HOW TO EASILY GET AROUND BUDAPEST ON YOUR OWN?
Budapest, Hungary is one of the safest European capitals to visit, but it is also becoming more popular each year. The city currently has population of almost 2,000,000 people and it is growing. It is beautifully located on the banks of the Danube river and provides tourists with limitless attractions. Its history goes back to the tribe of the Huns and the Hapsburg dynasty. World War II has left its marks on the city as well, but today Budapest thrives in modernism, rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture, natural thermal baths and probably the best night life in Eastern and Central Europe.
Numerous bridges connect the hilly Buda part with the flat Pest. Public transportation in the city is more frequent than anywhere else and walking, and biking are great options too. Let’s dive a bit more into how to easily get around Budapest on your own.
HOW TO GET FROM BUDAPEST AIRPORT TO THE CENTER?
You have few options:
- use public transportation
- airport shuttle
- rent a car
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN BUDAPEST
You can take bus 200E from Ferenc Liszt International Airport and change to metro line M3 at Kobanya-Kispest terminus. This will cost you about 900HUF for bus 200E and a regular ticket for the metro line/subway. It will take you about an hour. Although it is widely used method to get from the airport to the downtown area we recommend our next option to our tourists.
Once you arrive at Ferenc Liszt International Airport you will see the BKK public transport desk on your left. There you can purchase a ticket for the 100E bus line also known as airport shuttle. The ticket costs 900 HUF. When you exit the terminal, turn right and walk a couple minutes. You will see a big blue bus waiting, that’s your bus. It runs every 30 min, but there is always a bus there waiting and loading. Of course, you can also follow the line of tourists and you will find it. Usually they have a ticket collector by the bus that will cut your ticket, which serves as validation. In case there isn’t one, you need to validate your ticket inside the bus. There is also a ticket vending machine right next to it where you can purchase a ticket, but keep in mind that ticket kiosk does not give change back!
The airport shuttle makes three stops in the downtown area: Kalvin Ter /one tram stop away from Fovam Ter/, Astoria and Deak Ferenc. The stops are announced inside the bus and there is also a screen showing them for your convenience.
The 100E bus runs from 4:30 AM until 11:30 PM daily.
In most foreign countries it is common for taxi drivers to charge foreigners a higher rate. It is the same in Budapest. However, the airport works with a specific taxi company that is fair and efficient. You can arrange for a taxi while picking-up your luggage–the company desk is right next to luggage lanes–or download the City Taxi Budapest mobile app. If you have free international roaming you can call +36 2-111-111 It is about 30-40 euros from the airport to downtown.
RENT A CAR
Renting a car is always a convenient way to easily get around Budapest, but parking could be an issue as in every other larger European city. We recommend that you use Budget Rent a Car. Their prices are fair, cars are well maintained and fleet is big enough. If you have already purchased the BUDAPEST CARD, you get a discount! You can contact them in advance at email@example.com, visit www.budget.hu or call +36 (1) 700-4859
GETTING AROUND BUDAPEST VIA TRAMS, BUSES, BOATS OR METRO
The public transportation of Budapest is actually not that complicated. It is fairly safe to use, but of course you should pay attention to your pockets and purses at bus stations and while riding on. If you have the BUDAPEST CARD that means you can use it on any method of transportation within the Budapest city district limits. Anything outside of it you will need to use the railway and purchase additional ticket. If you don’t have the BUDAPEST CARD you can purchase individual tickets or daily passes at BKK ticket kiosks. You can find corresponding prices here.
HOW TO EASILY GET AROUND BUDAPEST ON YOUR OWN?
If you are staying around the center or nearby Vaci Street, which is kind of the main walking and shopping alley of the city, then you should be able to reach most touristy attractions by foot. It is actually very nice to walk around Budapest as you can see much more of the city’s beautiful architecture, get a better feeling about it and stop at the numerous souvenir shops or restaurants.
If you do prefer to save time tram 2 is your best choice. It rides next to the Danube river and passes many political and historic buildings that are of significance to Hungarians. Tram 2 will also take you to the Parliament building, which is one of the main attractions.
Metro lines 1 & 3 go to other touristy areas. Deak Ferenc is the square where all metro lines cross and you can easily switch from one to another. Trams 47 and 49, who connect Buda with Pest, also make a stop there, as well as many other buses.
Bus 16, again from Deak Ferenc, will take you directly to Buda Castle and Mattias Church on the Buda side. The ride is very interesting and convenient. During the daytime hours the bus runs every 5 minutes, but after 6PM it comes every 15-20 minutes, and runs close to 11PM.
If you want to visit the Citadel you can take tram 47 or 49, get off at Morisz Zsigmond korter M, then cross the road to your left and take bus 27 and it will take you up the hill. From there it’s about 10 min walking. You can also visit the Citadel as part of a hop-on-hop-off bus tour.
Budapest is stressful day 1, but easy to get around day 2, and feeling like home day 3. After that you just don’t want to leave. It is one of Europe’s most beautiful capitals and it is also very affordable. There are things to do in Budapest year round and one visit is not enough to see all there is to see, nor do all there is to do!