Things to know before you travel to Budapest

Fabulous, yet affordable – Budapest is the perfect choice for a holiday no matter what your budget is. In this post, we’ll give you an overview of everything you need to know to plan a smooth arrival and to get started on sightseeing. 

 

Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport

Budapest Airport is an easy-to-navigate airport in the city, with convenient public transport connections. Locals commonly refer to it as Ferihegy (its old name), and it is by far the largest commercial airport in Hungary, serving as a hub for Wizzair, and a base for Ryanair.

Budapest Airport to city

Budapest taxi and airport shuttle

Budapest taxi companies provide the fastest Budapest airport to city rides. As some cab drivers try to take advantage of travelers, it’s best to stick with the official partners of Budapest Airport, Főtaxi (cabs) and miniBUD (shuttle). The airport shuttle has a stand near the baggage claim area, and also outside, near arrivals. You might have to wait up to 30 minutes for the shuttle to collect enough passengers, and a ride to the downtown costs around 4000 HUF. Főtaxi has stands right outside arrivals – a ride could cost over 7000 HUF depending on traffic.

Airport bus

The Budapest airport bus is by far the most affordable way to get into the city. As the airport is just around 15 kilometers from the city center, the ride is simple and fast: the airport bus (200E) takes you to the blue Budapest metro line (the name of the stop is Kőbánya-Kispest), which then takes you to right to the city center. At Liszt Ferenc Airport, there is a bus stop just outside Budapest airport arrivals. (Budapest departures is just as easily accessible by the same bus, too.) After 11pm, take 200E to Határ út, and change to night bus 950 or 914 to go to the city center. After 00:30am, take night bus 900 from the airport to Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út, and change to 950 there. Here you can find a Budapest metro map and all other important public transit information.

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Airport bus and Budapest metro connections

New 100E line from Ferenc Liszt Airport to Budapest city center

budapest-bus-airport-100E

The 100E bus is running from July 8, 2017, from Saturday to Deák Ferenc Square and Ferenc Liszt International Airport every 30 minutes every day. 

The bus departs from the city center at 4 am (based on the airplane schedule) so passengers can use the new service for the first flight.

The last bus leaves from the airport at 00.30 so passengers arriving to Budapest Airport with the last flights can easily reach the city center.

From the city centre to the airport the bus only stops at Kálvin square. (the first 2 buses in the morning stop at Astoria as well)

From the airport to the city center the bus stops at Kálvin square and Astoria and the last stops is at Deák Ferenc Square.

On the line, the low floor air conditioned Mercedes Conecto G buses run by VT-Arriva Kft.

The buses have been given a unique look.

The 100E buses can be used with a separate airport ticket, which costs 900 Ft.

Other tickets or passes are not valid for this bus. The BKK proposes to purchase a valid airport ticket validated at customer centers, stopovers, and cashiers in advance.

 

How to buy a ticket/pass

ticket-machine-transport-budapest

Tickets are available from machines next to the airport bus stop: set the touchscreen to English or other languages and select a ticket or a pass. You can pay by card or cash (card is preferable, as the rates for changing money at the airport are much worse than in the center). Airport bus 200E runs every day from 4am till after midnight (after 00:20, there is a night bus to/from airport Budapest, but it’s recommended that you take a taxi or a shuttle after 200E stops running). Budapest public transport is reliable and omnipresent, so consider getting block tickets or a pass). A single ticket costs HUF 350 (450 if purchased from driver). You will need two tickets to take 200E and then the metro.

Starting July 8, a direct bus line called 100E will connect Budapest Airport and the downtown. It has already been announced that the buses will look different from regular ones and will charge a somewhat higher rate.

Where to change money

Exchange bureaus in the downtown offer much better rates than the one at the airport. So it’s best if you pay by card at the airport, and change money near Maverick – for example, Northline, Correct Change and Gold Change are all reliable chains with competitive rates.

 

Near Maverick City Lodge:

  • Northline: 26 Rakoczi ut, 1072
  • Correct Change: 41 Erzsebet korut, 1073
  • Gold Change: 8 Erzsebet korut, 1073

 

Near Maverick Hostel:

  • Correct Change: 39 Vaci utca, 1056, or 3 Duna utca, 1056

 

Hop on hop off: Budapest city sightseeing by bus and boat

 

City Sightseeing

 

Where is Budapest? Right in the middle of Europe, and not just geographically. Budapest attractions range from the Roman to the Ottoman, Habsburg to Communist. Pick up a free Budapest map at the reception desk of Maverick Hostel or City Lodge, and use the official Budapest travel card (Budapest Card, see below) to get the best discounts. Here’s how to make the most out of your trip:

 

Budapest Card: The official city pass

Besides free public transport, a Budapest Card will allow you to access 12 museums free of charge plus you get a free entry to Lukács thermal bath, and various discounts from 10 to 50% to attractions, cultural programs and sights. Cards are available for 24, 48, 72, 96 or 120 hours – the clock starts ticking when you first use it, so you’d better get a regular ticket for the airport bus and start using your Budapest Card as you start sightseeing! (If you’d like a regular public transport pass with no extra perks, you can buy one from any ticket selling machine – a comprehensive list of Budapest public transport tickets and passes is available here.)

Feel free to ask for help or more information at the reception desk. Our staff is happy to direct you to even more discounts, for example, a 15% discount at Fat Mama’s eatery right next to the Maverick City Lodge, or free walking tours.

 

Free walking tour Budapest

Twice daily, free walking tours leave from the Basilica (the beautiful downtown cathedral not far from Maverick) to give you a primer on the city and its sights. The tours usually take 2.5 hours, spending some time both on the Pest and the Buda sides, covering the essentials of city sightseeing. Participants are encouraged to tip the guides. Sounds like fun? Simply ask at the reception desk for more details.

 

Budapest by Bus and Boat

One of the easiest ways to explore the city at your own pace is the flexible sightseeing offered by Big Bus Tours – you can hop on and hop off the bus as many times as you like, while discovering the most important landmarks, including the Royal Palace, magnificent Heroes Square or the breathtaking Parliament by the Danube. In fact, if you’d like to try a Danube cruise, – well, a free cruise is included in Premium and Deluxe Tickets include a free 80-minute cruise along the Danube, floating by sights such as the National Theater or the Chain Bridge.

 

Exotic retro public transport

Take a ride on the first subway line of the European continent (Hungarians are proud that only London, off the coast of the European continent, had one before Budapest): it feels tiny compared to modern lines, but locals and tourists alike continue to ride it every day. If you’re into actual old trains, now that you have a Budapest card, you can enjoy a free nostalgia ride on the so-called ‘Heritage Tram’ operated by the Budapest Public Transport Company, between 1 May and 24 September 2017. (If you’d like to try it and you don’t have a Budapest Card, you can purchase tickets – regular passes don’t cover the nostalgia rides.)

 

Best Budapest attractions

Budapest points of interest span centuries in time, and merge the best influences of the East and the West. Turkish baths, Roman ruins, Monarchy-era architecture and Communist styles blend into a modern city that’s livable as much as it is loveable. Take a Budapest map and check out the very best the city has to offer: Visit Budapest Attractions | Top 25 list in 2017.