The Easiest Way - Public Transportation - Trains
The major train operator in the Budapest area is MAV-Start.
Budapest is served by about 30 railway stations and stops, the major ones are
Nyugati palyaudvar (Western Station) for N Budapest, N-E-SE Hungary, Airport
Keleti palyaudvar (Eastern Station) for E-S Pest, E-NW Hungary and most international trains
Deli palyaudvar (Southern Station) for S-W Buda, S-SW-W Hungary
Kelenfoldi palyaudvar (Kelenfoldi Station) serves Deli pu. and some Keleti pu. trains
Kobanya-Kispest serves some Nyugati pu. trains
Rakospalota-Ujpest serves some Nyugati pu. trains as well
Ferihegy serves the airport, all trains from Nyugati pu. to Monor, Cegled, Szolnok, Debrecen, Nyiregyhaza, Zahony, Szentes or Szeged call here
Most stations have ticket booths, on major stations vending machines operate as well. Major stations are also equipped with e-ticket terminals, where you can print out your e-ticket In some minor stops, try buying a ticket at the local pub or shop (if there is one), or buy your ticket on the train. Note that if there is a possibility to buy a ticket at the station but you still buy your ticket on the train, you'll be charged an extra 2000 HUF.
The following train types exist in Hungary
Local (szemely)- stops at every station and stop (with some exceptions)
Through (zonazo) - train first making express, then local stops in suburban traffic
Limited stop (sebes) - train making partly express, partly local stops on a long distance, fast train surcharge applies
Fast (gyors)- makes stops at major stations only, no reservation possible, fast train surcharge applies
Express (expressz) - makes stops at major stations only, reservation possible, fast train surcharge aoplies
IC - InterCity express train - always book a seat!
EC - EuroCity international express train - a supplementary ticket is usually neccessary, reservation possible
EN - EuroNight international night train - a supplementary ticket is usually neccessary, reservation possible
RJ - international express train - supplementary ticket is necessary, seat reservation highly recommended on weekends.
Your Budapest daily, tourist, weekly tickets and monthly or yearly passes are valid on local, through, limited stop and fast trains within the city limits (but not on IC, EC, EN and Ex trains with the exception of Budapest-Szeged IC trains, where designated cars can be used with these tickets.) NOTE that limited stop and fast trains require a fast train surcharge ticket even if you hold a Budapest ticket listed above.
Nearby tourist attractions
Vac-Danube Bend - local, through and fast trains from Nyugati pu. 1hr
Godollo - local and fast trains from Keleti pu. 45 mins
Cegled - local and fast trains from Nyugati pu. 1hr
Kecskemet - fast and IC trains from Nyugati pu. 1hr30mins
Szekesfehervar - local, fast and IC trains from Deli pu. 1hr30mins
Esztergom - until spring 2015, replacement buses operate from Arpad hid bus station to Pilisvorosvar.
The Easiest Way - Public Transport - Suburban bus
Pest County suburban buses and a bunch of inland and international coaches are operated by Volanbusz Rt. The company color is yellow, therefore their buses are easy to recognise, although their newer long-distance buses are mostly white. Actually, they work in cooperation with other Volan-companies.
Major coach/suburban bus terminals are Nepliget (international, S Hungary and S-SE suburban areas)
Stadion (E Hungary and E suburban areas)
Arpad hid (N Hungary and NW suburban areas)
Kelenfold vasutallomas (W Hungary and SW suburban areas - also for Statue Park/Memento Park)
Szena ter (W suburban areas)
Ujpest-Varoskapu (NW-N-NE suburban areas)
Kobanya-Kispest (E suburban areas)
Vermes Miklos utca (S suburban areas)
For all buses, tickets can ONLY be bought at ticket booths or from vending machines at the following bus stations: Budapest-Etele ter, Budapest-Stadion, Budapest-Arpad hid, Godollo, Erd, Szigethalom, Szentendre and for some long-distance services at the following stops: Budapest, Petofi hid, budai hidfo and Budapest, Bocskai ut. At Nepliget bus station, only coach services (traveling far beyond the limits of Pest County) require prepurchased tickets. At all other stops, tickets can only be purchased from the driver for cash. Please ALWAYS ASK FOR A TICKET if the driver does not intend to give one to you. That's because drivers sometimes ask for less money than the ticket would actually cost, but he puts your money in his own pocket and he does not give a ticket therefore. But once controllers get on the bus and you can't show your ticket, you'll surely be punished - as well as the bus driver.
