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

Should you visit Helsinki or Budapest?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Helsinki and Budapest can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Helsinki

Helsinki is a waterfront, active, and nature-focused city. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. Visitors also love the museums, nightlife, and food.

Budapest

Budapest is a historic, authentic, and bustling city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Helsinki and Budapest: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty


How is Helsinki different from Budapest?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Helsinki or Budapest Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Helsinki
Budapest

Visiting museums and landmarks is a fun activity in both Helsinki and Budapest.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Helsinki. Many of the city's sights and attractions center around nature and the water. Major hightlights of the city include the Fortress of Sveaborg, Seurasaari open-Air Museum, and Temppeliaukio Rock Church. The city is also home to The National Museum of Finland.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Budapest. Famous sights include the Buda Castle and Castle Hill, the Hungarian Parliament Building, and St. Stephen's Basilica.


Is Helsinki or Budapest Better for Food?

Helsinki
Budapest

Foodies will find both Helsinki and Budapest both to be unique destinations.

Helsinki has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. Food in town is all about local flavors and simple ingredients. The dishes let the flavor speak for itself without fancy cooking techniques or complex flavor combinations. Many of the restaurants are locally sourced with traditional ingredients. You'll find a lot of seafood, herring, grilled sausages, pancakes, and desserts.

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 Helsinki or Budapest Better for Nightlife?

Helsinki
Budapest

The nightlife scene is relatively similar in Helsinki and Budapest.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Helsinki. The nightlife scene is at its best on weekends when the city center comes to life with parties, dance clubs, and student activities. Many of the best clubs and bars are concentrated in the city center. Weekends are a bit calmer and things quiet down a lot.

Budapest is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. The city's active nightlife includes dance clubs, local pubs, and cultural festivals throughout the year.

Is Helsinki or Budapest Better for Shopping?

Helsinki
Budapest

Shoppers can find a variety of stores in both Helsinki and Budapest.

Helsinki is well-known for its shopping. The city is great for shopping, with many brands focused on sustainability. There are local boutiques as well as name brands. Flea markets and vintage shops are also popular.

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 Helsinki or Budapest Better for Families?

Helsinki
Budapest

Both Helsinki and Budapest are fun to visit with kids.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Helsinki is very family-friendly. The coastal setting offers many activities that kids and adults alike will enjoy. This capital city has a calm atmosphere with plenty of parkland to explore. The shoreline is dotted by islands where you'll also find a zoo and a fort. Kids will also enjoy exploring the islands by boat.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Budapest. 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 Helsinki or Budapest Better for Couples?

Helsinki
Budapest

Both Helsinki and Budapest are good destinations for a couple's getaway.

Helsinki makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The city's many parks offer the perfect setting for a picnic or a walk. There are also botanical gardens, evening boat rides, and saunas that will help you enjoy a romantic trip away.

Couples visit Budapest frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. 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.

Is Helsinki or Budapest Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Helsinki
Budapest

Budapest is a more popular city for backpackers.

With so many budget-friendly offerings, Budapest is extremely popular for backpackers. 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.

Helsinki is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. With its active nightlife scene, vibrant atmosphere, and inclusive personality, this city is a fun place for backpackers, but you should expect to pay a premium for the experience. Many backpackers avoid the city because they have heard how expensive it is. There are a few hostels around that will help you keep costs a bit more manageable.

Is Helsinki or Budapest Better for Students?

Helsinki
Budapest

Both Helsinki and Budapest are popular destinations for students.

Students come from all over to stay in Helsinki. The city has an active student life with plenty of culture and nature. It's active nightlife scene and beautiful natural areas make it a wonderful place to study.

Budapest is a very popular place to visit for students. The city has a great international vibe with several good universities that are welcoming to international students that are studying abroad.

Is Helsinki or Budapest Better for Public Transit?

Helsinki
Budapest

Visitors will find public transit in both Helsinki and Budapest.

The public transit in Helsinki can get you around easily. Transit options include bus, tram, metro, commuter train and ferry services.

