Transportation in Budapest
To find a map of ALL the public transportation in the city of Budapest, click here and zoom in to the area you’re most interested in (you need a strong internet connection for this map).
Budapest’s metro lines are simple to use and cheap. There are only four metro lines, and if you use absolutely no other forms of public transport while in Budapest, at least take a ride on Metro Line 1 (the yellow line) as it is the oldest metro line IN ALL OF EUROPE and riding in one of the metro cars is like going back in time. For a great set of maps on the metro lines, check out the Budapest Guide’s Metro Map article. You’ll see how simple and easy it is to use the Metro in Budapest.
Several metro “rules of thumb” for you:
M1 goes to the City Park, Heroes Square, and Széchenyi Medicinal Bath
M2 runs EAST-WEST THROUGH THE CITY CENTRE and also passes by the international train station Keleti pályaudvar.
M3 runs along the PEST SIDE OF THE CITY and also swings by Kőbánya-Kispest station. This is important because (as of today) Kőbánya-Kispest station is the only station the bus from Liszt Ferenc International Airport comes to. That means if you are flying in to Liszt-Ferenc, you can hop on Bus 200E and end up at Kőbánya-Kispest station, where you can pick up the M3 line and from there pick up M1, M2, and M4 if necessary.
M4 is the newest line and functions primarily to connect Kelenföld Railway Station in South Buda to Keleti Railway Station, crossing the The Great Market Hall and Gellért Thermal Bath en route.
As you can see, it’s crazy easy to navigate- probably the easiest metro line in all of Europe.
The tram network in Budapest is EXCELLENT. It is massive and as I’ve mentioned before, it has the capacity to drop you almost in front of wherever it is you’re going, provided you know the right stop. The downside- I found the tram maps to be very confusing. Unlike the metro, there are hundreds of stops and the maps make it difficult to differentiate between a tram line and a suburban rail line. I’m not directionally inclined so perhaps that’s all it is. You’ll find the most recent map here .
Bus line maps can be found at the BKV transportation site. The link opens a PDF and the map is on page 5 of the PDF (although it is all helpful information). The buses in Budapest are great for those with disabilities- 97% of their buses are made to accommodate those in wheelchairs. The bus system has 200 lines and can get you anywhere within the city you might need to go.
Tickets & Cost
Here’s the deal with public transport tickets in Budapest.
A single ticket runs you about 350 HUF (right now that’s about $1.30).
A single ticket bought on the spot is 450 HUF.
A transfer ticket is 530 HUF.
A short section Metro ticket for UP TO 3 STOPS is 300 HUF.
A block of 10 tickets is 3,000 HUF.
ONE SINGLE TRAM, RAILWAY, BUS, OR TROLLEYBUS TICKET MEANS YOU GET ONE TRIP WITHOUT INTERRUPTION ON ONE LINE. THAT MEANS IF YOU ARE TRANSFERRING LINES, YOU MUST GET A NEW TICKET. DO NOT TRANSFER LINES WITH THE SAME TICKET. YOU WILL BE FINED. AGAIN- ONE TICKET=ONE LINE WITH NO TRANSFERS!!!! THIS IS UNIQUE TO BUDAPEST SO DON’T FORGET!
IF YOU ARE ON THE METRO, ONE TICKET WILL ALLOW YOU TO TRANSFER AN UNLIMITED NUMBER OF TIMES FOR 80 MINUTES.
Because single tickets are good for any type of public transportation (except the funicular), it’s really important to remember that there is a differentiation between metro and tram/bus/trolley privileges. It’s really easy to forget (especially when you’re jet-lagged and struggling to read Hungarian) that you just illegally transferred lines and believe me, they will absolutely find you and fine you. Ticketmasters are EVERYWHERE.
Where can you purchase tickets? At any metro stop, at ticket street stands, and at newsstands. There are usually ticket vending machines scattered near the entrance to metro stops and that’s what we used. We would buy a handful of single tickets every few days as we needed them. WORD OF WARNING: Most newsstand and ticket stand vendors do not speak anything other than Hungarian. So either use the automated machines, learn the right phrases in Hungarian, or just write out several cards in Hungarian that say “May I have 2 single tickets, please?” or whatever it is you need. For example: Szeretnék két jegyet kérni is roughly translated to “I would like to ask for two tickets.” It’s not exactly grammatically sound, but it gets the point across.
Here are the numbers 1-10 in Hungarian should you be so inclined to use them:
One – Egy
Two – Kettő
Three – Három
Four – Négy
Five – Öt
Six – Hat
Seven – Hét
Eight – Nyolc
Nine – Kilenc
Ten – Tíz
How do you validate tickets? For Metro tickets, just validate in the Metro stations before you get on the train- you’ll see the machines everywhere. These machines auto-validate as soon as you place your ticket in the machine.
For trams, trolleybuses and buses: Depending on what part of the city you’re in, there are two types of validators. The older ones have an opening on top of the machine where you insert your ticket and then have to pull FORWARD TOWARDS THE BLACK FRAME. These manual ticket validators throw people off as they expect the ticket to auto-validate. These validators are RED. The newer validators will auto-validate once you put the ticket into an opening in the front of the machine. These machines are orange and yellow.
What about Travelcards?
You have several options. If you know you’re going to be using public transportation extensively but only for a short period of time, use the 24 hr. travelcard for 1650 HUF. For 72 hours, it’s 4250 HUF. For a week, it’s 4950 HUF. As you can see, if you’re going to be using public transport alot and you’re staying for a week, just get the week long card for 4950 HUF- it’s not that much more expensive. In addition, the travelcards allow you to transfer multiple times so you’re not worrying about validation of tickets or buying another single ticket or transfer ticket. There is also another option for those staying in Budapest for a month- you can travel for 24 hours, unlimited stops and transfers, for 5 days in any 30 day window, for 4550. For reference, 4550 HUF is about $17.00.