Hi there, welcome to our beautiful city! Are you feeling a bit lost? Don’t worry, it is normal. If it’s your first time in Budapest looking for some fun, our guide to getting around the city will help you understand the public transport system, list lots of alternatives from the airport to the city and guide you through all the essentials from planning your trip to purchasing and always validating (!) your ticket. No matter if you arrive here with your kids or are after the best nightlife destinations, getting around in Budapest is easy and affordable.
There are several ways how to get around in Budapest!
- shuttle bus
- ferry service
- river boats
- suburban train (HÉV)
- local bicycle rental system
This list might be long, so let’s see what’s the best for you!
Arriving in Budapest
Budapest’s only airport, Liszt Ferenc International Airport is located about 40 mins from the city centre. Budapest Airport is the second largest airport in the new EU member’s states. Having invested over 325 million EUR in a substantial upgrade and expansion program of the airport, the show piece SkyCourt passenger terminal is winning many awards for its design, efficiency and passenger experience. It’s quick and easy to get thru customs and passport control, collect your luggage and off you go to explore the hidden gems of the city. There are several easy ways to continue your journey to downtown Budapest from taking a taxi to hopping on public transport.
On the way out of the airport un-licenced taxis might try to offer you a ride to the city centre, however it’s recommended you always choose the airport’s official partner, Főtaxi, the oldest taxi company in the country.
Taxi drivers speaking at least one foreign language are in service with large, category ‘A’ cars. Reservations can be made in person at the Főtaxi booths located at the exits at Terminals 2A and 2B. At the taxi rank in front of the stands, taxis are parking continuously waiting for passengers. A one-way ride to the city centre should not cost more than 9000 HUF (25-30 EUR) and takes about 3o to 40 minutes. All cars accept card payment.
More information on the airport’s official website.
MiniBUD provides comfortable and fast transfer solutions for passengers wishing to travel from the airport to the districts of Budapest, and from the city to the airport.
miniBUD CONTACT INFORMATION
miniBUD call center: +36 1 550 0000
There are plenty of internationally trusted and well-known car hire companies located at the airport building giving you an easy and comfortable access to rent a car. You can book online prior to your arrival so you would spend only a couple of minutes more at the airport to pick up your car.
The complete list of the car hire companies operating at Liszt Ferenc International Airport is found on the airport’s official website.
Arriving at the aiport and choose to travel on with public transport, look out for Customer Service Points of BKK Centre for Budapest Transport at Liszt Ferenc International Airport’s Terminal 2A (daily 8:00-22:00) and Terminal 2B (daily 9:00-21:00). English-speaking attendants will be at your service with useful information on transport and tourism. Almost all types of tickets and passes are available for purchase at the airport including the practical 24- or 72-hour travelcards especially designed for tourists.
As of 7 July, a direct bus line connecting the airport with the city centre was introduced which was long awaited: bus line 100E takes passengers directly to Deák tér (Deak Square). The first bus leaves from the airport each morning at 05:00, and the last one at 0:30. Bus 100E stops between the two terminals on the arrival level.
Important that a special ticket must be purchased which costs 900 HUF (2,5-3 EUR) – other tickets or season tickets are not valid on this service.
Front-door boarding only policy is now in place on bus 200E serving Liszt Ferenc International Airport. Single tickets are available at the following locations:
- BKK Customer Service Points at the arrivals level of airport terminals 2A and 2B
- ticket offices at the bus terminus next to Kőbánya-Kispest metro station:
- near the exit of metro line M3, in the corridor leading to the MÁV Hungarian State Railways station
- near the passenger drop-off site of bus 85
Public transport in the city
Most of Budapest’s inner city and historic districts are best to explore by foot. There are pedestrian precincts in downtown Pest and traffic is restricted on Castle Hill, so walking is probably the best way to get around. Great news, however that the city is very well connected by public transportation, too. Budapest has a fast and efficient metro system as well as many trams (streetcars), trollies and buses. Outer suburbs are served by the local suburban railway called HÉV.