Note that BKK single tickets are not accepted by Volanbusz, but daily, tourist, weekly tickets and mothly, yearly passes are valid within the city limits of Budapest (so to Statue Park as well).
For certain international coaches you have to arrive 30 minutes before departure at the latest and check in.
For Statue Park, take buses heading for "Diosd-Erd" to 'Budapest, Memento Park' stop.
Always get on through the first door.
Don't forget to signal before getting off, please don't use the first door as that's for passengers getting on the bus.
- Road Trip
The Easiest Way - Public Transportation - HEV
'HEV' stands for 'railway serving local interests'- that is, suburban railway.
The HEV system of Budapest and Pest County (Region of Central Hungary) consists of 5 lines, numbered H5-H9.
The H5 line links Szentendre, a nice Baroque town (just north to Budapest) with the capital. Budapest tickets are valid as far as 'Bekasmegyer' station. Some trains operate only between Batthyany ter (M2) and Bekasmegyer.
The H8 and H9 lines connect a bunch of suburbs to Budapest. In Godollo (H8), there are two major tourist attractions: the Festetics Palace and the building of the College of Agriculture. The H8 line serves the 'Szilasliget' stop for the Formula-1 racetrack. Trains operate from Ors vezer tere (M2) to Cinkota (both), Csomor (H9) and Godollo stations. Limit of the Budapest zone: Szabadságtelep and Ilonatelep.
The H6 line connects the Csepel Island to the capital. The furthermost point, Rackeve is 1hr15min from Budapest and is a nice Serbian-style town by the Rackeve Danube-branch. Trains operate from Kozvagohid tram #1 2 24 terminal to Dunaharaszti kulso, Tokol and Rackeve stations. Zone limit: Milleniumtelep.
The H7 is a rapid transit line linking the Budapest part of Csepel Island to Boraros ter (trams 4-6).
Note that there are several tariff zones on HEV lines, the first zone is the Budapest area in which all Budapest tickets and passes are valid. Outside this zone, additional tickets should be bought. If there is no ticket booth or vending machine on a station, buy your ticket from the train conductor.
A route map is posted in all cars and there are acustic station announcement made as well.
During the winter, you may have to open train doors manually at terminals. Please close them after getting on/off to keep cars warm.
Don't get on after the annonuncement for closing doors was made.
The Easiest Way - Night Transportation
At night in Budapest there are only bus lines and tram 6 operating (as well as a few night trains on MAV Hungarian State Railway lines).
Most daytime services finish around 11-12 pm, including bus, tram, trolley-bus and metro. Night operation starts around 11pm-12am and ends around 4am.
Most important services in central areas (in brackets: substituted daytime routes)
6 Grand Circle (tram route)
923 North Buda-Margharet Bridge-Grand Circle-South Pest (partly trams 4 6)
956 990 Buda Hills-Central Buda-Elisabeth Bridge-Rakoczi ut-Eastern Pest (partly metro M2)
907 973 Zuglo-Thokoly ut-Rakoczi ut-Elisabeth Bridge-South Buda (partly metro M4)
914 914A 950 North Pest(-Lehel utca-)Vaci ut-Littler Circle-Ulloi ut-Southeast Pest (metro M3)
979 979A Zuglo-City Park-Andrassy ut-Littler Circle-Ulloi ut/Kozraktar utca-Csepel Island (metro M1)
The most important transfer point is Astoria, where buses usually wait for connecting services.
Schedules are clearly signposted under stop signs. Major night bus stops have a service scheme (on the back side of the stop sign).
Services are quite frequent: along the 'backbones' of the system, buses operate with frequencies of 5-20 minutes. Still, if you can only use one, given route, it's a good idea to check its schedule, since frequencies may be as low as 120 minutes or eventually one bus per night!
The usual tickets and passes are valid on night services as well. Note that some passes are valid until 2AM only!
