Traveling to Budapest: tips from experienced travelers
Currency of Budapest
Forints are used in Hungary. Some shops and restaurants accept euros, but at an exorbitant rate. We do not recommend changing money at the airport and city center unless you are ready to overpay. Where, then, can you change money in Budapest? It is most profitable in banks or in points away from tourist places. Be sure to ask about the commission – sometimes it is even higher than the exchange amount. Therefore, you will not be too lazy to find a place with a normal course and conditions.
Accommodation in Budapest
Budapest is divided into 23 districts, which are simply marked with Roman numerals. If you want to live in a quiet place, but at the same time not far from attractions, settle in the eastern parts of districts II and XII. VI, VII, VIII are suitable for young people – there are many bars and clubs. But keep in mind that there is also a Gypsy ghetto in area VIII, and it is not safe to walk here at night.
We advise you to choose not hotels, but apartments. You can rent an apartment in Budapest (even with several rooms) for the price of a three-star hotel. Various festivals are often held in the capital of Hungary, and at this time housing prices can skyrocket by 2-3 times. Therefore, take a look at the calendar of events and activities in Budepest in order to best plan your trip.
How to get from Budapest airport to the city? From the international airport. Liszt Ferenc, which is 20 km from the center, can be reached by:
- shuttle bus – about € 10. The transfer must be booked in advance. The company minibus will be parked at the designated place near the airport. The fare is different everywhere. If there are two or three passengers, it is better to take a taxi.
- bus 100 E – € 2.83. Runs from 05: 00-01: 20 every 20 minutes. The ticket can be purchased from the machine, the driver will be more expensive. The 100 E bus makes 3 stops in the city center Kálvin tér, Astoria and Deák Ferenc tér.
- bus 200 E – € 1, 10 Stop – to the left of the exit from the airport. Bus 200 E runs every 7 minutes daily from 03:30 to 22:59. Tickets can be bought at information desks at the airport, newsagents or from the machine right at the bus stop. The driver’s ticket will cost € 1.42. This is 450 forints. The fare must be paid in local currency. When entering the bus, it is compulsory to validate the ticket. The bus will take you to the terminal station of the Köbánya-Kispest metro, line M3. From there it will already be convenient to get to the center by metro. Deak Ter station is a junction for three metro lines, located in the very center of the city.
- taxi – from € 23.
Types of tickets and payment methods:
- Single ticket (vonaljegy) – valid for one type of transport within 80 minutes from the date of purchase. You can buy it in special machines. Be sure to validate your ticket, because at the exit from the metro and in ground transport you can be checked by the controllers. At the time of publication, such a ticket costs 350 forints.
- A single ticket purchased from the driver (helyszínen váltott vonaljegy) – if you suddenly failed to pay for the trip in advance, you can purchase a ticket from the driver, but keep in mind that it will cost more (450 forints).
- A single ticket with a transfer (atszállójegy) is the same for any two modes of transport (530 forints).
- Ten tickets (10 darabosgyűjtőjegy) – block of tickets for 10 trips in any type of transport. It will cost less than the same number of tickets bought separately – 3,000 forints. The disadvantage is that you need to keep all ten tickets until their expiration date.
- Pass for 1 day (24 órás jegy) – valid for 24 hours on all types of transport without travel restrictions. It costs 1650 forints.
- Group pass for 1 day (csoportos 24 órás jegy) – allows a group of up to 5 people to move around the city without restrictions for 24 hours. It costs 3300 forints.
- Pass for 3 days (72 órás jegy) – valid in all types of transport, the number of trips is unlimited. Price – 4150 forints.
- Weekly pass (Hetijegy) – applies to all types of transport and is valid without restrictions on the number of trips, its price is 4950 forints.
And this is not a complete list of possible travel documents in Budapest. Apparently, the city authorities have done everything so that every tourist could choose a convenient option for themselves. All ticket prices, as well as the timetable of transport in Budapest can be viewed on that website…
It is quite affordable to move around the city and by taxi. Boarding costs an average of 470 forints (€ 1.5), and each kilometer is 280 forints (€ 0.90). It is better to call a car in advance through one of the popular services: 6×6 Taxi, Barat Taxi and Budapest Taxi.
