Budapest, the capital of Hungary that’s split by the river Danube, is one of the top cities to visit in the world, and a center of tourism. The Budapest Festival and Tourism Center offers tourists a Budapest Card that offers discounted access to museums, tourist attractions and free transport throughout the city.
I've been to Budapest twice now and twice have I used the Budapest Card to save money and on public transportation. Whether it's worth getting the Budapest City Card does depend on the kind of traveler you are and how you plan your trip, so let's have a look at all that's included and when the card is the right choice for you.
- Is the Budapest Card worth it?
- What is the Budapest Card?
- Budapest Card benefits: what's included?
- Who is it for?
- How to choose the best Budapest Card for you?
- Where to buy the Budapest Card?
- Practical tips for getting the most out of your Budapest Card
- Don't forget travel insurance
Is the Budapest Card worth it?
What is the Budapest Card?
The Budapest Card is the perfect all-in-one discount option for travelers in Budapest. Cardholders get free access to public transportation within the city limits, free entry to 19 museums and discounted entry to other museums and attractions.
They also get free access to the Lukacs Thermal Baths and discounted entry to others, two free guided walking tours in English, free entry to the Palvolgyi Cave, discounted access to luggage storage services, and discounts at major Budapest city attractions and restaurants serving Hungarian foods.
The Budapest pass comes in the following options for 2021/2022:
- Budapest Card 24 hours at 21.99 EUR / 25.50 USD
- Budapest Card 48 hours at 32.99 EUR / 38 USD
- Budapest Card 72 hours at 42.99 EUR / 49 USD
- Budapest Card 72h Junior at 32.99 EUR / 36.50 USD
- Budapest Card 72h Plus at 66.99 EUR / 77 USD
- Budapest Card 96h at 52.99 EUR / 61 USD
- Budapest Card 120h at 62.99 EUR / 73 USD
The 72h and 120h cards are perfect if you have more time to explore, while the 24h and 48h cards are great for a quick visit of the must-sees the city.
72h Junior card
If you are traveling with children aged 6 to 18 years, the 72h (3 Days) Junior card is available at a discounted cost of 32.99 EUR / 36.50 USD, while children under 6 have free access to public transport and most museums. Some of the attractions will require you to show valid proof of age or a student ID for your children.
There are no other junior cards available.
72 hrs Plus at 66.99 EUR / 74 USD
In addition to the many discounts and attractions available on the Budapest Cards, the 72h Plus card holder also gets a range of extra benefits. The most important ones being a free transfer from the airport to your accommodation and back, a free cruise on the Danube, a free ride on the Buda Castle Funicular Railway, free admission to Matthias Church, and a free delicious chimney cake from Molnár’s.
So how much do you save extra with this plus option?
- The normal cost of a return ride on the Buda Castle Funicular Railway is 1800 HUF, while a one-way is 1200 HUF.
- The entry fees to the Church of Our Lady at Buda Castle or Mathais Church are 1800 HUF.
- A sightseeing cruise on the Duna Bella of Legenda cruises costs 4200 HUF and has an optional stop at Margaret Island.
- Molnar’s most popular flavors for “kurtoskalacs” or chimney cakes are vanilla, poppy seeds, cinnamon, coconut, walnut, cocoa, almond, and chocolate, and cost around 900 HUF or more.
Assuming you want to do all of the above, the 72h Plus card gives you an additional saving of over 30 EUR / 33 USD.
Budapest Card benefits: what's included?
Below you can find the list of attractions and museums that the Budapest Card gives you access to from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020. I've also included their prices at the time of writing so you can immediately see how much you're saving.
Some things, like public transportation, require a deeper look into them to see how much you'd save so I'll discuss those further below.
Based on what's included in the Budapest city pass and how much these things would normally cost, you'll be able to figure out if it's worth it getting the card for the trip you've planned and the things you want to do.
Free and discounted museum entries
With the Budapest Card, you get free entry to 19 Museums in Budapest, plus 2 outside Budapest and discounted entries at others.
