Getting around in Budapest: info, costs and advice

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Joel Fulleda
@joelfulleda
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in all of Eastern Europe, rich in history and traditions. Not only in the old part known as "Buda", but also the modern "Pest" boasts many emblematic attractions of its long history as the capital of Hungary. Tourists from all over the world choose to visit it because it really is on a human scale, pleasant to explore especially on foot because it offers incredible views from attractions such as the Fishermen's Bastion, an ancient neo-Gothic and Roman construction, or the Citadel, the highest point of the city that offers a splendid view of the Danube.

Here is a guide on how to get around Budapest: info, costs and advice!



Index

  1. Useful Tips
  2. How to get from the airport to the center of Budapest
  3. How to get around on foot
  4. Con i mezzi pubblici
  5. By car
  6. User questions and comments

Useful Tips


The best way to explore the historic city center is on foot, as the main attractions are close to each other, walking will also give you the opportunity not to miss the views and the most beautiful views of this splendid city.
For a first approach to the city, the advice is to take a guided walking tour, to identify the main landmarks and learn about the history and main attractions of the city.
Alternatively, especially if you have little time available, the best choice is definitely the hop-on hop-off tourist bus, from which you can get on and off without limits for the duration of the ticket.
Budapest has been becoming an increasingly bike friendly city for years: 300 km of cycle paths throughout the city and its surroundings are an invitation to visit the city on 2 wheels. However it is still under development, so even in this case, it is better to take a guided bike tour first to familiarize yourself with cycling routes and paths.

To enjoy a spectacular panorama from another point of view, do not miss the opportunity for a panoramic cruise on the Danube.
Speaking of spectacular views, reach the Castle area using the cable car, dating back to 1870 and starts right in front of the Chain Bridge (every day 7: 30-22: 00, 1.200,00 HUF, € 4,00).

Finally, if you stay for several days, it is recommended to purchase the Budapest Card, which also includes the unlimited use of means for all its validity!



  • Recommended solutions and means: on foot, metro, bus, tram, ferry, hop-on hop-off tourist bus
  • Solutions and means not recommended: taxis, cars and scooters
  • City cards and season tickets recommended: Budapest Card (from € 22,00 -), booklet of 10 tickets costs for public transport (from 3.000,00 HUF / € 8,50), day ticket (from 1.650,00 HUF / € 4,80)

How to get from the airport to the center of Budapest


The reference airport is that of Budapest-Ferenc Liszt Airport, located about 18 km south-east of the city center. Several depart from Italy direct flights to the Hungarian capital, with both national and low cost airlines, with numerous offers!

Once landed, getting to the center is very simple. You can use public transport, such as the bus (lines 100E and 200E from the airport terminal arrive to the center of Budapest, 30 min, 900,00 HUF, € 2,50) or the train, with a single line that goes to Budapest-Nyugati station (north of the historic center, 1,3 km from St. Stephen's Basilica). They are not missing taxi, located outside the Arrivals Terminal, and convenient private transfers to be booked before departure!

Ferenc Liszt Airport

  • Distance from the center: 20 km / average travel time: 25 min;
  • By train: single line to Nyugati station / ticket cost: 900,00 HUF (€ 2,50)
  • By taxi: average cost 7.000,00 HUF (€ 20,00) / travel time: 25 min
  • By bus: average cost HUF 900,00 (€ 2,50) / lines 100E and 200E
  • Private transfer: private transfer to Liszt Ferenc airport

How to get around on foot

The city of Budapest is perfect for exploring on foot: the major places of interest are close to each other and are located both in Buda and in Pest, opposite the Danube river. The two parts are linked together since Chain Bridge, about 375 m long and perfectly suited to be crossed on foot (about 5 min). Then there are limited traffic areas and where you can only move on foot: in Pest you will find the lively Váci Utca, full of clubs, shops and restaurants, while in Buda there are Heroes' Square, Vörösmarty Square and Castle Hill, the Castle area.

For a first approach to the city, the advice is to take a guided walking tour, to identify the main landmarks and learn about the history and main attractions of the city.
An interesting experience is the underground cave tour, a must-do to explore the Pál-völgyi-Mátyás-hegyi cave system under the city of Budapest!



Con i mezzi pubblici

In Budapest, getting around by public transport is really convenient and cheap! You can choose between trams, metro and buses.
The tram is suitable for a panoramic exploration of the city, although not all stops are close to major sights, unlike the hop-on hop-off tourist bus which stops near major attractions (tickets available for 24, 48 or 72 hours). The subway is perfect for long distances, ideal for traveling from Szechenyi Square to the Museum of Fine Arts or the Széchenyi Baths.

The ticket or season ticket to use public transport is unique for everyone and can be purchased at metro stations, newsagents or vending machines. The single ride costs 350,00 HUF (€ 1,00), while the 10-ticket booklet costs 3.000,00 HUF (€ 8,50) and the day ticket 1.650,00 HUF (€ 4,80). Now let's see in detail all the means.

