Budapest Travel Guide and Tips: All you need to know

Budapešť bez cestovky / průvodce pro Budapešť

Are you planning to visit Budapest without a tour operator and on your own? Is it better to drive or fly? How about local public transport, parking and what are the prices? Looking for tips on accommodation that will make you feel at home? Find out all about Budapest in this article with tips and information.


Article content:

In the second part of the Budapest guide you will find tips on things to do in Budapest and where to eat.


I hadn’t considered visiting Budapest until a few years back. But then I saw the Fisherman’s Bastion once and my chin dropped. And not only the Fisherman’s Bastion, but also Matthias Temple and the Parliament are some of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen in person.

Budapest is also a great place to eat. Even if you have to eat the whole holiday, you won’t regret it. There are great authentic restaurants, bars and cafés and, above all, you will rarely go wrong in Pest.

Plus, travelling through Budapest will give your wallet a break, unlike Amsterdam or Barcelona. Prices are favourable.

The locals are smiling and the atmosphere is relaxed. You can dip your feet in the city pool, unroll a blanket in the park or have an ice cream by the Danube.

And maybe wait until the evening hours, because Budapest in the evening is definitely worth it. It’s beautifully lit, it’s almost too bright.

The name Budapest was created by combining two names – BUDA and PEST. Under these names, one can imagine formerly separate units that were merged at the end of the 19th century. The imaginary dividing line of the city is the Danube River, which divides the city into two parts:

  • The Left Bank Pest is the livelier part of Budapest, full of great restaurants and bars, entertainment, nightlife, but also beautiful places like the Parliament and St. Stephen’s Chuch.
  • Buda along the right bank of the Danube is smaller and sleeker, but you’ll find some of Budapest’s most beautiful sites, such as Gellért Hill, Buda Castle, Matthias Cathedral and Fisherman’s Bastion.

Buda and Pest are connected by several bridges. And some of them are gems worth seeing in their own right – the Chain Bridge, the Liberty Bridge, the modern Elizabeth Bridge or the golden Margaret Bridge.

Budapest without a travel agency / Budapest guide
our favourite Svoboda Bridge and above it Gellért’s Hill

Budapest transport

Budapest is not far away. This offers several options for getting to Budapest comfortably – by air, train, bus or car.

  • By air to Budapest in just over an hour
  • By car to Budapest via Brno and Bratislava will take you 5 hours and 15 minutes (approx. 525 km from Prague)
  • Train em journey will take 7 and a half hours
  • It takes around 7 hours to get to the Hungarian capital by bus via Bratislava

By air to Budapest

You don’t need a week for a trip to Budapest. 2-4 days is plenty, so you can get by with hand luggage, which is included in the price of low-cost airlines. This will also allow you to get very cheap tickets. From Prague you can get return tickets from 700 CZK. The plane arrives at Ferenc Liszt Airport on the eastern edge of the city. The airport is well organised, clear and clean.

How to get cheap flights to Budapest

  • be flexible with departure dates – the cheapest days are midweek, while Fridays and weekends are the most expensive
  • air tickets are usually cheapest about 2 months before the planned departure
  • fly in low season
  • look for airline tickets first and then accommodation – accommodation prices tend to be more fixed than airline tickets

How to get from Budapest Liszt Ferenc Airport to the city centre?

Thanks to the location of Ferenc Liszt Airport, the city centre is easily accessible by public transport.

Buses leave every few minutes and you can buy tickets directly at the airport from the ticket machine (multiple languages including Slovak; you can also pay by card), at the customer service centres or on the BudapestGO app.

You can also pick up a map of the city at the airport. There are two bus lines to choose from:

How to get from Budapest Airport to the city centre: Bus 200E

Bus 200E will take you to the Kőbánya-Kispest M train station (25 minutes from the airport), where you will board the metro M3 (blue line). The M3 metro takes you directly to centre – the M3 line runs along the Danube through the Pest district (the journey from the interchange takes about 25 minutes).

Bus 200 E belongs to the classic regular buses. So the price is the same as anywhere else in Budapest and you don’t buy a special ticket. Since you change trains on the way, you have to buy a transfer ticket for 530 HUF (at the airport tourist information or terminal entrance machines). This allows you to change once and is valid for 100 minutes from the first sign (120 minutes at night).

