The Ultimate Public Transportation Guide to Budapest

In Budapest, history meets modernity with remarkable results. As such, there are many things to see and do scattered across our home city, from the diverse wonders of City Park in the mostly flat Pest to the stunning views from Gellért Hill in hilly Buda. The more time you spend planning your trip to Budapest, the longer your list of must-visit places will become!

But how will you get to them all? What is Budapest’s public transportation system like? That’s where this guide comes in! At E-Magine, we’re not only locals, but also leaders in guided e-scooter tours in Budapest and Budapest e-scooter rentals. You can rest assured, we know all the best places and how to get to them!

We’ve used our local knowledge and insights to write this ultimate public transport guide to Budapest. Scroll down to find out more about how to get around our city — and if any questions come to mind as you read, please just contact us for the answers you need.

Zendaya and Tom Holland on an All In Budapest e-scooter tour in 2022 with E-Magine Tours Budapest

Introducing Our MonsteRoller E-Scooter Tours in Budapest

OK, so our Budapest e-scooter tours aren’t technically public transport, but they’re the best way to see our city’s highlights quickly while having fun. And best of all, a knowledgeable local guide will lead you through beautiful streets, picturesque parks, and along the banks of the Danube, providing a truly immersive experience.

We have crafted our range of tours to cover as many interests as possible. We even have a Budapest Night Tour, so you can experience the magic of riding through the city when it’s quieter and lit by the gorgeous glow of streetlamps! And with our Custom Private Tours in Budapest, we can tailor an unforgettable excursion exclusively for you.

If you prefer independent travel, look no further than our Budapest e-scooter rentals. You can rent one of our safe and sturdy MonsteRollers for one, two, or three hours, or even all day — and you don’t need a driver’s license to ride it either (the same applies for guided tours too).

Find out for yourself what makes MonsteRoller e-scooters the fastest, most convenient, and most enjoyable way to explore Budapest. Check out the best scooter tours in Budapest when have finished here to find out more!

The Szent Gellért Tér metro station in Budapest, Hungary with its colourful mosaic design.

Download the BudapestGO App!

Before we go any further, let us make one important recommendation — download the BudapestGO app! This is the go-to app for journey planning, purchasing tickets, and real-time schedules. It’s available in an English language version too! The app will be your digital companion, making navigating Budapest’s public transportation network easier.

When using the app, remember to scan your QR code BEFORE boarding your vehicle!

Please note that you cannot purchase tickets for trains in the app. You have to buy these at ticket machines or ticket offices in railway stations.

Getting Around Using the Budapest Metro

The Budapest Metro, inaugurated in 1896, holds the title of being the first underground railway system in continental Europe. With four lines serving the city, the metro is a fast and convenient way to zip between major landmarks.

Line 1 (yellow), the oldest in the city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, takes you along the iconic Andrássy Avenue, connecting Heroes’ Square with the city centre. Lines 2 (red) and 3 (blue) form the backbone of the metro system, crisscrossing the city and reaching key hubs like Deák Ferenc tér, where they intersect. Line 4 (green), the newest addition completed in 2014, provides swift access to the eastern and western parts of the city.

You can purchase metro tickets at machines in the stations, at the few existing ticket offices (such as Keleti railway station), or in the BudapestGO app. You must validate your ticket before entering the platform and your train, and keep it until your journey has ended.

When it comes to ticket types, you can choose from:

  • Single Ticket
  • 30-Minute Ticket
  • 90-Minute Ticket
  • Travelcards (24-, 28-, or 72-hour)

You can also purchase a block of 10 tickets at ticket machines only. This option isn’t just convenient as you travel around our city, it also provides a saving of 12% compared to 10 individual single tickets.

Find out more details about all metro ticketing options on the BKK website.

The Budapest Metro provides a reliable, cost-effective service for getting around our city. However, the primary drawback for visitors is that you’re underground while travelling. This means that you miss out on seeing Budapest’s beauty and stumbling on hidden gems.

Travelling on Budapest Buses

With over 200 lines, Budapest’s bus network offers extensive coverage, reaching even the most remote corners of the city. Our city’s buses are blue, although you can also find red trolleybuses operating in Pest.

In reality, most tourists don’t need to board a bus to explore the historic centre and all the cool and unusual things to do in Budapest. However, it’s worth noting that the 200E bus connects Ferenc Liszt Airport to the final stop at one end of Line 3 — Kobanya Kispest. This is a cost-effective and easy way to transfer to the city centre when you first arrive in Budapest. We cover the Airport Express below!

Unlike the metro, buses provide windows to admire the views, and they’re a great way to experience a slice of local life. Buses are punctual and frequent during the day; after around 11:30 pm, a night bus service (buses numbered in the 900s) begins.

