I'm debating weather or not I should taxi to my apartment upon arrival or taking Metro. I arrive at Keleti and the apartment is on Ó utca, near the Opera. If taxi, is it best to call ahead or can I use the ones in front of the train station? I've read that they can be very crooked cabbies.
There are two ways to get to the Opera House by public transport. Neither particularly difficult. All depends on how much luggage you are dragging as public transport will entail stairs and to some degree close quarters.
First the public transport method. In the train station follow the signs to the M2 Metro line. Go down the stairs, look for the ticket window and purchase your tickets. Depending on which way you go each of you will need one or two or three tickets. Now you have two options:
1. Take the M2 towards Déli pályaudvar but get off at the Deak Ferenc ter stop. At Deak Ferenc go up the stairs to the M1 metro and get on it heading towards the Mexikói út stop. Get off at the Opera Stop. This is a transfer so the M1 metro does not require a new ticket. This is the longer route of the two options but in bad weather it is all underground, covered and shouldn’t be too crowded.
- Take the M2 towards Déli pályaudvar but get off at the Blaha Lujza tér stop (very first stop). You could also walk this first leg in 10 to 15 minutes. Next you will want to get on the 4/6 Tram. With your back to the Train Station off in the distance you will want to take the tram that moves left to right. This tram I have heard is one of the most used lines in the world. Sometimes it can be crowded but it gets you above ground were you can start to see the city. Go three stops to the Oktogon stop and get off. Now you have a choice again. You are about a 10 minute walk to the Opera (straight down Andrassy ut) or you can get on the M1 metro for one stop. Each leg of this ride is a ticket. Be sure to validate your tickets in the orange boxes at the metro entrances and on the tram.
If all I had was carry-on I might be inclined to do number 2 above (walking the first and third leg), but I love the streets of Budapest. Cost will be $1.5 to $4.5 per person.
If you want a taxi, then as your train pulls into the station pull out your handy cell phone and call City Taxi at +36- 1 -2-111-111. They will give you a car number and tell you to meet the car on Kerepesi út. To confirm you guys are in sync, ask “by the Chinese Restaurant”? Upon the affirmative look to the front of the station. The front has the clock way up on the glass wall. Now look for exit doors on the wall to your left. Go out those doors and you will see a drop off / pick up loop. Look for your car. Will take a few minutes. Cost will be about $10
As for the taxi’s in que. They aren’t “crooked” necessiarly, but they can charge more than necessary.
Thanks for the info. I think I'll opt for the taxi since I don't want to lug around my luggage on the public transport.
If the weather were good, the load light and if my wife was in the right frame of mind I would do the walk-tram-walk because the route is either interesting or pretty depending on where along the route you are. Otherwise I am with you, I would take the taxi.
Here is an interesting thing to see. Now that you know where Keleti Station and Kerepesi ut is located, if you were to walk to the front of the station and then across the street from the train station loop where you will meet the taxi and then continue about a block further you will come to a very tall brick wall. Follow that wall to the right (about a 10 minute walk) and you will find the entrance to the Kerepesi Cemetery. http://www.nemzetisirkert.hu/fotoforum This place, the statuary, the park, its amazing.
For those going to Budapest in the future:
Only use Fotaxi from the airport. They have the official concession, are reliable and honest.
To the airport I suggest Fotaxi or City Taxi
Around town never hail a taxi or use on from a taxi stand. Always phone for one. I recommend City Taxi.
If the hotel calls it will cost more. Still, tell the clerk to call City Taxi for you. Sometimes they have "deals" with the independents and that will end up costing you more.
When you get in any taxi any place in the world make sure the meter is on.
In a dozen years and maybe 50 taxi rides, using these simple rules I have never been cheated. But i am sure it happens like it does everywhere in the world. If you do other than my suggestions you might end up paying $15 for a $10 ride.
I will add this, last year the government in Budapest established fixed prices for the taxi companies. More than the old prices for the most part but pretty reasonable compared to the rest of Central Europe. I don't know how that has affected the upcharges that the Hotel solicited cabs used to get and I don't know how that affects the "independents" that will chase you through the airport or wait in ambush outside the Train Station. So, be wise, call a taxi, get a car number and wait the five minutes it takes to come get you.
I found it very, very quick and easy to take the metro from our apartment near the Opera to Keleti station.
The one drawback to doing that in reverse, when you arrive, is perhaps not knowing how to get from the metro stop to your accommodation, but Google maps can help with that.
(We were ripped off by a cabbie in Budapest who didn't turn on the meter and overcharged us. (We knew this, based on what our much longer ride from the airport cost.) We were somewhat flustered by the day's events--streets blocked off, police in riot gear everywhere, and we did not know why until later (gay pride parade)--which necessitated the cab in the first place, since we couldn't get near the Oktagon to catch the tram, so we weren't as attentive as we should have been to what was going on with the cab.)
It just came to my attention that there is a pretty frightening post on another forum regarding the taxi's at Keleti. It references hoards of marauding independent taxi drivers preventing the major companies from getting to the station and ...... Well its pretty much nonsense. I've gotten a taxi at Keleti on a number of occasions. There are independents at the que line, by and large they are decent hard working individuals.........that charge too much. Maybe you could get a good deal if you spoke Hungarian and if you knew the meter rate to where you were going, but otherwise its best to just call a taxi company.
If you want a taxi, then as your train pulls into the station pull out your handy cell phone and call City Taxi at +36- 1 -2-111-111. They will give you a car number and tell you to meet the car on Kerepesi út. To confirm you guys are in sync, ask “by the Chinese Restaurant”? Upon the affirmative look to the front of the station. The front has the clock way up on the glass wall. Now look for exit doors on the wall to your left. Go out those doors and you will see a drop off / pick up loop. Look for your car. Will take a few minutes. Cost will be about $10 to most of Pest