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

Should you visit Riga or Budapest?

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

Should I visit Riga or Budapest? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Riga

Riga is a off-the-beaten-path, charming, and unique city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the museums, nightlife, and food.

Budapest

Budapest is a bustling, cultural, and artistic 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. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Riga and Budapest: Pros and Cons

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


How is Riga different from Budapest?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Riga or Budapest Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Riga
Budapest

Plenty of people visit the sights and museums in both Riga and Budapest.

Riga offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. As a capital city with a diverse history, you'll find a number of museums and landmarks in the area. Visitors frequently visit The Freedom Monument, St. Peters Church, the Riga Cathedral, The House of the Black Heads, and any of the many museums around town.

Many visitors head to Budapest specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. Famous sights include the Buda Castle and Castle Hill, the Hungarian Parliament Building, and St. Stephen's Basilica.


Is Riga or Budapest Better for Food?

Riga
Budapest

Most foodies will appreciate the restaurant options in Riga a bit more than Budapest.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Riga. The city offers a great opportunity to try many Latvian specialties including rasol (a potato salad), pelmeni (a Latvian dumpling), and karbonade (kind of like schnitzel). The cuisine is hearty and filling with lots of bread, dumpling, and meats. Riga is also where you'll find the largest food market in Europe, which is the perfect place to wander and pick up some local items.

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 Riga or Budapest Better for Nightlife?

Riga
Budapest

Evening events are similar in both Riga and Budapest.

Riga is a world class party destination. Despite being a small city, this capital has gained a reputation for its party atmosphere. The historic center comes to life in the evenings, particularly between Wednesdays and Saturdays. The area is compact enough that you can walk from club to club and prices are reasonable.

Budapest has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. The city's active nightlife includes dance clubs, local pubs, and cultural festivals throughout the year.

Is Riga or Budapest Better for Shopping?

Riga
Budapest

Both Riga and Budapest are good shopping destinations.

Riga is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. Some of the most interesting shopping in the city is in the old town. Prices might be a little more expensive than you expect but it's possible to find some unique items. The city also has many markets, including the largest food market in Europe, which is a must-see.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Budapest. The city has a diverse shopping scene that you can experience by visiting the Central Market or Váci Street.

Is Riga or Budapest Better for Families?

Riga
Budapest

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Riga or Budapest.

Riga is a family-friendly place to visit. During the winter months, there are a number of museums that are fun to explore with kids including the Nature Museum, the Railroad Museum, the Aviation Technology Museum, and the Riga Firefighter Museum. There are also several indoor play areas. When the weather is warmer there are a number of outdoor parks and playgrounds to explore.

Budapest is a family-friendly city. 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 Riga or Budapest Better for Couples?

Riga
Budapest

With fun activities for couples, both Riga and Budapest make for a good place to visit.

Riga makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The city has a charming old town that you can explore, taking time to relax in the city squares or sip coffee at a cafe. There are also many nice restaurants that will make for a romantic date night.

Budapest makes for a fun place to visit for 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.

Is Riga or Budapest Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Riga
Budapest

Both Riga and Budapest are popular destinations for backpackers.

Backpackers and budget travelers come from all over the world to visit Riga. There are many affordable hostels around town as well as restaurants where you can grab a cheap meal. The city offers a great European experience at a fraction of the price of many cities.

A large number of backpackers visit Budapest, as it is a very popular city for budget travelers. 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.

Is Riga or Budapest Better for Students?

Riga
Budapest

Riga and Budapest are both good destinations for students and younger travelers.

Riga is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. The city's affordability and vibrant atmosphere make it a great spot for international students. There are many places to hang out and a lively nightlife scene that appeals to young travelers.

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.

Is Riga or Budapest Better for Public Transit?

Riga
Budapest

Both Riga and Budapest offer public transit options.

Riga has some very good public transit options. Transportation options include buses, trolleybuses, and trams.

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.


Is Riga or Budapest a more walkable city?

Riga
Budapest

Riga and Budapest both are comparable when exploring on foot.

Riga is a very walkable city. The city is small enough that most areas can be explored on foot.

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.

Should I spend more time in Budapest or Riga?

How long in Riga or Budapest?

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

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


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

One day in Riga or Budapest?

The beautiful city of Riga offers food and shopping. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. 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 destination where you can fill many days. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

A weekend in Riga or Budapest?

Riga 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. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Riga, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Budapest is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Five days in Riga or Budapest?

Riga is a popular choice for travelers. It's no surprise that nightlife is why people visit. 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 cultural big city where you can fill many days. This city offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. Five days is often enough time to do most activities.


A week in Riga or Budapest?

Riga is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that nightlife is why people visit. Visiting the old town is also a must. 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.

The authentic city of Budapest offers museums and nightlife. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week 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.

Which city is cheaper, Budapest or Riga?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Riga is €82, 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 Riga and Budapest in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Riga 42
    Budapest 35
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Riga 84
    Budapest 70
Compare Hotels in Riga and Budapest

Looking for a hotel in Riga 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 Riga


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: Riga Hotel Prices and Budapest Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Riga 12
    Budapest 7.63

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Riga

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Riga:

  • Riga Tank Ride - 2 Hours - Guided with Return Transfers: $1,192
  • Mercedes-Benz Viano Van Transfer from Riga to Vilnius/Talinn/Any Baltic Country: $425
  • Private Minivan Transfer: Riga to Tallinn: $418
  • Private Minivan transfer from Riga to Kaunas: $413
  • Riga Party Bus Airport Transfer: $382
  • Riga to Vilnius transfer with Sightseeing: $347
  • Riga to Tallinn transfer with Sightseeing: $335
  • Transfer from Riga to Tallinn: $283
  • Private Minivan Transfer from Kaunas to Riga: $215
  • Riga (Sigulda) Winter Bobsleigh "Olympic + Vuchko" Ride - Guided with Transfers: $199
  • Private transfer from Riga to Vilnius via Rundale palace and Hill of crosses: $169
  • Private Taxi Transfer from Riga or Riga airport to Tallinn: $153

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:

  • 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 Riga or Budapest?

