Budapest Public Transport

How to Travel in the City? (Updated For 2022)

nostalgic tramways

Use public transport services to travel in Budapest, especially if you stay in one of the outer districts.

Although attractions in the central districts (V., VI., parts of I., II., VII. and VIII.) are easy to explore on foot you might want to rest your legs after a while and hop on a metro/tram/bus.

Quick Links:

Best Public Transport Lines For Tourists

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! Trams 47 and 49 are also useful especially if you want to get from Pest to Buda or vica versa.

Tram 19 is great for sightseeing in Buda, it connects Kelenföld Train Station with Óbuda (the Northern part of Buda).

It travels along the Danube between Liberty Bridge and Margaret Bridge offering a scenic view of the river and some famous attractions in Pest.

These transport services will take you to most of the places of interest.

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.

Christmas Light Tram

TIP: Take a ride on one of the 12 Christmas tram lines operating between 04. December – 06. January 2023., on select days after 17.00

M3/Blue Metro Reconstruction

Note: The northern section of the M3 metro (blue line) is under construction. It runs between Újpest-központ and Göncz Árpád városközpont stttions.

Air-conditioned, low-floor M3 Replacement Buses carry passengers between Kőbánya-Kispest – Göncz Árpád városközpont stations. Buses run quite frequently during rush hours (1-2 minute).

Also note that tickets are not available from the driver of replacement buses. You have to buy your ticket/pass in advance or use the BudapestGO App’s digital tickets.

See more at the Public Transport Company’s (BKK) website.

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.

Children’s Fares

Children up to the age of 6 travel free of charge. Pupils, students can buy discount monthly/yearly passes with a valid student ID card.

No discount on tickets though.

Families visiting Budapest with kids can buy a 72-Hour Junior City Card for children 6 -18 years old.

Free Travel on Public Transport with Budapest Card

TIP: If you don’t want to bother with buying and validating tickets, purchase a City Card.

Besides unlimited free travel on public transport, the card offers a range of discounts on tours/services, free entry to the permanent exhibitions of many museums, entry to the Lukács Bath etc.

Read more about the Budapest Card!

Public Transport Tickets and Passes

(Prices Updated For 2022)

Free Travel For Seniors 65 + – EU Citizens Only

TIP: Citizens of the European Union countries and Switzerland 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 nationality if asked by a ticket inspector).

The current tickets and passes are of pale purple colour.

Tickets, Transfer Tickets

single ticket
  • 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

Note: 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).
  • Block of 10 single tickets (tíz darabos gyűjtőjegy: 3 000 HUF). Costs less than 10 single tickets purchased individually.

Travel Cards

24-Hour Travel Card

  • Price: : 1 650 HUF – Please note that is not the same as the 24-hour Budapest Card
  • Valid on all public transport vehicles except for the boat service on the Danube.
  • 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

  • Price: 3 300 HUF – Recommended also for families
  • Valid on all public transport vehicles – except for the boat service.
  • 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

  • Price: 4 150 HUF) – not the same as the 24-hour Budapest Card
  • Valid on all public transport vehicles – except for the boat service- for an unlimited number of trips for 72 hours starting from the time and date you purchased it.

7-Day Travel-Card

  • Price: 4 950 HUF
  • Vaild on all public transport vehicles – except for the boat service- from 0:00 to 24:00 till the sixth day following purchase of the card for an unlimited number of trips.

Public Boat Service Tickets

TIP: If you visit the Hungarian capital for 2-3 days and you stay in a city center hotel, we recommend that you use

  • Single tickets or the
  • Discounted block of 10 tickets to make travelling on public transport lines hassle-free.

Where To Buy Tickets And Passes?

ticket vending machines

If you don’t have or don’t want to use the BudapestGO App You have to buy your tickets/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 though. 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.

TIP: Here is a map of the Public Transport Company showing all the operating ticket sellers.

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). I prefer using bank card, and recommend this payment method for tourists as well.

Paying By Bank Card/Contactless Card – Recommended For Tourists

The simplest and fastest way is to pay with a bankcard/contactless card.

Just follow the steps shown on the card terminal screen. After payment collect the purchased ticket or travel card.

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.

Make sure you don’t leave your bank 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.

Metro Stations

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 and the tiny green light confirm 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.

Other Vehicles

On other vehicles (trams, buses, trolley) there’ s

  • Either the orange or yellow 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)

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/Pass

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).

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