Free museum entries
- Hungarian National Gallery – 2800 HUF (plus 1000 HUF for Dome tickets)
- Budapest Museum of History – 2000 HUF
- Mucsarnok (Kusnthalle) – 1800 HUF
- Museum of Fine Arts – 2800 HUF
- Aquincum Museum and Archaeological Park – 1900 HUF (1300 HUF from 1 Nov to 31 Mar)
- Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Arts – 3100 HUF for the combined ticket
- Kiscelli Museum – 1600 HUF
- Vasarely Museum – 1400 HUF
- Hungarian National Museum – 2600 HUF
- New Budapest Gallery – 1000 HUF
- Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts – 1400 HUF
- Mai Manó House, Photo Gallery – 1500 HUF
- Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center – 1500 HUF
- Memento Park-Statue Park – 4900 HUF
- Bartók Béla Memorial House – 1600 HUF
- Museum of Hungarian Customs and Finance Guard – always free
- Hungarian Museum of Trade and Catering – 1000 HUF
- Goldberger Textile Collection – always free
- Obuda Museum – always free
Discounted Entries to Museums
- Hospital in the Rock Nuclear Bunker Museum – 30% off 4000 HUF
- Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives – 10% off 4000 HUF
- Millenium Underground Museum – 15% to 30% off 350 HUF
Free Entry to Museums beyond Budapest
- Urban Public Transport Museum in Szentendre – 350 HUF
- The Open Air Museum of Ethnography in Skanzen – 2000 HUF
Most museums are closed on Mondays, so try to plan your museum visits for other days.
To get the most out of your museum visits, look up their locations beforehand so you can group those together that make the most sense to group together.
Free Budapest Card app
The app includes 15 self-guided tours and more than 500 points of interest.
Other free things
- Public transport within the Budapest city limits (more on this below)
- Luggage storage at Koffer for 4 hours (more on this below)
- Zugliget Chairlift (more on this below)
- Budatower – The Mary Magdalene Tower – 1500 HUF
- Lukacs Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool (more on this below)
- Scitec Gold and Fitness Club (more on this below)
- Hungarian History 3D Show – 1500 HUF
- Csopa Science Centre – 3600 HUF
- Palvolgyi Cave – 1300 HUF
- Urban Betyar Restaurant and Visitor Centre – 1500 HUF
- Budafok Winery Tou – around 1000 HUF
- Varkert Bazar – A New World was born 1914 to 1922 – 4000 HUF
- Bum Application (shows you shopping stores closest to you)
- Two free English walking tours of the city, a morning tour of Pest and an afternoon tour of Buda (more on this below)
Budapest Card discounts
- Guided tours in the Liszt Ferenc Academy – 3500 HUF
- Pesti Vigado Tour – 2900 HUF
- Guided tour and concert in the Museum of Fine Arts – 2800 HUF
- Bike & Relax Budapest Bike Tour – 6900 HUF
- Varkert Bazar – Sisi and her beloved Hungary – 4000 HUF
- Varkert Bazar – Mikveh Tour – 4000 HUF
- Traditional Horse Show in Lazar Equestrian Park – 3600 HUF
Duna Corso Budapest Sightseeing Boat – 3500 HUF
- Chefparade Hungarian Cooking School – 75 EUR / 85 USD
- Miniversum Theme Park – 3000 HUF
- Timetrap Exit Game – price upon request
- Duna Bella Sightseeing Cruise by Legenda (Free on the 72h Plus Card) – 4200 HUF
- Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden – 3300 HUF
- St. Stephen’s Basilica Treasury – 1000 HUF
- Capital Circus of Budapest – HUF 1500 and above depending on category
- Budget Rent a Car – A small car for 24 hrs starts at 45 EUR / 50 USD
- Luggage Pals – Small for 5 EUR / 5.6 USD per day – Large at 6 EUR / 6.9 USD per day
- The Innercity Parish Church – 1000 HUF
- Mini Opera Concert and tour of the building – HUF 690
- Margaret Island Water Tower – 600 HUF
- Aquaworld day ticket at Aquaworld Resort – 6490 HUF
- Szechenyi Thermal Bath and Pool – Daily ticket at 6000 HUF
- Gellert Thermal Bath and Pool – Adult ticket at 6800 HUF
- Rudas Thermal Bath and Pool – Adult ticket at 5200 HUF
- Kiraly Thermal Bath and Pool – Adult ticket at 2900 HUF
- Palatinus Thermal Bath and Wave Pool – Adult ticket at 2400 HUF
- Romai Lido – Adult ticket at 2500 HUF
- Budapest Tuktuk – Tour pricess start at 10200 HUF
- Hop On Hop Off City Tour – Packages start at 27 EUR / 30.35 USD
- City Sightseeing Budapest – 14.50 EUR / 16.35 USD
- Hop On Hop Off Program Centrum – 8000 HUF
- Open Air Theatre of Varosmajor – Start at 2300 HUF
- Margaret Island Open Air Stage – Start at 2300 HUF
- Exhibitions at the Pesti Vigado – Individual exhibitions at 800 HUF / Combined ticket at 2500 HUF
- Szemlo Hegyi Cave – 1000 HUF
- Mindquest Live Adventure Game – Start at 3500 HUF
- Minibud Airport Transfer – 6 EUR / 6.7 USD for shuttle and starting at 65 EUR / 72 USD for private transfers.
