The short answer: it depends — if you strictly plan your trip around maximizing discounts, then you may be able to save around $16 to $35 on a 3-day trip, based on my 3-day itinerary example.
The coverage list of the Budapest card doesn't include the best or most popular places in Budapest like the Hungarian Parliament, the House of Terror, ruin bars, skybars or restaurants. Its goal seems to be propping up less popular places in the city, and fight overtourism.
My recommendation: The best way to go about deciding if the Budapest card is worth it is to plan your dream itinerary first, then calculate how much you could save via the card.
The long answer: this entire article 😉
The Budapest card is advertised as an unskippable deal for tourists visiting Budapest. It's supposed to be a one-stop-shop card that's convenient and saves you money.
The Budapest card has 6 different types:
- 24h card — 29€
- 48h card — 43€
- 72h card — 54€
- 72h Plus card — 87€
- 4-day card — 69€
- 5-day card — 82€
💡 The 72h Plus card covers more places and activities than its regular counterpart.
The benefits of the Budapest card include the following:
- Free public transport.
- Free or discounted access to Budapest's thermal baths and beaches.
- Access to more than 70 discounted services and activities.
- Free entry to +30 museums.
But is it true?
Do you save money with the Budapest card?
Let's find out.
Here is the list of items covered by the Budapest card.
💡 FREE = Free on any card type. 72 PLUS FREE = Free only on 72h Plus card.
Baths, Spas, and Beaches
- St. Lukács Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool: FREE
- Széchenyi Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool: 20%
- Rudas Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool: 20%
- Római Bath: 20%
- Palatinus Thermal Bath, Public and Wave Pool: 20%
- Lupa Beach: 20%
- Aquaworld Resort Budapest: 20%
Restaurants, Food, and Drinks
- 1 x Molnár's Kürtőskalács: 72 PLUS FREE
- Champion Wine Vinarium & Gastro Boutique: 50%
- Molnár's Kürtőskalács: 20%
- Halász Bástya Restaurant: 20%
- Vén Hajó Restaurant: 20%
- Lángos in the Heart of the City!: 20%
- Bonnie Restro Comics: 20%
- Zsolnay Café: 20%
- Yellow Bistro & Bar: 20%
- Párisi Passage Café & Brasserie Experience: 20%
- Láng Bistro & Grill Restaurant: 10%
- Café Astoria Restaurant: 10%
- Seaman's Bistro: 10%
- Old Street Café: 10%
- Hard Rock Cafe: 10%
Attractions, Sightseeing, and Guided Tours
- Matthias Church at Buda Castle: 72 PLUS FREE
- Buda Castle Funicular: 72 PLUS FREE
- Duna Bella Daytime Sightseeing River Cruise: 72 PLUS FREE
- Official Budapest Castle Bus: FREE
- Zugliget Chairlift (libegő): FREE
- Walking Tour Buda - 1.5-2h: FREE
- Walking Tour Pest 1.5-2h: FREE
- Guided Tours at the Pesti Vigadó: 50%
- St. Stephen's Hall (not the Basilica!): 50%
- Fungarian Language Classes and Tours: 25%
- Legenda City Cruises: 25%
- The Main Parish Church of The Assumption in Downtown: 20%
- St. Stephen's Basilica: 20%
- Bike & Relax Budapest Bicycle Tours: 20%
- Ferris Wheel of Budapest With Champagne: 20%
- Budapest Zoo & Botanical Gardens: 25%
- Buda Castle Walks - Buda Castle Highlights: 20%
- Duna Corso Sightseeing Boat Trip: 20%
- Vr Tours-historical Vr Tour in the Buda Castle: 20%
- Bike Carriage (Bringóhintó): 20%
- City Sightseeing Budapest - Hop-on, Hop-Off: 20%
- Gödöllő Royal Palace: 15%
- Excursion Boat to Vác: 15%
- Excursion Boat to Szentendre: 15%
- Tropicarium - The Shark Zoo: 15%
- Synagogue in Kazinczy Utca: 10%
- Dohány Street Synagogue: 10%
- Organ Concert in St. Stephen's Basilica: 10%
- Lunch&cruise: 10%
- Eurama Sightseeing Tours: 10%
- Riverride: 10%
- Ideal City Tour: 10%
- Jewish Heritage Tours: 10%
- Szamos Chocolate Tour: 10%
Museums, Galleries, and Culture
💡 Note: the more exciting temporary exhibitions are excluded from the Budapest card's coverage. In other words, if you buy a ticket to a temporary exhibition, you will get access to the entire museum, but you won't be a able to take adventage of your card discount.
