Hungary in detail

Flights & getting there

Hungary is well connected with frequent air, bus and train services to its seven neighbouring countries and beyond. Flights, cars and tours can be booked online at lonelyplanet.com/bookings.

Air

Airports & Airlines

International flights land at Ferenc Liszt International Airport, 24km southeast of Budapest. In general, flights to/from Schengen countries use Terminal 2A, while Terminal 2B serves non-Schengen countries.

Hungary's only other year-round commercial international airport is Debrecen International Airport, 5km south of Debrecen, with Wizz Air and Lufthansa flights to half a dozen cities, including London, Munich, Paris and Tel Aviv.

Hévíz-Balaton Airport, 15km southwest of Keszthely near Lake Balaton, receives flights between April and October from Frankfurt and half a dozen other German cities.

Departure Tax

Departure tax is included in the price of a ticket.

Land

Hungary is well connected to neighbouring countries by road and rail, though most transport begins or ends its journey in Budapest.

Timetables for both domestic and international trains and buses use the 24-hour system. Be aware that Hungarian names are sometimes used for cities and towns in neighbouring countries on bus and train schedules.

Bicycle

  • It is possible to bring a bicycle into Hungary aboard select train services that have bicycle cars; bicycle tickets are usually inexpensive.
  • FlixBus buses transport bicycles to Budapest from certain destinations; bicycle tickets cost just under €10, irrespective of the route; advance bookings are advisable.
  • Volánbusz only allows folding bicycles that can be placed in a bag and stored in the luggage compartment.

Border Crossings

If crossing by bus or train into Hungary from Croatia, Serbia, Romania or Ukraine, you may have to alight at the border.

If driving, you may only enter Hungary via designated border crossing points during opening hours if travelling to/from Croatia, Romania, Ukraine or 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.

There are no border stops or checks when entering from Austria, Slovenia and Slovakia.

For the latest on the border situation, check www.police.hu. Check in advance whether you need a visa.

Bus

  • Crossing the continent by bus is the cheapest option. Most international buses are run by the German company FlixBus and link with its Hungarian associate Volánbusz.
  • The Eurolines Pass (www.eurolines.lt/en/eurolines-pass) allows unlimited travel between 49 European cities, including Budapest. Sample prices for high season include €375/315 for over/under 26 years for 15 days and €490/405 for 30 days.
  • You may have to alight at the border if travelling to Hungary from Croatia, Serbia, Romania or Ukraine.

Eastern Europe

From Budapest's Népliget station there are good bus connections with destinations in Croatia, Romania, the Czech Republic and Poland, among others. Services to Croatia usually operate between mid-June and mid-September. Prices fluctuate depending on day and time of departure.

Sample destinations and prices:

DestinationCostTime (hr)Frequency
Bratislava3400Ft32 daily
Dubrovnik10,000Ft16Fri mid-Jun–mid-Sep
Kraków4700Ft7Tue, Wed, Fri & Sun
Poreč13,000Ft11½Fri mid-Jun–mid-Sep
Prague6500Ft3 daily
Pula13,000FtFri mid-Jun–mid-Sep
Rijeka10,000Ft8Fri mid-Jun–mid-Sep
Sofia12,000Ft11up to 3 daily
Split9900Ft12¾Fri mid-Jun–mid-Sep
Subotica (Szabadka)3900Ftdaily

Western Europe

Buses depart Budapest's Népliget station to many cities across Western Europe. Prices fluctuate depending on day and time of departure.

DestinationCostTime (hr)Frequency
Amsterdam20,300Ft21½daily
Athens24,000Ft23½Wed, Fri & Sun
Berlin19,500Ft14Thu & Sat
Düsseldorf21,700Ft17¼Mon & Fri
Frankfurt13,900Ft17½Tue, Thu, Sat & Sun
London37,000Ft29Wed & Fri
Paris20,900Ft21¾Wed & Fri
Rotterdam25,200Ft22½Mon, Thu, Fri & Sun
Venice13,400FtWed, Fri & Sun
Vienna4700Ft3up to 6 daily
Zürich16,800Ft14Wed & Sat

Car & Motorcycle

Drivers and motorbike riders will need the vehicle’s registration papers, liability insurance and an international driver’s permit in addition to their domestic licence.

Train

MÁV links up with the European rail network in all directions. Its trains run as far as London (via Munich and Paris), Stockholm (via Hamburg and Copenhagen), Moscow, Rome and İstanbul (via Belgrade).

Almost all international trains arrive and depart from Budapest’s Keleti station; Budapest's Déli station handles most trains to Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia.

The European Rail Timetable (www.europeanrailtimetable.eu), formerly known as the Thomas Cook European Timetable, is updated every other month and available online. A train-spotter's bible, it has a complete listing of train schedules, supplements and reservations information. The Man in Seat 61 (www.seat61.com) is a superb and very thorough website that can also help you plan your train journey across Europe.

Classes, Costs & Reservations

  • Seat reservations are required for international destinations; they are included in the price of the ticket.
  • Tickets are normally valid for 60 days from purchase and stopovers are permitted.
  • On long hauls, sleepers are almost always available in both 1st and 2nd class, and couchettes are available in 2nd class.
  • Not all express trains have dining or even buffet cars; make sure you bring along snacks and drinks as vendors can be few and far between.
  • All prices quoted are full-price, one-way, 2nd-class fares; 1st-class seats are around 50% more expensive than 2nd class.
  • Substantial discounts to a number of European capitals are available on tickets purchased more than three days in advance. Due to limited seating, book early to take advantage of the savings.

Train Passes

Interrail (www.interrail.eu) offers a Global Pass covering 30 European countries; it can be purchased by European nationals or residents of at least six months. Sample 2nd-class costs for an adult/under 28 years:

  • five days within a 15-day period: €229/177
  • 10 days within a month: €324/259
  • 22 continuous days: €419/335

Global Passes for 1st class tend to cost about €100 more per pass than 2nd class.

Eurail (www.eurail.com) offers a Global Pass giving non-European citizens unlimited travel in 28 European countries, including Hungary.

Sample 2nd-class costs for an adult/under 28 years:

  • five days within a month: €376/307
  • 15 days within two months: €737/600
  • three months' continuous travel: €1310/1066

Eurail Select Passes allow you to pick combinations of two, three or four neighbouring countries; passes are valid for five, six, eight or 10 days within two months. For example, five days' travel over two months in Hungary and three of its neighbours costs adult/under 28 years €301/246.

Eastern Europe

Budapest's Keleti station has services to the following destinations in Romania, Croatia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Russia. Note that the Moscow service goes via Kyiv (25 hours) and Lviv (15 hours).

DestinationCostDuration (hr)Frequency
Belgrade via Subotica€1593 daily
Cluj-Napoca€343 daily
Košice via Miskolc€163 daily
Ljubljana (change at Kelenföld)€29daily
Moscow via Lviv and Kyiv€27130daily
Prague via Bratislava€19up to 6 daily
Sofia€12621½daily
Timişoara€2652 daily
Warsaw€19102 daily
Zagreb€292 daily

Western Europe

Budapest has connections to the following destinations. Departure stations can vary but most leave from Keleti station.

DestinationCostDuration (hr)Frequency
Berlin via Dresden, Prague and Bratislava€3911daily
Frankfurt (change in Dresden, Munich or Vienna)€60113 daily
Munich via Salzburg€596 daily
Venice (change in Vienna)€6719daily
Vienna€19312 daily
Zürich€7611¼2 daily

River

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

Sea

It is not possible to travel to Hungary, a landlocked country, by sea.