- St. Stephen’s Basilica Panorama Lookout – 500 HUF
- Mahart Evening Cruise with music and dinner – 12,000 HUF
- Tropicarium – 2700 HUF
- House of Unicum – 2400 HUF
- Godollo Royal Palace – 2600 HUF
- Upper lookout at the Fisherman’s Bastion – 1000 HUF
- Dohany Street Synagogue – 4000 HUF
- Budapest Explore Lunch and Cruise – Starts at 5635 HUF
- Eurama Tours – Starts at 3000 HUF
- Riverride Sightseeing on Land and Water – 9000 HUF
- Jewish Heritage Tours by Budapest Explore – Start at 9016 HUF
- Budapest Gala Concert by Budapest Explore – Starts at 7084 HUF
- Hungaria Orchestra and Folk Ensemble by Budapest Explore – Starts at 7084 HUF
- Pinball Museum Budapest – 3000 HUF
- Organ Concert in St. Stephen’s Basilica – 20 EUR / 22.5 USD
- Superfly Air Sports – 3300 HUF
- Szamos Chocolate Tour with a Chocolate Bar gift – 5900 HUF
5% to 10% Discount
- Budapest Advent and Christmas Fair
- Budapest Spring Fair
- Café Astoria Budapest – 30%
- Gellért Brasserie and Restaurant – 30%
- Gellért Panorama Restaurant – 30%
- Gellért Espresso – 30%
- Palace Restaurant – 20%
- Kárpátia Restaurant, Brasserie and Terrace – 20%
- Vén Hajó Restaurant – 20%
- Columbus Boat – 20%
- Mátyás Pince Restaurant – 20%
- Seaman’s Bistro – 20%
- Old Street Cafe – 20%
- Halasbastya Restaurant – 20%
- Molnár’s Kürtőskalács – 20%
- Bonnie Restro – 20%
- Spoon the Boat Restaurant – 15%
- Hard Rock Cafe – 10%
- Tasting Table – 10%
Free with the 72h Plus Card
- Buda Castle Funicular – 1800 HUF
- Airport Transfer by Minibud – 6 EUR / 6.7 USD for shuttle
- Church of Our Lady at Buda Castle or Mathais Church – 1800 HUF
- Dunabella Sightseeing Cruise by Legenda Cruises – 4200 HUF
- Molnar’s Kurtoskalacs – Start at 900 HUF
Free use of public transportation
Using the Budapest Card, you can travel for free within the city limits on over 32 trams, 200 buses, 4 metro lines, 15 trolleys, some of the HÉV Suburban Railway and on boats as well. However, the Budapest Card cannot be used on the Buda Castle Funicular or bus No.100E.
The Budapest Card also offers a free trip to the hills of Buda using the cogwheel Tram 60 railway and Zugliget Chairlift.
A trip on the Zugliget usually costs 1200 HUF one-way and 1600 HUF for a return ticket at full price. Discounted tickets for children aged 3 to 18 are 600 HUF one-way and 800 HUF return. So that’s a savings of up to 4.30 EUR.
Single ferry tickets cost 170 HUF. Single tickets for public transport in any direction cost 350 HUF while a set of 10 tickets costs 3000 HUF. That’s a savings of over 9 EUR with the Budapest card. And you know you’ll definitely be using the card a lot more than that to hurry from one attraction to another!
Note: Most of the attractions in Budapest are within walking distance of each other, so if you’re just here for a feel of the city and not worried about how many you get to see, you can walk too.
Good to know
If you're from the EU, 65+ years, and only want to use public transportation without visiting any of the sites included in the card, you really don't need the card as you can use the city's public transportation for free! Just show them your ID when asked for it.