- Hungarian National Gallery: FREE
- Budapest History Museum - Castle Museum: FREE
- Kunsthalle Budapest - Műcsarnok: FREE
- Urban Betyár Restaurant & Visitor Center: FREE
- Hungarian Museum of Trade and Tourism: FREE
- Hungarian National Museum: FREE
- Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center: FREE
- House of the Hungarian Photographers: FREE
- Memento Park- Statue Park Museum: FREE
- Museum of Fine Arts: FREE
- Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts: FREE
- Budapest History Museum - Aquincum Museum: FREE
- Liget Budapest Visitor Center: FREE
- Vasarely Museum Budapest: FREE
- Ludwig Museum - Museum of Contemporary Art: FREE
- Museum of Óbuda: FREE
- Budapest History Museum - Kiscell Museum: FREE
- Budapest History Museum - Budapest Gallery: FREE
- Goldberger Textile Industry Collection: FREE
- Budatower - the Mary Mag Dalen E Tower: FREE
- Szamos Chocolate Museum: FREE GIFT
- Budapest History Museum - Medieval Jewish Prayer House: FREE
- House of Unicum: 50%
- "Among the First Ones" - the Permanent Exhibition of the Postal Museum: 50%
- Hungarian Railway Museum: 50%
- Liszt Academy - Franz Liszt's University of Music: 50%
- Hospital in the Rock - Nuclear Bunker Museum: 25%
- The Open-air Museum of Ethnography: 20%
- Exhibitions at the Pesti Vigadó: 20%
- House of the Hungarian Millennium - Neo Contemporary Art Space: 20%
- Underground Railway Museum: 15-30%
- Urban Public Transport Museum: 15-30%
- Metal Art Gallery: 15%
- Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives: 10%
- Budapest Pinball Museum: 10%
- Budapest Retro Museum: 10%
- Museum of Sweets and Selfies: 10%
Nature, Tech, and Miscellaneous
- Pál-Völgyi Cave: FREE
- Csopa Science Center: FREE
- Traditional Horse Show at Lázár Riding Park: 50%
- Sas-hegy Visitor Center: 20%
- Szemlő-hegy Cave: 20%
- Timetrap Exit Game: 20%
- 1 Hour Axe Throwing: 15%
- Rajkó Folk Ensemble & Orchestra: 10%
- Paniq-room: 10%
- Premier Outlet Budapest: 10%
- Cooking Budapest: 10%
- VR Theme Park: 10%
I've created an example 3-day itinerary for first-time visitors staying from Friday to Sunday, based on the Budapest card 72h Plus card's discounts.
- You arrive at Liszt Ferenc International Airport on Friday at 7 am and leave on Sunday at 6 pm.
- You travel solo or with your partner, with one suitcase each.
- The goal is to see the most popular Budapest attractions, taste unique Hungarian food, and try the famous nightlife. All in three short days.
💡 Good to know: Hotel check-in is usually from 2-3 pm, while check-out is at 10-11 am. Luggage storage or early check-in may have additional costs.
Day 1: Pest Central (5th, 6th, and 7th District)
- 07:00 - Arrive at the airport.
- 08:00 - Arrive at the city center hotel via a free Minibud transfer. Leave luggage in storage at the hotel. You save $10.50.
- 09:00 - Have breakfast at a brunch place or bakery.
- 10:00 - Attend the free CityRama Pest guided tour and grab a free chimney cake at Molnar's. You save $11.00 and $5.00.
- 13:00 - Have the best Lángos of your life at Retro Lángos.
- 14:00 - Have a coffee near St. Stephens Basilica, buy a ticket and go up. You save $1.50.
- 15:30 - Have your free Danube river cruise with Legenda. You save $13.50.
- 16:45 - You visit the Dohany Street Synagogue. You save $2.00.
- 18:00 - Visit the House of Terror Museum.
- 20:00 - Have dinner at Mazel Tov.
- 22:00 - Visit Szimpla ruin bar.
💵 Total saved (with public transport pass): $57.00
Day 2: Buda Castle District
- 08:00 - Wake up and have breakfast.