Riding the Iconic Trams in Budapest

The famous yellow trams trundling through the streets of Budapest offer a picturesque way to explore the city. With over 40 tram lines, you can glide along the Danube, passing by architectural marvels and soaking in panoramic views.

Trams 2, 4, and 6 are particularly popular among tourists. The number 2 offers a scenic route along the banks of the Danube on the Pest side of the river. It passes the Hungarian Parliament Building and the Chain Bridge while offering views of Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, and more across the river. Trams 4 and 6 run along the Grand Boulevard from Széll Kálmán tér to Újbuda Központ and Móricz Zsigmond Körtér, respectively. For the night owls, tram 6 operates all night.

You can validate your tram tickets using the onboard validation machines.

The yellow number 47 tram crosses the green Liberty Bridge in Budapest.

Using Taxis in Budapest

For those seeking convenience and comfort, taxis are readily available throughout Budapest. Of course, they are more expensive than using the metro, buses, and trams. Opt for reputable, licensed companies or use ride-hailing apps like Bolt for transparency and ease of payment.

While taxis are generally safe and reliable, be wary of unlicensed cabs and always confirm the fare before setting off. Ensure that your driver has started their meter before your journey begins.

How to Use Budapest’s MOL Bubi Bicycles

Like many other cities around the world, Budapest has a public bike-sharing program. Here, we have MOL Bubi. After registering online or on the app, you can find a docking station, unlock a bike and head out on a ride at your own pace. When you have finished, you must return your bike to a MOL Bubi docking station. If you leave your bike at an off-station location, you will have to pay an additional service fee.

While there’s no doubt that MOL Bubi is a healthy, eco-friendly option, the additional steps required to ride make them less convenient than our Budapest e-scooter rentals and guided e-scooter tours in Budapest.

With E-Magine’s rental option, you have true freedom to explore Budapest without the hassle and worry of having to find the nearest docking station. You also pay for your ride up front, so you don’t have to worry about the running costs while you make your way around our city.

Bright green MOL BuBi bikes standing a rack in Budapest.

The Budapest Airport Express Bus Service

Navigating from Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport to the city centre is a breeze thanks to the Airport Express bus service. Hop on bus 100E for a direct and hassle-free journey to Deák Ferenc tér, in the heart of the downtown, where you can seamlessly transfer to the metro or explore nearby attractions on foot.

The journey takes around 40 minutes. During the day throughout the week, you can expect buses to arrive around every six to 10 minutes. In the mornings and evenings, this extends to every 10 to 15 minutes, and then 30 to 40 minutes at night.

However, the Airport Express requires a separate ticket; you cannot use a regular single ticket for this journey. At the time of writing, a ticket for the airport shuttle costs 2200 HUF (around €5.50). You can buy this ticket in the BudapestGO app, at ticket machines, or the bus stop for the Airport Express.

As we near the end of our guide to public transportation in Budapest, let us point you to some further reading. Our blog Top Tips for Getting Around Both Sides of Budapest is filled with more local recommendations and insights that you will find useful in your trip planning.

See if the Budapest Card is a Good Fit for You

For unlimited access to public transportation and discounts at some museums, restaurants, and attractions, look no further than the Budapest Card. Available in 24-, 48-, 72-, 96-, and 120-hour increments, this all-in-one pass is your key to unlocking the best of Budapest while saving time and money.

You can book your card online and then pick it up at a BKK Customer Service Centre in the airport (Terminals 2A or 2B) or the Budapest Info Point in Városháza Park between 9 am and 7 pm. For even more convenience, you can also purchase your Budapest Card in the BudapestGO app.

monsteroller e-scooters riding in front of the Castle Garden Bazaar

Tips for Getting Around in Budapest

  • Always Validate Your Ticket: Before boarding public transportation, remember to validate your ticket to avoid fines. Validators are typically located near the entrances of metro stations or on board trams and buses. If using the app, scan your QR code BEFORE boarding!
  • Avoid Travelling at Rush Hour: To minimise crowds and ensure a more comfortable journey, try to avoid travelling during peak hours, especially on weekdays.
  • Keep an Eye on Your Belongings: While Budapest is a relatively safe city, exercise caution and keep your belongings secure, especially in crowded areas and on public transportation.
  • Don’t Forget to Download the BudapestGO App: With this digital companion in the palm of your hand, navigating our city becomes so much easier!

cityscape of budapest

Book Your Spot on Our Budapest E-Scooter Tours!

We hope you’ve found this ultimate public transportation guide to Budapest helpful as you prepare for your adventure in Hungary’s capital. Spots on our guided e-scooter tours in Budapest tend to sell out, so don’t miss out on the best way to explore our city and the #1 ranked outdoor activity in Budapest on Tripadvisor!

If you have any questions about our tours or Budapest e-scooter rentals, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.