Source: mtu.gov.hu

The public transport system of Budapest (BKK) is efficient and inexpensive, including metro lines, trams, buses, trolley buses and recently boats as well. For a first time visitor traveling in Budapest may be a bit complicated, so we put together a basic “survival guide” with the most important information about public transport in the Hungarian capital.

Metro (subway):

There are 4 metro lines in Budapest, M1 – Millennium Underground or yellow line, M2 – red line, M3 – blue line and M4 – green line. All four lines connect at Deák tér, which is the busiest station and the very centre of Budapest.

M1 runs (yellow line) runs under Andrássy út in Pest, between Vörösmarty tér and Mexikói út

M2 (red line) – runs between Déli pályaudvar (Southern train station) and Örs vezér tere

M3 (blue line) – runs between Újpest-Központ and Kőbánya-Kispest

M4 (green line) – runs between Kelenföldi pályaudvar and Keleti pályaudvar (Eastern train station)

Source: mtu.gov.hu

Trams

 Budapest has more than thirty tram lines. You can recognize these vehicles by their distinctive bright yellow colour. The following lines can be useful for tourists:

Tram nr. 2 is a convenient way to discover the inner city for the price of a single ticket. It runs along the river Danube in Pest, connecting Petőfi Bridge and Margaret Bridge, passing by some beautiful hotels, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and the House of Parliament. On the opposite, Buda side of the Danube travellers can see St. Gellért’s Hill, the Citadel, Buda Castle and the Fisherman’s Bastion. It’s best to hop on it at Vigadó tér, near Deák tér, and the shopping street, Váci utca.

Tram nr. 4 runs on the Grand Boulevard (Nagy körút) in Pest connecting Széll Kálmán tér and Október 23. utca in Buda.

Tram nr. 6 also runs on the Grand Boulevard (Nagy körút) on a very similar, but longer route connecting Széll Kálmán tér and Móricz Zsigmond körtér in Buda. Both trams connect with the metro lines at Nyugati (M3 blue line) and at Blaha Lujza tér (M2 red line), and run about every 5 minutes from 07.00 till 20. 00. Tram 6 also operates at night, but not as frequently.

Tram nr. 47 and 49 are two major lines connecting Pest with Buda. Tram nr. 47 runs between Deák tér and Budafok Városháza tér, while Tram 49 runs between Kelenföldi Pályaudvar in Buda and Deák tér.

Source: Pixabay

Buses

Its more than 260 different bus lines of which 41 offer night lines as well, that makes traveling in Budapest simple as 1 2 3.  Although the inner-city area is easiest to reach by metro lines and trams, there are some bus lines that can be useful for tourists as well. Budapest buses are blue, express lines with fewer stops are marked with “E”, while shorter lines are marked with “A”.

Bus 200E connects the airport with the M3 (blue line) at the Kőbánya-Kispest metro station. From there, M3 will take you to the city center.

Bus 7 connects Keleti Pályaudvar (Eastern Train station – M2) with Móricz Zsigmond Körtér (connection to Tram 6) in Buda with notable stops at Blaha Lujza tér (connection to M2 and Tram 4-6), Astoria (with connection to M2), Ferenciek tere (very close to Váci utca and connection to M3), Rudas Gyógyfürdő (Rudas Bath) and Szent Gellért tér (in front of Hotel Gellért – connection to M4).

Bus 105 runs between Gyöngyösi utca (M3) and Apor Vilmos tér with stops along Andrássy Avenue starting from the Heroes’ Square. All stops along Andrássy Avenue are connected to the M1 Millenium Undergound. Bus 105 also stops at Deák tér with connections to all the metro lines, then crosses the Chain Bridge to Buda with a stop at Clark Ádám tér, the location of the Buda Castle Funicular.

Bus 178 transports passengers from Keleti Pályaudvar (M2) to Naphegy tér with stops at Blaha Lujza tér (connection to M2 and Tram 4-6), Astoria (with connection to M2), Ferenciek tere (very close to Váci utca and connection to M3).

Bus 16 and Bus 16A are particularly useful buses for tourists as they transport passengers to the Buda Castle District. Bus 16 runs between Deák tér (M1,M2,M3,M4) and Széll Kálmán tér (M2) with stops at Clark Ádám tér (location of the Buda Castle Funicular), Dísz tér (Parade square – very close to the Buda Castle), Szentháromság tér (location of the Matthias church and the Fisherman’s Bastion). 16A is a shorter castle bus, running between Széll Kálmán tér (M2) and Dísz tér in the Buda Castle District.

Good to know: a lot of buses in Budapest have front door-only boarding which allows the bus driver to check the tickets.

Source: Mike Brocklebank Flickr

Trolley buses

Trolley buses are red, and they look like buses except they are electric, and have a trolley pole on top to reach the overhead electrical wires.

The two lines that could be interesting to tourists are 70 and 72.

Trolley nr. 70 runs between Kossuth Lajos tér in Buda (M2 – red line) and the City Park with stops at Andrássy út (Opera – M1), Király utca, Izabella utca/Király utca, Bajza utca (M1), and Olof Palme Sétány and Közlekedési múzeum at the City Park.

Trolley nr. 72 transport passengers from Arany János utca (M3) to Zugló with stops at Honvédkórház (Hősök tere – M1) and Széchenyi Fürdő (Széchenyi Bath – M1).

