How to Travel in the City?
Use public transport services to travel in Budapest, especially if you stay in one of the outer districts, but getting around the central districts (V., VI., parts of I., II., VII. and VIII.) might also be more convenient by public transportation.
You will easily get to any sight and attraction by travelling on one of the four metro lines or the major tram lines (No. 4, 6 and 2).
The bus and trolley bus service are quite extensive too. There’s also a scheduled boat service on the Danube from spring till autumn.
Below you find information on Budapest public transport: types of tickets and passes, buying, and validating them.
In case it’s cold or a summer shower catches you, take one of the four metro lines (M1, M2, M3 and M4), or trams No. 2, 4 or 6!
They’ll take you to most of the places of interest.
Tickets, Travel Cards, Prices and Fines
Budapest has a fairly extensive and efficient public transport system. It is also cheaper than in most Western European cities.
A wide variety of trams, buses, trolleys and metro trains run in the city. Night service is quite reliable, too.
Be prepared for typical rush hours: vehicles are crowded and traffic can be rather slow. This would be expected in any large city.TIP: You don’t need to travel in Budapest if you come here for just a few days and would like to visit only the most important parts of the city. You can easily explore the city centre by walk.
(prices updated for 2017.):
TIP: Citizens of the European Union countries aged 65 and up can use all public transport lines for free in Budapest (they have to show a valid ID to verify age and EU member nationality if asked by a ticket inspector).
The current tickets and passes are pale purple colour.
- Single ticket (vonaljegy or just jegy) 350 HUF, (450 HUF if purchased from the driver on board the vehicle): valid on all public transport vehicles for one uninterrupted trip. If you carry a bike with you (permitted only on a few vehicle types) you have to validate a single ticket for it.
- Single transfer ticket (átszállójegy): 530 HUF
- Metro Section Ticket (for up to 3 stops): 300 HUF: valid for one uninterrupted trip without change on all 3 metro lines for 3 stops for 30 minutes. It does not entitle you for interruption of the trip or for return trip. Within its validity you can change lines within the metro network, but it is valid only for 3 stops altogether (i.e. 3, 2+1 or 1+2 stations).
- 24-hour travel card (napijegy: 1 650 HUF): valid on all public transport vehicles, incl. D14 boat service, on boat services D11, D12 and D13 only on workdays for an unlimited number of trips from 0:00 to 24:00 of the day indicated on the ticket (you decide on the starting time).
- 24-hour group travel card, for max. 5 persons – recommended also for families: 3 300 HUF,: valid on all public transport vehicles, incl. D14 boat service, on boat services D11, D12 and D13 only on workdays for an unlimited number of trips from 0:00 to 24:00 of the day indicated on the ticket (you decide on the starting time).
- 72-hour travel card (turistajegy: 4 150 HUF): valid on all public transport vehicles for an unlimited number of trips for 72 hours starting from the time and date you purchased it.
- 7-day travel-card (hetijegy: 4 950 HUF): vaild on all public transport vehicles from 0:00 to 24:00 till the sixth day following purchase of the card for an unlimited number of trips.
- Block of 10 single tickets (tíz darabos gyűjtőjegy: 3 000 HUF). Costs less than 10 single tickets purchased individually.
- Funicular (sikló: takes you up to the Castle Hill from Clark Adam Square) Tickets: 1 100 HUF/adult, (return ticket: 1 700 HUF) 600 for children (return ticket: 1 100 HUF), Operating hours: 7.30-22.00 every day.
- Chairlift (libegő: tickets: full price single ticket: 850 HUF, discount single ticket: 550 HUF, full price return ticket: 1 400 HUF, discount return ticket: 800 HUF,
- Night tickets: single tickets, block of 10 tickets, travel cards, Bp Card, are valid for the night services.
- Boat tickets (one-way): adults: 750 HUF, children up to 15 years of age: 550 HUF.
TIP: If you don’t want to bother with buying and validating tickets, purchase a City Card.
You can travel with the card free of charge on all public transport services within the boundaries of the city.
You’ll also get discounts to many museums and other sights and attractions.
