With its rich history and culture, there are endless sights to see, many places to visit and a lot of things to do.
Other than being the capital of Hungary, Budapest is also the biggest city in the country. With its rich history and culture, there are endless sights to see, many places to visit and a lot of things to do. Chances to get bored in Budapest are practically nonexistent, but there is a catch – Budapest is huge. In order to visit all the places that are worth visiting, you will have to spend a lot of time and energy into getting from one part of the city to the other.
Walking everywhere is the best option, but only if you can handle it and if you are in a good shape. Otherwise, some form of transportation will be necessary. Luckily, we’ve got you covered by presenting you the best options to get around the city. You will be able to estimate what form of transport fulfills your needs best and, what’s even more important, you will be able to plan your staying accordingly. On the other hand, why plan everything when you can book a tour guide and have everything planed ahead?
Budapest has a well-developed public transport system, which includes buses, trams, trolleybuses and subway. There are more than 200 bus lines, more than 30 tram lines, 15 trolleybuses and 4 subway lines, which in total adds up to more than enough to get around with ease. Tickets for the rides must be bought before the boarding and they can be bought at metro stations, newsstands or ticket vending machines. In order to avoid lines and maybe even miss the transport, possibly the best option is to buy tickets from newsstands or vending machines.
A really great way to go sightseeing is to use the natural road – the Danube River. There are many smaller boats that will take you anywhere you desire, but since 2012 there is also a ferry service, which is useful for both residents and tourists.
However, there is only one problem with the public transport, and that is a huge number of people using it. It was estimated that around 70% of traffic in Budapest was by public transport, and tram lines no. 4 and 6 are said to be one of the busiest in the world. It doesn’t sound that great, after all.
Sometimes it’s much cheaper and easier to simply get a cab instead of trying to figure out the public transport, which is especially true late at night when public transport is much more limited. Taxi can be hailed on the street, but it’s better to call ahead as it is cheaper. You should definitely avoid getting into suspicious vehicles without proper markings, because you might get ripped off. Official, registered vehicles have ‘Taxi’ signs and logos of their company and, on top of that, their license plates are yellow instead of regular, white plates.
The best thing about taking a cab is that the prices are regulated and standardized, so if you do take an official taxi vehicle, chances that you get tricked are pretty slim. Always make sure that the taximeter is turned on. Also, if you can, take someone who knows the city with you, as it will additionally slim the chances of being cheated.
If you come to Hungary by car or you decide to rent one, you will have an interesting time trying to blend in and figuring out the traffic. Driving is on the right side, but traffic jams are frequent, which can drive you crazy (pun intended). On top of that, finding a parking spot can be extremely hard, which adds to the whole, already barely tolerable, situation.
In order to get back home in one piece and without any dents in the budget from being ticketed, there are some things you have to know. First of all, zero tolerance is enforced towards drinking and driving. Frequent checks are conducted by the police, often with the use of a breathalyzer, so save the partying for when your means of transport are your legs. Also, wearing seatbelts is mandatory and using a cell phone is strictly forbidden, unless fitted with loudspeaker or hands-free device. Speed limits vary, from 130 km/h (about 80 mph) on the motorways to only 50 km/h (around 31 mph) in towns and cities.
Probably the best and most interesting way of getting around Budapest is by bicycle. There is around 200 km of biking trails and even the city center is becoming more and more bike-friendly. However, there are more fitting areas for cycling like Buda Hills and Margaret Island which is almost entirely covered in green areas and is a great recreational place.
You can easily rent a bike in Budapest and, on top of that, you can even book a biking tour. You can take a standard tour of Budapest highlights, you can take a private tour, or you can simply rent a bike and do whatever you feel like doing. It’s your choice. Renting a bike is affordable, practical and fun, but it can be strenuous and exhausting if you are out of shape. On the other hand, maybe you can use the vacation and get in shape like you’ve always wanted.