on your way to the next destination. We highly recommend anyone planning to visit Budapest to invest in one of these cards.
  3. : The Budapest Card Worth It: Your Key to the City? - Click HERE to expand

    I recommend the Budapest Card if you’re only going to be in the city for three days or less and you still want to check out some of its best museums and attractions while enjoying some additional savings at many different cafes and restaurants.

    It’s also a hassle having to buy metro tickets and validate them when you’re visiting a new place so with the Budapest Card you’ll avoid any of that trouble and you can just spend your time enjoying the city.

    One thing I want to mention is that many of the museums require you to pay an additional fee to take photographs. It’s usually a small fee but I think that this cost should be included in the price of the card itself. Keep that in mind when you’re visiting some of the attractions. 

From my research, I think I’m going to work with the following 48 hour itinerary once my work stuff is done

  1. The Budapest Opera House
  2. The Great Synagogue
  3. Fishermen’s Bastion
  4. Shoes of the Danube
  5. Pál-völgyi and Szemlő-hegyi Caves
  6. The Millennium Underground
  7. Andrassy Avenue
  8. Central (Great) Market Hall
  9. Lukacs Thermal Bath

I assume since I LOVE any type of funicular, I’m going to ride on the Budapest’s overpriced funicular, see the Buda Castle, St. Matthias Church, walk across the Chain Bridge and admire the view of the Parliament from there. Then I’ll have a soak in one of the many thermal baths when the weather becomes unpleasant is another must. So is strolling through the buzzing Váci Street and Vörösmarty Square. Then once I have all the main sights ticked off, it will be then to go to the Big Market Hall, see the Heroes Square and the City Park behind it with the impressive Vajdahunyad Castle. Then a drink at a ruin bar! And the Jewish Synagogue nearby, which is especially beautiful on a sunny day.

So once, I’m done with my trip … I’ll update this stub with my findings!

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at