Your Budapest Guide

Your Budapest Guide

Budapest, the capital city of Hungary is the home of our festival, El Sabor de Hungría. The capital is celebrating its 150th birthday this year the previously separate towns of Buda, Óbuda, and Pest were officially unified in 1873. This truly beautiful city, spreading on both riverbanks of the Danube river has a lot to offer let it be architecture, music, fine arts, gastronomy, entertainment and of course our passion, Argentine tango as well.

The central area of Budapest along the Danube River is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has several notable monuments of classical architecture, including the Hungarian Parliament and the Buda Castle. The city also has around 80 geothermal springs, the largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, and third largest Parliament building in the world.

On this page we gathered some useful information for you to help you plan your trip and to find your way around when you arrive and during your stay in our city 💚 We sincerely hope that you’ll have a great time here both on and off the dancefloor 😊

 

Content

General info

MONEY EXCHANGE

If you can help it at all, avoid exchanging money at the airport, the rates are much less advantageous than in the exchange offices in the centre. Also, watch out for the blue ATMs that have EUR and HUF written on them in yellow letters, these charge a hefty amount as “commission”. For a fair exchange rate, simply go to any exchange office where the rates are clearly displayed, always ask for a receipt of the transaction, and check if you received the correct amount.

 

TAP WATER

According to EU standards, tap water in Budapest is of the highest quality, so it’s perfectly safe for you to drink it. As you are walking around, you will inevitably stumble on some public drinking fountains, that are perfect for quenching your thirst in the heat. Hungary boasts many natural springs of both thermal water and mineral water, so whether you want to soak in a thermal bath, or do a mineral water cure, you will find many options to choose from.

 

GENERAL SAFETY

Budapest is not more dangerous, than any big city in Europe. With this being said, it’s also not any less dangerous. Be mindful of your possessions, and take care of your valuables at all times. Practice basic precaution, such as only exchanging money at exchange offices, using trusted taxi companies, not leaving your drink unattended, not flashing your expensive possessions in public, especially by night. Basically, just use common sense.
Should you need it, the general emergency number is 112.

 

RESTAURANTS AND BARS

Whether you fancy a late brunch, an affordable lunch offer, a nice dinner or a traditional cake and a cup of specialty coffee, the city caters for any taste. We recommend checking out the “Gastro” section of the We Love Budapest website, where you can filter options based on your preferences, and find detailed reviews and descriptions in English of restaurants, bars, pubs, cake shops and cafés: https://welovebudapest.com/en/search/gastro

Tipping is customary only if you are satisfied with the service, and the usual amount is about 10% of the total cost. Some restaurants automatically include a service fee in the bill, so it’s best to ask as you are paying, just to make sure.

Transportation

HOW TO GET TO THE CITY CENTRE FROM THE AIRPORT
  • By taxi

The quickest, however most expensive way to get to the city centre. The Budapest Airport’s contracted party is Főtaxi, you can order a cab at their kiosk outside of the terminal building. Depending on your destination, a ride can cost 9,000-15,000 HUF.

 

  •  By an airport shuttle minibus

As you are heading out of baggage reclaim, you will notice an orange line marked “airport shuttle service”. If you follow it, you will end up at the registration desk for the airport shuttle service. Shuttles leave only as they fill up, so note that you may have to wait for a while.

You can also book your transfer beforehand at https://www.minibud.hu/

 

  •  By public transport

There is a purple BKK stand at the terminal right after you exit luggage reclaim, where you can buy tickets, passes, and even pick up a free map of the city. There is also a purple ticket automat by the bus stop outside the terminal.

 

The direct airport bus service:

As you exit the terminal, you will notice two bus stops on your left. Those blue public transport buses that display the line number 100E, also have a white airplane sticker on their sides. This is a rapid bus line that goes between Deák Ferenc tér in the very centre of Budapest, and the airport. This is a 24h service and the trip takes between 30-50 minutes. 

You can buy your ticket at the ticket machine or online through the app called BudapestGo. Please pay attention when buying your ticket, since this bus line has a special pricing – the normal public transportation ticket is not valid on 100E. Choose the airport bus ticket that costs 2,200 HUF.

 

The regular bus service:

As you exit the terminal, head to the bus stops and get on the bus line 200E, which takes you all the way to Kőbánya-Kispest metro stop, where you can change to metro line M3, that in turn takes you directly to the city centre, stopping also at Deák Ferenc tér. Pay attention, since you have to change from a bus to a metro, you will need either two single tickets, or a 90-minute ticket, which is available only via a smart phone through the BudapestGo app and no paper-based equivalent exists. The 90-minute ticket is required to be validated upon boarding by scanning the code sticker. An active internet connection is required to use the mobile ticket.