Getting around in Budapest is so super easy. Whilst walking is your best bet, tramline 2, 4 and 6 as well as the three subway lines are also good options to get to most places in the city centre.
Subway (Metro) – Budapest has four subway lines that connects most of the city’s most important areas.
M1 or Millennium Underground (yellow line) – runs under Andrássy Avenue in Pest, between Vörösmarty tér and Mexikói út. By using this line you’ll feel like time travelling as line originally opened in 1896 and kept many of the aspect of the era.
M2 (red line) – runs east to west, between Déli pályaudvar and Örs vezér tere
M3 (blue line) – runs north to south in Pest, between Újpest-Központ and Kőbánya-Kispest
M4 – the latest metro line that runs between Kelenföldi pályaudvar and Keleti pályaudvar
The main junction where three subway lines meet is at Deák Ferenc tér in the city center.
Trams – Budapest has a vast system of trams or yellow streetcars. The most useful routes across the city centre are:
No. 2 – runs along the Pest riverfront connecting Margit hid and Petőfi hid.
No. 4 – runs on the Grand Boulevard connecting Széll Kálmán tér (formerly Moszkva tér) and Október 23. utca
No. 6 – runs also on the Grand Boulevard connecting Széll Kálmán tér and Móricz Zsigmond körtér in Buda
No. 19 – runs along the Buda riverfront connecting Batthyány tér and Gellért tér and continues on to Kelenföld
No. 49 – runs between Buda and Pest connecting Kelenföldi Pályaudvar in Buda and Deák tér in Pest
If you ride streetcars 4 or 6 from the first to the last stop in either direction, you will have taken the world’s longest streetcar ride.
Buses – The majority of people in Budapest travel by bus. There are over 200 routes, and express buses with red number signs serve the busiest routes in the city. They travel along the same route as the regular buses with black number signs, but make fewer stops.
Trolley Buses – Trolley buses are electric buses that draw power from overhead wires using spring-loaded trolley poles. Trolley bus service is available on 13 routes in Pest only. Interesting fact that trolley buses are numbered starting from 70 because the first route began operations on Stalin’s 70th birthday in 1949.
Danube River Ferry Service – a passenger boat service is available in Budapest between Újpest and Millenniumi Városközpont. The route provides a beautiful commute for locals as well as a great way to get around and see the city from the Danube for visitors.
Riverboats – from May to September, the Budapest Transport Company (BKV) also operates riverboats between Boráros tér and Pünkösdfürdő, with stops including Petőfi tér, Batthiány tér, Jászai Mari tér, Margaret Island and Rómaifürdő.
HÉV (Suburban Railway) – serving the outer districts of Budapest and nearby towns, like Szentendre and Gödöllő.
Public transportation in Budapest ends between 11pm and midnight, when the metro, trams and trolley buses stop operating. There are night buses running (marked with “É”) to make sure you get home from anywhere in the city.
Planning your trip
Hardly anything beats Google Maps or Ways, but if you want to rely on the local knowledge, the Budapest Transport Company, BKK has its own Journey Planner for you to plan your trip ahead. Available both in English and Hungarian.
Purchasing your ticket
Tickets are valid for the metro, buses, trams, trolley buses, the Cogwheel Railway and the suburban HÉV lines and are available to purchase at any subway station. To avoid long queues you can buy tickets from street stands, news agents or ticket machines in any tram or metro stops. Important to note that the basic ticket is valid for one trip only; if you transfer, you will need to validate a new ticket or use a transfer ticket. Be sure to validate your ticket using the orange or red ticket-punching machines as controllers may ask to see your ticket, and will fine you for not having a valid ticket.
There are single tickets and transfer tickets available to purchase or you can get a discount with a 10-trip coupon book which contains 10 single tickets. Day and tourist passes offer a great deal for visitors, as they allow unlimited use of the public transportation system and are often packaged with free admission to many museums and attractions. For more details please visit the official website of BKK.