You can also cycle around the city. Rent for a day costs about 3000 forints. There is also a free city rental network – Bubi, but bicycles can be rented there only for half an hour.
How to save money in Budapest
It will help you to save money on public transport and visiting major attractions tourist map of budapest (Budapest Kartya). It can be bought at Tourinform tourist information offices, numerous travel agencies, hotels, museums, and public transport ticket offices in the busiest parts of the city. The points of sale are usually marked with a special sticker. Here are the prices: 1 day – 4900 forints, two days – 7900, three – 9900.
The card will cost less if you order it online in advance on this website. Here you can see the entire list of discounts that it provides.
Free excursions in Budapest
Prepare to have to walk a lot to see the main attractions of the city. Fortunately, there is an opportunity to join the group for free and visit key places literally in 3 hours. On this site you will find offers for free sightseeing and thematic excursions that are held daily.
If you want something special, then we recommend “Courtyards of Budapest: The Secret Life of the City”, it is also definitely worth immersing yourself in the Atmosphere of creative Budapest and getting to know the ruin-pubs better.
Unusual sights of Budapest
You can find out what iconic places are really worth seeing in Buda and Pest on this page. Here we will recommend several places in the city that are not in standard guidebooks, but they are nevertheless worthy of attention:
- The Open Book Fountain (Henszlemann Imre) is an unusual architectural creation. You look and it seems that the pages of a huge book are turned over by magic.
- Sugar Store! (Paulay Ede, 48) – heaven for sweet lovers. The largest store of various candies, sweets and cakes. Here you will make sure that there is no limit to the imagination of the pastry chefs.
- The Philosophical Garden (Gellért-hegy) is a more famous place, but still few tourists get here. A small well-kept garden, on the territory of which there are sculptures of Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Mahatma Gandhi and others.
What to try in Budapest
If you do not plan to spend money on restaurants, rent an apartment with a kitchen and cook for your health. Citizens buy food from Tesco stores. It is there that it is better to take the famous Hungarian balm Unicum, in souvenir shops it costs exorbitant prices.
If you are going to take excursions around Budapest, we advise you to stock up on snacks. A bun from any local bakery will surely save you. The prices are quite affordable, and the pastries are always fresh. By the way, try the traditional sweetness of Kürtőskalács. One serving costs about 315 forints. The cheapest are sold in the underpass in the Deak Ferenc ter metro and at the Western Railway Station.
Do you like sweets? Then you need to take a walk through the best pastry shops and coffee shops in the city with tastings.
Goulash is, of course, the gastronomic landmark of Budapest. Too much pepper is often added in restaurants in the city. Ask to serve the paprika separately and you can adjust the spiciness of the dish.
A trip to Budapest ends with a visit to traditional baths. Even if you do not consider yourself a great lover of such leisure, you simply do not know what you are giving up.
To enjoy the thermal baths to the fullest, come to the baths early in the morning, before the influx of tourists. Keep in mind that in some Budapest baths (for example, Lukács) there are women’s and men’s days, in some baths only women or only men are allowed. It is better to find out about the holding of “monogender” days on the official websites of the baths, and the employees will tell you about special baths when buying an entrance ticket.
The best baths in Budapest:
- Lukac Baths and Swimming Pool is one of the oldest baths in the city. Open from 6:00 to 21:00. Entrance costs from 3100 forints, with a tourist card – free of charge. The address: Frankel Leo út, 25-27, II district, Buda, buses 6 and 86 run.
- The Gellert Baths in Budapest are the most beautiful in the city. Working hours: from 6:00 to 20:00. Entrance cost – from 4900 forints. The address: Kelenhegyi út, 4, XI district, Buda, trams number 47, 49, 18 run.
- Széchenyi Baths is the largest bath complex not only in Budapest, but throughout Europe. Open from 6:00 to 19:00 (pool until 22:00). Entrance cost – from 4500 forints. The address: Állatkerti Körút, 11, District XIV, trolleybus no. 72 runs.
By the way, you will be surprised, but in such symbolic places for Hungary as the old baths, sometimes they throw crazy parties! Such is it contrasting – Budapest.