Transportation in Budapest

Public Transportation

Public transport in Budapest is excellent by international standards. (Within the entire populated area of Budapest one can find a stop/station within 400 meters.) A wide variety of buses, trolley buses, trams and underground trains usually operate from 4.30 am to 11 pm. At night 16 lines are in service. Bus No. 78É at night runs roughly the same route as underground train line M2, while No. 14É that of M3.

• You have to purchase a ticket in advance at the terminals, at underground stations, from ticket machines and in post offices. Single tickets are the same for each means of transport. If accompanied by an adult, children under 6 need no tickets. There is no conductor on the vehicles: you must validate your ticket at the start of the journey. (Fines are high.) Types of tickets: single ticket, transfer ticket for the underground, day ticket, 3-day tourist ticket, 7-day travel card. Season tickets with photo for 14 or 30 days are also available. Remember that the Budapest Card entitles to free travel for two or three days within city limits.

• On buses and trolley buses you must push a button next to the door to indicate your intention to get off, while other vehicles alight at all stops.

• Budapest can boast with special vehicles such as the Funicular, the Children's Railway, the Chairlift and the Cogwheel railway. Standard public transport tickets are valid on the Cogwheel railway only.

Suburban trains called HÉV also belong to the public transport system. You can use them to visit such towns outside Budapest as Szentendre (from Batthyány tér) or Gödöllö (from Örs vezér tere). The standard tickets can be used within Budapest, but an extra ticket must be purchased if you want to travel beyond the borders.

Railway Stations

Keleti Station (East Station, Keleti Pályaudvar, Keleti pu.)
Keleti railway Station Budapest

The station in the heart of the city, housed in an Eclectic and neo-Renaissance building, was opened in 1884. Spanning the 44 meter wide hall was a daring enterprise, while the electric lighting and the central track-switching system made the Central Station, as it was called originally, one of Europe's most modern railway stations. The facade of the building, which has been restored several times, is decorated with the statues of George Stephenson and James Watt. Most tourists who come to Budapest by train arrive at this station.

Nyugati Station (West Station, Nyugati Pályaudvar, Nyugati pu.)
nyugati railway station

Its predecessor the Pest Station was built in 1846, when the first Hungarian railway line was opened between Pest and Vác. The construction of the present Nyugati Railway Station began when the Grand Boulevard was built. It was completed in 1877 with the iron structure to the designs of the Eiffel Company in Paris. The beautifully restored building houses the world's most magnificent fast-food restaurant, and the Information Office of the Tourism Office of Budapest. ("S" p. 3) Nostalgia trains with steam engines depart from here every Sat to the Danube Bend, information Tel.: 428-0180. Next to the station is the new entertainment and cultural center of the city, Westend City Center. An abundance of exhibition halls, restaurants, cinemas, about 400 shops. The second Hilton hotel of the town opened here in 2000.

Airport Transfers

• You will land at Budapest Ferihegy Airport 2, Terminal A or B, I which is 24 km from the city. Terminal A: flights of Malév Hungarian Airlines, Terminal B: all airlines other than Malév. Entry is smooth, with fast passport control. For customs clearance you can use the usual green and red corridors.

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• The Budapest Transport Company BKV runs a "Reptér-Busz" service between the Köbánya-Kispest terminus of M3 (blue line) and the airport. Fare to be paid to the driver.

• Air Traffic and Airport Administration (LRI) operates Centrum buses between the city (Erzsébet tér, Hotel Kempinski) and the terminals. They depart every 30 minutes from 0530 to 2200. Journey time: 45 min. Fare to be paid to the driver.

• Airport minibuses, run by LRI as well, are a kind of collective taxi at a reasonable price, which travel between any requested destination in town and the terminals. Ticket on arrival at the Airport Passenger Service desk, where you can buy also your return transfer ticket. Before departure call 296-8555 and the service will pick you up at your hotel or apartment and take to the airport

Budapest Airport Transfers is another good source to book an easy airport taxi ride.

Metro System

The subway system is clean and efficient, with trains running at regular intervals of between 3 and 4 minutes. Metro stations can be easily located on maps and streets by the  M  symbol.

The oldest part of the network is the Yellow Line (M1). It is signed "Földalatti" and it was was built in the 1890's to celebrate the Hungarian millennium. The line runs between downtown Vörösmarty tér and Mexikói út. Stations are easily accessible, being just below ground level.

Lines 2 and 3 were built during the 70s. Line 2 (red) runs from the eastern outskirts of the city (Örs vezér tér), past Keleti (Eastern) railway station and on to the Belváros before crossing under the Danube to Pest's Déli pu (Southern) station. Line 3 (blue) runs from the northern suburbs to the busy Deák tér interchange, before heading south towards the airport and Kobánya Kispest.

Map of Budapest metro lines


Budapest Taxis

In Hungary taxis have yellow license plates and must have a meter able to give receipts.

Bigger taxi companies are :
    Budataxi
    Citytaxy
    Fötaxi
    Rádiotaxi
    Tele5 Taxi
    6X6 Taxi

Rates per kilometer when booked by phone are cheaper than flagged down on street. There are also many private taxis. Generally speaking it's advisable to check the fare before you start.

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