Read more about the Budapest Card!
You have to buy your ticket/pass in advance. You can get them from ticket vending machines (TVM) or at many newspaper kiosks.
Around 300 new ticket vending machines have been placed throughout the city where you can get tickets and passes 24/7 by paying with cash or bank card.
I often use them and found them are quite reliable.
Most ticket offices have closed down. You will find Ticket Offices (Jegypénztár) in some metro stations near the entrance:
- Corvin negyed M3/blue line,
- Népliget M3/blue line,
- Nyugati tér M3/blue line,
- Blaha Lujza tér M2/red line,
- Széll Kálmán tér M2/red line.
Most cashiers speak only Hungarian so it’s best to go to the cashier with a piece of paper on which you’ve written down in Hungarian what type of ticket you want to buy.
How to use the Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs)?
Using the machines is pretty straightforward, just read the instructions displayed on the monitor.
First choose language by touching the appropriate flag symbol on the bottom of the screen on the right hand side of the TVM.
A list of the most popular ticket types and passes will appear (single ticket-350 HUF, block of 10 tickets – 3000 HUF, 24-hour travel card, 24-hour group travel card, various monthly passes).
I only give you the steps on buying tickets/travel card because these are the ones most suited to tourists visiting Budapest for a couple of days.
Buying Ticket/Travel Card from the TVM:
- Select the ticket/travel card you want to buy.
- Decide whether you want the machine to print an invoice, if not then press payment without VAT invoice.
- Choose payment method: you can pay by cash, bank card (PayPass/contactless cards).
- Paying by cash: the machine accepts all current Hungarian coins from 5 HUF to 200 HUF. You can use banknotes too: 500 HUF, 1 000 HUF, 2 000 HUF, 5 000 HUF, 10 000 HUF, 20 000 HUF. Based on the total value of the purchase the TVM defines the banknotes to be accepted.
- If the purchase is of a small amount (e.g. a 350 HUF single ticket) 2000 HUF or smaller notes are accepted. In case of a bigger purchase larger notes can also be used. The machine accepts 35 coins and 15 banknotes per transaction. It gives back changes in coins and notes.
- You can also use a bankcard/contactless card, just follow the steps shown on the card terminal screen. After payment collect the purchased ticket or travel card and change if you paid with cash.
- Make sure you don’t leave your ban card or other belongings at the machine.
You can also view an instructional video on how to buy monthly passes and use the vending machines on the transport company’s (BKK) website.
How to validate tickets?
You must validate your ticket at the start of your journey.
In case of metro tickets you have to put the ticket in the ticket validation machine (orange coloured box on a metal pole) that’ll stamp a time and date on the ticket. A short musical tone confirms that the ticket has been validated.
Once you validated the metro ticket you head for the escalator that’ll take you to the metro platform where you wait for the metro car.
At the top of the escalator ticket inspectors will most likely stop you to check whether you’ve validated your ticket.
On other vehicles (trams, buses, trolley) there’ s either the orange box similar to the ones in metro stations, or a smaller red box in which you insert the ticket then pull the black part on the top towards you to punch the ticket (a pattern of holes appear on the validated ticket).Note: the slot on some ticket validation machines is clogged with chewing gum or paper (deliberately done by prank makers) so you won’t be able to insert the ticket. Try another machine on the vehicle to validate your ticket.
Inspectors check passengers’ tickets throughout the day. An inspector usually wears dark blue uniform and a blue with a red armband. Nowadays however they are in plain clothes (but still must put on the armband when checking tickets) in order to disguise themselves.
To avoid problems, buy the type of ticket or pass that are most suitable for your visit and your budget, and remember to validate it. Keep your ticket until the end of your journey.
Fines are high (if caught travelling without a valid ticket or pass you’ll be fined to pay 16.000 HUF, 8.000 HUF if you pay it on the spot or within 2 days of being fined) and it’s not worth ruining your stay with constant watching out for the inspectors. If you forgot to buy a ticket or validate it, and you’re fined the ticket inspector must give you a receipt about the payment.
