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Guided tour: public transportation or van?

Hi,
Our group of 5 is looking at guided tours. We are trying to decide between using public transportation and walking vs. using a van with less walking......combined with the choice of 2 days of 4 hr tours vs 1 day with an 8 hr tour. Our guide is suggesting 2 4 hr tours using the van because Budapest is big and the sights are spread out. This will be in July so it will be warm, and it will be one of Andrea Makkay's associates.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
Charles

Posted by
10899 posts

Thats a depender.....

If you want to go from point to point and say "wow" at each point, take the van. Or if you have a disability, take the van.

If you want to see Budapest, learn a little of the culture, experience the people and maybe make a friend or two; take public transportation. Every major site in Budapest with very few exceptions is located within a few minute walk of one of three tram lines and one metro line. One of those tram lines is always described as one of the most beautiful tram rides in the world. Makkay, Shmakkey. If he/she is trying to cram you in a van, I sort of wonder.....

While i wouldn't take a van, i would be inclined to do two half day tours (in the mornings when it is cooler) so you have time to do some things on your own; and there are a lot of things to do.

Honestly, unless you have a particular interest you want to learn about in detail; Jewish Budapest for instance or are very limited on time, i would think twice about a guide. But a lot of that also has to do with where you are staying and maybe the size of the group. Not a bad thing, just not essential. Its an easy town to navigate.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks for your help James.

We ended up doing a van half-day and a public transport half-day....in the mornings.

We have 5 full days before a river cruise so the first two days we will do the guided tours then have an idea of what else we would be interested in. Budapest is just so big and has so much stuff I thought a guided tour would be a good way to start.

Happy Travels!
Charles

Posted by
10899 posts

Charles,

Five days is good; and with that much time the tours are good in getting you orientated. This is the smallest big city you will even encounter.

When you get to town purchase two books of 10 tickets, that works out to 4 per person and that will give you some flexibility after the tours (about $21). After the last tour purchase 5 – 72hour TravelCards (about $75). There is also the option of a 24 hour group card for up to 5 people but unless you are certain you will always be together and don’t mind purchasing a new card every day it’s a bit of a bother (about $12 per day)

Despite the apparent size of the city, if you have chosen your accommodations wisely everything is within 15 minutes and most within 10 minutes travel time. Travel with one exception is always above ground and with one exception on trams that are part of the fun and character of the city. The view from the tram is part of the sightseeing so no time is wasted.

When you have your accommodation location selected, let me know and I an give you some ideas …

Posted by
6 posts

Hey James,
We will be staying at the 7Seasons Apartments, 1061 Budapest, Kiraly utica 8., it seems to be in a central location, and close to a subway station.

I really like the book of 10 tickets.....that is a deal. It seems that just paying for transportation and museums is cheaper than the Budapest card?

How do you feel about the Memento Park visit as part of the tour....I read someone thought it was too far out to do as part of a tour...if you want to do it do it on our own time?

Man....6700 posts....how helpful can one guy be?

Thanks!
Charles

Posted by
10899 posts

Man....6700 posts....how helpful can one guy be?

Or one could say “Get a life!”

I think you picked pretty much the ideal location. Deak Ferenc ter metro is right up front. The Deak Ferenc ter is where the 1, 2 and 3 metro lines come together. Unless you are on some great quest you will ride the number 1 two times and the number 2 once. Also at that location is the 47/49 tram line which will take you to the Dohany (Great) Synagogue and the Market Hall, with connections to the 2 Tram often referred to as one of Europe’s great tram rides because of the view across the river and around the parliament. What people overlook is that once you have reached the opposite end of the 2 tram you can get on the 4/6 tram, cross the river and get on the 19/41 back down the other side of the river. These are especially great runs after sunset.

And, since I stay just up Kiraly utca from the 7Seasons I have some pretty good info on the neighborhood; and Budapest in general. I will send you a PM with some links.

The Budapest Card is tough to make pay for its self.

I have a terrible confession; I have been traveling to Budapest 3 times a year for nearly 15 years and I have never been to Memento Park. But I know where it is and if you have the option, make it part of the van tour..