 

HOW TO GET AROUND THE CITY

On foot

The city centre of Budapest is absolutely walkable, be it for a leisurely stroll along the river bank or a longer excursion in a neighbourhood to get the feel of the city. Some streets are for pedestrian traffic only, on others there are pavements on both sides. If you cross a bike lane, make sure to look in both directions, Budapest cyclists tend to be fast and somewhat aggressive, especially if you are in the wrong. Also, it is important to know that jaywalking is punishable by a hefty fine, so keep an eye out for both traffic, and policemen!

 

  • By public transport

Budapest has a very efficient and well-organized public transportation system. There is also a night public transport service comprised of bus lines that begin with the number 9.  Tickets, daily travel cards and passes are valid for all vehicles: buses, metros, trams, trolleybuses and HÉV (suburban railway). It is important to note that the single tickets are valid for a single, non-stop journey, except on the metro network, where no new ticket is required for transfers between metro lines.

Be aware that the public transport company, BKK has introduced a front-door boarding only policy on several bus and trolleybus lines, in order that we could filter out fare evaders. On such lines only the front door can be used for boarding the vehicles in order that the drivers could check the validity period of passengers’ tickets, passes or travel IDs. So if the bus stops but the middle and back doors are not opening immediately, start to head to the front door. On these vehicles you’ll see: Felszállás az első ajtón written on the display.

The regular one-way ticket costs 350 HUF. If you plan to use public transportation more frequently, consider to buy a travel card – the 24-hour travel card costs 2,500 HUF, and the 72-hour travel card is 5,500 HUF. If you are so lucky to stay even longer, you might want to consider buying a Budapest Card, which provides you with free or reduced museum and spa entrance. For the prices of all types of daily travel cards, please click here.

 

Where to get your ticket:

Budapest’s public transport system operates as a pre-purchase system. We recommend that you buy your ticket or pass in advance.

You can purchase tickets through the BudapestGO app (an active internet connection is required to use mobile tickets!), and in addition to the purple ticket vending machines, you can also use BKK ticket offices and customer service centres along with our retailers to obtain tickets – on the bkk.hu/pontkereso website and in the BudapestGO app, you can find all these locations easily on a map.

Plan your route:

Although scheduled departure times appear in Google Maps as you search your route, you might want to download the BudapestGo app for a more seamless journey. This is particularly useful, as the satellite system tracks the live location of each vehicle as well as the traffic situation, and therefore it may save you from unnecessary idling in bus stops.

The web version is available also in English

Download the app from here

 

Know before you go:

How to validate the different ticket types:

  • Paper tickets: use the validating machine – it will stamp a code on the ticket or punch a hole.
  • Digital tickets: scan the code stickers, which you will find at the entrance of the metro on the front of the paper-ticket validators and outside by the doors on street-level transport. Time-based tickets must always be validated when you board a different vehicle.
  • Daily travelcards and passes: no validation required.

Be sure to validate your ticket as you enter the underground if you take the metro, or look for the little metal ticket validator machines on board buses and trams. Some of these are electronic, and a flash of light shows that your ticket has been validated, but watch out for the old-fashioned ones! If you don’t see a green light, you have to physically pull down the lever after inserting your ticket to punch a hole in it. If you don’t do this, your ticket will be invalid, and you may have to pay a fine of 12 000 HUF if you come across an inspector. Inspectors wear a purple BKK arm-band, and being a foreigner will not get you out of paying the fine on the spot, so it’s better to always validate your ticket.

 

Additional useful links:

More info on the Budapest public transport system

Info on all tickets and passes on the website of BKK

Practical guide to Budapest public transport in English

  • By taxi

There is no Uber service in Budapest, if you’d like to use an app to hail a cab, Bolt is your best bet.

Unfortunately, it happens quite often in Budapest that taxi drivers overcharge foreigners. Therefore, although it’s possible to just wave down a taxi on the street, it is always better to call a trustworthy company, and order your taxi via their call centre. Another advantage of doing so is that you will have no difficulty placing your order in English, and you can also ask for a cost estimate. Note: if you’d like to pay by card, you should signal this when you order your car. The legal taxi companies use fixed fares.