Tickets are sold on night buses. In most cases you can buy it from the security staff on board, or from the driver. You can board mostnight buses through the front door only.
TIcket vending machines operate at major stops.
Some vehicles might be crowded on night before holidays, so sometimes it's just better to walk a bit.
For your safety, don't look for conflicts with your fellow passengers who might be under the effect of alcohol or drugs, nor with security staff. Once in trouble, let the driver know about it.
Also be prepared for that night buses are not the cleanest vehicles ever seen on Earth - so watch your step and also check your seat before taking it.
The Easiest Way - Public Transportation - Metro
The metro/underground system of Budapest is operated by BKV & consists of 4 lines:
M1 (yellow) Millennium Underground Railway operates between Vorosmarty Square (Inner City) and Mexikoi Road, running under Andrassy Avenue and Varosliget (City Park).
M2 (red) East-West Line operates between Deli palyaudvar (Southern Station, Central Buda) and Ors vezer tere, running under Rakoczi Road and Kerepesi Road.
M3 (blue) North-South Line operates between Ujpest-Kozpont in North Pest and Kobanya-Kispest railway station in South Pest, running under Vaci Road-Ulloi Road.
M4 (green) Del-Buda - Rakospalota Line operates between Keleti palyaudvar (Eastern Station) and Kelenfoldi palyaudvar (Kelenfold railway station), running under District 8, Szabadsag hid (Liberty Bridge), Bartok Bela ut, Fehervari ut and Etele ut - that is, Pest to South Buda.
Tickets can be purchased at all metro stations, from ticket booths, vending machines, vendors or at Customer Service desks.
Usual BKK fares apply.Tickets must be validated at station entrances. Transfers are free within the validity time of tickets. Tickets are only valid one way.
Actually there are 2 ticket types for the metro.
Single ticket-for one journey of unlimited length, free transfer inside the metro system(this ticket type can be used in surface transportation as well, but there are no free transfers!)
Metro section ticket-for one metro journey of 3 stops,no transfers
All trains are local and operate to the end of line. Terminals and stops for the platform are shown overhead. Over all doors passengers can find a list of stops, and all trains have reliable acustic station announcement. There is a map in all cars.
All trains operate about 4.20/30 AM - 11.20/30 PM for all terminals. The earlier system of last trains mutually waiting for transferring passengers has been discontinued after M4 started operating, making the network more complex.
For night operation, see my night bus tips.
Watch out for pickpockets.
Always keep the platform edge clear - let other passengers get off the train before you board.
Should someone fall in between the tracks, pull the handle of the red emergency boxes.
Don't get on after the announcement for closing doors was made - a collision with a metro train door can really hurt.
In case of emergency, keep calm and if you don't understand instructions, follow other passengers.
Line M4 and the segment Puskas Ferenc Stadion - Ors vezer tere of line M2 is wheelchair accessible from street to platform.
The Easiest Way - Public Transport- Trolley-buses
Trolleys in Budapest are operated by BKV Budapest Transport Limited.
These red electric buses operate mostly in Districts 5 (Inner City&Lipotvaros), 6,7,8,13 and 14, forming a dense network.
Tickets are normally sold on all trolleybuses while staying in a stop for an extra charge (450 HUF instead of 350 HUF). Note that ticket shortages do occur sometimes - in that case you'll need to get a ticket elsewhere (ticket office, vending machine, another driver etc.)
Don't forget to VALIDATE YOUR TICKET even if bought from the driver. (See my bus tips.)
Most trolleys can be boarded through any door, but some lines operate with a front-door-only boarding scheme, designated by a bus symbol with yellow background on the schedule sheet of the bus stop. Please let other passengers to get off before you board.
Schedules are clearly posted under the stop sign. Trolleys always stop if there are passengers in the stop or a stop was requested by pressing the signal button inside Mind that some stops are long enough for two vehicles- these stops are marked by 'MM' under the stop sign (and not the usual 'M'). When you are alone and a trolleybus approaches that you are not to take, please wave so that it doesn't have to stop in vain.
A list of stops or an electronic stop display is available in all cars, acoustic announcements are also made in all vehicles.
All routes are local, calling at all stops.
