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Transportation from Port to Hotel and Hotel to Airport

We are doing an AmaWaterways River Cruise Prague to Budapest. We are staying an extra night in Budapest on the backend before going to London for a few days. We need transportation from port to Hotel and then next morning from Hotel to Airport. It will be for four ladies (early 60s) and two have some medical conditions that we don't want to push trying to do taxi (too much luggage) or public transportation.

Can anybody recommend car service for this. TripAdvisor recommended Budapest Minibus and I've been given what I think is a good price. But want to compare with other places that have been recommended.

Thanks in advance.

Posted by
13762 posts

Okay, knowing which hotel would help a little. A lot of the hotels where the cruise ship guests stay are literally a five minute walk from where the ship docks (more of a siding than anything resembling a port). But that aside, given the fact you want this to be smooth, trusted and well planned; a Taxi or a private Driver.

There are a number of good taxi companies in Budapest, but my favorite is City Taxi. Over the years they have always been prompt, polite, fair, and on a couple of occasions have gone above and beyond to be ethical and helpful. Their number is: +36 1 211 1111. Few hotels will be more than $10 to $15 from the boat dock. Be sure you tell them you are 4 so they send a van. Here is their webpage: Taxi to the airport will be $25 to $30 or half the cost of every other major city in the world.

When you call you will hear a recording first in Hungarian, then in English; then an operator will come on and say something in Hungarian, to which you respond "good morning" or as the time of day is most appropriate. The operator will switch to perfect English. Generally takes about 5 minutes to get a car to you. They accept credit cards, forints and at a less than perfect rate, euros and dollars.

For a private driver I know a gentleman that can not be beat. His name is László MÁRKUS. This guy is a prince. We use him once or twice a year. Again, tell him there are four of you so he brings an appropriate car. Figure at least twice the cost of the taxi. I am pretty sure he takes credit cards and euros and dollars, but probably not at the best rates.

call from outside Hungary: +36 209 346 346

I cut and past the name so i would get all the accents in the spelling; but it illustrates an interesting little fact about Hungarian names. Traditionally Hungarians put their family name first, then the given name. Well, that doesn't mesh with the rest of the world so some Hungarians show their name given first, then family. Add to that the fact that so many of their names to someone not familiar with the language could be first or last that the whole Hungarian name thing is a mess to understand. For a little clarity the family name is often put in all caps like Laszlo did.

Arrange to be picked up at your hotel 2.5 hours prior to flight time. The Budapest airport can be a bit chaotic and being there a little early helps.

Posted by
13762 posts

Oh, and one extra day in Budapest isn't enough. You will wish you had planned for two once you get there..... :-)

Posted by
17 posts

We're staying at the Budapest City Hilton on the Pest side of the city.

Thank you for the suggestions.

Posted by
13762 posts

The Hilton is about a 15 minute walk from where most of the boats dock. So, yes, a taxi or a driver would be a good idea. Since you are only spending one additional night in Budapest I would really consider a hotel that will put you in the middle of things. The Hilton is a Hilton so I am sure it’s very nice, but it’s a bit out of the way. You will be hard pressed to enjoy the evening and the lights and the sidewalks of the inner city.

I am supposing that the cruise includes a tour upon arrival and one night on the ship. So you will have seen the river front at least. It’s stunning. With that orientation it would be nice if stayed on the river at the Marriott or the Intercontinental or the Sofitel. While the area is a little touristy for me, all things considered on a short trip it makes a lot of sense.

Still, if your heart is set on the Hilton let me give you some advice on how to get around a bit.

The Hilton is attached to an American style shopping mall behind the Nyughati Train Station. The name of the street it is on is Vaci ut. Do not confuse Vaci ut with the famous shopping street Vaci utca. No comparison.

To reach any place you will have to walk to the tram stop at the front of the train station (about half a kilometer or less than 10 minutes) or to the M2 Metro stop located in the underground that extends between the shopping mall and the train station.

The Nyugati station was designed by the Eiffel Company and you can see a lot of what was grandeur in the design. In front is the 4/6 tram. The trams are Budapest’s better answer to the HOHO busses.

The walk to the tram is not the most visually stunning walk; but safe. If you are feeling brave you could enter the mall, go to the basement and walk through the vast underground then up through the rail station and out to the tram stop. It’s an “amazing” environment (don’t do it).

The 4/6 tram will provide you with the options to see

Traveling Southeast

Hero’s square (with a change to the M1 Metro at the Oktogon tér stop)

Szchenyl Bath House (with a change to the M1 Metro at the Oktogon tér stop)

Andrassy ut. (exit at the Oktogon tér stop)

New York Palace (exit at the Blaha Lujza tér stop)
Traveling Northwest

The Parliament (exit at the Jászai Mari tér stop and transfer to Tram 2)

The Great Market Hall (exit at the Jászai Mari tér stop and transfer to Tram 2, exit at Fővám tér – under the bridge and walk up the stairs)

Margit Island


To reach the M3 metro you will have to go to the underground. Just follow the signs and enjoy the unique environment.

