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Keleti to Buda castle district

I am going on a day trip to Budapest. Arriving at Keleti in the morning at 9.30 AM. Planning to see castle + parliament / opera house ..suggestions?? Is this the best way to get to the Buda castle from Keleti station
take M2 metro to Széll Kálmán tér and then take bus 16 or 16A to Disz ter. If this is correct, can I buy tickets for the metro + bus from the metro station itself. How do I purchase tickets for return? Any special instructions for buying tickets?

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PART ONE My suggestion is that you arrive Keleti and then follow the signs to the M2 metro. You will find a ticket window at the bottom of the stairs. You will need a minimum of 5 tickets and maybe 8 tickets each (so buy a book of 10 and keep the extras for souvenirs', or hand the extras off to an incoming tourist at the train statin when you leave. Take the M2 towards Deli palyaudvar but you want to get off at the first stop which is Blaha Lujza ter (about 2 minutes). Walk up and look for the yellow tram stop. This is the 4/6 tram. Take the tram heading north. If you look you can catch a glimpse of the Trian station you just came from so while looking at the station you want to travel from right to left. Get off at the third stop (less than 5 minutes). That will be the Oktogon; if it isn't you went in the wrong direction (ha!). Now stand at the stop and face the direction you just came from, walk to the intersection and turn right. You are now on Andrassy ut the grand road that the French used as a model for the Champs Elysées. Walk down the street and you will find the Opera House on your right (about 5 minutes). See, i don't want you to race from one extreme to the other, Budapest has to be savored like a good bottle of tequila. Where was i? Oh, from the Opera house continue in the same direction until you get to the end of Andrassy ut. At the end you will spot the dome of the Basilica. Walk to it (about 5 minutes), explore it, enjoy it; and the plaza and shops around it. Climb the stairs (or take the elevator) to the top to see the city. See St. Stephen's mummified hand!

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PART TWO Now with your back to the Basilica walk two blocks to Oktober 6 ut and turn right, within a short distance you will see a large open park, beautiful fountain, Russian war memorial, US embassy, statue of Ronald Reagan and towering off to the left the dome of the Parliament building. Total walk to the Parliament (about 15 minutes). The Parliament tours are generally early in the morning (but of this I am not 100% certain) so you will have to be happy with the outside. Actually the walk is a fascinating one going past some of the towns grandest buildings. Work your way to the Danube river side of the Parliament and observe where the yellow tram stops. That is your next goal (just a couple of minutes). Board the 2 Tram heading away from the Parliament and get off at the first stop. That will be just before the Chain Bridge (about 2 minutes). Walk to the Chain Bridge and cross it on foot. At the other side look for the Funicular climbing the hill (from the tram to the Funicular about 10 minutes). Buy a ticket and ride the Funicular to the top. You are now at the Buda Castle hill. For me this is a perfectly acceptable 1 hour stop and requires no more than a few hours unless you have some particular interest or like museums. Just a few feet south of the Hilton Hotel (you will notice it easily) there is a bus stop. From that stop you can take the 16 Bus to Deak Ferenc ter and the entrance to the Vaci utca (tourist) zone (about a 10 minute trip). Also at Deak Ferenc you will find an entrance to the M2 metro which will return you to the train station in about 10 minutes.

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PART THREE OR!! Get of the 16 Bus immediately after you cross the river. Get back on the 2 Tram in the same direction you were previously going and get off at the 4th stop (Pretty sure). You will know you are at the right place is the tram parks under a bridge. Get off and take the stairs up. In front of you is the Great Market Hall. (maybe 15 minutes from Buda to the Market) After the market go outside and get on the yellow tram parked in front of the Market. Go away from the river on the 47/49 Tram two stops to Astoria ter. Here you will find an entrance to the M2 back to the train station. Or you can go on foot just a bit further up the track and see the Great Synagogue and then go back to the Astoria M2 metro stop. You can do the longest route in 8 hours if you pace yourself a little, but Budapest really does deserve more time. People who like it generally love it and come back. BUT, you really ought to plan on staying over the night and catching an early train out in the morning. Then we could begin discussing dinner and evening activities. Knowing the dates would help. Have fun.