Transfer ticket

The transfer ticket exists only in paper form and is the only one that cannot be purchased in the BudapestGO app. Both sides of the ticket are marked with a number – one side is marked when you board the bus and the other when you transfer (in the metro it’s on the turnstiles at the metro entrance, on trams and buses when you board).

The other option is to travel unlimited with a single-day or multi-day ticket (you do not mark these on boarding or alighting).

The 200E buses run all day and night. Only at night the route is extended to Határ út metro station. Here you can take one of the night buses – 914, 914A, 950, 950A.

How to get from the airport to Budapest: Bus 100E

Unlike the previous bus 200E, the 100E is a direct shuttle bus where you have to buy a special ticket. Like other tickets, it can be purchased at customer service centres or machines at the airport or on the BudapestGO app.

All buses in Budapest are blue.

The ticket will cost you 1500 HUF and the bus will take you to the centre. The bus runs from 4:10-01:30 every 10 minutes during the day and 12-20 minutes in the morning and evening. You can get off at 3 places in Pest (they don’t stop in Buda):

  • Kálvin tér M – a short walk from the Liberty Bridge and the central market in the south of Pest; connection for the green metro line M4
  • Astoria M – a few minutes from the Elizabeth Bridge and the Great Synagogue; connection for the M2 red metro line
  • Deák Ferenc tér M – right in the centre a few steps from the Ferris wheel, Andrássy Avenue and Chain Bridge; connection for the yellow M1 and red M2 metro lines

How to get from Budapest to Liszt Ferenc Airport?

The first option is to take the direct shuttle bus 100E. You can get on at the same stations you get off at on your way from the airport to the city centre (see previous paragraph).

The only exception is the Astoria station, which is used for early morning connections to the airport – the 100E buses depart at 3:32, 3:47, 4:02, 4:17 and 4:32. There’s no 100E bus to the airport at other times. They always stop at Kálvin tér and Deák Ferenc tér stations.

Bus 100E runs from the city centre to the airport from 3:30-00:25 every 20 minutes. The ticket will cost you 1500 HUF.

Ticket for direct buses 100E

The second option is to use regular scheduled services. Take the blue metro line M3 to Kőbánya-Kispest M station, where you change to bus 200E. Night services between 23:47-04:08 are provided by night buses 914, 914A, 950, 950A. You will get off at Határ út station, where you will again change to bus 200E. You must buy a transfer ticket or use a day pass.

You will depart back to Prague from Terminal 2A.

Bus journey to Budapest

Bus services to Budapest are mainly provided by RegioJet and Flixbus. Tickets are available from CZK 519 (Flixbus is slightly more expensive). You will spend around 7 hours on the road. Buses stop either at Kelenföld Station in the south-western suburbs of Budapest or at Népliget Station in the south-east of the city (when you buy your ticket, it will show you which station the bus ends at).

From Kelenföld Station, the centre can be reached by the green metro line M4 and from Népliget by the blue metro line M3. Népliget station is closer to the airport – if you want to get to the airport, take the metro in the opposite direction. You can buy metro tickets from vending machines or the Budapest GO app.

metro station in Budapest

Train journey to Budapest

The train is another popular option for getting to Budapest. You can choose between RegioJet and České dráhy Both companies provide direct connections. A one-way ticket with ČD will cost you 504 CZK and the train stops at Kelenföld station in the southwestern part of Budapest.

Regiojet has one-way tickets in various price ranges from 399-699 CZK and again stops at Kelenföld station. The old building has seen its best years, and a lot of homeless people congregate here. But the metro station is modern and clean.

From the station, the easiest way to get to the centre is via the green M4 metro line, which runs past Gellért Hill, through Pest, to Keleti Station.

You can buy metro tickets from vending machines or the Budapest GO app.

Szent Gellért metro station near Gellért Hill and Gellért Spa

Driving to Budapest

By car you are in Budapest from Prague in just over 5 hours net time. The route goes through Brno and along the D2 past Bratislava. In Hungary, you will find the M15, from which you will take the M1 (E60). It will take you all the way to Budapest.

In Slovakia and Hungary, you will need a vignette. These can be bought at petrol stations or online like here. The Slovak vignette costs €12/10 days and you can buy it here. A vignette for Hungary will cost you HUF 5,500. Valid again for 10 days. You can buy it at this link.

You can calculate how much the trip will cost you in the calculator.

Parking in Budapest

Budapest is divided into several parking zones with different hourly parking fees. Prices range from 14 to 35 CZK.

