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Budapest card

Is it worth it to purchase a Budapest card? I'm looking at a 72 hour pass and there's a standard card for 42,99 Euro and a Plus card for 66,90 Euro.

Also - is it really 72 hours vs 3 days?

Posted by
13555 posts

First, all the cards and passes are as marked. So 72 hours is 72 hours.

Then the issue of the Budapest Card. Go to the website and see what you get and if it matches up with your interests. Then see if the cost is worth it. I will say that it rarely is, but there are exceptions for certain people.

Here is your Budapest Card Website: https://www.budapestinfo.hu/budapest-card and you will find a list of the discounts associated with them. So, 42,99€ or 66,90€

Now compare to a 72 Hour TravelCard, which is just a metro pass and nothing else. https://bkk.hu/en/tickets-and-passes/prices/travelcards-valid-for-one-or-more-days/ That costs 4,150 ft which today is about 11,00€ So you better get a lot of use out of the Budapest Card discounts. And you might (sort of doubt it in most cases).

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks for your reply. We are still deciding which sites to see during our 3 days in Budapest following a Viking River Cruise and already purchased the DK Top 10 Budapest that you mentioned in some earlier posts. We'll be ready to do our own thing after 15 days of following the red popsicle.

Posted by
13555 posts

But you will need one or the other to get the most out of your visit. I dont know if you live is a city with a metro system, if you dont they can be sort of intimidating at first. The Budapest system is a snap. Very easy, in part because almost all of what you will ride is a tram above ground. And the trams are like Hop on Hop Off tour busses.

Find a map of the metro and study

In Pest
2 tram along the Pest river bank often said to be the most scenic tram ride in Europe
47/49 tram on the inner loop road to the Great Synagogue and the Market Hall and a way into Buda
4/6 tram on the outer loop road A shortcut to the M1 and a way into Buda
M1 Metro that runs under Andrassy ut the Oldest Metro on the continent of Europe. More like an amusement park ride than a modern underground. Vaci utca to the Bath House.

And in Buda
The funicular (not covered by a metro card)
19/41 tram on the Buda river bank just as pretty a ride as the 2 Tram.

The highlighted ones are the ones you will use the most.

Understand where they go, what sights they go past and where they cross and you will be zipping all over town in no time.

With either the TravelCard or the Budapest Card, just show it when asked. The meto is sort of on the honor system with spot checks.

Here is a short section of the 2 Tram https://1drv.ms/v/s!Ai7Zk-szxfTJhs87tkzjPPdE7lp7lQ?e=nFt9v5

Posted by
14 posts

I live in Michigan - land of only automobiles - but I love trains and have used the trams on several visits to Amsterdam. I just found a tram map online with the line numbers so I can follow along with your suggestions. Thanks for the video - I can't wait to get to Budapest. As it's at the end of our river cruise we'll have 3 full days there - short enough want us to return again.

Posted by
13555 posts

You will be best if you find accommodations along one of those lines too. I know Viking likes to put people up in Buda, not really a good idea for a short stay. Too far removed from things. I have a friend who is taking a Viking Cruise starting in Budapest and they were about to buy the Viking package for a few extra days in Budapest at the beginning of the cruise until we compared prices. That package was about twice the cost of booking on your own; and the hotel was the Buda Hilton which, as i said, is really out of the center of things.

Posted by
226 posts

@JamesE love your comments and snippets on various posts. learning much from them
@cvikar I investigated city Cards for many different cities and they rarely work out in our favor unless you’re visiting almost all the museums or sites. Andy Steves said similarly in his book and I found that to be true

Posted by
13555 posts

cvikar I took that video with a cell phone out the window of the 2 tram maybe 6 years ago. I briefly appear in a reflection of the passing tram. My Hungarian IT nerd added the music. Some old diddy about a tram ride.

Posted by
13555 posts

Shaun Kel I use to say no to the Budapest Card then on sweet woman on the forum corrected me because she did the math and for the 32 museums she was going to it saved her 20 euro. So, now i just sort of say, check the math for you.

Posted by
21071 posts

By working hard at it, I managed to save a little bit of money with the Budapest Card--but only because I knew I wanted to take both of the included walking tours (which I think cost 15 euros each at the time). I find most big-city cards are ambitiously priced and will not pay off unless virtually everything you want to do is covered by the card. And you may have to eat lunches on the run. Usually there are some things of interest to a tourist that are either free (such as walking around the city, enjoying the architecture) or not covered by the card. Now you're in a pickle. Do you skip those other things and cram in as many card-covered sights as possible? Do you buy a card that covers all but one of your days in town and create an itinerary that groups covered sights on card-validity days, even though it's not the most geographically logical itinerary? Remember that time is a traveler's most valuable commodity, and maximizing the value from a card is highly likely to waste time.

Posted by
14 posts

At the moment I'm leaning toward just getting the transit card. After 2 1/2 weeks of touring I think we'll be ready to chill out some. I think we might even try the thermal bath. This will be my first time in Budapest so I'll just have to return - I need to get back to Berlin and Prague anyway. The Viking TIR arrives in Budapest 04May - maybe we'll see you at the wine bar! PS we got lucky and Viking has us on the Pest side!

Posted by
14 posts

It's the InterContinental Hotel Budapest near the Chain Bridge. Conveniently location near a tram too.

