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Transportation in Budapest

We are just beginning to plan our trip to Budapest. It looks as though the transportation card will be great. Although it gives discounts to museums is there another discount card we should consider? Unfortunately, our return flight leaves at 6 so we will need to leave our B&B very early. What mode of transportation is best at that time of day so we can be sure to get to the airport on time?

Posted by
4351 posts

How long will you be there?

City Taxi has worked well for me with early departures. I have the app and use it to reserve a taxi the day before my departure. They have always (4 times) been 10 min. early. You can also call them the day before.

I haven’t taken the bus. Google says it runs that early from Deak Ferenc ter, but I would check the website.

Posted by
4351 posts

I think you have to plan your sights and do the math to see if the Budapest Card works for you. The website says it is €63. It includes public transportation for that 72 hours, which would be about €14. So you would need to visit €48 of included sights to be worthwhile. (I don’t know why it is quoted in euros instead of ft, but €63 is about 23,300ft.) There isn’t a straightforward answer.

For transportation, you can buy a 72 hr travel card (after you arrive) for 5,500ft plus a separate 24 hr (if you need it) for 2,500 = 8,000ft OR a 15 day travel pass for 6,300ft. Obviously it would be the 72 hr or the 15 day….. You can buy paper or in the BudapestGo app (but to use the app requires data).

I don’t sightsee that quickly, and much of Budapest’s charm is free, so it wouldn’t be worth it to me. But I am probably not average. If you read back through some of the previous Hungary threads, Mister É has created some very helpful itineraries, including a recent 3.5 day one for Sue https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/hungary/budpest-please-help-with-my-3-5-day-itinerary. He will probably show up soon with better answers than mine after he gets back from vacation.

Posted by
29 posts

Like TexasTravelMom I too have used City Taxi for prearranged early airport departures. Both times they were early. One other time on an afternoon flight to Paris I used the bus. It was only a 5 block walk from my Airbnb and worked out just fine. Very fast as it only had two pick up stops.

Posted by
18826 posts

A lot of my return trios are at 6am. I call City Taxi (actually I use their App). I always like to be early, so a 3am pickup. Do book early the day prior as they can be busy in the mornings.

The Budapest Card never offered enough for me to be worth the cost. Some might do okay with it if they keep moving and hit a lot of museums.

TrxasTravelMom, I could not find a 15 day card the last time I looked at the website. Might have discontinued or I just missed it. But I stay long enough where the 30 day card makes sense.

EDIT: FOUND IT UNDER MONTHLY PASSES LOL

Posted by
195 posts

TexasTravelmom and Mr. É for the win, as usual!

The Budapest Card sounds really great, but on this travel forum and others, no one reallys gets their money's worth. I will second TexasTravelmom's advice and recommend a 15-day pass which will cover your 4 days in Budapest.

You can find the information here: https://bkk.hu/en/tickets-and-passes/prices/monthly-passes/

I prefer to have this pass via paper (I have a clear phone case, so I sandwich the pass inside the case for easy access) rather than on the app so I don't have to rely on active data all the time.

For a 6a flight, if you're checking luggage, please note that the counter won't open until 2 hours before your flight, so don't show up at the airport at 3am. As mentioned above, CityTaxi: https://citytaxi.hu/en/home/ is a great option, as is Főtaxi: https://fotaxi.hu/en/. Főtaxi is the official airport taxi, so if you're arriving to Budapest from the airport, this is the service you'd take.

If you're really pinching pennies, depending on the location of your B&B, you can take the 100E bus to the airport. https://bkk.hu/en/travel-information/public-transport/airport-shuttle/ This requires it's own ticket and is not covered by the 15-day pass (or any other pass).

You didn't mention how you're arriving to Budapest - plane or train?

Posted by
18826 posts

While the counter usually opens 2 hours prior, the line forms earlier and it's a bit of a mess. Do carryon only and skip the line.

When you get to the security entrance, if it looks chaotic, look to the left and you will see a narrow hall .... take it and you end up at another security point which is usually mostly empty.

Food court for coffee is upstairs.

If you are leaving the EU, passport control to Terminal 2A is quick and well run.

Don't look for Terminal 1, there isn't one LOL. Interesting story for another thread.

Posted by
18826 posts

I have some info that might help on all of this, but I need an email to send it. PM if you are interested.

And do download the City Taxi App as it overcomes the language issues.

Posted by
4351 posts

Yes, Mister É, charm. I believe I just said on another thread that grunge+lovely is my favorite mix. Usually I call it “gritty”. So next time I will need to get to Mazel Tov. 🤣 I will also need to pick a place for my birthday.

