Do I Take the Tram or the Metro? And what about the bus?
Tram v. bus v. metro?
The Metro is, as I stated before, incredibly easy to use and navigate. It’s good at dropping you in the general vicinity you’d like to be in, but typically doesn’t place you right beside your destination. We often found ourselves walking 1/4 to 1/2 a mile to our final destination once we got off the metro (an obvious exception to this would be M1 stops Szechenyi Furdo and Hősök tere, as both of those stops will place you quite literally in front of the baths and Heroes Square, respectively). In terms of mileage walked: I felt as though M1 was the line most likely to minimize the number of blocks we actually had to walk, while M2 and M3 typically involved hoofin’ it once we got off the stop.
With some exceptions, the trams and buses will place you so much closer to your destination than the metro (much like in Prague). As a tourist, I took both the tram and metro but preferred the metro simply because I loved walking around the city and seeing all the sights. Budapest is an architectural and design marvel and the metro drops you relatively close to wherever you’re headed while still leaving you some room to walk. In addition, a metro ticket allows transfers for 80 minutes after ticket validation, while the trams and buses do not allow transfer without a new ticket or a transfer ticket.
The trams/buses are much more likely to drop you right in front of wherever you’re headed without a walk. If you have any type of injury or disability, you need to look at trams and buses (but specifically buses, as 97% of their buses are wheelchair friendly). I believe the tram lines were easier to access than the bus lines, but that may be a personal preference. If you love to walk and are in good health with a good pair of shoes, take the metro and absorb all the beauty around you. There’s nothing like Budapest in all the world and if you have the time to soak it in, you should!
For more information about ticket prices and transportation maps, check out my post on public transportation in Budapest here.