You will arrive to Budapest Airport, that has two terminals (2A and 2B) right next to each other.
Taxi from Liszt Ferenc International Airport to Budapest city center
As you exit the terminal, you will see a bunch of people in a queue. They are waiting by a taxi kiosk.
The only taxi company that serves the Airport is Főtaxi.
How much is a taxi from Budapest airport to city centre?
To reach the city center you will pay about 7,500 HUF (about 23 Euros or 26,5 USD).
Bus from Liszt Ferenc International Airport to Budapest city center
But the crowd waiting for the taxis is not the only one. A bit further you will see others who are waiting at a bus stop.
There are two buses at the airport.
A one-way ticket for Bus 100E costs 900 HUF (2.80 Euros or 3 USD) – it has an airplane logo on its side and also on the ticket machine in the bus stop.
Usually there are also people who help tourist with the machine and they also sell tickets.
This bus runs every 30 minutes and has only 4 stations:
Airport – Kálvin square – Astoria – Deák square
The last bus leaves the Airport at 1:20 am, and the first bus leaves Deák square at 3.40 am.
The journey time is somewhere between 40 minutes and 1 hour.
The other bus is 200E.
It runs every 7 minutes to the nearest metro station, Kőbánya-Kispest (journey time is 25 min). From here you can take the blue metro line, M3.
The 200E costs a standard BKK transport ticket (350HUF, or 450HUF from the driver).
From all of these methods, we use and recommend bus 100E.
It worths its price and convenient.
Public transportation in Budapest
Most of the main tourist attractions in Budapest are centrally located and can be easily reached by the public transportation system or on foot.
I recommend walking as much as possible (be sure to walk along the Danube promenade and wander around the cobbled streets of Castle District), but Budapest has an excellent public transportation system that makes it easy to get around.
Daytime services run from about 4:30 am to 11pm and there are several night buses.
Tram 4 and 6 that runs on the Great Boulevard has a night service, too.
Maps with the main routes can be found in almost every stops. The ticket vending machines are multi-lingual.
Tickets must be validated by sliding them into an electronic reader at the metro entrances and on the trams, buses.
If the tram or bus is packed, just simply pass your ticket to someone beside the reader to validate your ticket. It is a crucial step because they are likely to be checked by highly motivated inspectors, who are not tolerant with confused foreigners. So be sure to validate your ticket as soon as you get on board.
The same tickets can be used on trams, buses, trolleys and the metro (only exceptions are: Funicular, Chairlift, Airport bus and BKK boats).
Tickets can be bought one-by-one and in quantities of 10 or 20. These must be kept together in the packet in order to remain valid.
Validity period is 80 minutes after validating (120 minutes on night services).
During the period of validity, transfers are allowed only between the metro lines.
Apart from that, transferring between lines requires another ticket to be validated!
Trip interruptions and return trips are not permitted.
You can find more information on the website of Centre for Budapest Transport.
Public transportation is free for EU citizens above the age of 65.
Main type of tickets that are recommended:
Single ticket – 350 HUF
- For one way use within Budapest.
- During the period of it’s validity, transfers are allowed only between the metro lines (M1, M2, M3 and M4).
- Apart from that, transferring between lines requires another ticket to be validated.
Single ticket bought on the bus – 450 HUF
24-hour travel card – 1,650 HUF
- Valid for 24 hours from the indicated date and time (month, day, hour, minute) for an unlimited number of trips
- Please show and hand over your ticket if requested by the inspector.
- Advance purchase is possible.
- No validation required before travel.
72-hour travel card – 4150 HUF
7-day travel card – 4950 HUF
24-hour group travel card – 3300 HUF
- To be used by up to 5 passengers traveling together in the same vehicle (in case of trains in the same carriage).
- Advance purchase is possible.
- The travel card is not refundable after the beginning of validity.
Tip: If you plan to be in Budapest for multiple days do not get single tickets, get a 24h, 48h,72h weekly pass. It is well worth it and far less than the cost of a fine if you forget to validate a single ride pass.
- The official city card of Budapest.
- The card is personalised and not transferable.
- Several other services are offered through the card, such as free and discounted entry to museums and thermal baths as well as discounted meals and cultural events.
- A card signed with an overwritten, corrected or unreadable name is not valid for use.
Metro 🚇 lines in Budapest
Budapest has four metro lines, M1 (yellow), M2 (red), M3 (blue), M4 (green). Three lines (M1, M2, M3) intersect at Deák Ferenc tér, while the M4 line intersects with M2 at Keleti pályaudvar, and M3 at Kálvin tér.
The oldest line, the yellow M1 line, runs just beneath the surface of the city. It was 1894, it is known as the Millennium Line and it was made for the celebrations that took place in 1896.
Almost all locations around the city center is very close to a metro station.
Yellow line – M1
Runs between Vörösmarty tér in the city centre and takes you to the City Park, Budapest Zoo, Széchenyi Bath.
Red line – M2
This line crosses under the river between the Parliament and the Chain Bridge.
Blue line – M3
Connects southeast Pest, through the downtown are to the northern Part of Pest.
These lines meet at Deák tér in the city centre, making this square the most important hub of the city.
