A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Budapest vs. Madrid for Food, Backpackers, Attractions, and Nightlife

Should you visit Budapest or Madrid?

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 Madrid can help you decide which place is right for you.

Budapest

Budapest is a historic, authentic, and bustling city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, shopping, and museums.

Madrid

Madrid is a friendly, authentic, and cultural city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. Visitors also love the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Budapest and Madrid: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities


Is there more to do in Budapest or Madrid?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Madrid than Budapest. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Madrid is very popular for its food, music, and shopping, while Budapest attracts visitors for its museums, historical sights, and impressive beauty. Budapest is famous for its thermal hot springs, European spas, rich culture, and wild nightlife scene. Madrid is famous for its art and architecture, its tapas and culinary scene, and its lively flamenco dancing. It is also well known for The Prado Museum.

How is Budapest different from Madrid?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Madrid and Budapest. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Budapest or Madrid?

Budapest
Madrid

Budapest is a great city for its historical sights. Also, Madrid is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its sights and museums.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Budapest. Famous sights include the Buda Castle and Castle Hill, the Hungarian Parliament Building, and St. Stephen's Basilica.

Madrid offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are a number of cultural sights in the city including Museo Nacional del Prado, the Royal Palace and Gardens, and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.


Is the Food Better in Budapest or Madrid? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Budapest
Madrid

Madrid is terrific for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Budapest is not a good destination for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Madrid has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. The city has a mix of flavors that come from all of Spain. There are amazing markets where you can grab a meal or snack. There are also many high quality restaurants around town where you're guaranteed a good meal. Local favorites include roast suckling pig, Spanish omelette, and meat and chickpea stew.

Budapest may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Traditional dishes tend to be heavy on the meat and bread. They make good comfort food and are very filling meals. The city also has many great pastry shops. Make sure you check out the stuffed cabbage, goulash, and chimney cake.

Is Budapest or Madrid Better for Nightlife?

Budapest
Madrid

The vibe at night is superb in both Budapest and Madrid.

Many people head to Budapest for the nightlife scene. The city's active nightlife includes dance clubs, local pubs, and cultural festivals throughout the year.

Madrid has plenty to do after the sun goes down. Many tourists and international students hang out in the Huertas area, while Malasaña has a bohemian, hipster vibe with small clubs that play indie music. Chueca is a fun area that's known for being gay-friendly with many good bars. Finally, you'll find that the area around Avenida de Brasil is where famous DJs often perform.

Is Budapest or Madrid Better for Music?

Budapest
Madrid

Madrid is terrific for its live music scene. However, Budapest is not a live music destination.

With so many music venues, you're guaranteed a show any night of the week in Madrid. Rock, jazz, and flamenco are all popular in the city. Some of the most well known music venues include Sala Caracol, Sala Clamores, and Costello Club.

Budapest is not a live music destination.


Is Budapest or Madrid Better for its Old Town?

Budapest
Madrid

Budapest is a great city for its historic old town. However, Madrid does not have a historic old town.

Budapest is an extremely popular place to visit the historic old town area. The city grew from the merging of two towns, Buda and Pest, which were divided by the Danube River. Buda is the more historical part of town and Pest is more modern.

Madrid does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in Budapest or Madrid?

Budapest
Madrid

Madrid is terrific for its shopping opportunities. Also, Budapest is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its shopping areas.

Known for shopping, Madrid draws large crowds to its stores. Gran Vía is a main thoroughfare in Madrid that is also popular for shopping. Calle Fuencarral is where you'll find the fashion shops and Calle Preciados is a fun pedestrian area to explore.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Budapest. The city has a diverse shopping scene that you can experience by visiting the Central Market or Váci Street.

Is Budapest or Madrid Better for Families?

Budapest
Madrid

Madrid is great for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Budapest is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its family-friendly activities.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Madrid is very family-friendly. Kids love splashing around at Madrid Río, taking a ride on the cable car (Teleférico), and exploring the city's many parks and playgrounds. There's even a maze at Sabatini Gardens. Restaurants around the city are also very kid-friendly.

Budapest is a family-friendly place to visit. The city has the typical trampoline parks and playgrounds, but kids will also enjoy the baths and pools around town. Do take note that most of the museums are less hands on than kids prefer.


Is Budapest or Madrid Better for Couples?

Budapest
Madrid

Both Budapest and Madrid are superb destinations to visit as a couple.

Budapest is a great city if you're traveling as a couple. With it's many beautiful neighborhoods, and unique entertainment options including the opera, this is a fun city for couples. The baths and spas also make for a great experience for couples.

Madrid is a very popular place to visit for couples. Fun and romantic activities around town include taking a boat ride at Casa de Campo, riding a bike in one of the many parks, and enjoy dinner and show in the evening.

Is Budapest or Madrid Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Budapest
Madrid

Budapest is renowned for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Madrid is not as popular, but is still a nice city for backpackers.

Many backpackers frequent Budapest. The city is more affordable than many large cities and it has a number of fun hostels to choose from. There's a good backpacker vibe around town with many places to meet and hang out with other travelers.