The M3 Metro will take you near the Great (Dohany) Synagogue (exit Deak Ferenc ter and walk or board the 47/49 Tram for one stop.

Posted by
7 posts

James E. - Your detailed response to sarcar was so helpful to me as well. Thank you for being so generous with your time in providing suggestions and details. I notice you are very active on the forums and it is appreciated by those of us planning our trips!

Posted by
17 posts

James E - Thank you sooooo much for all the information. I get a HUGE discount on Hilton which is why we are doing that. However, your information is so helpful.

Again, I appreciate all the info you have generously given to all of us on these posts. Your knowledge is invaluable to those of us who have not been to Budapest.

Thank you again.

Posted by
13762 posts

Pretty much the ideally located 4 star hotel is the K&K Opera. It goes for about 100 euro a night last time I checked.

You MUST get out in the evenings. You MUST NOT let the walk to your hotel deter you. Dinner, a wine bar, the lights on the Danube Corso (which you will get a good view of from your ship the first night). Take the tram across the river and look back towards the Parliament. Ride the trams on both sides of the river.

Posted by
436 posts

"Taxi to the airport will be $25 to $30 or half the cost of every other major city in the world" - tsk-tsk, looks like someone got a little carried away... Either that, or my definition of a major city needs to be thoroughly revised :-)

Posted by
17 posts

Personally - I appreciated all the extra information. Sometimes not ever being in a particular city or country, you don't always know what to ask. So to get added benefit from a question is always appreciated by me. If it's not useful to me, I can opt to ignore it.

Posted by
13762 posts

I throw as much out there as i can. When i go someplace new i generally only know a fraction of the questions to ask and i appreciate all the information i can garner. I just assume others see it that way. By the way, since you are beginning in Prague, the airport taxi there should only cost you $25 to $35.

Posted by
13762 posts

When will you be in Budapest? I will look and see if there is anything special.....

Posted by
17 posts

We are doing the Christmas Markets. We will disembark the ship on Dec. 18 and leave on Dec. 19.

Thank you.

Posted by
13762 posts

Okay, then to see the Christmas Markets, you exit the hotel main entrance on Vaci ut. You turn left and walk about 150 yards and you will see a sort of round shaped dilapidated free standing building with the street on once side and a parking lot on the other. That is the entrance to the M3 Metro Station. Go down and get on the train marked to Kőbánya-Kispest

Then get off at the first stop (Arany János utca). Look up and i am pretty sure you can see the dome of the Basilica. The first Christmas Market is in front of the Basilica. Two places of interest while you are there; the first is when at the steps to the basilica and while facing the basilica to your right are some of the better souvenir shops in town. Down the pedestrian plaza in front of the basilica, beyond the brass Austrian, and on the right is a music themed souvenir shop that i like. See what you want to see then return to the brass Austrian. With your back to the basilica , and facing the Austrian walk down the road on your left.

After two blocks (long blocks( turn right and you will end up at Vörösmarty tér where the main Market is located.

To go home i would recommend the short walk to the river and a rid on the 2 Tram to its terminus (moving right to left when facing the river). At the terminus one stop on the 4/6 tram (left to right) and you will be back at the train station - the view is stunning on the 2 Tram at night. Walk up the left hand side of the station and you will recognize the way to your hotel.

Halfway between the two markets is a good place for dinner: Rézkakas Bistro food is good, service is good, complete with Gypsy Music.... Another good place in your realm of travel is Belvárosi Lugas Vendéglő which is cheaper, and good for lunch or dinner. Both are best with renovations..... Then its off your path, but if you want to get out and explore head for my favorite hunt: Dont expect much, just a lot of Hungarians sitting around drinking Hungarian wine and eating some pretty outrageous gourmet food served like casual fare.

You need metro tickets for this. Don't bother with the Budapest Card the hotel will want you to buy. You will never get value out of it, especially since you are there on Monday when the museums are closed. I have only been in the Nyugati Metro Station a few times and for the life of me i cant remember a ticket window. But there will be ticket machines. Change some money at the hotel for the machines and buy a book or two of 10 tickets or a 24 hour TravelCard. Be careful if you buy the book of tickets because you will be given what looks like 11 tickets, one is a receipt and if you use it as a ticket you will end up paying a fine. The machines only take bills smaller than 20,000 forints......

Now that you know how to get to Deak Ferenc ter on the M3, consider a trip up the M1 to Heros Square or maybe the bath house. Or just a stroll and Andrassy ut......