Visitors in Budapest can get around quickly with the extensive public transit system. The metro, trams, and buses make it easy to get around town.


Is Helsinki or Budapest a more walkable city?

Helsinki
Budapest

Budapest is considered more walkable than Helsinki.

It's very easy to get around on foot in Budapest. Pest is very flat, making for an easy stroll, while Buda is more hilly.

Helsinki is a somewhat walkable city. Many neighborhoods are easy to explore on foot. The air is also clean and the setting is refreshing.

Should I spend more time in Budapest or Helsinki?

How long in Helsinki or Budapest?

In either Helsinki or Budapest, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Budapest than Helsinki because of the overall number of sights and activities.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Helsinki is 2-4 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Budapest is 2-5 days.


  • How many days in Helsinki or Budapest? Ideal Length of Stay
    Helsinki 2-4 
    Budapest 2-5

One day in Helsinki or Budapest?

The beautiful city of Helsinki offers food and shopping. 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.

Budapest is a big city with plenty to do. 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 Helsinki or Budapest?

Helsinki 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 Helsinki, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Budapest 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 Budapest, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Helsinki or Budapest?

Helsinki is a popular choice for travelers. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

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


A week in Helsinki or Budapest?

Helsinki 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.

Budapest 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 city is cheaper, Budapest or Helsinki?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Helsinki is €112, while the average daily cost in Budapest is €65. 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 city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Helsinki and Budapest in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Helsinki 59
    Budapest 35
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Helsinki 118
    Budapest 70
Compare Hotels in Helsinki and Budapest

Looking for a hotel in Helsinki or Budapest? 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 Helsinki


Hotels in Budapest


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: Helsinki Hotel Prices and Budapest Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Helsinki 18
    Budapest 7.63

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Helsinki

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

  • Private Transfer: Helsinki to Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport (HEL): $622
  • Private Transfer: Helsinki-Malmi Airpor (HEM) to Helsinki: $622
  • Private Transfer: Helsinki to Helsinki-Malmi Airpor (HEM): $622
  • Helsinki Private Panoramic Tour with Airport Transfer: $375
  • Helsinki Private Departure Airport Transfer: $203
  • Airport Private transfer via Marimekko & Iittala with Japanese Speaking Driver: $195
  • Private arrival OR departure transfer in Helsinki (airport or hotel pick up): $185
  • Helsinki Stopover Tour with Round-Trip Airport Transfers: $170
  • Helsinki airport transfer to all Helsinki area hotels: $166
  • Helsinki Airport Transfers: Helsinki City to Helsinki Airport HEL in Luxury Van: $113
  • Helsinki Departure Private Transfer from Helsinki City to Helsinki Airport HEL: $110
  • Helsinki Private Transfer : Port of Helsinki to Helsinki City in Luxury Van: $104

Typical Local Transportation prices in Budapest

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


  • Short Taxi Ride
    6.23
  • Metro Pass
    3.42

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Budapest

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

  • Weekend in Private transfer and tours with official tour guide: $498
  • Vienna Transfer: $187
  • Transfer to Bucharest from Budapest: $311
  • Transfer in private vehicle from Budapest Ferenc Airport to Budapest City Center: $33
  • Transfer in private vehicle from Budapest City Center to Ferenc Liszt Airport: $33
  • Transfer in private minivan from Budapest Ferenc Airport to Budapest City Center: $43
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Budapest City Center to Ferenc Liszt Airport: $43
  • Transfer from Budapest to Salzburg: Private sightseeing daytrip with 2 stops: $282
  • Transfer from Budapest to Prague: Private sightseeing daytrip with two stops: $274
  • Transfer from Budapest Airport to Koper: $321
  • Speed boat cruise on Budapest Danube river and private airport transfer package: $93
  • Sisi's Royal Palace tour with transfer: $145

Is it cheaper to fly into Helsinki or Budapest?