Green line – M4
The newest line, crosses the river parallel with Szabadság híd, between Fővám tér and Gellért tér stations.
Good to know:
“bejárat” means entrance
“kijárat” means exit
“felé” means towards (the direction of train, indicated by the name of the station at the end of the line)
Never forget to validate your ticket. Validation machines are located at the station entrances. (Dogs can travel on the metro, but only when muzzled and they need an extra ticket or a dog pass.)
M4 stations are accessible by lift, the others have only escalators or stairs.
Tram 🚋 lines in Budapest
There are more than 30 tram lines in Budapest, which extend to practically every part of the city except the hilly parts of Buda.
Trams are yellow and are a good way of traveling for sightseeing in the centre.
Your best friends will be:
- Tram 2 on the Pest riverside
- Tram 19 on the Buda riverside
- Trams 4 and 6 on the “grand boulevard”
With these you will be able to get pretty much anywhere in the city centre.
Bus 🚌 lines in Budapest
There are more than 200 bus routes in Budapest. These blue vehicles are as characteristic of Budapest as double-deckers are of London.
On busy routes, there buses with the letter “E” after their number. These are express buses, having fewer stops than the regular ones, but their routes are the same.
Usually you can board the bus through any door, but there are a few exceptions. These buses can be recognized by a yellow sign on their schedule board at the stops.
The buses stop only if there is someone waiting to get on or off. If you wish to get off, push the button on the handles next to the doors.
People do not queue at bus stops, they just board the nearest door.
Buses are helpful for exploring the hilly area of Buda.
Bus 16 goes up to the Buda Castle, bus 21, 21A go up to Normafa.
Hop-on hop-off buses operate in the city and they cover the major sights and allow you to explore the city at your own pace.
Airport-city centre shuttle bus service – Bus no. 100E
HÉV is an overland railway. These green trains connect Budapest with its suburban districts.
HÉV line H5 is most commonly used by tourists as it runs north form Batthány tér towards Szentendre (Roman town of Aquincum lays also at this route). Many of the trains on this line terminate at Békásmegyek rather than running to Szentendre. Check the destination on the front of the train before boarding.
H8 line runs from Örs vezér tere (M2 metro line) to Gödöllő.
Standard tickets used on HÉV trains within the borders of Budapest (for example to Aquincum) but you need to purchase an extension ticket at the ticket office or from ticket vending machines if you leave the city boundaries (Szentendre, Gödöllő).
HÉV trains run regularly between 4am and 11.30pm.
Taxi 🚕 in Budapest
The cars are yellow and must charge a fixed price: 700 HUF base rate + 600 HUF per km.
Taxis can be hailed in the street, or can be ordered by phone.
Try to avoid those that are queuing in front of hotels and railway stations.
I rarely use their services, but there are five companies who seem trustworthy:
City taxi: 2-111-111
Buda taxi: 2-333-333
6X6 taxi: 2-666-666
Tele5 taxi: 555-5555
Főtaxi is the official taxi partner of Budapest Airport.
Are taxis safe in Budapest?
If there’s no special logo or company name anywhere on the car: you are likely to fall victim of a taxi scam. Unfortunately, like in front of all venues that attract tourists, so always check the taxi you are sitting in. An awful taxi scam can easily and understandably destroy even the most fantastic party-experience.
Please note that due to government legislation, we do not have Uber in Hungary.
Unusual ways of transportation in Budapest
Cog-wheel railway (called Fogaskerekű)
It climbs into the Buda hills, from Városmajor (near Széll Kálmán tér) and goes up to Széchenyi-hegy in around 20 minutes.
Children’s Railway (Gyermekasút)
Begins near the last stop of the Cog-wheel railway. It is actually run by children, with some adult helpers, of course. It makes a trip through the woods of Buda.
It takes you to the highest peak in the city, the look-out tower of János-hegy. There is a 262 meter difference between it’s two stations.
Cable Car (Sikló)
Takes visitors from the Buda side of the Lánchíd up to the Castle Hill.
More and more cyclists can be seen on the streets of Budapest, taking advantage of the city’s ever-growing network of dedicated bike lanes.
You can hire bicycles from Bubi Bikes, Budapest’s bicycle-sharing scheme that has 1526 bikes available at 126 docking stations across the city.
You can collect your bike at any docking station and return it at any of the others.
The first 30 minutes are free. Hire is available for a maximum of 24 hours at a time – you must allow five minutes between each access.
Using a ferry as public transportation
BKK passenger ferries D11 and D12 depart once or twice an hour, Monday to Saturday (daily between March and October). The one hour trip has dozen stops along the way.
from Kopaszi-gát (below Rákóczi Bridge – on the Pest side)
heading to north Pest or Rómaifürdő in northern Buda.
Tickets are sold on board.
Transporting a bicycle costs an extra 170Ft.
The ferry stop closest to the Castle District is Batthyány tér, and Petőfi tér is not far from the pier just west of Vörösmarty tér.
Check the timetable of the ferries here.
Driving in Budapest
The large number of one-way streets makes it a difficult to navigate. There are also few places to park in Budapest so it is much better to use the public transportation.
Hiring a car
Cars can be hired from the airport on arrival and from the several car hire offices in the city. Be prepared to leave a credit card deposit.
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