Free walking tours
Two free walking tours from Cityrama with English speaking guides are included with all the Budapest Cards. The tours run every day and prior registration isn’t required for Budapest Card holders. Without the card, each tour costs 3000 HUF / 10 EUR / 11.10 USD.
The first tour starts at 10 am at Molnár's Kürtőskalács and visits major attractions in Pest including the St Stephen’s Basilica, the Inner City Parish Church, Parliament building, Hold street Market Hall and more.
The second tour starts at 2 pm at the Holy Trinity Column in front of Matthias Church and takes you through the Castle District, stopping at sights like the Royal Palace, Matthias Church, Fisherman's Bastion, the 19th-century Funicular and more.
Visit to the thermal baths
The city of Budapest, popularly known as the “city of waters”, has the most thermal baths and lidos in the world. The Budapest Card gives have free entry to the lesser-known Lukacs Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool which is open daily from 6 am to 10 pm.
The Lukacs complex which boasts the most medicinal waters in Budapest consists of saunas as well as thermal and adventures pools that have water chutes, neck showers, bubble decks, massaging underwater jets and submersion jacuzzis.
The popular Gellért Bath, Palatinus Thermal Bath and Wave Pools, Széchenyi Bath, Romai Lido and the 500-year old Kiraly Bath and Rudas Bath complex are all accessible at a 20% discount with the Budapest Card. The Széchenyi Bath is Europe’s largest with 21 pools, saunas, gyms, underwater jacuzzis and more.
The prices at different baths vary, but let’s look at the Lukacs Thermal Bath which is free with the Budapest Card. The cost of daily tickets here are as follows:
- Day ticket with locker usage – 3,900 HUF on weekdays and 4,100 HUF on weekends
- Day ticket with cabin usage – 4,300 HUF on weekdays and 4,500 HUF on weekends
- Sauna program – 500 HUF
That’s a savings of 12 EUR / 13.30 USD to 15 EUR / 16.60 USD depending on when you go!
Seniors and students do get a discount of 5 EUR / 5.5 USD if they go between 8 am and 12 pm, but isn’t going free with the Budapest Card a whole lot better?
Good to know:
Some of the baths do not recommend thermal water for children under 14 and do not allow them entry. Please check beforehand if you’re traveling with children.
Free gym entry
The Budapest Card also offers free entry to the 3,600 m2 Scitec Gold Fitness which is open 24/7. The gym has sessions for fat burning, body pumping, cross-training, yoga, weight training, and a lot more. It’s located at 1097, Budapest Könyves, Kálmán krt 12-14.
A day ticket for fitness or aerobics cost 1,600 HUF, but participation is entirely free with the card.
Access to free luggage storage at Koffer
With the Budapest Card, you can store a piece of luggage for 4 hours for free at Koffer Luggage Storage. If you go over 4 hours, the rates are 1 EUR / 1.1 USD per luggage per hour, which is similar to the other luggage centers in the city, such as Budapest Luggage Storage.
This means that using Koffer saves you around 4 EUR / 5 USD which isn't much, but it is something.
Koffer does have an advantage over most other luggage storage facilities, which is their opening hours. While other centers tend to be open from 9 am to 7 pm, Koffer is open from 9 am to 9 pm.
Koffer also offers free boarding pass printing and serves as a key reception service for over 200 apartments in Budapest. If you’re waiting for a bus, you can spend time charging your phone and using the free WiFi, or having a few soft drinks in their cafe. If you’re traveling with a baby you can rent baby cribs and prams from here as well.
Example itineraries with and without the card
Below you can find an example itinerary for two days in Budapest with and without the 48 hour card.
- Take a MiniBud airport transfer to your hotel
- Take public transportation to the Lukacs Bath
- Visit the Lukacs Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool on a weekday morning
- Take public transportation to the Budapest Museum of History
- Visit the Budapest Museum of History
- Take public transport to the cruise terminal
- Go on a sightseeing cruise on the Danube
- Take public transportation back to your hotel
Day 1 without the 48-hour card: 13,500 HUF / 41 EUR / 46 USD
- Take a morning tour of Pest
- Visit the St. Stephens Basilica and its Treasury
- Take public transportation to the Museum of Fine Arts
- Visit the Museum of Fine Arts
- End your day with a casual stroll around the town
Day 2 without the 48-hour card: 7,150 HUF / 21.75 EUR / 24.18 USD
Day 1 and 2 total without 48-hour card: 20,650 HUF/ 62.65 EUR / 70.18 USD
Price of the 48-hour card: 32.99 EUR / 37.08 USD
Savings with the card: 29.66 EUR / 33.10 USD
Who is it for?