Prices for flights to both Budapest and Helsinki 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
    Helsinki 27
    Budapest 16

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Helsinki

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

  • Helsinki Food Tour Including Tastings: $137

Typical Food prices in Budapest

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


  • Lunch
    3.04

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Budapest

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

  • Lángos (hungarian streetfood) cooking class: $19
  • Dinner & Cruise on the Danube in Budapest: $23
  • Traveling Spoon Hungarian Goulash Private Online Cooking Class: $27
  • 3-Hour Dinner Cruise and Piano Battle Show: $31
  • Vegan Food Tour / Local delights: $36
  • Private Budapest Food Tour with a Local Foodie: $37
  • Live from Hungarian Online Cooking class: $39
  • Bitemojo Self Guided Food Tour Night & The City Budapest: $47
  • Food Tour in Budapest: $50
  • Bitemojo Self Guided Food Tour of Trendy Budapest: $51
  • BBQ dinner and a Quiz Night - welcome shots (hungaricums) and 88 craft beers: $52
  • 2-Hours Strudel Cooking Class and Wine Tasting in Central Budapest: $53

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Helsinki 22
    Budapest 16

Tours and Activities in Helsinki

For Helsinki, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 2 Days tour to Moominworld and Turku Castle from Helsinki: $955
  • 2-Hour Guided Tuk Tuk Tour in Helsinki: $274
  • 2-Hours Helsinki Professional Photography Walking Tour: $70
  • 2-Hours Photogenic Helsinki Walking Tour with a Local: $67
  • 3.5 Hour Helsinki Highlights Private Tour: $350
  • 5-hour sightseeing in Helsinki and Winterworld: $199
  • 90-minute Helsinki Boat Sightseeing on Beautiful Canal Route: $28
  • Architecture Tour of Helsinki with a city planner: $68
  • Artificial Intelligence City Tour of Helsinki: $37
  • Central Helsinki Tour: $84
  • City Sightseeing Helsinki Hop On Hop Off Tour: $37
  • City Sightseeing Helsinki Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour: $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
    6.11

Tours and Activities in Budapest

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

  • "This is the Way!" - Budapest Photo Tour by Birta Photo: $124
  • 'Best of Pest' 3.5 Hour Private Photography Tour: $112
  • 1 Hour 30 Minutes Downtown Budapest Guided Segway Tour: $93
  • 1. Downtown Pest Side Segway Tour Budapest: $54
  • 10 days private sightseeing tour from Budapest to Prague: $3,109
  • 101 things you have to see in Budapest - Full Day Private Tour: $203
  • 2 Hour Budapest Market and Tasting Tour: $54
  • 2 Hours Cultural and Food Experiences in Budapest: $60
  • 2 Hours Walking Tour in Budapest: $11
  • 2 days Vienna - Bratislava PRIVATE guided tour package from Budapest with lunch: $1,070
  • 2 days Vienna - Wachau Valley PRIVATE guided tour package from Budapest: $1,070
  • 2 hours long private orientation tour in Budapest: $101

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Helsinki 13
    Budapest 12

Sample the Local Flavors in Budapest

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

  • Bingo Bar Crawl: $15
  • Bingo Bar Crawl: $15
  • Original Budapest Pub Crawl and VIP Club Entrance: $16
  • Ultimate Ruin Pub Crawl: $18
  • Generation Pub Crawl Budapest: $19
  • Ruin Pub Crawl - Your Keys to the Nightlife of Budapest: $21
  • Budapest Pub Crawl: $24
  • Pest side Pub Crawl - Unlimited drinks for an hour, discover hidden ruin pubs: $25
  • Re-opening Pub Crawls 2020 Summer-Autumn: $25
  • Budapest Pub Crawl with Skip-the-Line Access: $26
  • Epic Local Insider Pub Crawl in Budapest - Every weekend: $30
  • Party Cruise with Pub Crawl option: $37


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Helsinki and Budapest, we can see that Helsinki 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 Helsinki would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Helsinki than you might in Budapest.


When is the best time to visit Helsinki or Budapest?