Prices for flights to both Budapest and Riga 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
    Riga 26
    Budapest 16
Typical Food prices in Riga

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


  • Fast Food Lunch
    5.77

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Riga

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

  • Private Guided Virtual Food Tour of Riga: $12
  • Central Market Latvian Food Tour: $34
  • Riga Medieval Dinner: $102
  • Riga Medieval Dinner: $102

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.
    Riga 17
    Budapest 16

Tours and Activities in Riga

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

  • "Best of Riga" 6-hour Private Car & Walking Tour: $373
  • 2 Day Gastronomy Tour In Latgale: $267
  • 2 Day Gauja National Park Tour: $199
  • 2 Day Kurzeme Winery Tour: $224
  • ATV-QUAD rent and guided tours: $48
  • All Inclusive Honest History Tour - Āraiši, Cēsis, Līgatne, Sigulda: $248
  • Alternative Riga Photoshoot Tour: $49
  • An audio tour of Old from St Peter's Church to the Monument of Freedom: $5.00
  • Art Nouveau Small Group Walking Tour of Riga: $193
  • Art Nouveau Walking Tour in Riga: $57
  • Beer Bike Experience: $45
  • Best of Riga Walking Tour: $231

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.

  • 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
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Riga 16
    Budapest 12

Sample the Local Flavors in Riga

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

  • Pub Crawl in Riga: $37
  • Pub Crawl- Your best night out in Riga with our local guide!: $47
  • Riga Public Pub Crawl: $60
  • Riga Happy Hour Pub Crawl: $64
  • Riga Brewery Tour: $83
  • Riga Brewery Tour: $83
  • Riga Beer Killer Bar Crawl: $83
  • Riga Wine Tasting Session: $115
  • Gauja National Park Tour: Castles and Wine Tasting: $149
  • Culinary, Historic and Wine Tour to Sigulda and Cesis: $224
  • Exclusive Latvian Wine Tasting In Riga: $380
  • 1.5-Hour Latvian Wine Tasting Experience: $476

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 Riga and Budapest, we can see that Riga 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 Riga would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Riga than you might in Budapest.


When is the best time to visit Riga or Budapest?

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 Riga or Budapest in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Riga as well as Budapest. The city activities and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Riga this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to Budapest for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

Riga is cooler than Budapest in the summer. The temperature in Riga is usually 17°C (63°F) in July, and Budapest stays around 21°C (70°F).

Riga usually gets more rain in July than Budapest. Riga gets 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Budapest receives 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Riga 17°C (63°F) 
    Budapest 21°C (70°F)

Should I visit Riga or Budapest in the Autumn?

Both Budapest and Riga are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Riga for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, many visitors come to Budapest in the autumn for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Riga is much colder than Budapest. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Riga in October are around 7°C (45°F), and Budapest is about 12°C (53°F).

In October, Riga usually receives more rain than Budapest. Riga gets 60 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Budapest receives 34 mm (1.3 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Riga 7°C (45°F) 
    Budapest 12°C (53°F)

Should I visit Riga or Budapest in the Winter?

Both Budapest and Riga during the winter are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Riga in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, most visitors come to Budapest for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Budapest can be very cold during winter. Riga can get quite cold in the winter. In January, Riga is generally much colder than Budapest. Temperatures in Riga average around -5°C (23°F), and Budapest stays around -1°C (31°F).

Riga usually gets less rain in January than Budapest. Riga gets 33 mm (1.3 in) of rain, while Budapest receives 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Riga -5°C (23°F) 
    Budapest -1°C (31°F)

Should I visit Riga or Budapest in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Riga and Budapest. Most visitors come to Riga for the activities around the city and the natural beauty during these months. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Budapest because of the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

Riga is much colder than Budapest in the spring. The temperature in Riga is usually 5°C (42°F) in April, and Budapest stays around 12°C (53°F).

In April, Riga usually receives around the same amount of rain as Budapest. Riga gets 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Budapest receives 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Riga 5°C (42°F) 
    Budapest 12°C (53°F)

Typical Weather for Budapest and Riga

Riga Budapest
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -5°C (23°F) 33 mm (1.3 in) -1°C (31°F) 42 mm (1.7 in)
Feb -4°C (24°F) 25 mm (1 in) 2°C (35°F) 39 mm (1.5 in)
Mar -0°C (31°F) 31 mm (1.2 in) 7°C (44°F) 35 mm (1.4 in)
Apr 5°C (42°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 12°C (53°F) 42 mm (1.7 in)
May 12°C (53°F) 43 mm (1.7 in) 16°C (62°F) 62 mm (2.4 in)
Jun 15°C (60°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 20°C (67°F) 69 mm (2.7 in)
Jul 17°C (63°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 21°C (70°F) 45 mm (1.8 in)
Aug 16°C (62°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 21°C (69°F) 56 mm (2.2 in)
Sep 12°C (54°F) 76 mm (3 in) 17°C (63°F) 39 mm (1.5 in)
Oct 7°C (45°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 12°C (53°F) 34 mm (1.3 in)
Nov 2°C (36°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 6°C (42°F) 59 mm (2.3 in)
Dec -2°C (28°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 1°C (34°F) 48 mm (1.9 in)


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Riga vs. Budapest Travel Comparison

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