Whether or not the Budapest card is for you depends on the type of traveler you are. If you are going there just to wander around and take in the atmosphere of the city, and maybe visit a monument or two, the Budapest Card is probably not for you.
If on the other hand you are one of those people who has done their research on what to see in Budapest and you know what you want to visit, the Budapest Card will give you free or discounted access to a number of paid attractions and museums, as well as free travel and discounted access to other services.
I used the Budapest Card with my mom when we spent 4 days in Budapest. As it was our first time there and we wanted to visit a bunch of places, the card made sense for us.
I also used a special version of the Budapest Card when I attended the Sziget festival as I didn't want to worry about buying public transportation tickets.
How to choose the best Budapest Card for you?
Choosing the Budapest Card depends on your needs. Do you plan to dash into the city for a weekend break and dash back out again? Then you’d do okay with the 24h or 48h cards. And you’d be lucky too since most museums are open on Sundays and closed on Mondays.
If you have a bit more time on your hands, say 5 days to a week, the 120h card will give you the flexibility and freedom to visit multiple sites without looking like a tourist on a rampage.
If you’re doing 3 or 4 days and traveling on a budget, the 72h Plus card is a great option that has more addons than the regular Budapest 72-hour pass. The 72h Plus card also gives you one free return airport transfer, a free cruise on the Danube, a free ride on the Buda Castle Funicular Railway, free admission to Matthias Church, and a free delicious chimney cake from Molnár’s.
Where to buy the Budapest Card?
You can buy the Budapest Card online on the Budapest info website or from official online partners such as GetYourGuide.
You can also buy them in Budapest from the info offices and partners listed below:
Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport Terminal 2A
Opening hours: 8.00 am–10.00 pm
Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport Terminal 2B
Opening hours: 9.00 am–9.00 pm
Deák Ferenc Square
1052 Budapest, Sütő u. 2.
Opening hours: 8.00 am–8.00 pm
1146 Budapest, Olof Palme sétány 5.
Opening hours: Mon–Sun 9.00 am–7.00 pm
Budavár (Holy Trinity square pavilion)
1014 Budapest, Tárnok u. 15.
Opening hours: 9.00 a.m.–6.00 p.m.
Országos Széchenyi Könyvtár
1014 Budapest, Budai Vár, Szent György tér 4-5-6
Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
Vinarium & Gastro Boutique
1061 Budapest, Jókai tér 6.
Opening hours: Mon—Sun: 11 am—10 pm
1061 Budapest, Paulay Ede u. 56.
Opening hours: Mon—Sun: 10 am—8 pm
Szamos Chocolate Museum
1055 Budapest, Kossuth tér 10.
Opening hours: Mon—Sun: 10 am—6 pm
Once you purchase your card, it’s important to register it online at this address. (http://budapestcard.citypay.hu/registration/index.html) It hardly takes a few minutes and is really useful in case you lose it. If your precious Budapest Card is lost, and you have already registered it, you will get a replacement card from the Budapest Infopoint at 1052 Budapest, Sütő utca 2 with the same validity as the original card that’s topped up with all the unused benefits.
Practical tips for getting the most out of your Budapest Card
- Plan your trip in advance so you know how much time you have and where the best place to go is at the best time.
- Try to book get a card with a longer duration so you have more time to explore the city and its attractions
- If you need airport transfers, book the 72h Plus Card. You’ll save a lot.
Don't forget travel insurance
Plan for the best, prepare for the worst. Travel insurance has you covered in case (part of) your trip gets canceled, you get sick or hurt abroad, and sometimes even when your electronics break or get stolen. I always make sure I'm covered every trip I go on.
Don't have travel insurance yet? Check out SafetyWing. They offer super flexible plans that you can even sign up for while you're already on your trip. On top of that, they were the first travel insurance to cover COVID, and when I got COVID, they reimbursed all of my expenses without making a fuss. Their customer support team is great and I can personally recommend them.
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