From the airport there are expensive minibuses taking you to your destination in Budapest, but there is another easy way to go to the city centre, and it is much cheaper.
Outside the terminal you will find a blue airport bus going to K?banya-Kispest metro station. In February 2006 the fare was 210 ft for the bus. At K?banya-Kispest metro station we bought a 7-days travel pass and continued to the centre of Budapest with the Metro. Going back to the airport the travel pass is valid also on the airport bus (the travel pass can not be bought at the airport) from K?banya-Kispest. Going from Deak Ference ter metro station to the airport took just under one hour.
The Cogwheel rail (Fogaskereku) is one of the most interesting means of public transportation in Budapest.
It goes up from the Varosmajor (near Moszkva ter M2 underground station, 2 stops from here with the tram No. 56 or 18) to the Szechenyi Hill, which is a great starting point for some short excursions in the Buda Hills.
You can also get from here to the Janos Hill look-out tower, which offers a great view of the city and it's sorroundings (in clear weather obviously :).
In winter (and if it's snowing of course) you can access with the Cogwheel railway Budapest's only skiing area: the Normafa.
Don't find an open ticket booth at your arrival? Forgot to buy a ticket where the booth was open? Don't worry, on and around most of the underground station you will find this ticket machines, with English menu.
For single tickets only, the machines don't sell weekly/monthly passes.
Night travel especially in the center of Budapest is really good. The local transport company, "BKV" has changed the whole system last September, so now the buses link to each other, wait for each other in some cases and serve all the city (according to them you can reach all the area of Budapest with nightbus and a max. 15 min walk).
In the new system, the nightbus lines have 3 digit numbers, starting with "9". Eg. the previous 6E, substituting the tram line 4 and 6 going along the ringroad is now called 906. The system is quite complex so I won't go into details, but you can find all the lines and their stops on the BKV homapege listed below.
The Keleti (Eastern) Railway Station was build in 1881. The reception hall was designed by Gyula Rochlitz, while the structure of the Hall by János Feketeházy. The statues were maid by Gyula Bezerédy , the murals by Károly Lotz and Mór Than.
The station was one of the most modern buildings of it's kind in Europe. The main hall has just been rebuild (renovation of the sidewings is still under work).
Where: M2 underground - Keleti palyaudvar station, or take the bus No 7, 173, etc...
From the main facade of the building, the sculptures of James Watt and George Stephenson are overlooking the crowded traffic of the square and of the half open underpass.
The tram line No 2 offers the best view from a city transportation vehicle I know. It goes all along the Danubeside from Jaszai Mari ter (reachable with the tram 4 and 6 for example) passing the Parliament, the Hungarian Scientific Academy, the Chain Bridge, the Danube corso, the Castle and the Gellert Hill with the Citadel.
Don't forget to get off at the Fovam ter, because there is nothing really special to see after that. But overe there you will see the building of the Economical University and the Central Market Hall (check in my shopping tips! :).
The Nyugati station was the first in Budapest and is still a very busy one. The present building was built in 1874-77 on the site of the original station of 1846.
It was designed by the firm of Gustave Eifel; the iron roof-structure of the great hall is a characteristic feature of it's architecture.
Since the the "Nyugati palyaudvar" also includes an underground station, a stop for the tram no 4 and 6 and a bus hub, it's easily accesible from every part of the city.
The square in front of the building is also a major meeitng place (see also my local custom tips! :).
The Castle funiculer might not be the fastest and the most effective way to go to the Castle, but it's the most spectacular one for sure.
It goes up from Clark Adam square (Buda side of the Chain Bridge, right on the left hand side of the tunnel). Tickets cost 600 HUF upwards and 500 HUF downwards for an adult.
The service runs from 7:30 am until 10 pm.
It's that time of the year now (from March till October), when bicycle is the best way of transportation in the city.
Biking allows you to get around more easily, to see more things and access more remote things as well!
But be aware: bikers are not as respected by car drivers here in Hungary as in some other countries. Anyway, if you accept certain "rules", biking will be fun in Budapest! :)
Don't ever think, that a car will let you pass, even if you have the advantage according to the traffic code, because some drivers just don't care...
Take good care on the bicycle road on Andrassy Avenue: due to the parking line between the lanes and the bicycle road, drivers might not see you.
