Budapest Tourist Traps

  • Mail from BKK - free travel +65
    Mail from BKK - free travel +65
    by breughel
  • Régiposta utca
    Régiposta utca
    by lotharscheer
  • Váci utca
    Váci utca
    by lotharscheer

Most Recent Tourist Traps in Budapest

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Free only for EU, EEA and Swiss Seniors +65.

    by breughel Updated Jun 21, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mail from BKK - free travel +65

    Public transport on metro, trams and busses (except the funicular and chair-lift) is free of charge for citizens of the EU, EEA Member States or Switzerland over 65 years old as you can read on the FAQ questions on the www.bkv.hu
    Showing an identity card is enough to get the allowance.

    Knowing the severity of the inspectors on the Budapest public transport and their high degree of activity in hunting tourists I wrote to the BKK company to get confirmation (with a text in Hungarian) of this free travelling for seniors.
    I received a kind and complete answer in English and Hungarian from their customer service.
    I join a copy of this for those who might need to use it (names and ref nr have been removed by me).

    On our third bus trip coming back on bus 16 from the Buda castle an inspector stepped on the bus (he didn't look like a official except he was wearing an armband) and started controlling a couple of seniors, clearly tourists, while in the back of the controller a few Budapest inhabitants were discreetly checking their transport ticket at the machine to escape the fine of 16000 HUF (± 55 € since 1/01/2013).
    The two tourists were fined each 16000 HUF! They thought that being over 65 years public transport was free of charge for them. But they were Canadians, not citizens of the EU, EEA Member States or Switzerland.
    When the controller came to us we showed our identity card and the letter of the BKK to show our good right to travel free. The guy said in perfect English: "I know this rule, you are from Belgium, and it's OK!"

    We experienced several other controls mainly at the entrances of important metro stations. It was just enough to show our identity card.

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    FINES at 16000 HUF on public transport.

    by breughel Written Jun 19, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The fines are not 8000 HUF but 16000 HUF now (June 2013) that is ± 55 € !!!

    I saw a couple of seniors on bus 16 being fined by a controller at 16000 HUF. They thought that being over 65 years public transport was free of charge for them. But they were Canadians, not citizens of the EU, EEA Member States or Switzerland.
    So be careful believing that it is free for all seniors; bad advice did cost them 110 € for going down from the Buda castle to the Pest centre!

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    Don't change at InterChange

    by fipsi Written Mar 29, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Not everything that looks serious is serious

    It seems like an obsolete advise, but always look at the exchange rates before exchanging currency. There are several orange exchange shops called InterChange that look serious, but are not. It's incredible how criminally low their exchange rates are. Nevertheless they seem to make quite good business with it, so I guess there are a lot of tourists without calculating before they hand over the cash.

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  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo

    Marcipan Museum on Castle Hill

    by GentleSpirit Updated Feb 2, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    made of marcipan
    1 more image

    My mouth was watering when i entered this so called museum next to the Hilton hotel on Castle Hill. They did have a roomful of displays of some of the figures they had made from marzipan..some quite good, others not so good. There is no information given as to how marzipan is made, how long these figures took to make etc.

    Unavoidably, it leads to a gift shop where the cheery personnel will gladly sell you all the marzipan you wish.

    Unique Suggestions: don't bother with the "museum", just go directly to the shop and indulge.

    Fun Alternatives: The mazipan museum in Szentendre is supposed to be a better display of workmanship. Has anyone been there?

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  • mindcrime's Profile Photo

    castle hill funicular

    by mindcrime Written Dec 16, 2012
    castle hill funicular
    1 more image

    Although a popular way to reach Castle Hill we thought this was a typical tourist trap. You can catch the funicular at Clark Adam ter opposite Chain Bridge (on Buda side of course) that will take you up to Szent Gyorgy ter. The usual problem is that there will be a long queues of people waiting to catch the slow funicular + the fact that you have to pay a ticket (no matter what card you have in Budapest it doesn’t include the funicular). We preferred the alternative way, just walked the path on the left and we got up much faster.

    The funicular operated for the first time back in 1870 with steam engines! It was damaged during WWII but restored and opened again in 1986 with replicas of old carriages.

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  • lotharscheer's Profile Photo

    Changing Money

    by lotharscheer Updated Jun 29, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    R��giposta utca
    4 more images

    At train and bus stations as well as at the airport you get a very bad rate at money changers (up to 30% difference between buying and selling), use ATM or change only €/$ 5-10 (at Keleti Pu train station you can find persons hanging around to change money, if you are careful and show them only €/$ 10-20 they should be all right) to get you somewhere.
    The best rates i did see in Váci utca the main pedestrian shopping street at every place i looked, for other currencies some differences, for Romanian Lei i got a slightly better rate at H. and M. Change KFT., Régiposta utca 12, just arround the corner from Váci utca, but of course this can change every day.
    If you stay in a cheaper accomodation you might get as well a good rate, but ask first.

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  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo

    Plan your trip to Budapest more carefully than I!

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated May 26, 2012

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Railway station
    3 more images

    I’ve outsmarted myself! My bus tour to Italy in 1996 had to begin in Budapest. There were two means to get there – by train and by air. I choose the second way because I didn’t want to spend a day and a half in a train instead of 3 hours in a plane.

