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Local transport

Local Transport

  • Public transport is well developed in Hungary, with efficient bus (and, in many cities and towns, trolleybus) services. Transport usually runs from about 5.30am to 9pm in the provinces and from 4.30am to just before midnight in the capital.
  • You’ll probably make extensive use of public transport in Budapest, but little (if any) in provincial towns and cities. Most places are manageable on foot, and bus services are not all that frequent. Generally, city buses meet incoming long-distance trains; hop on to anything waiting outside the train station when you arrive, and you’ll get close to the city centre.
  • You must purchase transport tickets (around 300Ft to 350Ft) at newsstands or ticket windows or machines beforehand and validate them once aboard; in the few exceptions where you can buy them on board from the driver (eg night buses), they usually cost an additional 100Ft. Travelling without a ticket (or ‘riding black’) is an offence; you’ll be put off and fined on the spot.

Boat

Both Budapest and Lake Balaton have ferry systems.

Bus

Buses are the mainstay of public transport in most towns and cities in Hungary. They are a cheap and efficient way of getting to further-flung places.

Metro

Budapest is the only city in Hungary with a metro; it is convenient and extensive and now has four lines.

Taxi

Taxis are plentiful on the streets of most Hungarian cities.

Unscrupulous drivers are not uncommon, particularly in the capital, so it's best to call a reputable taxi company rather than hail a taxi in the street. If you do hail a taxi, make sure it has the company name on the side and that the meter is switched on. Make sure you know exactly how much cash you're handing over, as switching large denomination notes for small ones and then demanding extra payment is an occasional scam.

Flag fall varies, but a fare between 6am and 10pm costs from about 450Ft (in Budapest from 700Ft), with a 300Ft charge per kilometre Budapest and somewhat less elsewhere.

Tram

Hungary’s larger cities – Budapest, Szeged, Miskolc and Debrecen – have the added advantage of a tram system. The capital also has a suburban railway known as the HÉV, with five lines.

Hitch-Hiking

Hitching is never entirely safe in any country, and we don’t recommend it. Travellers who decide to hitch are taking a small but potentially serious risk. Hitching is legal everywhere in Hungary except on motorways. Though it isn’t as popular as it once was (and can be very difficult), the road to Lake Balaton sees hitching in the holiday season.