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

Should you visit Istanbul or Budapest?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Istanbul or Budapest, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Istanbul

Istanbul is strategically located on the Bosphorus and is split between Europe and Asia. It truly is a city where east meets west. Istanbul is the cultural and financial hub of Turkey, and also the most populous city. The sites are countless and there's something for everybody, whether you're interested in art, music, food, or adventure. You can pass many days exploring both the residential and commercial pockets of this city. Much of the appeal is hidden away along back alleys or within corner shops.

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.

Which city is cheaper, Budapest or Istanbul?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Istanbul is $54, while the average daily cost in Budapest is $74. 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. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Istanbul and Budapest in more detail.



Accommodation

A hotel room in Istanbul is about $66 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $80 in Budapest For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Istanbul $33
    Budapest $40
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Istanbul $66
    Budapest $80

Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in Istanbul is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $3.17 per person, per day, on local transportation in Istanbul.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Budapest than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $8.70 on transportation in Budapest on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Istanbul $3.17
    Budapest $8.70
Typical Local Transportation prices in Istanbul

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


  • Ferry
    $0.19
  • Local Bus
    $0.20

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Istanbul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Istanbul:

  • Private Transfer from Istanbul to Bodrum: $1,244
  • Istanbul 5-Day City Package with Hotel, City Tours and Airport Transfers: $722
  • Transfer From Istanbul to Bodrum: $722
  • Transfer From Istanbul to Izmir: $653
  • Transfer From Istanbul to Kusadasi: $647
  • 2-Hour Bosphorus Yacht Cruise with Transfers: $500
  • 4-Day Wonderful Istanbul Including Accommodation Plus Transfer: $474
  • Istanbul Airport to Kartalkaya Transfer: $460
  • Safe Istanbul Airport Transfer in Luxury with English Speaking Chauffeur: $355
  • 4-Day Istanbul City Package including Full-Day Istanbul City Tour plus Airport Transfers: $350
  • Istanbul to Bursa Uludag private minivan transfer service: $348
  • From Pamukkale Day Tour With Flights and Transfers: $334

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:

  • Private Airport Transfer Service in Budapest, Hungary: $18
  • Budapest Private Transfer: Hotel or Apartment to Airport: $19
  • Transfer from Train Station/Pier to Hotel: $19
  • Budapest Private Transfer: Airport to Hotel or Apartment: $20
  • Budapest One Way Private Transfer to or from Airport: $20
  • Private Departure Transfer: Budapest City - Budapest Airport: $21
  • Private Arrival transfer from Budapest Airport to Budapest City Center: $21
  • Private Transfer from Budapest City Center to Budapest Ferenc Liszt Airport(BUD): $22
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Budapest to Budapest International Airport (BUD): $22
  • Budapest Airport Private Departure Transfer : City to Airport: $22
  • Private Transfer from Budapest city to Budapest Airport - departure: $22
  • Private Transfer from Budapest Airport to the city - arrival: $22

Is it cheaper to fly into Istanbul or Budapest?

Prices for flights to both Budapest and Istanbul 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

On average, meal and food prices in Istanbul cost around $14 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $5.60.

Food in Budapest costs travelers about $18 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Istanbul $14
    Budapest $18
Typical Food prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of dining costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Juice
    $0.13
  • Turkish Delight
    $0.04
  • Dessert
    $0.57
  • Pastries
    $0.10

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Istanbul

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Istanbul.

  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $29
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise Show: $30
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise Inc. Dinner and Belly Dance Show with Hotel Transfer: $34
  • Alaturca Ottoman Dramatic Stage Show & Dinner Cruise ( Non - Alcoholic ): $35
  • Bosphorus Dinner & Show Cruise (All Inclusive): $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Show Cruise With Non Alcoholic Menu ISTANBUL Dinner cruise: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise An Unforgettable Experience in Istanbul: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Night Show from Istanbul: $37
  • Istanbul Cruise&Show with Dinner: $37
  • Dinner Cruise on the Bosphorus: $38
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $39
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise with Sema Ceremony: $40

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:

  • L├íngos (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 and activities in Istanbul typically cost an average of $20 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

Sightseeing expenses in Budapest, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $19 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Istanbul $20
    Budapest $19
Typical Entertainment prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Bosphurus Boat (for 2)
    $1.35
  • Yerebatan Cistern for Two
    $1.35
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts for Two
    $0.67
  • Hagia Sofia entrance
    $2.02

Tours and Activities in Istanbul

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Istanbul are as follows:

  • 1 Day - Istanbul Tour: $315
  • 1 Day Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Tour From Istanbul: $300
  • 1 Day Istanbul & Ephesus Tour By Plane - YK230: $419
  • 1 Day Regular Cappadocia Tour by Plane - YK0011: $384
  • 1 Day Tour - Sapanca: $300
  • 1 Night 1 Day Cappadocia Tour from Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $496
  • 1 Night 1 Day Cappadocia Travel from Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $509
  • 1 Night 1 Day Cappadocia Trip from/to Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $513
  • 1 Night 1 Day Trip from Istanbul to Cappadocia - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $490
  • 1 Night 2 Days Cappadocia Trip from/to Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $521
  • 1 Night 2 Days Ephesus, Kusadasi, Hierapolis & Pamukkale Tour from/to Istanbul: $372
  • 1 Night Cappadocia Trip with Hot Air Balloon Tour: $525

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 Private Tour: Buda Castle District Exploration Game: $3.72
  • Discovering Explore the city's hot pools and heroes on an audio tour: $5.00
  • Private Budapest Ghost Tour: Haunted City Exploration Game: $5.65
  • Digital 100-Sights City Tour: $5.67
  • Urban Tour of the Outer viii district Budapest: $6.22
  • Guided Tour in Budapest Castle District: $6.22
  • The Legendary Vampires at the Castle's Court Audio Tour: $6.59
  • Alternative Street Tip Based Walking Tour of Budapest: $6.77
  • Aeropark Admission Ticket: $6.91
  • Budapest Downtown and Inner City E-Scooter Tour: $7.46
  • Skip the Line: Aeropark Aviation Museum Entrance Ticket: $8.01
  • Robert Capa Contemporary Photograhy Center Visit Ticket: $8.71

Alcohol

The average person spends about $4.85 on alcoholic beverages in Istanbul per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Budapest, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $14.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Istanbul $4.85
    Budapest $14

Sample the Local Flavors in Istanbul

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Istanbul:

  • Daily Tekirdag Wine Tasting Tour from Istanbul: $427

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 Istanbul and Budapest, we can see that Budapest is more expensive. And not only is Istanbul much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Istanbul would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Istanbul 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 Budapest would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Budapest than you might in Istanbul.

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Istanbul vs. Budapest Travel Comparison

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