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HINTS AND TIPS – Part 2. Getting around the city

Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, this year more than half a million travellers have chosen it as the best destination of Europe. According to the organisers, European Best Destination (EBD) the Hungarian capital leads the ranking for various reasons such as the rich culture, world heritage sights, value for money, gastronomy and above all, it is one of the safest cities in the world. However, just like in any other busy capital, it’s worth to keep your wallet safe and check the prices before you go to a restaurant as tourists may be overcharged. For those who are planning to visit Budapest, please welcome the second part of our little series of ‘Hints and tips’ – with some useful infos to stay safe and have an unforgettable experience in this magnificent city.

In case you need information, there are official tourist information offices known as Budapest Info Point. You can find one info point at the airport and 3 others in the city centre such as at Deák Ferenc Square, Heroes Square and the Buda Castle. 

Getting around the city 

Public transport in Budapest is cheap if we compare it with major European cities. The single ticket (vonaljegy) is 350 HUF (1 euro approx.) and it can be used on a single vehicle for a single ride. However, using this ticket at the metro allows you to do one transfer only between the metro lines (M1, M2, M3, and M4). This transfer option does NOT apply to any other vehicles.

You can buy your tickets from the ticket machines at main metro, train and tram stations. In addition, you can also purchase a ticket at the bus driver, but it is a bit more expensive, it costs 450 HUF.

The city has four Metro lines and three of them stops at Deák Ferenc Square.

  • The Metro 1 (yellow line) is the oldest underground in Budapest and the entire European continent. The legendary metro well known as “Kisföldalatti” (Little Underground in English) was considered as a modern invention when it opened in 1896. The M1 and the Andrassy Avenue were announced as World Heritage Sites in 2002. The line crosses eleven stations under the Andrassy Avenue and stops at the Heroes Square, the City Park and Opera among others.
  • The Metro 2 (red line) can take you to Kossuth Lajos Square, where you can visit the Parliament.
  • The Metro 3 (blue line) can take you to the Nyugati Railway Station, where you can also find the biggest shopping mall, West End City Centre.
  • The Metro 4 (green line) is the newest line in Budapest, the renovation included technical innovations, modern design that provides a good ventilation system and day light. The M4 runs automatically in driverless mode. The line has 10 stations, it takes you to the famous Central Market at Fővám Square, and Gellért station, both won an award in the bus and railway station category.

Trams

The tram N°2 is one of the distinguished tramlines running in Budapest. Hop on Tram N°2 and you can see many of the major sights of Budapest as it is going along the Danube. One can see iconic buildings that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage such us the Parliament, the Gresham Palace, the Chain Bridge, the Elizabeth Bridge, the Castle District and the Gellért Bath. The tram is available from Jászai Mari Square to the National Theatre. Be prepared with your ticket and validate it before getting on the tram that you will surely meet ticket inspectors on this line.

The Tram N°4-6 is an important line for the locals and travellers. The line is considered as one of the busiest tramlines in Europe, transporting millions of passengers daily for 24 hours. This line makes a half circle connecting Pest with Buda side.

The public transport system in Budapest provides 260 buses routes and running during the day and the evenings. Some buses have some letters such us “E” it means the buss provides an express service with limited stops.

Taxis

You can find several taxi companies in Budapest. It is best if you download their app instead of taking one from the street and being overcharged. The following companies have their own apps: City Taxi, Budapest Taxi, 6×6, Taxi4, Bolt (Taxify). You can pay by cash or by credit card at all these taxi companies.

If you decide to hail down a taxi in the street, make sure the car has a logo of a company. It is better to prevent any inconvenience because unfortunately there are private drivers who may overcharge you. 

HOP on HOP off buses

Another way to explore the city is to get on a Hop on Hop City Sightseeing bus, which offers  panoramic views of the Buda Castle, the Heroes Square and other historical sights. The ticket is valid for 48 or 72 hours, which includes 6 different routes plus the night route.

BKK Penalty fare:

Make sure you validate your ticket before taking the transport service or the inspector can make you pay the penalty fare. Inspectors have the right to request your personal data and ID.

  • Penalty fare pay on the spot is 8.000 HUF
  • Penalty fare pay within 30 days 16.000 HUF
  • Penalty fare pay over 30 days 32.000 HUF

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