Budapest is a cultural hub that promises rich history, art and architecture on one hand, and multifaceted shopping, dining, and entertainment on the other.It’s worth exploring every inch of the city’s rich Jewish heritage and any time is a good time to visit. In spring, from March – May, the weather is pleasant, and summer crowds are yet to come. You’ll also find cheaper flights to Budapest and reasonable room rates. By the time fall sets in, the tourist crowds have dwindled. A visit between September – November will be appealing for similar reasons as during spring. In the peak tourist season from June – August, average temperatures reach 75 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit and it rains quite frequently. If you are planning a summer visit, try to book your accommodation in advance as most hotels are fully booked, and room rates are significantly higher. Winters in Budapest are quite chilly, and snowfall is common. Room rates are at their cheapest during this time of the year. February is carnival season, full of masked balls, donut festivals and wild parties. Bring your boots, coats, scarves, and gloves, and enjoy the lineup of fun festivals all through winter.
There are no direct flights from any U.S. city to Budapest. Several airlines offer flights with 1 or more stops. You can chose to fly with Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, TAP Air Portugal, British Airways, Air France, Swissair, Aeroflot, Norwegian Air Canada, Finnair, Delta Air Lines, Brussels Airlines, Ukraine International, KLM, Air China, Singapore Airlines, American Airlines, Alitalia, SAS, United Airlines, Aer Lingus, eurowings, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Austrian Airlines, and Iberia.
Known by various names such as Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, or Budapest Ferihegy International Airport or just Ferihegy, BUD is about 10 miles from Budapest. Here are some of the transportation options from the airport to the city center.
A few of the local city bus routes pass through the airport. Bus route #100E provides a direct link between the airport and city center. Buses run between 5.00 a.m. – 12.30 a.m. and drop passengers to Deák Ferenc tér in Budapest. One-way fare for this route is 900 HUF. Bus route #200E runs between Terminal 2 and the Kőbánya-Kispest metro terminal (metro line M3). From here you can take the M3 metro towards Újpest Központ to reach the city center. One-way fare on this route is 350 HUF for the bus and another 350 HUF for the metro. Tickets can be purchased from several BKK customer service points, newsagents, the post office located on the mezzanine level of Terminal 2A, or from the ticket machines at the bus stop. You can also buy a ticket on-board from the bus driver for 450 HUF. Since this journey involves a transfer, you may want to look at purchasing a Transfer Ticket for 530 HUF. The total journey time is approximately 40 minutes.
miniBUD is the official airport shuttle service provider for Budapest Airport. One-way fares start at approximately 2,200 HUF per person. The journey time from the airport to the city center depends on the destination of various passengers, hence it may not be the fastest option for reaching the city.
Főtaxi is the official taxi company that transports passengers between the terminals and Budapest. You can reserve a taxi at the Főtaxi booths located at the exits at Terminals 2A and 2B. Fares start at a base fee of 450 HUF, followed by 280 HUF per kilometer and a waiting charge of 70 HUF per hour. A ride to the city center will typically cost around 6,500 HUF – 8,000 HUF and take 30 – 40 minutes depending on traffic.
Most of the major car rental companies have a presence at Budapest Airport. You can also look for deals on car rentals with momondo.
Budapest’s vibrant neighborhoods, historic architecture, and pedestrian-friendly streets are best explored on foot. An added advantage is that many of the popular tourist attractions are within a short walk from each other. If you do not wish to walk everywhere, you can use the efficient and extensive public transport system. As far as possible, avoid driving in the city, as parking is scarce and several one-way streets make navigation quite tedious.
The BKK operated public transport network consists of over 200 bus routes, 4 metro lines, and several tram lines. A single ticket on most of the bus routes and all trams and metro lines costs 350 HUF. A transfer ticket which allows 1 transfer costs 530 HUF. You can also purchase a 24-hour Budapest travelcard for 1,650 HUF and enjoy unlimited day long travel on buses, trams, and the metro. There is a scheduled boat service on the Danube river from spring through fall. One-way boat fares are 750 HUF. Use the Funicular service to travel up to Castle Hill from Clark Adam Square. The fare is 1,100 HUF for a single ride and 1,700 HUF for a return ticket.
Taxis are easily available throughout the city. Official taxis bear a yellow license plate, a yellow taxi sign and an ID badge on the dashboard.
Budapest offers close to 100 miles of designated cycling pathways and the city’s official bike-share program is called BuBi (short for Budapest Bicycle). Visitors can buy a 24-hour ticket for 500 HUF and enjoy access to over 1,300 bikes across 100 plus bike stations in the city. Each ride should not exceed more than 30 minutes.
A city that dates back to the Old Stone Age, Budapest is steeped in history, and offers a range of sights and attractions. Architecturally, the city is a treasure trove with Roman, Neo-Gothic, Renaissance and Ottoman styles on display. Culturally, you will discover something new in the food, drinks, and round the year line-up of festivals. The scores of thermal baths are reason enough for a dedicated trip for wellness and relaxation. With so much to see and do here, it is quite likely that you may want to travel to Budapest more than just once!
Invest in a Budapest Card
Earn significant discounts and savings, a few free tours, and unlimited usage of all public transport when you buy a Budapest Card. The card comes with a validity of 24-hours, 48-hours or 72-hours and costs between 6,000 HUF – 11,600 HUF depending on the duration you choose.
Don’t miss the thermal baths
The fürdoks (thermal baths) in Budapest are open all year round. A soak in one of the baths is a quintessential Budapest experience. With over 100 thermal springs, various baths around the city cater to different tastes, from relaxation to cures for illnesses. Check out the 1913-built Széchenyi Spa and Swimming Pool, one of the largest bathing complexes in Europe. Széchenyi offers 18 pools of medicinal natural hot spring waters. Visit the Gellért Spa for its grand Art Nouveau architecture, and Art Deco details. History buffs will appreciate the Király Bath that dates back to the Middle Ages, or the 16th-century dated Rudas Bath. Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit when you visit Budapest!