Source: Flickr, Mike Brocklebank

Boats

Budapest’s public transport boats currently run on 3 routes: D11, D12 and D14. From these, D12 is probably the most recommended route for tourists. It transports passengers between Kopaszi Gát and Római Fürdő, covering the inner-city area, with stops at Buda Castle Bazaar and Margaret Island, then continuing to Római part (Roman Riverbank) which is full of outdoor venues and has an open-air bath (Római Fürdő) as well. If you decide to take a public boat, make sure to check the schedule in advance, as water levels can affect the boat’s operating routes.

Source: Pixabay

Budapest night services

The Budapest metro runs between 4:30 AM and 11:15 PM, or Friday and Saturday nights until 00:50 AM. Trams, daytime buses and trolleys also stop at around 11 AM, except for tram nr. 6 which runs around the clock, but with a less frequent schedule.

After 11 AM night buses replace metro lines, major tram and bus lines covering the whole city, even the outskirts of town. They are numbered from 901 to 999. In the inner-city areas, night buses run about every 10 minutes.

For night bus schedules, check the official website of the Budapest public transport system.

Source: Flickr, Nan Palmero

Where to buy tickets?

You can buy your ticket at ticket vending machines which are available at most metro line stations, at the BKK Customer Service Centres (BKK Ügyfélpont) where maps and brochures of Budapest are also available, or at the “ordinary” ticket offices.  BKK Customer service centres are located at the Airpport Terminal 2A & 2B and the following, bigger metro stations: Deák Ferenc tér, Déli pályaudvar, Ferenciek tere, Kelenföld vasútállomás, Keleti pályaudvar, Kőbánya-Kispest Móricz Zsigmond körtér, Népliget and Széll Kálmán tér.

Please beware that cashiers at the ticket offices usually don’t always speak English, so it’s best to write down on a piece of paper in advance what kind of ticket you want to buy.

You can also buy a ticket on some of the buses (e.g. 16 and 16A Buda Castle buses), but buying a ticket on board is more expensive and you can only pay with the exact amount of cash as the driver is not required to have change. Also, only a single ticket is available, so it’s best to purchase your ticket or travel card in advance.

Types of tickets

Single ticket (Vonaljegy): the single ticket is valid for one trip on a single line without interruption on the full length of the route. Transfers between the metro lines are possible with the same ticket. It costs 350 HUF (2019)

Metro Section Ticket (Szakaszjegy): it’s ideal for shorter routes on the metro as it’s valid for one trip up to 3 stops. Within its validity you can change lines within the metro network, but can’t change to other transport means (e.g. tram). It costs 300 HUF (2019).

Transfer ticket (Átszállójegy): With the transfer ticket, you can change to another service only once (which means you can transfer from a metro line to a tram line). It costs 530 HUF (2019).

Block of 10 single tickets (Tíz darabos gyűjtőjegy): It’s a bundle of tickets and it’s cheaper than buying 10 single tickets. It costs 3000 HUF (2019).

Source: Flickr, Wei-Te Wong

Important: Always validate your ticket at the beginning of your trip, as inspectors regularly control the vehicles and those travelling without a validated ticket will get a fine.

BKK Travel cards

24-hour Budapest travel card (Budapest 24 órás jegy): valid for 24 hours from the indicated time and date for an unlimited number of trips within the administrative boundaries of Budapest. No validation is required before travel. It costs 1650 HUF (2019). There is also a 24-hour group travel card available, which it quite convenient as it can be used for up to 5 passengers travelling together and costs 3300 HUF (2019).

72-hour Budapest travel card (Budapest 72 órás jegy): valid for 72 hours from the indicated time and date for an unlimited number of trips within the administrative boundaries of Budapest. No validation is required before travel. It costs 4150 HUF (2019).

Seven-day Budapest Travel card (Budapest 7 napos jegy): valid for 7 days from the indicated time and date for an unlimited number of trips within the administrative boundaries of Budapest. No validation is required before travel. It costs 4950 HUF (2019).

Good to know: special fares apply to some boats, the direct airport shuttle bus, services leaving Budapest and to heritage transport vehicles. BKK Travelcards can be purchased at ticket vending machines and BKK customer service centres, and they are not to mixed with the Budapest Card!

Budapest Card

The Budapest Card is not just a travelcard, but more of a city card which allows visitors to use Budapest’s public transport as well as certain museums, Lukács Bath and joining two guided walking tours free of charge, while getting discounts at other baths, and on other sightseeing, shopping and nightlife activities. As the Budapest card can be used for more than just transport, it’s also more expensive than a Travelcard. The 24-hour Budapest Card costs 22 EUR, the 48-hour Budapest Card 33 EUR, while the 72-hour Budapest Card 44 EUR. It can be bought online, at tourist information centres, at the airport and at several metro stations.

Source: ThePixelman on Pixabay

Getting from the airport to the city centre

Take a direct shuttle bus which is the bus number 100E, transporting passengers between Liszt Ferenc Airport Terminal 2 and the inner city, with stops at Kálvin tér, Astoria and Deák Ferenc tér. All three stops are connected to the metro lines. The Airport Shuttle bus ticket costs 900 HUF.  The buses run between 5:00 AM and 01:20 AM.

Standardized Budapest taxi fares for yellow taxis (2019)

 Base fare 700 HUF

HUF/km 300 HUF

HUF/min (under 15 km/h) 75 HUF

See the official tourist guidebook of BKK for more information on the Public Transport System and helpful Budapest maps.

Source: Flickr, Takashi Nakajima
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