Which city is better to visit, Prague or Budapest?

Prague tourism

Because of their rapid rise in popularity as tourist destinations over the past decade, travelers often wonder which of the two Central European capitals to visit first: Prague or Budapest? As a result of its compact layout, Prague comes out on top. Seeing the best of Prague on foot takes no more than half a day.

Most individuals who have visited both cities have a preference for one over the other. However, these are still two Central European gems that should be on any visitor’s list.

Need help deciding between Prague and Budapest?

If you can’t decide between Prague and Budapest, this article should help.

Prague vs. Budapest: Comparison between the two cities

Budapest view
Budapest view

Many things about Prague and Budapest are comparable. Both cities are located on (and are separated by) well-known rivers; each boasts historic neighborhoods centered on castles, iconic bridges, landmark churches, and picturesque plazas.

Let’s have a look at the differences between the two:

Cost of Living: Prague vs. Budapest

While Budapest is less expensive than Paris, London, or Berlin, the Czech capital is more so. The rising cost of living in Prague can be attributed to an increase in tourism and the country’s improved economy.

The Czech capital of Prague is typically more expensive than Budapest. At $ 33 per person a day, Budapest currently ranks on the backpacker index, while Prague, at $47, ranks 69th.

While some popular destinations, like the thermal baths in Budapest and Prague Castle, do charge admission, many others do not. We found that while hotel rates in Prague are on the rise, food is still relatively inexpensive outside of the city’s popular tourist areas, while the opposite is true in Budapest.

Budapest is the clear victor, albeit Prague is just as affordable.

What to see and do: Budapest vs. Prague

Prague and Budapest are two of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, so they naturally provide a wealth of cultural experiences. Here, we’ll compile a list of the top activities.

While only a tiny area, Prague’s historic core is jam-packed with sites to see (in fact, the entire city center is a UNESCO Heritage site). Prague Castle, the Krizik fountain, the Old Town Square, the Medieval Astronomical Clock, Charles Bridge, the Jewish Ghetto, and the Lennon Wall are just a few of the city’s most famous landmarks.

The major sights in Prague certainly make an impression.

Budapest’s parliamentary buildings, thermal spas, Chain Bridge, Buda castle, Margaret Island, Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church, and St. Stephen’s Basilica are all part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage listings.

What To Eat And Where To Eat: Prague Vs. Budapest

Czech food
Czech food

Budapest’s cuisine is superior to that of Prague. In Budapest, you won’t have any trouble locating tasty fare. Whether you’re in the mood for Hungarian or international food, Budapest has no shortage of cafes, bistros, or restaurants to satisfy your cravings.

Dining in Budapest

Hungarian cuisine is sometimes misunderstood because of its perceived heaviness; its rich flavor, aroma, and texture make it a must-try. Sour cream, fat, fried garlic, and fried onion are common ingredients in Hungarian cooking. Goulash, which contains meat, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and paprika, is a national dish of Hungary. 

Some of the best restaurants in Budapest include Mimama Konyhája, Spago Budapest by Wolfgang Puck, and Byblos.

Dining in Prague

Prague’s food isn’t as good as that of Budapest. On the other hand, you’ve come to the correct place if you’re craving some hearty home cooking. Small bars often have deals on pork and dumplings. 

Explore Prague from the water on a river cruise! There are many different types of river cruises to take in this majestic European city. Enjoy a buffet dinner, wine, and drinks while you explore the sights of Prague on one of these cruises. You can even combine the two by taking a meal during your sightseeing tour.

Or, if you went to a fine restaurant, you could eat pork and dumplings.

Some of the best restaurants in Prague are Restaurant Mlýnec, V Zátiší, and Le Grill Restaurant.

Beer in Prague is better and more reasonably priced than anywhere else in the world. In particular, beers of the Pilsner variety. Perhaps it’s because that’s where the Pilsner beer was first brewed. Another possible explanation is that brewing in this country dates back to the sixth century.

Languages Spoken: Prague vs. Budapest

Czech is the de facto language of government and public discourse in Prague. Over 10 million individuals around the globe use Czech as their native tongue. A lot of people find it difficult to learn because of the grammar rules and the words. However, the English language is also extensively spoken in Prague, so tourists shouldn’t have any trouble getting around and talking with locals. 

In contrast, Budapest recognizes both Hungarian and English as official languages. Over eighty percent of the city’s inhabitants are fluent in Hungarian, making it the most used language there. But English is also frequently spoken, especially in popular tourist destinations. As a result, Budapest tourists shouldn’t have trouble asking for directions or placing orders.

Currency: Prague vs. Budapest

Currency in Prague

The Czech koruna, sometimes known as the Czech crown, is the currency used in the Czech Republic. While it is a member of the EU, the nation has not yet adopted the euro as the official currency.

The Czech Republic koruna (CZK) has paper currency denominated in 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000 CZK. Money in the Czech Republic is coined in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 CZK.

Retail stores, dining establishments, and lodging establishments all accept credit cards. Only in local mom-and-pop stores, street sellers, and newsstands can you still pay with cash.

Currency in Budapest

Only the Hungarian Forint, not any other currency, should be used in Hungary. While other currencies (such as the British pound, the Euro, or the US dollar) may be accepted in some establishments, you should expect a terrible conversion rate, typically 10% or more below the actual. When you get there, use your ATM card to get some cash.

Prague vs. Budapest: Tour Europe!

As you can see, Prague is superior to Budapest in almost every way: it is a more attractive city, has better public transit, is more welcoming to tourists, has better-signposted streets and sights, and has numerous tranquil spots and cool zones.
See our Prague Tourist Guide for more information.

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