    Besides that I wanted to explore Budapest because my flight had to arrive there in the morning while the train with my group that I had to join had to arrive there three hours later.
    My first desire came true successfully and I arrived to Budapest in time and was getting ready to see its sights when my group was still in their train.

    But my plan failed because nobody out of Tourist Company met me in the airport and nobody organized my traffic to the city… And I couldn’t do it myself because I hadn’t any info about a person who should meet me, about time when we had to meet with the group and about the place of meeting.

    That’s why I spent 3 hours in the airport and waited for a person who would take me and join the group… You can imagine of how angry I was! And he came, and he met me, and he took me to the railway station where I joined the group which had just arrived by train. And the only building that I saw in Budapest was the Central railway station, because then we took the bus and went to the Balaton without excursion in the city… And I could only see the Danube out of a bus window…

    Poor I was! That’s why I can tell that though I was in Budapest but I saw almost nothing!

    My bus tour to Italy had to finish in Budapest. During the tour I was so angry that I didn’t see the city in the first day of our tour when I arrived to Budapest by plane from Moscow. But I hoped that I would have half a day in Budapest when my tour would come to its end. My flight to Moscow had to be in the early evening and we had to arrive to Budapest from Vienna in the afternoon.

    But this my plan has failed once again! We lost some time at the Austria – Hungary border and I had the only thought then – not to be late to my flight! Fortunately I was in time but I didn’t see the city except the Danube which we successfully crossed once again…

    Dream to come back to Budapest someday again.

    You can watch my 1 min 31 sec Video Budapest out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.

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  • Apartments / Don't be paranoid

    by Mogus Written Aug 31, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fisherman's Bastion

    This is not really a scam or trap and doesn't apply to tourists as such; it's just advice. If you plan to rent a flat long-term in Budapest, be aware that traffic noise and pollution can be a problem (especially in Pest). Be sure to check your location is OK at various times of the day, and consider renting away from the centre of town. A monthly travel pass is only about 25 euros, so it's better to rent in a quiet area and travel in on the many trams and buses. Flats for tourists might go for 500 euros a month, but if you get a local to help you, you can find one for 2-300 euros or less!

    Actually the main thing I want to say is, don't get paranoid about Budapest! If you go to unknown strip clubs, frequent tourist rip-off restaurants, rent random taxis off the street or change money with random geezers, you are asking for trouble. I have lived here for 4 months now and I haven't been ripped off or scammed or robbed a single time. Lots of people have approached me to ask for directions or whatever, and they were genuine (but OK, I hurry on by if someone looks "dodgy"). Most people here are very friendly and trustworthy, and Budapest is safer than London. If you read all these posts, you could imagine it is a crazy and dangerous place --- but it really isn't! Just take the same precautions you would in any big city.

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Budapest Card 2011.

    by breughel Written Apr 24, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Budapest Card is available in two versions:
    - 48 hours Budapest Card price 6300 HUF (24 €)
    - 72 hours Budapest Card price 7500 HUF (29 €)
    The card gives free use of the BKV public transport system and discounts on 150 sites.

    You have to compare with the Budapest Travel Card:
    One-day travel card HUF 1500
    Three-day travel card HUF 3700
    Seven-day travel card HUF 4400

    And consider that since 1st January 2008 visitors have to pay an entrance fee to visit the permanent exhibitions of state owned Hungarian museums (before 2008 they had to pay admission only to temporary exhibitions) but that tickets to most Budapest museums are cheap, varying between 800-1500 HUF/adult and that there are discounts for students and seniors ( 62 - 70 yr 50% discount; > 70 free).

    Hereafter a few examples:
    Hungarian National Museum (Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum) Admission: permanent exhibitions are free.
    Museum of Fine Arts (Szépmûvészeti Múzeum)
    Admission: permanent exhibitions: 1600 HUF/adult.
    800 HUF for students (6-26 years old) and pensioners (62-70 years old) 10% discount with Budapest card.
    Hungarian National Gallery (Magyar Nemzeti Galéria)
    Admission: permanent exhibitions: 900 HUF; with Budapest Card: permanent exhibitions: 700 HUF.

    The Budapest card is of no interest if you are a student or pensioner and even for museums the discount is small. I bought a travel card.

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  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    Unless You Are A Funicular Fan!

    by johngayton Updated Feb 6, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Good Looking Funicular
    1 more image

    If you intend to visit Buda Castle and have one of the travel passes or Budapest cards you should note that these, nor the normal public transport tickets, are not valid for the funicular up to the castle. The single fare for the couple of minutes ride is (at the time of writing) 840 HUF which makes for the most expensive journey in the city!

    Fun Alternatives: Do as the locals do - take the #16 bus which goes from Deak Ferenc ter, crosses the "Chain Bridge" and passes through the Buda tunnel before winding its way up to the castle with scenic views of Buda as you go - or of course you can walk, it's not that steep an ascent.

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  • LOT OF TRAPS BUT BUDAPEST IS SAFE

    by jacooob Written Nov 5, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I had a good week stay, but i was well prepared to everything thanks to fellow travellers advices.