Budapest Card is an excellent option if we you wish to have unlimited travel and planning to visit some attractions as well. Cards can be purchased with 24-hour, 48-hour, 72-hour, 96-hour or 120-hour validity and all of them come with great additional benefits. All cards include unlimited travel on public transportation, free entry to several museums, two free walking tours, and 10%-50% discounts at baths, museums, restaurants and spas.
Always validate your ticket
You must always validate your ticket as soon as you board. On the metro network, stamp your ticket with the validating machine before you enter the station. (No need to validate travelcards or passes.)
To use the old-school, manual validator, insert your ticket into the opening on top and punch it by pulling the black frame of the slot towards you. Keep your ticket until the end of your trip. Inspectors will issue a penalty fare to you if you travel without a validated ticket. You can pay in cash on the spot or you can also pay with a bankcard at designated customer service centres.
MOL Bubi Public Bike System
The MOL Bubi public bike system is an environmentally friendly public transport mode ideal for short rides to explore the city on two wheels. The first 30 minutes of each trip are free with a ticket.
Taxis can be fast and cheap in the city, especially late at night when there is limited public transportation. Taxis can be hailed on the street, but it is cheaper to call ahead of time. All taxis must have a yellow registration plate, as opposed to the white background on regular car plates. All taxameters are equipped with a receipt-printing function, displaying the fares charged and identification of the driver.
- Base fare: HUF 450
- Price per minute: HUF 70
- Price per kilometer: HUF 280
The following are the phone numbers of reliable taxi firms charging fair rates, not ‘tourist tariffs’ (operators are English-speaking).
Citytaxi: (+36-1) 211-1111
Főtaxi: (+36-1) 222-2222 – the officially appointed taxi company to service the airport.
Budataxi: (+36-1) 233-3333
Tele5 taxi: (+36-1) 355-5555
Rádiótaxi: (+36-1) 377-7777
Budapest’s Main Railway Stations
Keleti Pályaudvar or Eastern Railway Station is the largest railway station in Budapest. Located on Baross tér in District 8, Keleti is accessible by subway (M2) and buses No. 5 and 7. Key destinations from Keleti include: Budapest-Győr-Vienna, Budapest-Hatvan-Miskolc, Budapest-Békéscsaba-Arad and Budapest-Kelebia-Beograd.
Nyugati Pályaudvar or Western Railway Station is one of the oldest railway stations in Budapest. Located on the Grand Boulevard at Teréz körút 55-57 in District 6, Nyugati is accessible by subway (M3) and tram line No. 4 and 6. Key destinations from Nyugati include: Budapest-Esztergom, Budapest-Danube Bend, Budapest-Vác and Budapest-Szeged.
Déli Pályaudvar or Southern Railway Station is the main railway station in Budapest. Located in the vicinity of Castle Hill at Krisztina körút 37 in District 1, Déli is accessible by subway (M2) and by streetcars No. 18, 59 and 61. Key destinations from Déli include: Budapest-Pécs, Budapest-Győr and Budapest-Lake Balaton.
Staying close to public transport is always a good idea when visiting a city. Danubius Hotels Groups make sure that you’re always in a convenient location that is easily accessible.
The city’s 4 metro lines provide with great links to most part of the city therefore it may be a good idea to choose one of our lovely hotels on the line M2: Danubius Hotel Astoria, Hotel Hungaria or Hotel Erzsebet; M3: Radisson Blu Beke Hotel, Danubius Hotel Helia and Hotel Erzsebet or the latest metro line, M4: Danubius Hotel Flamenco, Danubius Hotel Gellert or Hotel Hungaria.
The hotel group’s website has an excellent overview of each hotel’s location with all the nearby transport links. If you’re just planning your visit, our Budapest City Breaks page is here to help you find the best hotels with the greatest locations in the city!
Getting around Budapest is super easy with a well-connected transport system, many form of public transport from subway to trolley buses as well as eco-friendly bike rentals. Enjoy your time in Budapest and take long walks around the city centre knowing that there is always a really easy way to get home from anywhere.