- 09:30 - Visit the Hungarian Parliament.
- 11:00 - Walk around in the center or along the Danube.
- 12:30 - Cross Széchenyi Chain Bridge and take the free Budapest Castle Bus up the hill. You save $10.00.
- 13:00 - Visit the Matthias Church and the Fisherman's Bastion. You save $5.50.
- 14:00 - Attend the free Cityrama Buda guided tour. You save $11.00.
- 16:00 - Lunch for two at Halászbástya restaurant. You spend 40$. You save $8.00.
- 17.30 - Visit the Hungarian National Gallery. You save $8.50.
- 19.00 - Go down via the Castle Hill Funicular. You save $7.50.
- 20:00 - Dinner at Gettó Gulyás.
- 22:00 - Drinks at 360 rooftop bar.
💵 Total saved: $50.50.
Day 3: Széchenyi Bath + Central Market Hall
- 07:00 - You wake up, have breakfast, and check out. You leave your luggage in storage at Kálvin Square.
- 09:00 - You go to Széchenyi Thermal bath. You save $4.00.
- 13:00 - You return to the center and have lunch at Belvárosi disznótoros. You visit the Great Marketplace, Váci utca, and Liberty bridge.
- 15:00 - You grab your luggage and leave for the airport with Minibud Transfer to arrive 2 hours before departure. You save $10.50.
- 18:00 - Your plane departs. Your vacation is over!
💵 Total saved: $14.50
Based on the reasonable itinerary above, I calculated your savings below.
Budapest Card: 72h Plus
- Total savings in 3 days with 72h Plus Card: $122.00.
- Cost of Budapest Card 72h Plus: $87.00
- You've spent $35.00 less than without the card.
Budapest Card: 72h Normal
- Total savings in 3 days with 72h Card: $72.10
- Cost of Budapest Card 72h: $56.00
- You've spent $16.10 less than without the card.
So the answer to the question, "Is the Budapest Card Worth it?" is technically yes. But as you can see, it's not a mind-blowing deal.
Whether you should buy it depends on your personal situation, what interests you and how much you prefer convenience.
Ultimately, the best way to go about it is to plan your dream itinerary first, then calculate how much you could save with the BP card.
💡 Tip: I recommend a whole week to explore Budapest comfortably.
After you buy the Budapest card online, bring your voucher and an ID with you to any of the following locations:
- Budapest Info Point, Liszt Ferenc Budapest Airport Terminal 2A - Open: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM.
- Budapest Info Point, Liszt Ferenc Budapest Airport Terminal 2B - Open: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
- Budapest Info Point Városháza Park, Városháza park, Károly krt., 1052 Hungary - Open: 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM.
It's best to ask for it at the airport to take advantage of the complimentary airport transfer.
Even though I just proved that the Budapest card could produce a positive return on investment, there are some things you should know.
- The city is very walkable, so you likely won't make your money's worth back on the public transport pass.
- The Minibud transfer is a high-value add service, but it's included only in the 72 Plus pass. Other popular ways of getting from the airport to the city center are the 100E bus and Bolt ridesharing.
Museums, Galleries, and Culture
- Museums are over-represented in the list of acceptable places, even though most people would view the top 1-2 museums at best.
- The most famous museum - the House of Terror - is excluded from the list.
- Otherwise, this card is the "master card" for museum lovers.
Restaurants, Food, and Drinks
- There are only tourist traps on the list.
- The best restaurants in Budapest aren't on the list.
- The ruin, rooftop, or sky bars aren't on the list - bad news if you came for the nightlife.
- Budapest's top thermal baths are Széchenyi, Gellért és Rudas bath. For some reason, Gellért bath is excluded from the list.
- Lukács is a "lesser" thermal bath - I recommend visiting it after going to the former three baths first.
Attractions, Sightseeing, and Guided Tours
- Budapest's most famous attraction - the Hungarian Parliament - is excluded from the coverage list.
- You won't have time to visit Gellért Hill, Margaret Island, or the People's Park area - they each would take half to a full day to explore.
- The Buda castle funicular is an overpriced elevator ($8) that lasts 2-3 minutes. It used to be reasonably priced, but now it's extortionate. But since it's free with the Budapest card, you might as well use it.
- Some items on the list are unfeasible to visit due to bad location and time constraints, e.g. Danube Bend cruises, cave exploration, etc.