A Travel Price Comparison for Hungary Budapest vs. Balaton Lake for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Budapest or Balaton Lake?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Budapest and Balaton Lake can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Budapest or Balaton Lake?

Budapest

Budapest is the capital city of Hungary. It has been called the "Paris of the East" because of its impressive architecture and general beauty. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987 because of its cultural importance, its location on the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrassy Avenue. In addition to its rich history, Budapest still has a young vibe with a lot of energy. There's an active night life, an impressive music scene, and a good reputation with European youth.

Balaton Lake

Balaton is a major freshwater lake in Hungary and the largest lake in Central Europe with a shoreline of 197 kilometers. The region around the lake is a popular holiday destination with a great number of resort towns and high-rise hotels to accommodate visitors seeking out lakeside activities, beaches, volcanic hills, and vineyards. Some of the towns are also very historic, offering examples from eighteenth-century art and architecture to castle ruins.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 10-Day Tours from Budapest, The Best 2-Week Tours from Budapest, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Hungary, and The Best Historical Tours in Hungary.


Which place is cheaper, Balaton Lake or Budapest?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Budapest is $91, while the average daily cost in Balaton Lake is $87. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Budapest and Balaton Lake in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Budapest $50
    Balaton Lake $48
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Budapest $100
    Balaton Lake $96
Compare Hotels in Budapest and Balaton Lake

Looking for a hotel in Budapest or Balaton Lake? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Budapest


Hotels in Balaton Lake


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Budapest Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Budapest $11
    Balaton Lake $12
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Budapest

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Budapest:


  • Short Taxi Ride
    $7.05
  • Metro Pass
    $3.87

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Budapest

Also for Budapest, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Shared Airport Shuttle Bus Transfer: $13
  • Budapest One Way Private Transfer to or from Airport: $14
  • Budapest Airport Private Departure Transfer : City to Airport: $16
  • Budapest Private Arrival Transfer: Railway station to hotels: $16
  • Premier Outlet Shopping Transfer from City Center: $16
  • Private Transfer Budapest City to Ferenc Liszt Airport(BUD): $22
  • Ferenc Liszt Intl Airport to Budapest - Arrival Private Transfer : $26
  • Budapest Private transfer Airport or Hotel to or from Cruise Port: $27
  • Private Airport Transfer Budapest: $28
  • Budapest City - Budapest Airport Transfer: $32
  • Private Transfer Budapest Airport BUD to Budapest by car or van: $35
  • Hotel to Liszt Ferenc Airport departure Transfer: $38

Is it cheaper to fly into Budapest or Balaton Lake?

Prices for flights to both Balaton Lake and Budapest change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Budapest $23
    Balaton Lake $28
Typical Food Prices in Budapest

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Budapest:


  • Lunch
    $3.44

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Budapest

For Budapest, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Traveling Spoon Hungarian Goulash Private Online Cooking Class: $40
  • Downtown Budapest Cruise with Pizza and Beer: $46
  • Pizza & Beer Downtown Budapest Cruise: $46
  • Vegan Hungarian Food Tour (full meals): $53
  • Medieval Dinner Show with Drinks: $53
  • Private Street Food Tour: $60
  • Danube Cruise with Hungarian Dinner and Live Music: $75
  • Budapest Danube Cruise with Buffet Dinner, Performances and Music: $77
  • Evening Cruise and Dinner with Champagne: $87
  • Candlelit Dinner River Cruise with Live Music: $92
  • Budapest Danube River Candlelit Dinner Cruise with Live Music: $94
  • Dinner Cruise with Live Music and Folk Dance Show: $97

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Budapest $22
    Balaton Lake $21
Typical Entertainment Prices in Budapest

For Budapest, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Entrance to the Baths for Two
    $6.91

Tours and Activities in Budapest

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Budapest.

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.26
  • Self Guided Tour In Budapest With 100 Captivating Audio Stories: $3.32
  • Free walking tour in the Buda Castle incl. Fisherman's Bastion: $3.33
  • Free Walking Tour Budapest incl. the Shoes on the Danube Bank: $3.33
  • Budapest Historical Sightseeing - Walking Tour: $3.33
  • Communist History Evening Walking Tour of Budapest: $3.33
  • Welcome to Budapest Walking Tour: $3.33
  • Alternative Street Art Walking Tour of Budapest: $3.33
  • Original Budapest Walking Tour: $3.33
  • Budapest Castle District Walking Tour: $3.33
  • Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt & Tour: $5.98
  • Escape Game and Tour: $5.98

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Budapest $18
    Balaton Lake $8.91