Posted by
13555 posts

Actually a great hotel on the Danube Corso. And yes the #2 tram stops nearly in front (one way the 2 Tram goes to the 47/49 Tram and the Great Market Hall; the Parliament and the 4/6 Tram in the opposite direction). That video I posted begins right after the Intercontinental.

BUT, the hotel is also separated from the rest of the attractions by what I call tourist Hell. Otherwise known as District V. Still, its a tourist paradise for a reason. A block back from the hotel is Vaci utca, the oldest tourist street in Budapest. We are talking Cold War tourist street. This was once lined with all the expensive shops for the the wives of the Soviet Bloc countries to frequent. See Hungary had wahs was lovingly called Gulyas Communism; that is it was a lot more open than many of the Soviet Bloc countries. There is an interesting series of CD's that you might be able to find on Ebay or similar called "Retro Budapest". They are collection of daily life and daily propaganda from the post war period until liberation from the Soviet Union.

Here is one of them, sorry no English subtitles on the Youtube posted version, but the views are still pretty interesting. In all I think there were 3 different CDs covering different aspects, one on Balaton for instance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f6EykC9FEI

Back to Vaci utca (not to be confused with Vaci ut), it's worth the 30 minutes or so it takes to walk this pedestrian street. Now it is mostly tourist shops and tourist restaurants, but a pretty walk with lots of good architecture. You will find the M1 metro at one end and the Great Market Hall at the other. But once you have done that, time to move on. None of what follows is in District V.

A couple blocks behind your hotel is Vorosmarty ter (square) where you will find an entrance to the M1 metro station. That is your liberation. 1 stop takes you to the 47/49 Tram (Great Synagogue and the Great Market Hall and the Gellert Hotel and Bath House), 2 stops to the end of Andrassy ut, 3 stops to the Opera House, 4 stops to the 4/6 Tram (in one direction the Eiffel Nyugati Train Station and the 2 Tram and on into Buda; and to the New York Cafe in the other direction) 5 stops to the House of Terror, 7 stops to Heroes' Square, 8 stops to the Széchenyi Thermal Bath. Walk as much of the line as you can, but know its right under your feet if you get tired.

See how valuable and overlapping those trams and the M1 metro line are?

https://t.me/V_Zelenskiy_official/1124

Posted by
157 posts

So, how walkable is Pest ? Are the distances out of "Tourist Hell" great?

We walk about 2 miles per day in our city. We live on 4th floor and take the stairs more often than the elevator. When I golf I often walk over 3 miles on hilly terrain.

Nothing against Tram. They will have their use especially when there isn't time to walk. But Trams/Subways are proximity oriented.

I know Buda has the hill climb.

But overall, what is the walkability?

Posted by
13555 posts

Pest is a bit of a large city and the nice thing is the Trams and the M1 metro line do run past the majority of the sites and connect everything together. So, even if you want to walk (better if you have the time) they are there for a Backup if you get tired or the weather changes. And do remember that, at least for me, the places in between the places in the tour books are most of the reason to go to Budapest; so walking is great and the distances are just part of the exploration of what will appear to be a fairly perfectly preserved city from about 1900.

Deák Ferenc tér is sort of the Ground Zero for everything in Pest The walk from the Marriott or the Intercontinental to Deák Ferenc tér is 500 to 700m and takes 7 to 10 minutes. So, just to be generic:

Deák Ferenc tér to the Great Synagogue to the Great market Hall. Walk the 1.5km in 20 minutes (the times will never include stopping and looking at anything), Or about 5 minutes on the 47/49 Tram

Deák Ferenc tér up the length of Andrassy ut to the Opera House, House of Terror, all the great architecture, embassies to Heroes Square and the Bath House: 45 minutes on foot to cover the 3.5km (and something to see every step along the way) or 15 minutes on the M1 line.

Deák Ferenc tér to the Parliament, past the Basilica and Freedom Square: 20 minutes for 1.5km. Really no good metro substitution.

The Danube Corso from the Parliament to the Great Market Hall: 35 minutes for 3km or the 2 Tram in about 10 minutes.

Deák Ferenc tér to the NY Café: A couple of ways to get there on foot taking 20 to 30 minutes to cover 1.5 to 2km And a couple of ways to get there on the public transport taking 10 to 15 minutes.

Another "No" to Budapest Card unless you are really interested in museums listed in the card and plan to spend most of your time there.

However, there is a LOT to see in huge area in Budapest, so definitely get tickets, either 3-day or 7-day card depending on your arrival/leaving (buy the tickets from the airport, and make sure they cover your entire stay).

Check out how the metro-lines run and where Tram lines 4/6 and 2 are, and you should be well covered for moving around in the center.

Posted by
27 posts

We’re in Budapest now for a three day pre cruise stay. I wish James E was here - he gives such great advice. We booked the Parliament tour in English two weeks before leaving and so glad we did. It was wonderful. It is a must do for a first visit. Many of our tour members wanted to do this tour but tickets were sold out. Also loved the trolly along the embankment.

Posted by
226 posts

I vote for the 72 Hour TravelCard. thanks JamesE. its dirt cheap and perfect. its 72 hours - not 3 days.

I'm in Budapest right now and got the card for my stay. In my opinion, it's not worth it. The museums that offer free entry weren't that great and you have to pay extra to take photos. Your location is very central and you can definitely walk most places. If you want to take public transport somewhere, a ticket costs only 350HUF.