Fines for Travelling Without a Valid Ticket
If you’re caught without a valid ticket by a ticket inspector, you are to pay a fine which is currently 8 000 HUF paid on the spot or in BKK’s Surcharge Office within 2 work days from the date of the fining.
If you don’ pay the fine on the spot or within 2 work days, the amount of the fine is 16 000 HUF. The inspector must give you a receipt of the payment when you pay on the spot.
If you don’t pay the fine on the spot, the ticket inspector initiates a fining procedure (ensuring the opportunity of deferred payment). In this case he/she is entitled to ask the required personal data (name, mother’s name, date and place of birth) and also the address of the passenger. On the basis of these data, the ticket inspector fills in a so-called “Surcharging procedure report”.
If the passenger refuses to give his/her personal data, the ticket inspector can ask for police assistance on the spot.
The ticket inspector gives a cheque about the amount of the fine and a leaflet about the opportunities of payment. The passenger shall sign that he/she accepts the surcharging and confirms that he/she has given the required personal data. The denial of signature doesn’t acquit the passenger of the consequences of the fining.
You’ll find the most up-to-date information about tickets, prices and fining on the Public Transport Company’s website (BKK).
You can choose from several ways to travel to the centre from Budapest Airport:
- Train service from Ferihegy Train Station (accessible by bus 200E during the day, and by bus 900 at night from Liszt Ferenc Airport Terminal 2, the trip is 5 stops, around 10 minutes) to Western Train Station (Nyugati Pályaudvar): this is the simplest way to get to the city centre.
- You can get to the city center by the M3 (blue) metro line or trams 4 and 6 from the train station. The train journey takes less than half an hour (cc. 22-25 minutes).
- Train tickets (costs cc. 400 HUF) can be purchased at the ticket office at Ferihegy train station (open: 6.00-18.00 every day) or from ticket vending machines.
- Travel cards (24-hour, 72-hour and 7-day) are also valid for the train trip between Ferihegy and Nyugati Train Stations (and for buses 200 E/900). If you don’t have a travel card or don’t want to buy it then you’ll need a single ticket (costs 350 HUF, 450 HUF if bought on board the bus) for the bus trip from Terminal 2 to Ferihegy Train Station.
- Bus 200E takes you from Terminal 2 to the M3 (blue) metro terminal called Kőbánya-Kispest Metro Station. The bus operates from 4.00 till 23.00 daily. The journey is about 30 minutes. From there you can travel on by metro. See timetable of Bus200E.
A one-way public transport ticket (single ticket) costs 350 HUF (450 HUF when you buy it from the driver onboard the bus).
You can buy public transport
- single tickets (350 HUF),
- pack of 10 single tickets (3 000 HUF),
- travel cards (24-hour, 72-hour, 7-day),
- monthly, yearly etc. passes at the BKK Customer Points/BKK Ügyfélpont at Terminal 2A and 2B. (BKK is an abbreviation for the Budapest Publc Transport Company in Hungarian).
BKK Customer Points at the Airport – Opening Hours
- Terminal 2A, Arrivals, Opening Hours: every day: 08.00 – 22.00, on 31. December: 08.00-20.00, on 01. January: 08.00 – 22.00
- Terminal 2B, Arrivals, Opening Hours: every day: 09.00 – 21.00, on 31. December: 08.00 – 21.00, on 01. January: 09.00 – 21.00
News Agent, Post Office
You can also buy single tickets and pack of 10 single tickets at
- the Relay News Agents
- and at the post office (closed on weekends and holidays) on the mezzanine level at Terminal 2A. Opening Hours of the Post Office: Monday – Friday: 8.00 – 12.00 and 12.30 – 15.30, closed on weekends and public holidays. 24-hour, 72-hour and 7-day travel cards are also sold at the post office at Terminal 2A.