Route numbers are clearly shown on the front, on the right side and on the back side.
Letter 'G' or red sign 'Garazsmenet' means the trolley goes to depot: in this case, check where it terminates.
Don't forget to use the signal button before getting off - trolleys only stop if requested.
Mind that trolleys are electric vehicles and may accelerate quickly. Hold on tight!
Don't get on when the departure signal is on!
In case of service disruptions, buses with the same route numbering would operate.
- Road Trip
The Easiest Way - Public Transportation - Trams
Trams in Budapest are operated by BKV Budapest Transport Limited on behalf of BKK Budapest Transport Centre.
The 'bakcbones' of the tram (and public transportation) network are the following circular lines:
#47 #48 #49 from Deak Ferenc ter along Littler Circle, crossing Szabadsag (Liberty) Bridge to South Buda
#4 #6 from Szell Kalman ter (formerly Moszkva ter, in Buda) crossing Margit (Margharet) Bridge, then along Grand Circle, via Petofi Bridge to South Buda
#61 closing the 4-6 circle on the Buda side - operating between Szell Kalman ter and South Buda
#1 from Obuda crossing Arpad Bridge and then along Hungaria (Hungary) Circle - partly under reconstruction till 2015
#3 is the outermost tram ring, from Millenium Underground Railway terminal Mexikoi ut to Pesterzsebet, South Pest - partly under reconstruction until 2015
TICKETS ARE NOT SOLD ON MOST TRAMS, you may get them at most stops from vending machines or from the ticket booths at most metro stations and in major junctions. All doors can be used for boarding.
After boarding, VALIDATE YOUR TICKET (see my bus tips).
Schedules are always clearly posted under the stop sign - actually, most tram services are frequent during the day.
Trams equipped with signal buttons only stop if a stop was requested or someone waits at the tram stop. So don't forget to signal before getting off.
Inside tramcars, a list of stops is usually posted. All tramcars have electronic displays and automatic station announcements - which are now much more reliable than in the past.
Route numbers are clearly displayed at the front and the sides of the tramcars in black or green. Letter 'K' (or script 'Kocsiszinbe' ) means the tram goes to depot: in this case, check where the tram terminates.
Taking a tram is usually faster than any other means of transport (except for trains), as trams run on more or less closed tracks.
Sometimes tram services are not operating normally, replacement buses (with the same route number as the tram) stop either at tram stops or at the closest bus stop.
Mind that trams are electric vehicles - so they may have fast acceleration. Always hold on when standing, don't get on when the departure signal is on!
From late 2015, two new links will let you travel along the Danube on the Buda side from Obuda via Batthyany ter or Szell Kalman ter to South Buda.
In addition, tram 1 of the Hungary Circle will also be extended via Rakoczi Bridge into South Buda.
The Easiest Way - Public Transportation - Buses
Public buses in Budapest can be divided in two categories. The more important for tourists are local blue buses, mostly operated by BKV Budapest Transport Limited or private companies licensed by BKK Budapest Transport Center. These routes are numbered between 5-298 and 901-999. The other group of public buses are suburban routes, operated by companies of the Volan Union and their partners. These buses are mostly yellow or white in colour. Most routes are numbered (300-899), but some are not. BKK single tickets are not valid on these Volan-buses, but daily, tourist, weekly, monthly (2-monthly, etc.) and yearly passes apply within the city limits.
Tourists almost always use the BKK buses - tickets can be bought at all metro stations and at major junctions and from around 300 lilac vending machines. Ticket&Pass booths are available at most metro stations. Most drivers sell tickets too for 100 Ft extra. After boarding, always VALIDATE YOUR TICKET, even if bought from the driver! In red mechanic punchers, pull the black part towards you, in orange elecronic machines, simply insert the ticket until you hear a beep.
Schedules are clearly posted under the stop sign (or inside the bus shelter). Buses always stop if there are passengers in the stop, but make sure the driver can clearly see you. Mind that some stops are long enough for two or three vehicles- these stops are marked by 'MM' or 'MM+M' under the stop sign (and not the usual 'M'). When you are alone and a bus approaches that you don't wish to take, please wave so that the bus doesn't have to stop in vain.