    I still encountered all the traps :

    DAY ONE : GOING TO EXCHANGE MONEY AT CHANGE OFFICE A GUY STANDING VERY CLOSE TO THE DOOR TRY TO TALK TO ME, I WAVE MY HAND IN HIS FACE AND KEEP WALKING INSIDE, so watch out for those because they are every where then u ll have guys who gonna try to fake they are police

    TAXI : Always call the taxi...Even if u find one somewhere Call, i found BUDAPEST TAXI MOST RELIABLE, i took once a city taxi (not liner the real city taxi) the same trip from pest to mamut he charged me 5000 Ft and tried to argue with him and he was like night and did the same back trip while i called one it cost me 1500 Ft... Believe call a taxi, u ll save money...

    Girls on the street : I was next to basilica waiting on someone a girl came to me proposed to me to go with her to dinner, i said i know the trick try it somewhere else...

    Any Hungarian guy who comes try to talk to you on the street at night just out of no where, just make a stop sign with ur hand and walk the other way, believe me no one is that friendly specialy guys, and they know u are a tourist give me one reason why they would ask u for directions, it s not rude , it s safe just walk the other way...it worked fine for me.

    Pickpockets: I advise u to use ur front jeans pockets and put ur hands inside , they wont even try...I ve seen some people stalking, if u feel like anyone stalking u, just easily cross the road and wait for them to pass... just be aware of ur surroundings.

    Try to avoid strip bars if u must there is only 2 or 3 like P1 who are honest...

    Probably some will think it s rude to wave ur hand as stop sign and walk the other way, i am 100% positive that hungarian locals are very nice and helpful but when u go ask them, but when they come to u and be so nice it s different...

    Fake police officer: Watch out of those, one of them was wearing a yellow gilet tried to stop me, he was 50 meter away and he had spike hair with no badge nothing. If anyone like that try to stop u without any reason just because you are walking on the road, tell them u want to call ur embassy or the police they will run away. I must say Hungarian police is very nice to tourists and very helpful in every way, they wont just come to u and try to harrass u, they know after all that big part of budapest economy is based on tourism so they are here to protect u also, save police emergency number.

    Unique Suggestions: Buy a proper map before u get to budapest , mark ur places over it, google earth and just try to walk in the morning to the places u wanna visit at night...try not to show ur map too much or show off big bills or count them outside the change office..Stay low and watch out ur surroundings... BUDAPEST is a safe place so i am not writing this to scare anyone not to go, it s a lovely place just be smart and avoid those traps, YOU WILL HAVE MORE FUN IF U DONT FACE ANY PROBLEM IN UR TRIP...

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  • Gellert baths

    by Jeroenspeak Written Oct 28, 2010

    although it's a wonderful piece of architecture and a cultural land mark, please steer well away from the Gellert baths, it's overpriced for what you get, the mens side offers two Luke-warm baths, they don't give you a towel, and it's like being in a posh prison. Not much fun, couldn't wait to 'escape'. Save your money, perhaps buy a nice meal instead?

    Unique Suggestions: Bring a towel and lots of money!

    Fun Alternatives: Try szesenyi baths in the main park, it actually costs more, but at least you won't feel ripped off.

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  • Gellert baths

    by Jeroenspeak Written Oct 28, 2010

    although it's a wonderful piece of architecture and a cultural land mark, please steer well away from the Gellert baths, it's overpriced for what you get, the mens side offers two Luke-warm baths, they don't give you a towel, and it's like being in a posh prison. Not much fun, couldn't wait to 'escape'. Save your money, perhaps buy a nice meal instead?

    Unique Suggestions: Bring a towel and lots of money!

    Fun Alternatives: Try szesenyi baths in the main park, it actually costs more, but at least you won't feel ripped off.

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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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  • azz8206's Profile Photo

    Funicular to Castle Hill

    by azz8206 Written Oct 20, 2010

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    The Funicular to Castle Hill

    The funicular, which is located right in front of the Chain Bridge on the Buda side, will cost you 840HUF per person on a one way ticket. Personally I think the best way is the cheaper option which is taking the bus, 16A, from Moskva Ter. It will cost less than half of what the funicular will cost you and drop you off in front of Fisherman's Bastion. Another option, if you like hiking, is to walk up.

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  • Money Changers - avoid Inter Change

    by franinmuc Written Jul 14, 2010

    When you arrive at the airport, you will see a money changer in the baggage claim area. There is also one operated by the same company outside in the arrival hall. DON'T change your money there. We did and we got 30HUF less than in the city. All seemed to not charge a commission. The current rate was going at 1 Euro = 280 HUF and we got 250 HUF.

    Unique Suggestions: If you have to change money, change only enough to pay for your trip to the hotel. Once in the city, there are money changers EVERWHERE! We saw Interchange on Vaci Utca (the tourist shopping street) and they still had a ridiculous rate even though the others all had the same better rate. Perhaps this only applies to Euros.

    In general, we found that all money changers in one area had the same rate. Those around körút Erzsébet seemed to have the best rates with the worst being on Vaci utca (but it was a minimal
    difference).

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