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Information on the Metro/trams in Budapest

I’m a little confused about the metro system. The only map in the Rick Steves “Budapest” book is a little vague on the metro system. There is no map of the transportation system by itself.

We will be arriving on a Viking River cruise. We will be staying at Hotel Moments. The hotel will pick us up at the dock and we can leave our luggage. We will walk to tour St. Istvan’s and then catch the English tour at the Opera House. We have a “Budapest Evening Food and Wine Tour” at 17:00 that meets at the Tasting Table on BrodySandor Utca9.

The next morning (Sat) we have a reservation for a 10:00 tour of the Parliament building and want to visit Great Market Hall after that. In the evening we’ll take a river cruise.

The next day (Sun) we want to visit the Great Synagogue and possibly the House of Terror. Then we will need to re-pack our bags to fly home the next day.
Mon. Our hotel will arrange a taxi to the airport.
We arrive on Friday, November 17 and leave on Monday, November 20. There are 2 couples.

We might change things around if there are Christmas markets. I’ve looked at 6 or 8 websites. Half of them say that the markets start on November 17 and half say on November 24. I emailed our hotel and they said that the date hasn’t been set. Does anyone know yet.?
My question is: How would be the best way to get from our hotel to the Tasting table. The hotel to the Parliament building and then to the Great Market Hall and back to the hotel. Lastly from Hotel to the Great Synagogue? We will probably buy the 72 hour pass if Mr E and Texas Travel Mom think that is best. We are also from Texas and are excited to see Budapest.

Posted by
456 posts

Metro and walk. Deák Ferenc tér metro station is close to your hotel and from there you can get near all the places you mention. Use apple maps or google maps for transit directions.
We did the same food tour. And enjoyed it. We took the metro to astoria station and then walked to brody sandor utca. Tour ended after 10 pm. But no issues using the metro that late at night. Our guide walked us to the metro station after the tour.

Posted by
4410 posts

I just got back from 8 nights in Budapest, using a transit pass, which I highly recommend to tame the distances. The pass will give you unlimited rides within the tourist areas, without having to stop and buy individual tickets.

Are you good at using maps on your phone? And will you have a data plan? If yes to both, you're set. I used Google Maps extensively and the directions were always accurate.

On Google Maps, the trams will be shown in yellow - the actual color of the tram cars: buses are shown in blue - also the actual color of the buses covered by your pass; metro lines are shown in red - some metro line cars are in nostalgic colors, but they'll mostly be underground.

You'll be able to get to most of your destinations via tram, perhaps an occasional metro.

Trams 2, 2B and 23 run along the Danube from Parliament to the Great Market Hall, going their own ways behind that. Hop on any tram headed in the right direction to get between them.

You can map this out at home to see your options for each journey.

Posted by
4410 posts

Don't be confused by the colors if you see a metro-only map, where each line is shown in its own color. The metro line shown in yellow is still an underground metro line, not a tram line.

It is Google Maps (and perhaps Apple Maps) which shows all 3 types of transit: metro (red), buses (blue) and trams (yellow.)

Posted by
4410 posts

Another advantage that I love about the transit pass is that, when you're done with your schedule of sightseeing, and if you still have energy, you can hop on a tram and enjoy the views along the river, which are spectacular at night!

I went back and forth a few times. One evening, I went to the Buda side of the river and rode the trams on that side for stunning views of Parliament.

Posted by
17277 posts

All of the advice above is good.

I grew up in one of the largest cities in the US, but public transportation back then was not for every socioeconomic group, so I never rode it until i went to Europe and then infrequently. For people like me public transportation can be a bit uncomfortable due to the lack of experience. Since youth I have ridden it all over the US and Europe. Budapest has one of the simplest, most unintimidating metro systems I have ever experienced. Once someone rides one or two lines they are at home anywhere in town.

The TravelCard yes, the BudapestCard NO. Paper vs Digital; for a first timer I still think paper is easier. And despite my experience I still carry the paper version. Dont want to mess with my phone on the metro.

If you do use single tickets, be very sure you validate them. The fine is 25.000 forints and you will get caught eventually.

Open this link https://1drv.ms/b/s!Ai7Zk-szxfTJi6JrdAY_zyOzyawHxQ?e=IF2QWN There is some more information beginning on the page marked as 16 (some pages are missing so look at the bottom of each page for page 16). The map on page 18 shows the public transportation lines you are most likely to want to ride and what is on each of the lines. The link is only good for a week.