  • Zone 1 – 35 CZK / hour, weekdays 8:00 – 20:00, max. 3 hours
    (The central part of Pest and the area surrounding the Castle Hill in Buda)
  • Zone 2 – 21 CZK / hour, weekdays 8:00 am – 6 pm, max. 3 hours
    (Buda except for the Castle Hill and the area around the central part of the Pest)
  • Zone 3 – 14 CZK / hour, weekdays 8:00 – 18 hours, max. 3 hours
    (all other parts of the city)

You can also park in the parking garage, of which there are several in the centre. Prices vary from one to another.

Note: Parking prices are approximate.

Public transport in Budapest

Budapest is perfectly interwoven with public transport. More than 200 bus routes take you from A to B.

There is also an extensive network of trams, which in total carry more people than the metro in Budapest. In addition, 13 trolleybus routes supplement the transport in Pest.

trams in Budapest

Budapest Metro

The Budapest metro has a total of 4 lines:

  • M1 Yellow Line – this route is the oldest in continental Europe and the third oldest in the world after London and Chicago. Starts in the centre at Vörösmarty tér square and leads through Andrassy Avenue to the Városliget City Park
  • The M2 red line connects Budapest-Déli station just after Castle Hill and then runs from Buda past the Parliament through the centre to Keleti station
  • Blue line M3 – currently being reconstructed and some sections are replaced by buses (see the paragraph on the route from the airport); the M3 line runs along the Pest along the Danube from north to south
  • The M4 Green Line connects Kelenföld Station in south-west Budapest with Keleti Station in Pest
subway markings

Public transport price in Budapest in 2023

Public transport prices in Budapest are as follows:

  • Single ticket 350 HUF (purchased from the driver 450 HUF)
  • Transfer ticket 530 HUF
  • Block of 10 single tickets 3 000 HUF
  • Direct bus from the airport 1 500 HUF
  • 24 hour ticket 1 650 HUF
  • 72 hour ticket 4 150 HUF

Tickets can be purchased at stations, newsstands, vending machines, street kiosks or on the Budapest GO app (except for transfer tickets).

You can check your paper ticket at the machine at the entrance to the metro or when boarding a bus or tram. In the case of a digital ticket, you scan the code again at the entrance to the metro (as with paper tickets) or outside the door for other modes of transport.

Single or multi-day tickets are not validated because they are dated.

You validate the transfer ticket at the start of your journey and then validate the second code on the ticket again when you change trains.

Danube cruises

Another option is to take a ferry or boat trip on the Danube. The ferry operates all year round, the boat from May to September. Ferry services serve the area between Újpest and Millenniumi Városközpont, and river boats operate between Boráros tér and Pünkösdfürdo.

Selected ferries on the Danube:

Danube cruise Budapest

Rent a bike in Budapest

P Renting a bike in Budapest is another way to experience the city. The MOL Bubi bikes are strategically placed throughout Budapest. The fee for registering a credit card is HUF 120, which also gives you 3 minutes of driving time. You will then pay HUF 40 per minute.

bike rental in Budapest

Renting a bike in Budapest is easy. First, you download the MOL Bubi app and use the QR code to scan the sensor on your bike. You can rent a bike after the beep. To return the wheel, slide it back into place and click the lock. There must be a beep. The app also shows you the time you’ve driven.

Budapest accommodation

Budapest has a wide range of accommodation, which is often very stylish. And at great prices. You can choose between hotels, guesthouses, hostels and private apartments.

LUXURY: Hotel Memories Budapest Memories Hotel is centrally located in Pest and just 5 minutes from Deák Ferénc tér, where the airport bus stops. The hotel is located on the corner of quiet streets near the Great Synagogue. There are many attractions, restaurants, cafés and shops in the area. Rooms are stylish and cosy with comfortable beds and private bathrooms. You will also enjoy the wellness and the excellent breakfast.

Hotel Memories Budapest

LUXURY: Bo33 Hotel Family & Suites is a great choice for couples and families, as it also has an open terrace where you can relax and a nice playground in the park a short walk away. You can choose between rooms and apartments for up to 4 people. The hotel is situated in a quiet part of Pest, about half an hour from the Danube and the city park with the spa.