Metro

There are four subway lines (M1 yellow, M2 red, M3 blue and M4 green), which intertwine with the main stations in the center, namely Deák Ferenc tér, Keleti pályaudvar and Kálvin tér. The metro is operational from 4:30 to 23:00, with a frequency from 2 to 15 minutes.

The line most used by tourists is the M1, which runs the length of Andrassy Street, making stops near the main points of interest. Taking these lines is a really nice experience because some of their stations have remained as they are over the decades.



  • Downloadable map:
  • 4 pm: 30 23 to: 00
  • Ticket / single ride cost: 350,00 HUF (€ 1,00)
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: carnet 10 tickets 3.000,00 HUF (€ 8,50), day ticket 1.650,00 HUF (€ 4,80)

bus

The bus network in Budapest covers the whole city in particular the lines you will use most often are 16, 16A and 116, well connected from Pest to the upper area of ​​Buda, the richest in attractions.

The lines are identified by a number plus the letter "E" for the express service (such as the 200E which serves the airport) and the "A" for other means that make a shorter route than the one envisaged (for example, there is a line 16 and a 16A). From 23 pm the night buses start operating, which are marked with numbers from 900 to 999.

  • Downloadable map:
  • 24 hours on 24
  • Ticket / single ride cost: 350,00 HUF (€ 1,00)
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: carnet 10 tickets 3.000,00 HUF (€ 8,50), day ticket 1.650,00 HUF (€ 4,80)

Tram

Another useful way to get around Budapest is the tram, recognizable thanks to its bright yellow color. There are more than 30 lines and it is really a suggestive means that crosses picturesque places, although it is quite slow. But if you want to see the city sit comfortably and enjoy a nice scenic ride is the most suitable means!

Le useful lines to better visit the city they are 4 and 6 which pass through the center, 2 which runs along the Danube, while 47 and 49 connect Pest with Buda.

  • Downloadable map:
  • from 4:30 to 22:45, line 6 until 24:00
  • Ticket / single ride cost: 350,00 HUF (€ 1,00)
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: carnet 10 tickets 3.000,00 HUF (€ 8,50), day ticket 1.650,00 HUF (€ 4,80)

Ferry

If you have to move from the north to the south side of the city and enjoy one at the same time spectacular panoramic view of the Danube river, it can be a nice option to travel by ferry. Enjoying a one-hour sightseeing cruise, you can see the main attractions from a different perspective! Furthermore, it is also a popular means of transport for commuters and is an integral part of the public transport system.

Le weekday lines (where Passes can be used) are two: D11 (pink) and D12 (brown), while line D13 (dark brown) is active only on Saturdays and Sundays (with specific tickets sold on the spot). Boats leave approximately every hour and a half.

  • Downloadable map: budapest-ferry-map
  • by 8: 00 20 to: 00
  • Ticket / single ride cost: 750,00 HUF (€ 2,10)
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: day ticket 1.650,00 HUF (€ 4,80)

By car

Budapest has become a city extremely busy, for this reason using a car to move inside and visit it is anot recommended. Always keep in mind that, especially if you have little time available, it is not a wise choice because you will hardly find parking and, above all, because the areas where the most important attractions are located are all located in restricted traffic areas.

In addition, driving in Budapest can be a real problem as you may have trouble orienting yourself due to traffic, which at peak times can make your holiday less than relaxing. So we invite you to use the car only to visit the surroundings, for example to Lake Balaton or the villages of Palocz.

ZTL

You can access the city of Budapest from different parts, there are indeed 11 protected areas and 15 restricted areas: the protected areas are the various historical sites or the green recreational sites, where there is no vehicular traffic, while the restricted areas are some parts of the city where heavy vehicles need an access permit to enter. Therefore the cost of the authorization depends on their total weight and the emissions of the vehicles.

In detail, it can happen that the traffic entering Budapest suffers restrictions when air pollution exceeds established limits; therefore the entry ban is applied by referring to the number with which the vehicle plate ends, even numbers on even days and odd numbers on odd days. To keep up to date on developments, we recommend that you consult the official website of the BKK and the official website of the city of Budapest before departure, where you will find maps of the environmental zones, the rules in force in the various areas and the corresponding status of the access bans of user-defined vehicle type.

Stops and parking

If you need to look for safe parking in Budapest, it is useful to know that parking is subject to charges between 8:00 and 18:00 from Monday to Friday, while it is free on weekends.
The various areas have different rates:

  • the center of Pest (area between the Danube and the Grand Boulevard) and the area surrounding the castle hill (from the Erzsébet bridge to the Margit bridge on the Buda side) belong to zone 1 and here the parking cost is 440,00 HUF / hour (€ 1,25);
  • zone 2 (most areas of Buda and the area outside the Grand Boulevard) 265,00 HUF / hour (€ 0,75);
  • the remaining areas belong to Zone 3, at 175,00 HUF / hour (€ 0,50);
  • The areas of Castle Hill, Margaret Island and the center of Pest (between the Erzsébet Bridge and the Chain Bridge) are restricted areas for cars.

If you intend to park your car and move around the city on foot or by public transport, consider leaving it in custody at one of the many private parking who offer this service h24, you will find many and all at extremely affordable prices.


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