Most buses can be boarded through any of the doors, but some buses can only be boarded through the first door and tickets have to be shown to the driver. A bus symbol in yellow background on the schedule sheet means that bus is front-door-boarding only. Once inside a bus, look for the list of stops or the electronic displays. Unlike a few years ago, announcements are available on all vehicles and are reliable.
Buses are sometimes a few minutes late, however in off-peak traffic, they might come earlier than scheduled, especially in outer areas.
A letter 'E' at the end of the route number designates express routes. Letter 'G' (or script 'GARAZSMENET') means the bus goes to depot: in this case, check where the bus terminates.
A letter M after a stop name means metro station, letter H stands for HEV suburban rail station.
Don't forget to use the signal button before getting off. Buses only stop if requested, even at some of the terminals.
Don't get on when the departure signal is on!
Note that lines 65,157, 219, 260, 297, 298 are operating on certain route segments on request only. Call +36 1 3 255 255 to book a bus, at least 30 minutes in advance.
- Road Trip
Airport Transportation - Taxi, Minibus
There are quite a lot of VTers inquiring about transportation options between the city center and the airport. Therefore I collected all the options here:
- definitely the most convenient way, no transfers, door-to-door
- journey time: 20-40 mins, depending on traffic and location within the center
- at the same time, it's the most expensive for the single traveller - however, for groups, taxies are optimal in pricing as well (most cabs are designed for 4 passengers, excl. driver)
- fare is 270 Ft/km, 70 Ft/min for speeds under 15 km/h, plus 450 Ft base fee.
- the only company allowed to wait for passangers at the airport is Fotaxi, others may only pick up passengers ordering their taxi on the phone
- meter frauds in airport taxis are rare (but are rather common in freelancer taxis in other areas of the city!),
- tip about 10% if you're satisfied with the service
2. Airport Minibuses
- the official carrier is Airport Shuttle - taxi companies also offer minibus services but they are not allowed to wait and register passengers at the airport, so in case you would like to use another company, you'll have to phone them, usually well in advance (12-24 hours)
- convenient,door-to-door, taxi-like service which takes passengers travelling to destinations close to each other together
- reasonably priced, 1900 to 6900 HUF one way depending on destination, to be payed per person, but as the number of passengers registering together increases, the price per person is decreasing
- for groups, it's advisable to arrange the hire of one minibus in advance, hiring a minibus for the trip to the center is cheaper than using more cabs
- journey time: 20-60 minutes, depending on route, traffic and destination within the center
- book at the Airport Shuttle Desk on arrival level at all terminals
- book airport-bound trips well in advance at your hotel or on phone
For the cheapest (but less convenient) option, public transportation, check my relevant tip: Airport Transportation - Public Transportation.
- Road Trip
- Business Travel
Airport Transportation - Public Transportation - 1
(Airport Transportation tip continues here.)
Route: From Kobanya-Kispest metro M3 terminal and railway station along the airport expressway to Ferihegy 2A&B, calling at Ferihegy railway station as well. The bus makes several intermediate stops till Ferihegy 2A/2B.
Stop locations: Kobanya-Kispest: The way to the stop is good signposted. From the metro platfrom, take the escalator upstairs (you may consider using the elevator near the escalator). Make a right turn to the flyover bridge leading to the shopping center. Before reaching the mall, turn right, down the stairs. This stairway will lead you directly to the stop of bus 200E. (Elevators are not available near this stair: those who have heavy luggages should go inside the mall or use the other flyover at the eastern end of the metro station.)
Ferihegy railway station: along the airport highway, with step free access both ways.
Ferihegy 2: between terminals 2A & 2B, arrivals level.
Tickets: standard BKK tickets are valid, single ticket costs 350 HUF.
Ticket sales: Kobanya-Kispest: Customer Service desk near metro entrance (closed till Nov 2014) or vending machines at metro entrances and on the bus station,
Ferihegy railway station: grocery shop off platform A.
Ferihegy 2: Customer Service desks at both terminals, vending machine, post office, Lapker and Relay newsagent's
Tickets are available from the driver for 450 HUF.
Frequencies: daytime 7-8', early morning and late evening 15-30'.
