- 27 Oct 2023 7:53 AM
How to get around Budapest
Budapest’s network of public transport, run by BKK, is extensive, reliable and affordable. Signposting is in English and Hungarian, with timetables posted up at nearly all stops, ticket machines at many of them and transfers in metro stations easy to follow.
To find out how to get into town from Budapest Airport, please see part 2 of our Ultimate Xpat Guide.
How do I buy a ticket for Budapest transport?
Downloading the app BudapestGO allows you to buy tickets and passes (except for the 100E bus from the airport), and plan any trip. Tickets and passes can also be purchased from machines at many stops and most stations, and from the BKK customer service centres at all major rail terminals – Keleti, Nyugati, Déli and Kelenföld – and hubs such as Deák Ferenc tér, Népliget and Budapest Airport.
A single ticket costs 450 forints, a book of ten 4,000 forints and a 24-hour pass 2,500 forints. There are also 72-hour travelcards, 15-day passes, monthly passes and time-based tickets. See the options and prices here.
Validate single tickets by putting the arrow sign into the orange machine, either on board the vehicle or at the top of metro escalators. Some suburban trains and a few trams still have punchers – simply put the ticket into the slot and pull forward the little lever to punch it.
What public transport is there in Budapest?
The BKK public transport network consists of four colour-coded metro lines, buses, trams, trolleybuses, suburban trains and boats.
Yellow metro line 1, the oldest on Continental Europe, follows main avenue Andrássy út from the city centre to Heroes’ Square, and then beyond to City Park. Red line 2 goes east-west under the Danube between Buda and Pest, as does green line 4. Blue line 3 runs north-south on the Pest side, extending as far as Kőbánya-Kispest towards the airport.
The main tram line is the 4/6 down Budapest’s busiest boulevard, the Nagykörút, the main artery through Pest. Tram 6 operates 24/7, dovetailing with the network of night buses.
Suburban train lines go beyond Budapest’s borders, meaning you have to buy a special ticket or, if you have a regular BKK ticket or pass, one that is valid for the stretch beyond town. The most popular line is the H6 to Szentendre – machines in Budapest dispense tickets from the section between the city limits at Békásmegyer and the northern terminus.
Can I get around Budapest by boat?
From late spring until the end of October, a regularly scheduled boat sails every two hours from 11am to 7pm, departing from Vigadó tér (Jetty 5), then heading up to Margaret Island and back, a journey of one hour and 15 minutes. Day tickets cost 1,500 forints or the service is free on Thursdays and Fridays (not holidays) for holders of BKK monthly passes. Children under seven travel free. For more details, see here.
How do I get around Budapest by bike?
Budapest has become significantly more cycle-friendly, with lanes created along major thoroughfares. There are cycle hire and repair shops across the city, outlets such as Bike Base near Nyugati station reliable, flexible and affordable.
The MOL Bubi sharing scheme allows you to register, pick up, use, park and return an available bike through an app. Look out for the green-coloured signage. Residents of Hungary may opt for a long-term pass or there are pay-as-you-go rates, too.
MOL is also linked to city transport company BKK, which offers a series of user-friendly maps on its website.
Is Budapest easy to walk around?
Budapest was made for walking. Street are clearly signposted, with the house numbers within a particular block also indicated below the name. For a city of just under two million people, the centre is surprisingly compact, with pedestrian crossings clearly marked, and underpasses running beneath major roads and crossing points – with exits usually well-marked.
MTI Photo: Zsolt Szigetváry
How do I call a taxi in Budapest?
The main app-based taxi service in Budapest is Bolt, which operates pretty much in the same way as Uber. The main traditional company is Főtaxi (+36 1 222 2222), which has a monopoly of services from the airport – you’ll also see their yellow cabs all around town. You can calculate the fare on their website and download their app.
This article is part of a series of guides for expats in Hungary published by XpatLoop.com - the leading media portal serving the international community here since January 2001.
XpatLoop.com is a trusted source for news and information in English for expats in Hungary - plus high-value Hungarians - aimed at enhancing co-operation between people, companies and organisations operating in expat-related circles.
Words by Peterjon Cresswell for Xpatloop.com
Peterjon has been researching the byways of Budapest for 30 years, extending his expertise across Europe to produce guidebooks for Time Out and his own website liberoguide.com