Relay Newsstands (sell only single tickets/pack of 10 single tickets):
- Terminal 2A Arrivals, Relay Newsstand: 08.30 – 00.30 every day
- Terminal 2A Departures, Relay Newsstand: 04.15 – 21.00 every day
- Terminal 2B Arrivals, Relay Newsstand: 08.00 – 21.30 every day
- Terminal 2B Departures, Relay Newsstand: 04.30-21.00 every day
- Skycourt, Relay: Mon-Fri: 04.15 – 21.00 every day, Sat: 04.15 – 20.00
Opening hours of the ticket office at the Kőbánya Kispest Metro Termini: every day: 6.00-21.30.
Ticket Vending Machine
There’s also a ticket vending machine at the stop of Bus 200E. You can buy tickets (all types), travel cards and passes here with cash or bank card.
Remember to validate your ticket, travel cards don’t require validation, you just have to show them to the inspector if asked.
The 4-line metro system is efficient and clean. Trains run from 4.30 am
to 11.10 pm.
The newest, 4th line started operation at end of March in 2014 with automated trains running between Kelenföld Pályaudvar in Buda and Keleti Train Station in Pest with 10 stations along the way.
They run quite often (2-5 minutes) during rush hours.
The older three lines (M1 underground, M2-red line, M3 blue line) meet only at Deák tér.
Read more about Budapest Metro
Budapest has more than 30 tram lines, you can recognize them by their bright-yellow colour.
- Trams No. 4 (between Újbuda Központ-Széll Kálmán tér) and No. 6, (between Móricz Zsigmond körtér and Széll Kálmán tér) the busiest line in Europe: runs along Grand Boulevard, it has stop at Margaret Island (Margitsziget). TIP: the two trams run at around 5-6 minute frequency from 07.00 till 20. 00. Tram 6 operates all night: you can expect a tram car every 10 minute between 21.00 and 24.00.
- Tram No. 2: runs along the Danube, between Jászai Mari tér (at Margaret Bridge) and Közvágóhíd in IX. district. Tram 2 runs at every 3 – 5 minutes from 06.00 till 19.00 on weekdays, then every 9-10 minutes till 23.45 – 24.00. It operates silghtly less frequently on Sunday and bank holidays.
- Trams No. 47 and 49, two major lines connecting Pest with Buda:
- Tram 47 runs between Deák tér-Budafok Városháza tér,
- Tram 49 travels between Deák tér Kelenföldi Train Station.
Travelling by tram is slower but more spectacular than by metro, especially if you take tram No. 2.
It travels along one of the city’s most scenic routes, the Danube Promenade.
A sightseeing tour by bus doesn’t come up to a ride on tram No. 2. You get a very good view of the Gellert Hill, Castle Hill, the Parliament, not to mention the Danube and the graceful bridges (Liberty, Erzsébet and Cain bridges) over it.
You have to buy your ticket in advance and validate it onboard at the start of your journey.
You either find red punch-machines or orange automated machines.
Trams run between 04.30 am until around 22.45 on weekdays. You’d better check the timetables at the stops. You’ll also see the route of the tram line there.
Budapest has a very extensive bus route system. I personally don’t like to travel by bus, but some parts of the city (e.g. Buda Hills) can only be reached by bus.
During rush hours buses are crowded and they often get stuck in traffic jams.
The night services are marked with a three digit number between 900-999, e.g. 906. You can get on a night bus at stops marked with the black-and-white owl symbol.
You can buy tickets from the driver but you have to pay a bit more (costs 450 HUF instead of 350 HUF of the single ticket’s price).
You have to press a button above the doors to signal that you want to get off at the next stop.
You’ll find the stops posted inside the buses, but if no one gets off or on, the vehicle won’t stop, so you may lose track of stops.
Your best bet is to ask locals travelling on the bus; they’ll be happy to tell you where to get off.
Unfortunately you don’t have to queue at the stops, so be prepared that particularly locals tend to thrust, in order to get on the vehicle. (Actually it’s true for all kinds of transportation in Hungary.) See timetable for night services.
There are 14 trolley bus lines in Budapest. Trolleys are red coloured.
It’s interesting that their numbers start from 70, according to the story the first line started operating on Stalin’s 70th birthday.
Trolley buses operate until somewhere between 11-12 pm.