Madrid is a great city to visit for backpackers. The many hostels around town make it easy for backpackers to find affordable accommodation while also meeting other travelers.

Is Budapest or Madrid Better for Students?

Budapest
Madrid

For students, both Budapest and Madrid are amazing places to visit.

Students come from all over the world to visit Budapest. The city has a great international vibe with several good universities that are welcoming to international students that are studying abroad.

Madrid is a great destination for students. With several great universities, this city is popular with international and study abroad students. The city also has a diverse population and an active nightlife that appeals to students.


Is Budapest or Madrid Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Budapest
Madrid

Budapest and Madrid both offer amazing public transit to get you around.

The thorough and effecient public transit system of Budapest can take you anywhere. The metro, trams, and buses make it easy to get around town.

Madrid has a great public transit system. The system includes the Madrid Metro, buses, and a light rail system.

Is Budapest or Madrid a more walkable city?

Budapest
Madrid

Budapest and Madrid are amazing when it comes to walkability.

Budapest is a very easy city to get around on foot. Pest is very flat, making for an easy stroll, while Buda is more hilly.

It is easy to get around Madrid on foot. Most tourists stay in the central part of Madrid where it's compact and relatively easy to walk to most tourist sights.

For even more information, also check out Is Budapest Worth Visiting? and Is Madrid Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Madrid or Budapest?

How long in Budapest or Madrid?

In either Budapest or Madrid, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. In our opinion, Madrid has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Madrid than Budapest. However, 2-5 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Madrid than Budapest. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Madrid, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Madrid than Budapest. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Madrid that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Budapest than Madrid if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Budapest.


  • How many days in Budapest or Madrid? Ideal Length of Stay
    Budapest 2-5 
    Madrid 2-5

One day in Budapest or Madrid?

Budapest is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

The city of Madrid offers museums and nightlife. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


A weekend in Budapest or Madrid?

Budapest is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Madrid is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Madrid, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Budapest or Madrid?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Budapest. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Madrid is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Madrid, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A week in Budapest or Madrid?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the cultural big city of Budapest. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Madrid is a great place to explore. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.


Which place is cheaper, Madrid or Budapest?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Budapest is $92, while the average daily cost in Madrid is $147. 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 Madrid in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Budapest $50
    Madrid $83
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Budapest $100
    Madrid $166
Compare Hotels in Budapest and Madrid

Looking for a hotel in Budapest or Madrid? 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 Madrid


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 Madrid Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Budapest $11
    Madrid $20
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Budapest

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


  • Short Taxi Ride
    $7.11
  • Metro Pass
    $3.90

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Budapest

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

  • T72 Tank Driving with Hummer Transfer: $1,613
  • From Bucharest: One-way Private Fast Transfer to Budapest: $1,305
  • From One-way Private Fast Transfer to Bucharest: $1,305
  • Private transfer from Budapest to Prague: $1,071
  • Private transfer from Budapest to Zagreb: $942
  • Transfer from Vienna to Budapest: $714
  • Budapest-Vienna Private Transfer by Luxury Vehicle: $649
  • From Bucharest: One-way Private Fast Transfer to Budapest: $649
  • Private transfer from Budapest to Vienna: $595
  • Private transfer between Budapest and Vienna: $476
  • Budapest-Bratislava One-Way Sightseeing Transfer: $298
  • Budapest-Vienna One-Way Sightseeing Transfer: $298

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Madrid

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Madrid are as follows:


  • Taxi Ride
    $28

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Madrid

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

  • Segovia: Full-Day Tour with Transfer to and from Madrid: $455
  • Private Transfer from Caravaca De La Cruz to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $294
  • Private Transfer from Puerto Lumbreras to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $284
  • Private Transfer from Moratalla to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $276
  • Private Transfer from Madrid Airport MAD to Segovia City by Van: $270
  • From Hot Air Balloon over Segovia with Transfer: $265
  • Private Transfer from Calasparra to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $254
  • Private Transfer from La Manga Puerto Maestre to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $248
  • Balloon Ride with Transfer Option from Madrid City: $238
  • Arrival Private Transfer Madrid Airport MAD to Avila City by Business Car: $231
  • Private Transfer from La Manga Club to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $229
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Madrid Airport MAD to Segovia City by Minivan: $226

Is it cheaper to fly into Budapest or Madrid?

Prices for flights to both Madrid 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 $24
    Madrid $36
Typical Food Prices in Budapest

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


  • Lunch
    $3.47

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: $35
  • Pizza & Beer Downtown Budapest Cruise: $35
  • Traveling Spoon Hungarian Goulash Private Online Cooking Class: $40
  • Vegan Hungarian Food Tour (full meals): $52
  • Vegan Hungarian Food Tour / Local delights: $57
  • Evening Cruise and Dinner with Champagne: $74
  • Danube Cruise with Hungarian Dinner and Live Music: $75
  • Dinner & Cruise on the Danube with Folklore Dance Show & Live Music: $76
  • Hungarian dinner + Wine tasting in a beatiful Garden: $77
  • 3-Course Dinner Cruise and Piano Show: $86
  • Dinner Cruise with Operetta and Folk Show: $86
  • 3 course Dinner Cruise with Piano Battle Show: $87