MID RANGE: Silver hotel City Center: This budget hotel is located 2 minutes from Andrássy Avenue. In a quiet street opposite a park with benches and a children’s playground. Right across the street is the market, which is frequented mainly by locals and has fresh food at good prices. The historic metro station is just a few minutes away. Budapest’s famous sites, restaurants and spas are within walking distance.

MID RANGE: Medos Hotel: Located in a quiet area a short walk from the Oktogon metro station on Andrássy Avenue and a quarter of an hour from the Parliament, St. Stephen’s Church or the city park with a spa. The 2-4 bedded rooms are cosy with comfortable beds and private bathrooms. Everything you need is nearby.

Medos hotel

MID RANGE: Bo18 Hotel Superior is a stylish hotel located on the edge of the centre in a quiet part of Pest. The metro is just a few minutes away and in 20 minutes you can walk to the Liberty Bridge with the Gellért Baths and Gellért Hill, the Central Market or the Great Synagogue. The rooms are cosy with private bathrooms and excellent breakfasts.

MID RANGE: Gozsdu Court Budapest offers apartments for couples and families. Like Memories Hotel, it is a short walk from Deák Ferénc Tér. With some of the best restaurants and bars in Budapest right within its radius, it’s alive all night long. The apartments are fully equipped, including a kitchenette and private bathroom, and have soundproofed windows so you can sleep in peace despite the hustle and bustle of the surrounding streets.

Gozsdu Court Budapest

MID RANGE: Hotel Mika Downtown is located in a quiet street near the centre of Pest. Sights, restaurants and shops are within walking distance. It offers rooms, studios and apartments with rich amenities and private bathrooms. There is also a terrace in the inner courtyard with outdoor seating (the windows of the rooms are soundproofed).


The thing with prices is that they are similar to ours. So there is no big surprise for the wallet.

Food prices in Budapest

Compared to Prague, food prices in Budapest are the same or lower. Fruits and vegetables will be priced similarly to the Czech Republic. Bread, meat and cheese are up to a third cheaper. For water, wine and imported beer, you’ll even save almost half.

In Budapest, you can shop at supermarkets such as Aldi, Lidl, Tesco and in the centre mainly SPAR (but you can also find Aldi in the central market, Lidl and Tesco).

Prices in restaurants

In cheaper restaurants you can eat for around CZK 180, while in restaurants with a three-course menu around CZK 450. A half litre of beer will cost you 42 CZK, a third of Coca Cola 25 CZK and a third of water 21 CZK.

More tips before going to Budapest

  • The national currency is the forint (HUF), which consists of 100 filler.Current exchange rate HUF – Czech koruna.
  • Drinking water from fountains is available throughout the city.
  • As I mentioned above, it’s really alive in Pest. And even on the banks of the Danube, which at times looks a bit like public landfill. However, these are mostly locations outside the city centre.
  • It’s not talked about much, but there are a lot of homeless people in Budapest (especially in the centre of Pest). At least relative to other European cities.
  • Orientation in the city is really easy. If you get lost, feel free to ask the locals. Hungarians have very warm natures and are happy to help.

Is Hamburg safe?

Budapest is generally a safe city, but be vigilant here to avoid falling victim to pickpockets or fraud. The pickpockets are usually on the rampage at popular tourist spots such as Matthias Temple, Fisherman’s Bastion and Parliament. Be careful on tram lines 4-6 and the yellow metro line.

If you’re a man and you’re riding solo, beware of invitations from women on the street. It’s a very common scam where these women work for a bar that they invite you to, and unfortunately, you often don’t get paid on the spot.

Map of Budapest

HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you will find a detailed map for Budapest. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places I mention in the Budapest guide. If you want to save the map, star it. For a larger version, click on the icon in the upper right corner.

If you have a question about our Budapest guide, ask in the comments below. Have a safe journey!

More inspiration

BUDAPEST: Check out our tips on what to see in Budapest.

ROME: Rome is one of the most popular cities in Europe. Here’s a list of the best things to see in Rome. Build your 3-day Rome itinerary and see how to save in Rome. Find out all about the Vatican Museums or the Colosseum.

VIENNA: Vienna is literally full of wonderful sights to visit in Vienna. If you’re travelling with kids, check out the best activities for Vienna with kids. To help you plan your trip, we’ve created an itinerary for Vienna in 3 days.

BERLIN: For inspiration on attractions and sights, read the best things to do in Berlin.

Get inspiration on where to travel in our destination guide.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *