PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION GUIDE TO BUDAPEST
Did you know that Urban Adventures is a responsible travel company? Every tour we give is designed to be sustainable. For example, if a tour requires transport in Budapest, we will use public transportation instead of a taxi or a private bus, as it’s much more environmental friendly.
Budapest is an easily walkable city, but if the weather is less favourable, or you want to get further quickly, you should also use vehicles of BKK (Budapesti Közlekedési Központ, or Centre for Budapest Transport in English). Luckily, the public transportation of Budapest is easy to use, frequent and cheap, and we are more than happy to help you understand it.
Tickets and passes
You can find vending machines in every metro station and the major bus and tram stop as well. These ticket machines operate 24/7 and accept cash and bank card as well. Advice from a local: if paying with cash, try to have the exact change and avoid using big notes, as having enough change is often an issue in these devices. Do you prefer human interactions? Find Customer Service Centres at Deák Ferenc tér (location) and Ferenciek Tere (location).
One single ticket costs 350 HUF (approx. 1 EUR) and valid for one travel with any buses, trams, trolleybuses, or metros within the administrative boundaries of Budapest.
If you use the system more than four times in 24 hours you should consider buying a daily pass for 1,650 HUF (approx. 4.9 EUR). To save even more (only if you have three days of course), there is a 72 hours alternative as well for 4,150 HUF (approx. 12.4 EUR). These passes have other advantages which we will mention a little bit later.
For more than one person, a block of 10 tickets for 3,000 HUF (approx. 9.0 EUR) is something that might worth to think about.
Buying a ticket is not enough; you also have to validate it when you begin your travel. Never forget to do that otherwise, you can be fined to 16,000 HUF (approx. 47.8 EUR).
In case of using any metro lines, tickets have to be validated with the machines located at the entrance of the subway, before taking the escalators. This also means that if you transfer from one metro line to the other, you don’t need to use and validate another ticket.
When getting on buses, trams, trolleybuses, look for machines on the handrails, close to the doors to do the validation. Good to know that older vehicles usually have a red-coloured manual validator. If you see that, insert the ticket on the top, and punch it by pulling the frame of the slot towards you. New style devices have an orange or yellow colour, and the only thing to need to do is inserting the ticket into the opening on the front.
Always keep your ticket until the end of your trip.
Good news, if you have bought a 24, 72 or any kind of pass, no validation needed, just keep the ticket with yourself and show that to the inspectors if they ask for it.
Lines should not be missed
The Practical one:
Airport shuttle: There is a direct airport transfer, number 100E, between the city centre, Deák Ferenc tér (location) and Liszt Ferenc International Airport (location) every day from 3:40 AM to 0:40 AM. Between 8:30 AM and 7:00 PM, it runs every 10 minutes, but you will need a special shuttle bus single ticket (900 HUF / approx. 2.7 EUR) to use it.
The Sentimental one :
Tram nr. 2 has the most spectacular route in Budapest, running on Pest side bank of the Danube river. No river cruise or hop on hop off bus needed, if you choose this line, the best view to the Buda Castle is guaranteed.
The oldest one :
Metro line 1, which is the oldest line on continental Europe. The tiny cars that take you from the city centre to Heroes’ square offer a nostalgic ride from one charmingly tiled metro stop to the other that reminds us of the opulent times of the 18th-19th century Budapest
Let technology help you get around like a local and go greener
BKK, the company that operates public transportation in Budapest, has a mobile application called BKK futár (iOS, Android). By downloading and using it, you will be able to plan your trip, find all the timetables and follow the real-time location of all means of public transportation.
With the second application, Közlekedési Mobiljegy (iOS, Android), you can avoid wasting paper and have your tickets on your phone. This is a brand new system, and currently, you can only buy the airport shuttle bus single ticket, the 24 and 72 hours as well as the weekly pass (precisely what you will need). Also, please be aware: If you choose this means to buy your ticket, you have to validate your pass by scanning a QR code every single time you use the metro. Those buses that have the QR code sticker at the first door the system is under testing at the moment, and this is a temporary way until they start utilizing rechargeable cards and card reader devices.
Be a responsible traveller, decrease your carbon footprint and use public transportation to blend in with the locals!