Typical Food Prices in Madrid

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


  • Coffee
    $2.16
  • Ice Cream
    $3.25
  • Kebabs (for 2)
    $17
  • Croissant
    $1.62
  • Lunch at Airport (for 2)
    $17

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Madrid

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

  • Torres Bermejas Flamenco Show in Madrid with Dinner, Tapas or Drink: $39
  • Ultimate Madrid Tapas Crawl Food tour: $42
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Guided Food Tour with Dinner: $42
  • Tapas Dinner Party Food Tour with Guide: $42
  • Drunken Tapas Food Tour with Dinner in Madrid: $42
  • Tipsy Tapas Food Tour with Drinks and Food: $42
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Tour with Dinner and Drinks: $43
  • Madrid Tipsy Tapas Guided Food Tour with Dinner: $43
  • Madrid Tapas Dinner Party with Guide: $43
  • San Miguel Market and Street Food Tour: $43
  • Skip the Line: Flamenco Show with Dinner and Workshop in Madrid Ticket: $50
  • Flamenco Show at Corral de la Morería in Madrid with Optional Dinner: $55

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Budapest $22
    Madrid $37
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
    $6.97

Tours and Activities in Budapest

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

  • Budapest Downtown 90-Minute River Segway Tour : $50
  • Danube Bend Private All Day Tour with Lunch, with entrance fees and cruise: $132
  • E-ticket to Vajdahunyad Castle with Audio Tour on Your Phone : $19
  • Interactive Magic and Witchcraft Discovery Tour in Budapest: $22
  • Private Budapest city tour with a daytime Danube river cruise: $243
  • 1 Hour Budapest Segway Tour - Parliament Hightails: $39
  • 1 Hour Sightseeing Cruise in Budapest: $7.72
  • 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: $187
  • 10PM Budapest Danube Cruise with Live Music & Food or Drinks : $20
  • 2 Hour Budapest Market and Tasting Tour: $57
  • 2 Hours Buda Castle Walking Tour - Walk with a Historian: $39

Tours and Activities in Madrid

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

  • Madrid Tour and Guided Visit Royal Palace: $77
  • Private Combo Tour Prado Museum and Reina Sofia: $224
  • Skip the Line Guided Tour Royal Palace Madrid: $73
  • Toledo with Cathedral from Madrid Full Day Tour: $136
  • 1-Hour Madrid Segway Tour: $32
  • 1-Hour Private Flamenco Class in Madrid Experience: $45
  • 2 Days Guided Cultural Tour in Madrid Royal Palace and 3 Museums : $209
  • 2 Hours Secrets of Madrid Retiro Park Tour: $11
  • 2-Hour Patisserie Experience for Dessert Lovers: $61
  • 2-Hour Private Walking Tour through the Beautiful Streets of Madrid: $50
  • 2-Hour Tour of the Madrid of Mysteries: $14
  • 2-Hour Walking Tour on the History of Islamic Medieval the origins: $39

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Budapest $18
    Madrid $21

Sample the Local Flavors in Budapest

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

  • The Original Budapest Pub Crawl - One Hour Open Bar + Free Shots: $18
  • 5-Hour Pub Crawl through Ruin Bars: $22
  • Ultimate Budapest Pub Crawl: $23
  • Ultimate Budapest Pub Crawl: $23
  • Bingo Bar Crawl: $25
  • Bingo Bar Crawl: $25
  • Budapest Original Ruin Pub Crawl Including 5 Shots: $28
  • Ruin Bar Pub Crawl with Entry Tickets: $29
  • Hungarian pálinka distillery visit and tasting: $33
  • Drunken History Bar Crawl Tour with Local Drinks: $42
  • Tipsy Tour Fun Bar Crawl with a Local Guide: $42
  • Drunken History Ruin Pub Walking Tour: $43

Typical Alcohol Prices in Madrid

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Madrid are as follows:


  • Beer
    $5.41
  • Drinks and Tapas (for 2)
    $14

Sample the Local Flavors in Madrid

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Madrid:

  • Pub Crawl with Tapas and VIP Club Entry: $9.74
  • Madrid Pub Crawl with VIP Club Entrance: $11
  • Visit to the Winery with Wine Tasting and Appetizers in Navarra: $12
  • Guided Pub Crawl Madrid Experience and Club Entry: $15
  • Pub Crawl Madrid Running since 2005 Bar Exploration: $16
  • Pub crawl & Party Tour Madrid: $16
  • Pub Crawl Madrid-The Original since 2005-Shots-Fun-Clubs-Dance: $17
  • Pub Crawl Madrid: $19
  • Madrid's Live Music Bar Crawl: $21
  • Pub Crawl Madrid: $22
  • Wine Tasting near Plaza Mayor: $22
  • Wine tasting in the heart of Madrid: $28


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Budapest and Madrid, we can see that Madrid is more expensive. And not only is Budapest much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Budapest would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Budapest and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Madrid would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Madrid than you might in Budapest.

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


Which is Bigger, Budapest or Madrid?

Madrid has a larger population, and is about 84% larger than the population of Budapest. When comparing the sizes of Budapest and Madrid, 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.