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OR!!!! Do the first half of what I suggested but have a guide meet you when you reach the Buda castle district. Then let that guide take care of you for half a day ensuring that he drops you at the train station for the trip out. What time is your return train? For a guide I recommend a gentleman named Andrew ILLES http://www.guideinbudapest.com/links.php

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And I didn't answer the rest of your questions. Your return trip train ticket if you need one can be purchased at the ticket counter in the Keleti station. Buy it when you arrive. If you don't already know the schedules you might check out http://elvira.mav-start.hu/elvira.dll before you leave on your trip and carry a copy of the schedules with you. The easiest way to purchase the metro tickets is at the window at the bottom of the stairs leading from Keleti to the metro station. Using the metro is pretty easy. For the M1, M2, M3 lines you will be stopped at the entrance by a guard, take a ticket and stick it in the orange box, face up, arrow forward. You will hear a little noise then you can withdraw the ticket and walk past the guard. If you have any problems they are familiar with tourists and may not speak a word of English but are still generally try and be helpful. The Trams and Busses you will find an orange box onboard. When you get on go to the nearest box and do as described above. If you don't hear a noise when you the ticket you are probably at one of the older hand operated machines; push the handle on the front straight down with the ticket in the machine. Push firmly to validate the ticket. There are plain clothes metro cops on the trams and busses so be sure to validate a ticket. If you notice you are the only one validating tickets its because most of the locals have transit cards that they only have to show when requested. One ticket per trip with the exception of transfers at Deak Ferenec ter where the three underground metro lines cross. Here you can get off one line and on another without using another ticket. Just don't leave the secure area. The M1 line is the oldest underground on the continent of Europe. It has a sort of Mario brothers feel to it. Worth the trip if you have the opportunity.

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Hi James, Still digesting all the information that you gave. Thanks so much for all the info. still a little bit skeptical about travelling in bus.
Can you suggest a alternate way using the metro..to cover the andrassy ..and My guess the castle district the last leg I have to find alternate way tram/Bus Vijay

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12327 posts

It was kind of a lot wasn't it. Go to Google Maps and input all the routes and then print it out. That might help. I've done each of the routes a dozen times but I still had to go back to the maps and count the stops, etc to put that together for you. The only bus I put you on was the one from Buda back down to Pest. There is a metro stop near the castle district but its not simple, simple to find and its chaotic because so many forms of transportation come together in one place. Just nerve racking when you go the first time. But if you want to try it then get a good map and look for Széll Kálmán tér (Older maps will call it Moszkva tér) Here you can get on the M2 towards Örs vezér tere, but get off at Deak Ferenc ter. Or you can take the funicular back down and walk back across the Chain Bridge. the rest of what I gave you was either Metro or Tram. Budapest is famous for its Trams and they are a wonderful way to get around and see the city.

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12327 posts

Okay, next question. Andrassy ut.
Here is another option. When you get off the tram at the Oktogon you can get on the M1 Metro (the entrance is at the large intersection near tram stop) You want to follow the tram tracks back in the direction you came from and cross the major street (Andrassy ut) and enter the M1 on that side of the street. Take the M1 to the Hosok tere (Hero's Square), look see, love then back on the metro one more stop to see the Széchenyi stop and then go up see the bath house (no time to partake) then go back down the metro entrance opposite the one you just came out of and take the M1 back in the direction you just came from and get off at the Opera Stop to see the opera. Run back to the metro and ride it one more stop from which you can see the Basilica and you can return to my previous schedule. To do all this in one day you almost have to run. Or you can skip everything I just wrote and simply take the M1 from the Oktogon down two stops and skip the opera house, Hero's square and the bath house. Are you following all of this? Ready to spend another day yet?

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One final suggestion. And the best one. When you arrive make your way as far as the Opera, go up the left side and behind it and get a room for one night at the K&K Hotel. Then follow my route directly to the Basilica, skip the Parliament and head directly to Buda. Upon returning from Buda make your way from Deak. Fernec ter down Vaci utca to the Great Market Hall, eat a late lunch on the second floor of the market, from there by tram and foot to the Synagogue, then by foot through the Gozsdu Udvar (courtyard) back to your hotel. Clean up, relax, then see a performance at either the Opera or the Opperett followed by dinner at an outside table at Callas or Ballettcipo. If you still have energy walk a couple of blocks to the Kadarka wine bar. Wave as you pass the yellow apartment block. Then catch the morning train out. If its a Friday night see the Klezmer band at Spinoza's. comes with a traditional Hungarian/Jewish meal.

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Michael, we were in Vienna about a decade ago and after a couple of days we just knew Vienna didn't ring our bell so we took the first train to the nearest town that sounded a little bit interesting. That town was Budapest and it was love at first sight. That first sight was from the top of Gellert Hill after sunset. Nothing is more beautiful. We returned 18 months later, then 12 months, then 9 months, then 6 months. Then we purchased a small apartment between the Opera House and Kiraly utca to make the trips more affordable. Now we own two apartments in the same building. We will do two or three trips a year each about 2 weeks. Generally it's a week someplace else followed by a week in Budapest. We never get tired of Budapest. Spring I think will be Istanbul, Bulgaria (fishing), Romania (fishing) then back to Budapest. And yes, this is a place that just gets better when you get off the tourist path and live it for a few days.