Cycling on the sidewalk is forbidden in most of the cases, except when the bicycle road is actually on it (like on the road along the Buda side of the Danube). If you have to go on the pavement, take care of the pedestrians and don't do more then about 10km/h.
With this precautions I'm sure you will enjoy your bike-sightseeing here! :)
Some Bike rental companies, if you don't bring your own:
Address : 11th district, Hegyalja út 23.
Tel : (+36-1) 201 1796 Email :email@example.com
Website : www.charleshotel.hu
Open daily :00:00-24:00
Address : Locations at 5th district, Ferenciek tere and near Nyugati Train Station.
Tel : (+36-30) 922 3113
Yellow Zebra Bikes
Address : 5th district, Sütõ u. 2. (next to main Tourinform office at Deák Sq.)
Tel : (+36-1) 266 8777
Website : www.yellowzebrabikes.com
Open daily :09:00-20:00
The M1 underground line was the first underground of the Continental Europe (the first one in Europe was built in London).
In 1870, the Hungarian parlament decided on building an Avenue starting from the city center, which was named Andrássy Avenue (and it still is :). But they didn't wanted to have fixed ground transportation (trams), that's where the idea of the underground came from.
The construction was finished in 1896, in the year of the Millenium of the Hungarian State.
Out of the 11 stations 8 are reconstructed in their original state and 3 are new, since they have been added to the line in the 1970's and 80's.
I'm lucky enough to live near the line, so I got to use it almost every day, but you should also do so when visiting Budapest! You can change to it from the other two metro lines in the center (Deák tér), and you can get to Vorosmarty square, Hosok square (Millenium memorial), to the Opera House and so on.
It's also worth to see the exposition at every station! (See my off the Beathen Path tips! :)
The short answer is (in my opinion) no. I notice they’ve really increased the price this year, and it’s now 4,350 Ft for 48 hours or 5,450 for 72 hours. If this card delivered all it said in the literature, it might be worth while. However, I only obtained “free admission” to one Museum (Budapest History) and 20% reduction on all others i.e. Student reduction, so if you’re a student it’s definitely NOT worthwhile. So much for “free admission” to most “places” this just isn’t true. To make matters worse – the Guide the Card comes with is very ambiguous. When you read the literature regarding each attraction, it says, reductions -100% -20% which is it?
Having said all of this the card hardly costs a fortune and some people might purchase it for its convenience value. However – had I not used the card I would have saved myself more than 2,000 Flt….the choice is yours!
A Three day Travel Card costs 2,300 Ft.
There is bus, there is tram and there is the hybrid thing: the electrical trolley bus! :)
And actually they have been here for quite a while, and some of them, working on certain lines in the city (mainly in the 6th and 7th district) are really giving an old school feeling.
Don't be afraid and try them...they come with luxury leather seats! :) Careful with the front door though...it's quite narrow....:)
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)
- taxi companies have fixed prices for Pest and Buda destinations, varying around 4000-5000 HUF
- 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!), still, stick to fixed fares except for very short trips (usually called Zone 1 or Zone A) or negotiate the fare in advance
- 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, 3000 HUF one way, 5000 HUF return, 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.
Last time I was in Charleroi airport I noticed
on the board also Budapest. So I went looking
for the company that flew to Budapest.
It was Wizzair.com!
Almost identical system like low-cost aircraft company
Ryanair. You book on the net ...pay with your
creditcard and print the ticket yourself.
Always read the regulations like you would
do for other companies.
They even called me on my mobile that the houres
of our return flight had changed. Good service.
(and they changed for the better)
And like I said it was a pink modern comfortable
aircraft Frederik loved it. lol.
The stewards were wearing a star trek kind of uniform
and the handsome one our return flight
had even slightly pointy ears.
We loved it.
You have to pay for all the drinks or food...
Who cares. It was only two houres flying.
In general I can say that Budapest has got an
excellent public transport system.
Trams will bring you fast to another parth of town.
There is always a connection in the neighbourhood
for other transport and the amazing thing
is , you never had to wait long.
My advice is to get your hands on a map at
the airport with the public transport on it.
You can easely follow the numbers of the
We had a budapestcard. So no fuss with
tickets and devaluating them.
If your not interested in museums and the
other advantages the card offers , just take
a day card on public transport.
If you are staying for much much longer ,
take a picture with you from 4 by 4 cm to
get a card.