A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Budapest vs. Karlovy Vary for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Budapest or Karlovy Vary?

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 Karlovy Vary can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Budapest or Karlovy Vary?

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.

Karlovy Vary

Founded in 1370, Karlovy Vary translates to "Charles' Bath" for its founder Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, as well as its famous hot springs. It is located in Bohemia in the western Czech Republic and is also known as Karlsbad (German) or Carlsbad (English). Another highlight is the International Film Festival in July with draws celebrities and other film enthusiasts worldwide.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 10-Day Tours from Budapest, The Best 2-Week Tours from Budapest, The Best Cultural Tours in Czech Republic, and The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Czech Republic.


Which place is cheaper, Karlovy Vary or Budapest?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Budapest is $90, while the average daily cost in Karlovy Vary is $82. 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 Karlovy Vary in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Budapest $49
    Karlovy Vary $39
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Budapest $98
    Karlovy Vary $78
Compare Hotels in Budapest and Karlovy Vary

Looking for a hotel in Budapest or Karlovy Vary? 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 Karlovy Vary


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 and Karlovy Vary Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Budapest $10
    Karlovy Vary $26
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Budapest

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


  • Short Taxi Ride
    $6.93
  • Metro Pass
    $3.81

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Budapest

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

  • T72 Tank Driving with Hummer Transfer: $1,611
  • Budapest - Hungary to Bucharest - Romania /Private Transfer: $1,307
  • Bucharest - Romania to Budapest - Hungary /Private Transfer: $1,198
  • Private transfer from Budapest to Prague: $1,073
  • Private transfer from Budapest to Zagreb: $943
  • Transfer from Vienna to Budapest: $715
  • Budapest-Vienna Private Transfer by Luxury Vehicle: $650
  • From Bucharest: One-way Private Fast Transfer to Budapest: $650
  • Private transfer from Budapest to Vienna: $596
  • Private transfer between Budapest and Vienna: $477
  • Budapest-Bratislava One-Way Sightseeing Transfer: $298
  • Private Transfer from Budapest to Zadar, Hotel-to-hotel, English-speaking driver: $286

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Karlovy Vary

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

  • Transfer from Karlovy Vary to Prague: Private daytrip with 2h for sightseeing: $130
  • Private Transfer from Karlovy Vary to Prague, English-speaking driver: $121
  • Private Transfer Karlovy Vary to Prague Vaclav Havel Airport : $66

Is it cheaper to fly into Budapest or Karlovy Vary?

Prices for flights to both Karlovy Vary 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
    Karlovy Vary $27
Typical Food Prices in Budapest

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


  • Lunch
    $3.38

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Budapest

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

  • Downtown Budapest Cruise with Pizza and Beer: $40
  • Pizza & Beer Downtown Budapest Cruise: $46
  • Vegan Hungarian Food Tour (full meals): $52
  • Medieval Dinner Show with Drinks: $53
  • Vegan Hungarian Food Tour / Local delights: $57
  • Danube Cruise with Hungarian Dinner and Live Music: $75
  • Dinner & Cruise on the Danube with Folklore Dance Show & Live Music: $76
  • Evening Cruise and Dinner with Champagne: $87
  • Lángos (Hungary’s nr1 streetfood) cooking class: $88
  • 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: $96

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Budapest $22
    Karlovy Vary $12
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
    $6.80

Tours and Activities in Budapest

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

  • Private Budapest city tour with a daytime Danube river cruise: $243
  • 1.5 Hour Budapest Segway Tour - To The Castle Area : $50
  • 101 things you have to see in Budapest - Full Day Tour with Lunch & Dessert: $188
  • 2 Hours Buda Castle Walking Tour - Walk with a Historian: $39
  • 2 Hours Budapest Walking Tour with A Private Guide: $131
  • 2 Hours Jewish Heritage Walking Tour - Walk with a Historian: $50
  • 22 Dog-statues in Budapest - an unusual tour: $26
  • 3 Cocktail Cruise Budapest Winter Edition: $39
  • 3-Hour Budapest E-Bike Adventure!: $53
  • 3-Hour Budapest E-Bike Adventure!: $40
  • 3-Hour Budapest Tour with Russian Jeep: $211
  • 3-Hour Jewish Quarter Walking Tour in Budapest with Historian: $55

Tours and Activities in Karlovy Vary

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

  • A day in the life of Karlovy Vary - Private tour with a local: $227
  • Full-Day Private Karlovy Vary Tour from Prague: $300
  • Karlovy Vary & Marianske Lazne Tour from Prague with Lunch: $114
  • Karlovy Vary Private Walking Tour With A Professional Guide: $211
  • Hot Springs Tasting Tour: $63
  • Private Walking Tour: $230
  • LOCATION: Karlovy Vary City Tour: $257
  • Prague: Karlovy Vary Tour with Lunch and Moser Museum Visit: $92
  • Private tour of best of Karlovy Vary - Sightseeing, Food & Culture with a local: $170
  • Touristic highlights of Karlovy Vary on a Private half day tour with a local: $170

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Budapest $18
    Karlovy Vary $6.64

