Budapest in detail

Flights & getting there

Most people arrive in Budapest by air, but you can also get here from dozens of European cities by bus or train.

  • From Ferenc Liszt International Airport, you can get to central Budapest – in order of cost – by taxi, door-to-door shuttle, by bus or using a bus and metro combination.
  • The three mainline train stations and two main bus stations are all on metro lines.
  • The hydrofoil terminal is located by a tram route.

Flights, tours and rail tickets can be booked online at lonelyplanet.com/bookings.

Air

Ferenc Liszt International Airport

Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt International Airport has two modern terminals side by side 24km southeast of the city centre.

Terminal 2A generally deals with departures and arrivals from Schengen countries. Flights to and from non-Schengen destinations (USA, UK, Israel, Russia, Gulf States etc) usually use Terminal 2B, which is next door and connected by a walkway at ground level called SkyCourt. The airport website lists which airlines use which terminal. There are no scheduled flights within Hungary at present.

At both terminals and in the SkyCourt you’ll find ATMs and Interchange currency-exchange desks open 8am to 1am in Terminal 2A and 24 hours in Terminal 2B. In Terminal 2A there are half a dozen car-hire desks. Luggage lockers are available around the clock on the ground floor of the SkyCourt.

Transport Options

You can buy transport tickets as well as travel passes at the post office on the mezzanine level of Terminal 2A.

Bus & Metro The cheapest (but most time-consuming) way to get into the city centre from the airport is to take bus 200E (350Ft, purchased on the bus 450Ft; 4am to 1am) – look for the BKK stop on the footpath between terminals 2A and 2B – which terminates at the Kőbánya-Kispest metro station. From there take the M3 metro into the city centre. The total cost is 700Ft (or 800Ft if bought on the bus). Between 1am and 4am night bus 900 makes the run.

Bus In 2018 BKK introduced a new direct bus linking the airport with the city centre. The 100E (one-way 900Ft) departs Deák tér every half-hour from 4am to 11.30pm and leaves the airport between 5am and 12.30am. It arrives and departs at the same BKK bus stop as the 200E. Tickets are sold on the bus.

Shuttle The MiniBUD airport shuttle carries passengers from both terminals directly to their hotel, hostel or residence in nine-seat vans. Tickets are available at a clearly marked desk in the arrivals halls, though you may have to wait while the van fills up. You need to book your journey back to the airport at least 12 hours in advance.

Taxi Reputable Fő Taxi has the monopoly on picking up passengers at the airport. Fares to most locations in Pest are about 6000Ft, and in Buda about 7000Ft. Any taxi company can take you to the airport.

Boat

Mahart PassNave, which runs hydrofoils and other passenger boats on the Danube River to and from the towns of the Danube Bend, no longer offers a hydrofoil service between Budapest and Vienna. It does, however, offer two-day excursions (adult/child-12 years 53,990/43,990Ft) to the Austrian capital and back over selected weekends in June, July and August along with much shorter cruises within Budapest from the International Ferry Pier.

Dunataxi offers 30-minute water taxis to Szentendre, departing Budapest at 10.30am on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and returning from Szentendre at 2pm from May to September.

Bus

Népliget Bus Station

All international buses and domestic ones to/from western Hungary and some destinations in the southeast of the country arrive at and depart from Népliget bus station in Pest. The international ticket office is upstairs. The German line FlixBus is represented here, as is the Hungarian Volánbusz. There are left-luggage lockers in the basement costing 600/880Ft for a small/large backpack or suitcase for 24 hours.

Népliget bus station is on the blue metro M3 (station: Népliget).

Stadion Bus Station

Stadion bus station generally serves cities and towns in eastern and northeastern Hungary. The ticket office and left-luggage lockers are on the ground floor.

Stadion bus station is on the red metro M2 (station: Puskás Ferenc Stadion).

Árpád-híd Bus Station

Árpád híd bus station, on the Pest side of Árpád Bridge, is the place to catch buses for the Danube Bend and towns to the northwest of Budapest like Dorog and Pilisvörösvár.

Car & Motorcycle

Hungary maintains 65 or so border road crossings with its neighbours. Border formalities with Austria, Slovenia and Slovakia are virtually nonexistent. However, one may only enter or leave Hungary via designated border crossing points during opening hours when travelling to/from the non-Schengen nations of Croatia, Romania, Ukraine and Serbia, especially since, in the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis, a controversial border wall now stretches along Hungary's border with Serbia and Croatia. For the latest on border formalities, check www.police.hu.

Train

Keleti Train Station

MÁV links up with the European rail network in all directions. Most international trains (and domestic traffic to/from the north and northeast) arrive at Keleti train station.

  • The station has left-luggage lockers (600/800Ft for a small/large piece), a post office and a grocery store that is open late.
  • Avoid queues by buying your tickets in advance online and either printing them out at your accommodation or collecting them from ticket machines at the station by inputting the 10-digit reference number.
  • Keleti is on two metro lines: the blue M3 and the green M4.
  • Night buses serve the station when the metro is closed.

Nyugati Train Station

Trains from some international destinations (eg Romania) and from the Danube Bend and Great Plain generally arrive at Nyugati train station.

  • Amenities include left-luggage lockers.
  • The station is on the blue M3 line.
  • Night buses serve the station when the metro is closed.

Déli Train Station

Trains from some destinations in the south, eg Osijek in Croatia and Sarajevo in Bosnia, as well as some trains from Vienna, arrive at Déli train station.

  • Amenities include left-luggage lockers.
  • The station is on the red M2 line.
  • Night buses serve the station when the metro is closed.