Hours of operation: inbound 4:09-0:21, outbound 4:05-0:00 daily
Journey time: 20-25'
Buses departing Ferihegy 2 after 23:02 offer no metro connection and terminate at Kispest, Kossuth ter, where passengers may transfer for night routes 914 950 950A for all metro M3 stations (exc. Ferenciek tere). Early in the morning there are two buses at 4:00 and 4:30 connecting to night buses 914, 959, 950A coming from the city center.
Night bus 900
Route: from Del-Pest bus depot (terminus for 914, 923, 948, 980, 994, 999) via Honved utca (transfer from bus 950 950A) @)and Ferihegy railway station to Terminals 2A&2B.
Stop locations: Del-pesti autobuszgarazs - stop in front of bus depot entrance.
Honved utca - cross the tram tracks into Honved utca
Airport - same as bus 200E
Tickets: available from security staff on board for 450 Ft. Usual BKK fares apply.
Schedules at www.bkk.hu
Route: under Ulloi ut, from Kobanya-Kispest to the city center and then on along Vaci ut to Ujpest-Kozpont. Transfer stations are Kalvin ter (M4) and Deak Ferenc ter (M1, M2)
Station location: Kobanya-Kispest: beyond the expressway, accessible via footbridges. Elevators and escalators available. Inside stations, detailed maps help you in orientation.
Ticket sales: from ticket booths, vending machines and newsagent's
Hours of operation: 4:26-23:26 daily from Kobanya-Kispest, 4:21-23:21 from Ujpest-Kozpont.
Night service: buses 950 950A (exc. for Kobanya-Kispest and Ferenciek tere), also buses 914 914A (Hatar ut-Lehel ter, also Ujpest-Kozpont, but not Kobanya-Kispest or Ferenciek tere).
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Hop- on Hop- off bus
The best way to see the city on a very short time is by taking the red bus, or if you have difficulties of walking this red bus is very convenient, stops in all sights.
You can hop-off and hop-on any time you want. You may remain setting as well if you don't want to get out is so easy to use. Budapest is huge city walking can be very exhausted, some of the sites were walking distance and some not.
The bus take you to all the sights, if you wanna go out and walk around and hop-on back in, it all depends the time it suit you. The bus runs very slow while you can easily take the photos. There are different tour buses in the city so choose one that suits you. The red bus covered to all the sights in the city
- Arts and Culture
Budapest's public transport system is quite effective, though locals are often doubtful of that. The system is made up of approximately 180 bus lines, 20 tram lines and 14 trolleybus lines. The underground transportation is served by three metro lines.
Metro 1, 2, 3 connect the suburbs with the biggest transport hubs, numerous touristic highlights and central hotels.
Tram 2 runs along the river Danube on Pest side.
Tram 4, 6 follow Nagykörút, Pest's inner ring road.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
map of Hungarian rail network
Note some branch lines like Kazinbarca to Rudabanya (#95 on the map) have been discontinued by MAV on 4 March 2007. Wikipedia says, however, that many of these closure decisions have since been reversed. Does not appear to be the case with the Rudabanya one, though, sadly.
What a great travel experience!
The greatest charm in traveling is what happened with all kinds of people, other people's stories to take home, to enrich our lives...
Met Uncle Thomas in transit, began with a greeting and some weather chat.
We were so embarrassed that we could not get cash from the only ATM in Budapest Airport! Uncle Thomas came to rescue, invited us to share a taxi ride. In the end we paid the full fare with our credit card but uncle Thomas insisted on giving us the majority portion back! Hey uncle Thomas, we wish you the best, doing well somewhere
— in Budapest, Hungary.
Bus from the Airport to Budapest
The quite frequent bus 200 E takes you to the blue metro line last station Kõbánya-Kispest, there is a ticket machine at the bus stop just outside the terminal or if it doesn´t work get the ticket from the bus driver for 450 Forint, exact change prefered, better get more tickets as you might not find the ticket office at the metro station. Normal price for a ticket at the ticket office would be 350 Forint, you can change with it in the metro but you need a separate ticket for every bus or tram, a day ticket is 1650 Forint.
Don´t forget to validate your ticket in the bus or tram and at the entrance of the metro!
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