Essentially you really only need to learn:
the 4/6 Tram that does the outer loop road
the 47/49 Tram that does most of the inner loop road
the 2 Tram that runs the Pest river front from (and beyond) the Market Hall to the Parliament
the M1 Metro which is like a spoke connecting the two loops and very nearly the river .... and going beyond to Heroes Square, City Park, Bath House

the 19/41 tram that runs the Buda riverfront.

Get those and you are 90% there. Sounds like a lot, but its really not and they all interconnect at some point.

The M2 and M3 are also useful but not essential.
If you mess up and miss your stop, you get to see more amazing architecture because that fact goes on endlessly. Then get off and take the return tram.

Trams are like free (when you have a TravelCard) HOHO busses with large windows and great views.

Posted by
17277 posts

We will be arriving on a Viking River cruise. We will be staying at
Hotel Moments. The hotel will pick us up at the dock and we can leave
our luggage.

We will walk to tour St. Istvan’s and then catch the English tour at
the Opera House.

So you will walk back to the end of Andrassy ut and board the M1 in the direction of Mexicoi ter and get off at the next stop, the Opera Stop. Or you can walk it in about 7 minutes.

We have a “Budapest Evening Food and Wine Tour” at 17:00 that meets at
the Tasting Table on BrodySandor Utca9.

So from your hotel you will walk to the 47/49 tram, take it one stop then walk the rest of the way: https://maps.app.goo.gl/9BzmvbZddnsD5AJb8

The next morning (Sat) we have a reservation for a 10:00 tour of the
Parliament building and want to visit Great Market Hall after that. In
the evening we’ll take a river cruise.

I suggest walking to the river front, https://maps.app.goo.gl/dMCh5Yu1VKmzXXag6 then taking the 2 Tram to the Parliament https://maps.app.goo.gl/K7vgwHMH8uCjSGSw5 The Market Hall is back the other way on the same 2 Tram. https://maps.app.goo.gl/NknzCGMKFmp6WbrJ9

The next day (Sun) we want to visit the Great Synagogue and possibly
the House of Terror. Then we will need to re-pack our bags to fly home
the next day.

From your hotel walk to the 47/49 tram and take it one stop at Astoria https://maps.app.goo.gl/wNGDCKL9vqPydGZs5 Then to get to the House of terror retrace your steps on the 47/49 tram and since its your last day, walk up Andrassy ut to the House of Terror. If you still have time and energy, I suggest you walk the full length of Andrassy ut and take the M1 back to your hotel.

Posted by
3819 posts

Janet, I have been an afficionado of the digital pass, but had trouble last week. It’s workable but a paper pass will probably be easier.

Posted by
417 posts

Thank you so much for all of your wonderful advice. I feel much more comfortable about being in Budapest. I'm sorry I didn't reply earlier, but yesterday I was busy all day preparing a meal for 20 people at my house. Now that everything is put away and I'm able to thank you personally, I will do that now.

Sam - I appreciate the link to the Budapest map.

Derek - Thanks for your input on the locations of the metro station nearest out hotel. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the food Tour. I think it will be fun and give us an opportunity to try lots of unique dishes.

CWsocial - Yes, we will be able to use our phone and Google Maps. We have the Verizon 1 month plan ($100). We will be in Europe for 25 days. I appreciate the clarification of the different colors on Google maps vs Metro maps.

Mister E - My husband and I have used mass transit in Paris, London and Amsterdam. Hopefully we can master Budapest as well. My biggest problem is the language. I feel better if I can pronounce the names. I might have to assign a nickname for the places I can't pronounce. I really appreciate you spending the time to tell me which mode of transportation works best for each excurstion. I will be purchasing the Travel Card and printing it out. I'm "Old School" I still like hard copies of all my travel documents. i think we might be utilizing the trams to get an overview of the city and maybe rest our feet a little after walking around. My husband and I have been in Europe multiple times, but we have another couple going with us. This is their first trip to Europe, so I am the "Travel Guide". I don't want to mess up and get lost!

TexasTravelMom - I'm glad to hear you chime in on the paper pass. I will always go for Easy!!

Thanks again everyone. We are so excited to see this beautiful city. I hope you get some rain in the next few weeks so that my Viking Ship can dock in Budapest instead of up the river and get bussed in.

Posted by
1189 posts

Hi from Wisconsin,
I drew a map of Budapest using an old Word program from Microsoft. I have it in pdf format now. I included only the mass transport a visitor needs. And I included some tourist sites.
Ask me for it at wmcca@hotmail.com and I will email it to you. The back side has some recommendations of what to see and especially what to do when your footsies get tired.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
165 posts

Thank you, Mister E, for the link to the intro to the Hungarian alphabet. So helpful. I think I will make flashcards!