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
  • Ultimate Budapest Pub Crawl: $23
  • Ultimate Budapest Pub Crawl: $23
  • Bingo Bar Crawl: $25
  • Budapest Original Ruin Pub Crawl Including 5 Shots: $28
  • Ruin Bar Pub Crawl with Entry Tickets: $29
  • Detective Pub Crawl Game by App: $39
  • Tipsy Tour Fun Bar Crawl with a Local Guide: $42
  • Drunken History Bar Crawl Tour with Local Drinks: $42
  • Private Wine Tasting in Budapest: $50
  • Hungarian Wine Tasting (with Cheese and Charcuterie) in Budapest: $50
  • Pub Crawl Through The Ruin Bars in Budapest with T-shirt Included: $54


When comparing the travel costs between Budapest and Karlovy Vary, 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 Karlovy Vary Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Budapest or Karlovy Vary?

Budapest has a larger population, and is about 30 times larger than the population of Karlovy Vary. When comparing the sizes of Budapest and Karlovy Vary, 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 Karlovy Vary?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Budapest or Karlovy Vary in the Summer?

Both Karlovy Vary and Budapest are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The summer months attract visitors to Budapest because of the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Budapest is generally around the same temperature as Karlovy Vary. Daily temperatures in Budapest average around 21°C (70°F), and Karlovy Vary fluctuates around 20°C (68°F).

It's quite sunny in Karlovy Vary. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Budapest. Budapest usually receives more sunshine than Karlovy Vary during summer. Budapest gets 278 hours of sunny skies, while Karlovy Vary receives 217 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Budapest usually receives less rain than Karlovy Vary. Budapest gets 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain, while Karlovy Vary receives 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Budapest 21°C (70°F) 
    Karlovy Vary 20°C (68°F)

Should I visit Budapest or Karlovy Vary in the Autumn?

Both Karlovy Vary and Budapest during the autumn are popular places to visit. 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.

Budapest is around the same temperature as Karlovy Vary in the autumn. The daily temperature in Budapest averages around 12°C (53°F) in October, and Karlovy Vary fluctuates around 11°C (51°F).

In the autumn, Budapest often gets more sunshine than Karlovy Vary. Budapest gets 152 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Karlovy Vary receives 127 hours of full sun.

Budapest usually gets less rain in October than Karlovy Vary. Budapest gets 34 mm (1.3 in) of rain, while Karlovy Vary receives 48 mm (1.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Budapest 12°C (53°F) 
    Karlovy Vary 11°C (51°F)

Should I visit Budapest or Karlovy Vary in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Budapest and Karlovy Vary. Many travelers come to Budapest for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Karlovy Vary can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Budapest. In the winter, Budapest is much colder than Karlovy Vary. Typically, the winter temperatures in Budapest in January average around -1°C (31°F), and Karlovy Vary averages at about 1°C (33°F).

Budapest usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Karlovy Vary during winter. Budapest gets 61 hours of sunny skies, while Karlovy Vary receives 58 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Budapest usually receives more rain than Karlovy Vary. Budapest gets 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Karlovy Vary receives 38 mm (1.5 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Budapest -1°C (31°F) 
    Karlovy Vary 1°C (33°F)

Should I visit Budapest or Karlovy Vary in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Budapest as well as Karlovy Vary. Many visitors come to Budapest in the spring for the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

In April, Budapest is generally a little warmer than Karlovy Vary. Daily temperatures in Budapest average around 12°C (53°F), and Karlovy Vary fluctuates around 10°C (50°F).

In the spring, Budapest often gets more sunshine than Karlovy Vary. Budapest gets 178 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Karlovy Vary receives 151 hours of full sun.

Budapest usually gets less rain in April than Karlovy Vary. Budapest gets 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Karlovy Vary receives 53 mm (2.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Budapest 12°C (53°F) 
    Karlovy Vary 10°C (50°F)

Typical Weather for Karlovy Vary and Budapest

Budapest Karlovy Vary
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -1°C (31°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) 1°C (33°F) 38 mm (1.5 in)
Feb 2°C (35°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 2°C (36°F) 38 mm (1.5 in)
Mar 7°C (44°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 5°C (41°F) 38 mm (1.5 in)
Apr 12°C (53°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) 10°C (50°F) 53 mm (2.1 in)
May 16°C (62°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 15°C (58°F) 67 mm (2.6 in)
Jun 20°C (67°F) 69 mm (2.7 in) 18°C (65°F) 81 mm (3.2 in)
Jul 21°C (70°F) 45 mm (1.8 in) 20°C (68°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Aug 21°C (69°F) 56 mm (2.2 in) 19°C (67°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Sep 17°C (63°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 16°C (60°F) 52 mm (2 in)
Oct 12°C (53°F) 34 mm (1.3 in) 11°C (51°F) 48 mm (1.9 in)
Nov 6°C (42°F) 59 mm (2.3 in) 6°C (43°F) 43 mm (1.7 in)
Dec 1°C (34°F) 48 mm (1.9 in) 2°C (35°F) 46 mm (1.8 in)