I have gotten a few PM in the last several weeks and the reoccurring questions seem to be about money and transportation, so…….. while I am happy to answer PM’s I thought I would put some of it out here for other input, cause I am often wrong.
Budapest, the part you will be interested in, is not unmanageably large to see on foot, but its not Prague either, where everything is in 2 or 3 tight tourist zones. You will get a lot out of the public transportation an its easy and sort of fun.
So you want a TravelCard and they come in several lengths of use and in two formats (digital and paper). https://bkk.hu/en/tickets-and-passes/prices/ and https://bkk.hu/en/tickets-and-passes/budapestgo/
Digital travel cards are downloaded using the BudapestGo App. For single use ticket you have to scan something before boarding, for long term tickets, not. I don’t like messing with my phone so I buy a paper one and put it in a clear plastic sleeve that I hang on my keychain. But both work. Where to buy them? PM me and I will tell you the closest source to your accommodations. The longer duration cards require an ID number be printed on them; either your passport or driver’s license number. So which ever number you use, you will have to carry that document with you. Remember it is a requirement in Hungarian law that you have your passport on you at all times.
Avoid the single use tickets as no local uses them and you will get spotted instantly when you either scan your app or validate the paper ticket in the red or orange box on the transport.
Download a metro map off the internet (or the BudapestGo app will act like google maps for directions as to which transport to get on for your trip – but will try and be efficient and may put you on busses – not really fun). Stick to the trams and the M1 metro line and you wont need busses or trollies (electric busses).
You only have to produce your TravelCard when asked. I have gone weeks without showing it, others get caught the first day. The fine last time I checked was 8.000 ft on the spot. If some old guy (or old woman) harasses you on the metro, first check their sleeve. If you see an armband that says BKK on it, cooperate. That’s the random spot check enforcement. Just show your TravelCard.
From time to time someone will post ancient information about the honesty of the Taxis in Budapest. Today they are well regulated, clean, honest, efficient and affordable.
My favorite company is City Taxi and they have a good phone app that makes getting a taxi pretty easy. The only advice is that its cheaper to call one than to get one at a taxi stand. The one exception is from the airport you use the taxi stand and that’s still the best way to get to into town.