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Budapest Travel Tips #1 - Transportation

Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:21 pm
by majmunka
Getting from the airport to the city and getting around

Budapest has a rather good public transportation network with 4 metro lines, trams, buses and trolleybuses. You can buy single tickets for a ride (flat rate, no zones in Budapest) for 350 HUF (1.20 EUR) but it's a bit expensive for short rides and you shouldn't forget to validate the tickets soon after boarding.

I recommend the passes (sometimes called travelcards). They're cheap and valid for unlimited rides.

- 72 hour pass/travelcard
Valid for 72 hours from the indicated time and date (month, day, hour, minute) for an unlimited number of trips within Budapest. No validation required. Just put the pass in your pocket and show them to the inspector if asked.
It costs 4150 HUF (about 13 EUR)

- 7 day pass/travelcard (The best deal if you stay for more than 72 hours)
Valid from 00:00 on the indicated starting day until 02:00 on the seventh day following for an unlimited number of trips within Budapest. It costs 4950 HUF (about 16 EUR) which is barely more than the 3 days pass.

You can ride all but 1 buses (100E is an exception), all the trams, metros or trolleybuses using these passes. Just be careful not to lose them :)

At the airport, there are 2 terminals (A and B) next to each others. There're 2 BKK (Budapest Public Transportation) ticket offices (one at each terminals) inside the arrivals waiting area, next to the custom exit. You can buy your passes there using your credit/debit cards. You will be asked to set the starting day of the pass and an ID number as the passes are not transferable.

From the airport to the city:

- The cheapest way to take the bus #200E which takes you to the closest metro station.
The ride takes about 20-30 minutes and terminates at Kőbánya-Kispest metro station (Line 3)
(Don't get off at Köbánya-Kispest car park, stay on board until the last stop.)

- There is a direct shuttle bus to the city center (Kalvin square, Astoria, Deak square) #100E but the regular tickets and passes are not valid for this line. You need to purchase a
special ticket for 900 HUF (2.80 EUR). You can buy the ticket in the ticket office or the ticket machineby card or directly from the driver (Hungarian cash only). Don't forget to validate your ticket
soon after boarding)

- Airport shuttle minibus (miniBUD)
This company has a rather mixed reputation. While it's safe and cheaper than taxi, they are quite disorganized. You might have to wait a lot (they say up to 30 min) for other passengers and you might be the last one to dropped at your hotel, getting a bit of unwanted sightseeing on the way.
There are even reports of them not showing up in time at the hotels for leaving to the airport.
There is a miniBUD kiosk at the airport where you can buy your ticket. The price/person is good if you have a group of at least 3 or 4 but for just one person, one way, it can be rather expensive.
(I run a test booking for one person and they asked for 4900 HUF/15.20 EUR)

- Taxi
To take a taxi, just follow the "taxi" line painted on the floor. There is a kiosk outside of the building where you can order the cab but you have to pay upon arrival. There is only one contracted company. The price should be somewhere within 6500-8000 HUF (25 EUR).
While most of the drivers are reliable, sometimes there are reports of rip offs.
They should have card terminals in the cabs but better to check before leaving the airport. The expected tip is about 10%.

Re: Budapest Travel Tips #1 - Transportation

Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:48 pm
by HugoD
Thank you for these very helpful directions!

Re: Budapest Travel Tips #1 - Transportation

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:32 am
by Janetld
Thank you, Eva, I really appreciate this. Looking forward to it all, Janet

Re: Budapest Travel Tips #1 - Transportation

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:51 am
by daveeliver
I think this was mentioned at the time of the walking weekend and I know a member of the forum who didn't go walking but stayed in Budapest. He used public transport extensively never paid and had no problems. The following is from tripadvisor

Re: free travel on public transport in Budapest for over 65
2 Mar 2018, 17:17

We have just returned from Budapest, and as an EU Citizen, and over 65, I did not have to pay for any public transport. This gave me access to buses, trams, Metro and even the 100E airport shuttle bus to the city centre. I carried my passport at all times as identification, safely in my inside jacket pocket, and only required to show it at the entrance to the Metro. We used the public transport system to take us all over Budapest visiting all tourist attractions. With the little public transport map, it was extremely easy to cover all parts of city. Don't waste money hiring tour operators to take you around, as Budapest is so easy to get around once you get your bearings. It's a wonderful city to explore, and the people we met were lovely and most helpful. Enjoy.

Re: Budapest Travel Tips #1 - Transportation

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:29 am
by majmunka
Thanks for this addition, it's very important and I forgot to add :(
Citizens of Hungary or other EU, EEA Member States or Switzerland, aged 65+ can use the Hungarian transportation system for free. When asked by controllers, they have to show their ID card or passport.

I checked it with the customer service, the use of the airport shuttle bus #100E and the BKK boats (D11, D12, D14) is also free for these citizens.

Ref: ... yek_en.pdf

Re: Budapest Travel Tips #1 - Transportation

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:02 pm
by daveeliver
Wish I were 65 !!

Re: Budapest Travel Tips #1 - Transportation

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:50 pm
by HugoD
daveeliver wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:02 pm
Wish I were 65 !!
That is just a matter of time ;-)

Re: Budapest Travel Tips #1 - Transportation

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:25 pm
by Suemerlyn
Hi, we are arriving by train to the main railway station. No idea how far away our hotel is but we are staying at is called City Ring in a street called confusingly, Budapest, and it is close to the Budapest jazz Club where a lot of LC events will take place. Can you give us directions by public transport, please? Or should we take a cab?
Sue and Gert

Re: Budapest Travel Tips #1 - Transportation

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:50 pm
by majmunka
Hi Sue & Gert,

City Hotel Ring is located on Szent Istvan körút (not Budapest street, we just write addresses in reverse order), about 200 m from Nyugati (West) Railway station. We don't have a Central Station but 3 big stations, West, East and South. Where will you come from? If you indeed arrive at Nyugati (West) station, you can easily walk to the hotel. You have to cross the underpass though. Do not take a cab at the station. Those drivers are mostly hyenas.

Re: Budapest Travel Tips #1 - Transportation

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:35 pm
by Suemerlyn
Hi Eva, Thanks v much for the info. The rail station where we arrive is called Budapest Keleti and we are travelling from Vienna. We decided to make the journey fun so we are doing the whole trip from London by train. Keleti presumably is not west Budapest station.
If you can help us to travel from there to the hotel, that would be really appreciated.

Re: Budapest Travel Tips #1 - Transportation

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:54 pm
by majmunka
Your guess is correct, Keleti is the East station :)
Take subway M4 (green line), it has a terminus there so there's only one way. Get off at Kalvin square (3rd stop) and change for subway M3 (blue line) to the direction of Ujpest Kozpont. Nyugati (West) station is the 4th stop. From there you can use the map I posted above.
Alternatively, you can take subway M2 (red line) bound for Deli palyudvar (South station) and get off at Deak square (3rd stop). Change for M3 (blue line) and go 2 stops to Nyugati station.

You can buy the passes or tickets near the metro underground entrance.

Safe travels!