Sample the Local Flavors in Budapest

Also in Budapest, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • 5-Hour Pub Crawl through Ruin Bars: $22
  • Private, Personalized Pub Crawl, 5 drinks included: $22
  • Ultimate Budapest Pub Crawl: $23
  • Bingo Bar Crawl: $26
  • Budapest Original Ruin Pub Crawl Including 5 Shots: $28
  • Ruin Bar Pub Crawl with Entry Tickets: $29
  • 8-Tier Hungarian Wine Tasting in a Cozy Downtown Wine Bar: $38
  • Detective Pub Crawl Game by App: $39
  • Drunken History Bar Crawl Tour with Local Drinks: $42
  • Tipsy Tour Fun Bar Crawl with a Local Guide: $42
  • Tipsy Ruin Pub Crawl Tour with 4 Drinks Included: $43
  • Pub Crawl Through The Ruin Bars in Budapest with T-shirt Included: $54


When comparing the travel costs between Budapest and Balaton Lake, we can see that Budapest is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Budapest Expensive? and Is Balaton Lake Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Budapest or Balaton Lake?

Budapest has a larger population, and is about 820 times larger than the population of Balaton Lake. When comparing the sizes of Budapest and Balaton Lake, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Budapest or Balaton Lake?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Budapest or Balaton Lake in the Summer?

Both Balaton Lake and Budapest during the summer are popular places to visit. The summer months attract visitors to Budapest because of the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Budapest is around the same temperature as Balaton Lake. Typically, the summer temperatures in Budapest in July average around 21°C (70°F), and Balaton Lake averages at about 22°C (71°F).

In Balaton Lake, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Budapest. In the summer, Budapest often gets less sunshine than Balaton Lake. Budapest gets 278 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Balaton Lake receives 302 hours of full sun.

Budapest usually gets less rain in July than Balaton Lake. Budapest gets 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain, while Balaton Lake receives 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Budapest 21°C (70°F) 
    Balaton Lake 22°C (71°F)

Should I visit Budapest or Balaton Lake in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Budapest and Balaton Lake. The city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Budapest this time of year.

In October, Budapest is generally cooler than Balaton Lake. Daily temperatures in Budapest average around 12°C (53°F), and Balaton Lake fluctuates around 13°C (56°F).

Budapest usually receives less sunshine than Balaton Lake during autumn. Budapest gets 152 hours of sunny skies, while Balaton Lake receives 169 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Budapest usually receives less rain than Balaton Lake. Budapest gets 34 mm (1.3 in) of rain, while Balaton Lake receives 38 mm (1.5 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Budapest 12°C (53°F) 
    Balaton Lake 13°C (56°F)

Should I visit Budapest or Balaton Lake in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Budapest as well as Balaton Lake. Many travelers come to Budapest for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Balaton Lake can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Budapest. Budapest is much colder than Balaton Lake in the winter. The daily temperature in Budapest averages around -1°C (31°F) in January, and Balaton Lake fluctuates around 0°C (32°F).

In the winter, Budapest often gets less sunshine than Balaton Lake. Budapest gets 61 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Balaton Lake receives 72 hours of full sun.

Budapest usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Balaton Lake. Budapest gets 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Balaton Lake receives 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Budapest -1°C (31°F) 
    Balaton Lake 0°C (32°F)

Should I visit Budapest or Balaton Lake in the Spring?

Both Balaton Lake and Budapest are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Budapest in the spring for the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

In the spring, Budapest is around the same temperature as Balaton Lake. Typically, the spring temperatures in Budapest in April average around 12°C (53°F), and Balaton Lake averages at about 12°C (54°F).

Budapest usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Balaton Lake during spring. Budapest gets 178 hours of sunny skies, while Balaton Lake receives 187 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Budapest usually receives less rain than Balaton Lake. Budapest gets 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Balaton Lake receives 56 mm (2.2 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Budapest 12°C (53°F) 
    Balaton Lake 12°C (54°F)

Typical Weather for Balaton Lake and Budapest

Budapest Balaton Lake
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -1°C (31°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) 0°C (32°F) 39 mm (1.5 in)
Feb 2°C (35°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 3°C (37°F) 32 mm (1.3 in)
Mar 7°C (44°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 7°C (45°F) 38 mm (1.5 in)
Apr 12°C (53°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) 12°C (54°F) 56 mm (2.2 in)
May 16°C (62°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 17°C (63°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Jun 20°C (67°F) 69 mm (2.7 in) 20°C (68°F) 84 mm (3.3 in)
Jul 21°C (70°F) 45 mm (1.8 in) 22°C (71°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Aug 21°C (69°F) 56 mm (2.2 in) 22°C (71°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Sep 17°C (63°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 18°C (65°F) 47 mm (1.9 in)
Oct 12°C (53°F) 34 mm (1.3 in) 13°C (56°F) 38 mm (1.5 in)
Nov 6°C (42°F) 59 mm (2.3 in) 7°C (44°F) 56 mm (2.2 in)
Dec 1°C (34°F) 48 mm (1.9 in) 2°C (36°F) 45 mm (1.8 in)