I love Budapest at Christmas. I couldn't get away for Christmas this year so we don't arrive until the 30th of December.

Posted by
13762 posts

WAIT!!! I see a ticket window (but there will be machines too). Isn't this station a beauty!!,_metr%C3%B3_3,_Nyugati_p%C3%A1lyaudvar,_32.jpg

The M3 was the last line still running the Stalin Special Subway Trains. I hope they leave a few in service. I miss their charm.

But so you dont leave with a bad impression. The new stations are kinda nice:

Posted by
17 posts

So what about the baths in Budapest. We've heard a lot and are thinking of taking one in. Which would you recommend or do you recommend them at all?

Posted by
13762 posts

So what about the baths in Budapest. We've heard a lot and are
thinking of taking one

I am all in favor of taking baths. Even on vacation in Budapest.......

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

The most recognized, the most straight forward and probably the easiest for the first time is the Szechenyi Baths. Take the M3 to the Deak Ferenc ter stop, then follow the signs to the M1 Metro line (up the stairs and around the corner). Choose the entrance marked Mexikói út (metro line directions are always indicated by the end stop - in this case Mexikói út). Get off at the next to last stop: Széchenyi fürdő. Go up the stairs and its the large yellow building on your right. Or you can get off the M1 one or more stops earlier and walk up Andrassy ut, past Hero's square and through the park.

Posted by
13762 posts

The locker room. Looks nice doesn’t it? Never seen it empty like that in my life. See those narrow little entry ways? They lead to the lockers. The passage is about 12 feet deep and the dressing area is about 5 feet wide with lockers on both sides. Imagine wall to wall, buttock to buttocks, naked Eastern European flesh; size 48 shoved into tiny black size 20 speedos….. Beyond what words can describe…. 

You do have the option to purchase the use of a “cabana” which is a private changing closet. Just depends on how much Eastern European Culture you want to rub off on you….. so to speak…….

Just teasing, not really quite that bad; not really Eastern Europe either (Central).

You will need a towel ("borrow" one from the Hilton, the ones they rent are very small, very thin and almost useless). flip flops to lessen the odds that you will have to deal with "Lamasil" when you get home and a bathing cap to utilize all the pools.

Posted by
17 posts

So we'll be able to do the Christmas Markets on the cruise - the night before we disembark. Any other suggestions for the rest of the day. Baths are one option but that's not a full day/night.

Posted by
13762 posts

The markets are great in the evening; and they will be pretty close to where your boat is docked. If not close then just down the river and accessible on the 2 Tram. A few boats do park on the Buda side but not many. If thats your situation then its a bit trickier.

For a day in Budapest it all depends on your interests. There is the market hall, Jewish/holocaust Budapest, WWII Budapest, Soviet Occupation Budapest, Art Nouveau Budapest, theater, classical concerts, jazz clubs, food, museums; or you can do the standard tour.

Hotel to 4/6 tram one stop towards the river

walk up Falk Miska utca and visit the antique shops

Continue to the Parliament and be there at 9:15

9:45 am Parliament tour (book in advance on line)

hop on the 2 Tram and ride it to the Great Market Hall (long beautiful journey)

11 am unitl 12:30, the Great Market Hall - tour the basement, ground and first floors; shop for junk upstairs.

47/49 tram to Great (Dohany) Synagogue, arrive about 12:45 and take the short tour that starts on the hour.

Walk up Dob utca to for lunch

Back down Dob utca one block to Rumbach utca, then down Rumbach utca to Kiraly utca (you can short cut through the Gozsdu udvar if you want)

Walk up Kiraly utca to Vasvari Pal utca. If it's 3pm or later, stop for a glass of wine at Kadarka, if its before 3 pm buy a pastry at the shop on Kiraly utca just beyond Kadarka.

Now down Vasvari Pal utca to the Opera House.

Should be about 3 pm by now.

Walk to Oktogon ter

Take M1 metro up 2 stops get out and walk up Andrassy ut past the mansions for a stop or two.

Back on metro to Hero's square

Walk to the Bath House and party till 7pm (the map shows the metro line, but the metro runs directly under Andrassy ut with numerous stops so you can get on and off and see some of the architecture along the way.

Return to Hero's square on the M1 and Walk to for dinner

Return to Hero's square and the M1 to the Oktogon for more play or to Deak Ferenc ter for the transfer to the M3 and home.

More Play??

Its about an hour of walking in-between trams and metro line.... Don't be skiddish about the metro line. Its the M1 and its the oldest underground on the continent of Europe which makes it sort of a historic sight all of its own. Very easy to navigate.

Posted by
17 posts

Wow - that looks like a full day of fun and adventure.

Thank you!!!!

Posted by
13762 posts

Or a nightmare of pain and suffering in some g-d forbidden frozen purgatory behind the iron curtain...