Christy and Mister É prefer the paper pass. I wander with my phone in my hand and all the data my heart desires, so I prefer the BudapestGo app. After you set up an account, you find your pass or travelcard (or single ticket) under My Tickets, then Purchase. You can purchase ahead any time within 30 days before you want it to start and then tell it when to start. Setting up both Budapest Go and City Taxi before you leave, along with payment method, works best.

Posted by
6 posts

Several of you have mentioned the 15-day pass for transportation which is 17,07 Euro. There is also the Budapest Travel Card which includes transportation, 20 museums, cave tour, etc. It can be purchased for 96 hours (77 Eu) or 120 hours (92 Eu). Is the latter worth the extra cost?

Posted by
4351 posts

I think this is what Christy was talking about in her answer above.

The Budapest Card sounds really great, but on this travel forum and others, no one reallys gets their money's worth.

And what I was talking about when I said I think you have to plan your sights and do the math to see if the Budapest Card works for you. The website says it is €63. It includes public transportation for that 72 hours, which would be about €14. So you would need to visit €48 of included sights to be worthwhile.

Posted by
4945 posts

A third option to add to paper passes and the app...

The 100E airport express bus allows you to tap your credit card on the bus to buy and validate your ticket:

https://bkk.hu/en/tickets-and-passes/pay-and-go/

From the website...
Use a bankcard, smartphone or smartwatch to buy tickets

You can buy tickets using Mastercard, Maestro, VISA or VPay debit, credit or prepaid cards, or even virtual cards registered in digital wallets (e.g.: GooglePay, ApplePay, SamsungPay and other mobile wallets).

I'll be using Google Pay for the 100E in October!

Posted by
4351 posts

Mister É, agreed!

CWSocial, it’s not a hard walk to the K+K at all, so someday i will take the bus. Maybe in Oct., too, since that won’t be after a long international flight - if the weather is nice. But early mornings to the airport for a flight home? City Taxi every time. It’s a treat.

Posted by
4945 posts

Agreed, if the weather is nice and it's still light.

In Sofia, it was a sunny morning adventure over 900km, half uphill and part cobblestones. If it's dark or rainy, no bus for me either.

And unlike the last time I arrived in Budapest (by train, then metro) I've already mapped the walk to the K&K. Last time, I arrived at the station near the opera house and didn't know where to go! I've learned to plan a bit better than that first all solo trip!

Posted by
18826 posts

I think it's a fine idea to take the bus. I don't know how often it runs but I doubt it would be more than a 20 minute wait. Then, I point out because carrying luggage up and down stairs comes up often here, you have to go down stairs to the M1 stop at Deak Ferenc ter, then up the stairs at the Opera stop. Then the K+K is about 100m up the left side of the Opera House.

Posted by
4945 posts

Weather permitting, I figured I would walk 700m from Deák Ferenc tér. If my flight is on time and therfore it's still light. Sounds easier than the stairs.

Posted by
1194 posts

Hi,
I built a map of Budapest some years ago that has the most useful mass transport. I also have suggested things to do that uses the transport system.
Send me an email [email protected] I'll send you the map.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
18826 posts

I took the bus to the airport once. Not for my flight, but with a friend that was leaving town. He insisted on the bus. https://bkk.hu/en/travel-information/public-transport/airport-shuttle/

The taxi's have gotten sort of expensive (about US 30) so the bus is making more sense.

From the time you walk out of the arrivals hall to the time you reach Deak Ferenc ter will be 45 minutes to one hour depending on traffic and how long you have to wait for the next bus. Then the walk to the K+K if you know exactly where to go is about 10 minutes .... but figure 15 for timing at the crosswalks and wandering a bit getting orientated. So, total an hour to one and a quarter hours.

Maybe not any faster is the M1 from Deak Fernec ter. Not faster because you have to find your way to the platform and then wait as much as 3 minutes for the the next train. But easier because two stops and you will be in front of the K+K (well, in front of the Opera and the hotel is behind the opera).

Actually the bus is not bad for about US 7 and only about 20 minutes slower than a taxi.

The other option is the shuttle which will go direct to your hotel. But I looked at the website and while the page begins with "From 6 euro" when I put in the information it came out to over 20 euro. Crazy expensive to share a van and have to make a few stops.

Posted by
18826 posts

Well that's easier. Hopefully your accommodations are near a tram or metro line: or a taxi is fine too.

The absolute best thing about tye City Taxis App is it knows where you are and where to send the taxi. Years ago trying to explain to the dispatcher was a pain.