You can check the timetables at the stops, they’ll provide reliable information. Ticket validation is the same as on buses.
You can travel by HÉV (green trains) to the outskirts of Budapest.
The Szentendre line might be interesting for tourists. It runs between Batthyány tér (it’s also on the red metro line) and Szentendre.
Szentendre is a small, charming town right on the Danube bank. Don’t miss visiting it if you come to Budapest for a couple of days!
Tickets within the boundary of the city cost the same as discussed above. Outside Budapest you pay according to the distance you’ll cover during your trip.
A ticket to Szentendre is about 400 HUF. You can buy it at the station. HÉV trains run every 10 to 30 minutes.
There are scheduled boat services on the Danube between Boráros tér and Római fürdő from mid-March till the winter weather sets in.
The public boat lines are:
- D11 (Haller utca in district IX.-Újpest Árpád út),
- D12 (Haller utca in district IX.- Római Fürdő/Lido,
- D13 ((Haller utca in district IX.-Római Fürdő), and
- D14 (Csepel-Királyerdő/district XXI. – Soroksár Molnár-sziget).
As of May 2013 a single ticket for public boat travel can be used on the scheduled boat services on the Danube river.
Public Boat Service Tickets:
The full price of the boat ticket:
- adults: 750 HUF,
- discount fare for children under the age of 15: 550 HUF.
- Travel cards (on D14 every day, on D11, D12 and D13 lines only on workdays), the Budapest Card are also entitle you to travel on the BKK boats.
You can buy the tickets on board the boats or at major ticket offices in the city. See the timetables
Budapest offers several unique means of transportation:
- the Cogwheel Railway (Tram 60/Fogaskerekű),
- the Funicular (Budavári Sikló) takes you up to Buda Castle from Clark Adam Square at the Buda end of Chain Bridge. Tickets for the funicular: 1 000 HUF/adult, (return ticket: 1 700 HUF) 6000 for children (return ticket: 1 100 HUF).Operating hours: 7.30-22.00 every day.
- the Chairlift (Libegő): travelling on the chairlift lets you admire the wonderful panorama of the Buda Hills. It descends from János Hill (nearby the Erzsébet Lookout Tower) down to Zugliget. Tickets for the chairlift: full price single ticket: 850 HUF, discount single ticket: 550 HUF, full price return ticket: 1 400 HUF, discount return ticket: 800 HUF, and
- the Children’s Railway (Gyermekvasút) – great for excursions in the Buda Hills. (TIP: with a Budapest City Card you’ll get 50 % discount on the ticket price).
Try riding at least on one of them during your stay especially if you’re with kids!
If you’re adventurous enough you can also go biking in Budapest. You can carry your bike with you on the following public transport vehicles:
- suburban trains – in the back of a carriage (HÉV)
- tram 60 (cogwheel railway),
- on buses 65, 65A and 165,
- on trams 59 and 59A, as well as
- on public transport boat lines D11, D12, D13 and D14.
You need to buy and validate a single ticket (350 HUF) for the bicycle if you don’t have a bike pass which is 540 HUF (you can buy it as a supplement for most seasonal passes).
There are low floor buses and trolleybuses on several routes in Budapest, low floor trams on the Nagykörút and the Public Transport Company (BKK) offers a special door-to-door bus service, which they operate in a taxi-like system.
They launched this service on 12th April 2010 with 5 minibuses, type Renault Master 2,5 dCl, which were specially designed to help passengers with reduced mobility to reach one part of the city from the other part.
To make transport for physically challenged passengers as simple and easy as possible, one of the minibuses is equipped with a ramp, and four with hydraulic lifts and there are also special hand-holds in the passenger compartment.
All five vehicles are air-conditioned. The seats are moveable on a so-called rail system, so the passenger compartment can be re-arranged to meet every requirement. There is convenient room for 14 people or for 4 wheelchairs, and 4 or 5 attendants besides them.
People who want to use this service has to call the National Federation of Disabled Persons’ Associations (MEOSZ), phone numbers: +36 1 388-55-29, +36 1 388-23-87 or +36 1 388-23-88.