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 Helsinki or Budapest in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Helsinki and Budapest. Many visitors come to Helsinki in the summer for the family-friendly experiences. Also, most visitors come to Budapest for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

Helsinki is cooler than Budapest in the summer. The temperature in Helsinki is usually 17°C (62°F) in July, and Budapest stays around 21°C (70°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Budapest this time of the year. In Helsinki, it's very sunny this time of the year. Helsinki usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Budapest during summer. Helsinki gets 275 hours of sunny skies, while Budapest receives 278 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Helsinki usually receives more rain than Budapest. Helsinki gets 58 mm (2.3 in) of rain, while Budapest receives 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Helsinki 17°C (62°F) 
    Budapest 21°C (70°F)

Should I visit Helsinki or Budapest in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Helsinki as well as Budapest. Most visitors come to Helsinki for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Budapest because of the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Helsinki is much colder than Budapest. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Helsinki in October are around 6°C (42°F), and Budapest is about 12°C (53°F).

In the autumn, Helsinki often gets less sunshine than Budapest. Helsinki gets 90 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Budapest receives 152 hours of full sun.

Helsinki usually gets more rain in October than Budapest. Helsinki gets 71 mm (2.8 in) of rain, while Budapest receives 34 mm (1.3 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Helsinki 6°C (42°F) 
    Budapest 12°C (53°F)

Should I visit Helsinki or Budapest in the Winter?

Both Budapest and Helsinki are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The winter months attract visitors to Helsinki because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Budapest this time of year.

It's quite cold in Budapest in the winter. The weather in Helsinki can be very cold. In January, Helsinki is generally much colder than Budapest. Temperatures in Helsinki average around -6°C (21°F), and Budapest stays around -1°C (31°F).

Helsinki usually receives less sunshine than Budapest during winter. Helsinki gets 39 hours of sunny skies, while Budapest receives 61 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Helsinki usually receives around the same amount of rain as Budapest. Helsinki gets 40 mm (1.6 in) of rain, while Budapest receives 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Helsinki -6°C (21°F) 
    Budapest -1°C (31°F)

Should I visit Helsinki or Budapest in the Spring?

Both Budapest and Helsinki during the spring are popular places to visit. The natural beauty are the main draw to Helsinki this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Budapest for the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

It's quite cold in Helsinki in the spring. Helsinki is much colder than Budapest in the spring. The temperature in Helsinki is usually 3°C (37°F) in April, and Budapest stays around 12°C (53°F).

In the spring, Helsinki often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Budapest. Helsinki gets 183 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Budapest receives 178 hours of full sun.

Helsinki usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Budapest. Helsinki gets 41 mm (1.6 in) of rain, while Budapest receives 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Helsinki 3°C (37°F) 
    Budapest 12°C (53°F)

Typical Weather for Budapest and Helsinki

Helsinki Budapest
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -6°C (21°F) 40 mm (1.6 in) -1°C (31°F) 42 mm (1.7 in)
Feb -7°C (20°F) 31 mm (1.2 in) 2°C (35°F) 39 mm (1.5 in)
Mar -3°C (27°F) 34 mm (1.4 in) 7°C (44°F) 35 mm (1.4 in)
Apr 3°C (37°F) 41 mm (1.6 in) 12°C (53°F) 42 mm (1.7 in)
May 9°C (49°F) 31 mm (1.2 in) 16°C (62°F) 62 mm (2.4 in)
Jun 15°C (59°F) 40 mm (1.6 in) 20°C (67°F) 69 mm (2.7 in)
Jul 17°C (62°F) 58 mm (2.3 in) 21°C (70°F) 45 mm (1.8 in)
Aug 16°C (60°F) 72 mm (2.8 in) 21°C (69°F) 56 mm (2.2 in)
Sep 11°C (51°F) 74 mm (2.9 in) 17°C (63°F) 39 mm (1.5 in)
Oct 6°C (42°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 12°C (53°F) 34 mm (1.3 in)
Nov 1°C (33°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 6°C (42°F) 59 mm (2.3 in)
Dec -4°C (26°F) 58 mm (2.3 in) 1°C (34°F) 48 mm (1.9 in)


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Helsinki vs. Budapest Travel Comparison

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