It looks like you are going to be stuck in Budapest International Airport for a layover. It seems you have come early and need to wait for a while to board. Or maybe you just landed and are waiting for a pickup, or are wondering how to get to Budapest proper. Not to worry, Budapest airport is a great place, as far as airports go, and besides…you have THE definitive Budapest Airport Survival Guide! From food to transport, navigation, ATMs, exchange rates to taxi fees, all you need to know about BUD airport will be included in this article. Fun facts about the airport included, for all of our nerdy readers!
Few things to know for first time visitors
Welcome to Budapest! The Budapest international airport is in Vecsés, a town just outside of Budapest, so to get to anywhere, you are going to need to travel a bit. There are many interesting things to do in Budapest, and you can use a taxi or public transport to get to where you are going. Here is an article that goes into some useful info on Budapest.
Airport Money Exchange and ATMs
Hungary has its own currency, the Forint (HUF). It is not used outside of the country, which unfortunately means that you will need to exchange money. However, we recommend NOT TO EXCHANGE AT THE AIRPORT! Their rates are quite terrible, you can find much better rates pretty much anywhere in the city. You can use you credit card to buy tickets for the bus and most taxis from the airport will accept Euros.
The ATMs at the airport all belong to Euronetwork, with unrealistic fees. If you absolutely must, pick up some cash from them, but we highly recommend withdrawing from the ATM of a local bank (OTP, K&H or Budapest Bank have very favourable rates).
Fun fact: The Budapest airport is named after Franz Liszt, the famous Hungarian composer. It’s full name is Liszt Ferenc Nemzetközi Repülőtér, which means Franz Liszt International Airport, but is abbreviated to BUD.
Navigating Budapest Airport
Budapest airport (Ferihegy 2) has 2 terminals, named A and B, so it is a relatively small airport. Ferihegy 1 is closed, so don’t get off there. BOTH TERMINALS SERVE ARRIVALS AS WELL AS DEPARTURES! These two terminals are connected by a 5 story building called the Sky Court. This is where you can find restaurants, cafés, and some shops. Terminal 2B has a grocery store with fair prices, comparable to local stores. The Bus stops that serve the airport are located right outside Terminal B, and the Taxi shed, where you can get an official cab is also located here. There are plenty of sharks (independent cabbies) in the parking lot across from the terminal, but we recommend NOT using their services. You can buy tickets for the Shuttle bus inside the terminal, right in front of the exit, or on the bus, from the driver. They are both equally priced, and cost around twice what a regular bus ticket would.
Good to know: Terminal A serves Schengen countries, while Terminal B serves flights going outside of the Schengen zone.
Travelling between the city center and the airport
If you are staying in the City, or have a longer layover and wish to leave the airport, there are several options to get to the city center, which is located 17 kilometers from the airport. It is a half hour bus ride, which is a roughly 20 minute drive, depending on traffic. Traffic can be quite busy in Budapest, so always leave early, just to be on the safe side.
Budapest airport and the city center by taxi
Taking a taxi is the fastest way to get to Budapest proper. It is important to know that the official taxis of Budapest are yellow. There are several companies, but Főtaxi covers the airport, they have a shed right outside of the terminal, we recommend using them.
- Depending on where you are going, it should cost around 6000- 6500 HUF to get to Budapest.
- Traffic, road blocks, and of course, a far away destination can add to the bill somewhat, but this is roughly what you should be paying.
- The basic fee is 700 HUF, there is a 300 HUF/km tarif, and an 80 HUF/minute waiting fee
You can find a tariff calculator here.
Fun fact: “Ferihegy” Terminal 1 is currently being used for Private planes and Charter flights only.
Budapest airport and the city center by Public transport
There are two buses, which both look very familiar, that stop at the Budapest airport. They are the 200E and the 100E. The 100E is the shuttle bus, and you have to buy a ticket separately, which costs 900 HUF. The usual Budapest pass, public transport ticket, or the Budapest card WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED on this bus. This bus only stops 4 times, at Astoria, Kálvin square and Deák tér, the central transportation hub of Budapest.
The 200E bus can be boarded using the above mentioned methods. It stops several times on its way to the city center, and is a longer route, but is the most economically feasible mode of transport. It stops in several key transportation hubs on its journey between Budapest International Airport and Nagyvárad square.
Budapest airport and the city center by shuttle bus
There is also a more exclusive way to get to the city center. Minibud is a small bus or minivan which costs 1900 HUF per person for a ride, and will take you to your destination in the city center. It is not the cheapest, but is definitely one of the most comfortable way to get to your destination.
Shopping at Budapest Airport
Budapest airport has all of the usual Duty Free goods that you would expect from an international airport. Victoria’s Secret, Heinlein Accessories and of course a Hard Rock café. There are several clothes and watch stores, as well as jewellery and perfumes, not to mention souvenirs, wine and of course tobacco. There is a Spar, which is a standard grocery store, and is reasonably priced, nearer to the exit.
Eating at Budapest Airport
There is no shortage of places to eat, either. There is a Burger King, a KFC and a Sbarro Pizza for all of you junk food enthusiasts, while proper Italian food can be had at Negroni. Yum Cha serves asian fusion, while O’Learys and Bar Wings brings the bar culture to Budapest international airport.
Boarding usually happens in the main area, with all of the gates. Since the airport is rather small, sometimes you have to board outdoors. There are several platforms outside of the terminal, where mostly budget airlines are boarded. If you are visiting in the colder months, make sure you bring warm clothes for this part of the journey!
Accommodation near the airport
There is an Ibis hotel near the airport. It is affordable, has friendly and respectful room service, and is good if you are just looking for a place to check your emails and get some sleep before moving on the next morning. If you are staying for longer, we suggest booking a hotel in the city somewhere.