The following companies are 100% reliable:

– Főtaxi: +36-1-222-2222 https://fotaxi.hu/en/passengers/taxi-application/

– City Taxi: +36-1-211-1111 https://citytaxi.hu/en/home/

6×6 Taxi: +36 1 666 6666

Tele5Taxi: +36-1 8-555-555

Taxi4: +36 1 444-4444

 

  • Bike rental

– MolBubi https://molbubi.hu/en/prices/

– Donkey https://www.donkey.bike/pricing/

  • Electric rollers

– Lime https://help.li.me/hc/en-us
– TIER https://www.tier.app/en/

  • Electric car

– GreenGo https://greengo.com/hu/index-en

  • Parking
    During weekdays between 8:00-22:00, parking in the streets behind the university campus costs 600 HUF/hour and can take maximum three hours (there are are possible parking places in Puskin utca, Szentkirályi utca, Trefort utca, and even in Magyar utca, opposite of our venue). You can use the parking machines on the street, but please note that they only accept coins. The ticket must be placed in the car in a visible place. An alternative is to use the app called Simple (https://simple.hu/parkolas). In other districts the prices can be different! At the weekend and at night, parking is for free.

Sightseeing

Budapest is a majestic and vibrant city with tons of interesting places to see and things to experience. If you have the time, it is worth experiencing its geographical diversity, from the Buda hills, the banks of the Danube and Margaret Island to the bustling downtown Pest area. Both sides of the city – Buda and Pest, connected by bridges and separated by the Danube river – offers a distinct experience and glimpse into history. In this section we would like to give you some ideas and a few links to get you started with planning some sightseeing.

ITINERARIES

Ready-to-use itineraries with the highlights for 1 day and for those with more time for 2, 3 and 5 days – also great to handpick your favourite places for your own plan.

  • 1 day

https://www.solosophie.com/one-day-in-budapest/

https://www.thegeographicalcure.com/post/one-day-in-budapest-itinerary

  • More days

https://welovebudapest.com/en/article/2015/2/2/what-to-do-with-2-3-or-5-days-in-budapest

  • List of top sights

https://www.budapestinfo.hu/en/top-sights

 

ARCHITECTURE

When it comes to architecture, Budapest is practically a living museum of some of the most prominent eras of architectural history in Europe. The city’s diverse architecture spans Roman ruins and award-winning contemporary buildings, with plenty of treasures in between. If you like walking around and thus get the feeling of a place, these incredible buildings will be a feast for your eyes 🙂

https://budapestflow.com/guide-budapest-architecture/

https://www.offbeatbudapest.com/budapest-city-guide/best-architecture-highlights/

 

STREET ART

Budapest, already known for its bohemian atmosphere, electric nightlife, tasty cuisine and laidback cafe culture attitude, is now becoming known for something new – it’s fantastic street art scene, fueled by the work of local and international artists popping up on just about every spare wall the city has going. From grandiose murals through cute mini statues to funny paste-ups combining pop cultural references with a Hungarian twist there’s a lot to discover!

https://budapestflow.com/budapest-street-art-map/

https://budapestflow.com/hidden-mini-statues-budapest/

THERMAL BATHS

No other capital city in the world has as many thermal baths as Budapest. First the Romans and later the Turks used baths built on thermal springs here. The many natural springs found throughout the city are its natural treasures, producing waters that help us to stay healthy, as they can be used to treat numerous ailments. This is the perfect after festival program for Monday 😉

  • Official website of Budapest Spas – to check prices, opening hours etc. 

https://www.spasbudapest.com/

  • Descriptions to help you choose your favourite

https://www.budapestinfo.hu/en/baths-1

https://www.offbeatbudapest.com/budapest-city-guide/best-thermal-baths/

https://www.jagsetter.com/travel-blogs/the-best-thermal-baths-in-budapest-2020/

GASTRONOMY

The Budapest gastro scene is vast, so we don’t even try to give an overlook here. Ruin bars and cafes (both historical and speciality) are something the city is famous for though, so we would encourage you to experience these.

A good ice cream during a summer festival is simply a must, and a few tips on where to eat traditional Hungarian food also can come in handy.

  • Traditional Hungarian cuisine

https://welovebudapest.com/en/toplist/gastro-restaurant-hungarian-cuisine-classics-goulash-chicken-paprikash

  • Restaurants with a nice garden

https://welovebudapest.com/en/toplist/gastro-the-best-hidden-gardens-in-budapest-2023

  • Ice cream places

https://welovebudapest.com/en/toplist/gastro-best-ice-cream-budapest-2023

  • Ruin bars

https://www.thecommonwanderer.com/blog/budapest-ruin-bars-guide

https://welovebudapest.com/en/toplist/nightlife-underground-bar-pub-budapest-party-district

  • Cafes

https://www.budapestbylocals.com/historic-budapest-coffee-houses/

https://www.offbeatbudapest.com/top10/best-specialty-coffee-places-budapest