yellow tram on a clear day in Budapest

How to Use Budapest Public Transport Like a Pro

Navigating the extensive Budapest public transport network is a breeze, thanks to the city’s highly efficient system. Budapest Közlekedési Központ (BKK) operates the network, which includes metro lines, trams, buses, and even boats in the summer. Keep reading for everything you need to know, including popular routes, fares, accessibility and safety.

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Tickets and Passes

Before we get onto the transport itself, there are a variety of tickets and passes to look into. We recommend that you look into buying a Budapest Card. It offers free public transport across the whole city, with options for 24, 48 and 72 hour passes. It also includes free admission to many popular museums and attractions. You can check out some of the options for Budapest Cards on the Tiqets website here.

If you aren’t interested in the attractions offered with the card, then you can also purchase travelcards lasting from 1 to 5 days. You can find information about the cards, including types and prices, on the BKK website here.


Single tickets, valid for a single journey, cost 450 HUF, or you can buy a block of ten single tickets for 4000 HUF. The same tickets can be used for metro, tram and bus journeys, and can be bought at metro stations, newsagents, vending machines, or online. Remember to validate your ticket as soon as you board the tram or bus to avoid potential fines from transport officers.

The fares of the HÉV trains depend on the distance and the zone of travel. Within the administrative border of Budapest, the local tariff is valid, which means that you can use the same tickets and passes as for other modes of transport. Outside the border, you’ll need to buy separate tickets or passes that are based on the number of stops or kilometres. 

A single ferry ticket (valid for one ride) costs 170 HUF, and discounts are available for students and pensioners. Be aware that you’ll need to buy an extra ticket if travelling with a bike or a dog.

To ride the funicular, an adult return ticket costs 4000 HUF, while a children’s return ticket costs 2000 HUF. Children under 3 travel for free, but pensioner and other discounts don’t apply (as they do for other forms of transport).

MOL Bubi bikes cost 40 HUF per minute on a Pay As You Go rate. If you live in Hungary/have a Hungarian address, you can buy monthly or yearly passes, which are significantly cheaper.

Fares for the night service are the same as during the day, and you can use the same tickets and passes. If you don’t have a ticket, you can buy one from the driver when boarding the bus, or from a transport officer. Be aware that tickets bought on board will be around 600 HUF, as opposed to 450 HUF if bought in advance.

Accessibility on Budapest public transport

Although there’s still progress to be made, Budapest has made solid efforts to improve accessibility in recent years. Various modes of public transport offer accessibility features to accommodate individuals with mobility challenges. The city has buses, trolleybuses, trams, metro lines, suburban trains, and boats that are equipped with ramps, low-floor entrances, audio and visual announcements, and tactile paving. 

We’ll include information throughout the article on specific accessibility features for each mode of transport. BKK, the company that operates the public transport system, also provides information and guidance for passengers with reduced mobility, sensory impairment, autism, or mental disability. 

For more information, you can consult the BKK website for a detailed guide to accessibility on Budapest’s public transport. Follow this link to their accessibility page. The website also has a route planner, which may be helpful in planning your journey if you have accessibility needs.


Budapest’s metro system is the quickest way to travel around the city and its suburbs, with four metro lines covering both Buda and Pest. Each line has a distinct colour and number, and connects with other public transport modes, such as buses, trams, boats and HÉV.

Metro Line 1 (yellow)

This is the oldest and shortest metro line in Budapest, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It runs from Vörösmarty tér to Mexikói út, passing beneath Andrássy Avenue, where you can find the Opera House, the House of Terror Museum, and Heroes’ Square. At the end of the line is City Park, where you can also visit the Széchenyi Thermal Bath and the Budapest Zoo.

Metro Line 2 (red)

This line crosses the Danube river and connects the Buda and Pest sides of the city. It runs from Déli pályaudvar to Örs vezér tere, stopping at important stations such as Batthyány tér, where you can see the Parliament and the Danube panorama; Deák Ferenc tér, where you can transfer to the yellow and blue metro lines; and Puskás Ferenc Stadion, where you can find the Puskás Arena.

Metro Line 3 (blue)

This is the longest and busiest metro line in Budapest, running from Újpest-Központ to Kőbánya-Kispest. It serves many residential and industrial areas, as well as some cultural and historical sites, such as the Lehel Market, the WestEnd City Centre, the Corvin Quarter, and the Museum of Applied Arts. You can also reach the Budapest Airport by taking a bus from the end of the line.

Metro Line 4 (green)

This is the newest and most modern metro line in Budapest, operating since 2014. It runs from Kelenföld vasútállomás to Keleti pályaudvar, passing through the Buda side of the city. It stops at some of the most popular attractions, such as Gellért Hill and Central Market Hall.

Metro accessibility

With regards to accessibility, Metro Line 4 is fully wheelchair-accessible with elevators available at all stations, and stations also have tactile paving and audible signals.

However, the older metro lines have limited accessibility, with only a few stations equipped with elevators, and there are also gaps between the platform and the trains. Wheelchair users should plan their routes accordingly, taking into account the accessibility of each station.

tram in Budapest
Budapest tram


Budapest’s iconic trams offer a scenic and street-level tour of the city. They cover most of downtown Pest and Buda, and are usually faster than buses.

Tram 2, known as one of the most beautiful tram routes in Europe, follows the Danube banks on the Pest side, providing stunning views of the Hungarian Parliament and Castle Hill.

Meanwhile, trams 19 and 41 both run alongside the river on the Buda Side. Trams 4 and 6 link Buda and Pest, crossing the Grand Boulevard in Pest, and Tram 6 is operational on a 24 hour basis.

Trams 4 and 6 are step-free and accessible for wheelchairs. However, many other tram lines have steps between the street and the tram, making them very difficult for those with mobility challenges.

Some trams may have ramps, but unfortunately, you should be prepared for older trams not to have accessibility features. Those trams that are accessible for people with mobility issues also have designated seats.


Buses and electric trolleybuses provide extensive coverage throughout Budapest, including the outer suburbs. Serving more than 200 routes, buses run daily from 4am to 11:30pm, with some night buses operating after midnight. Trolleybuses link downtown Pest with neighbourhoods beyond the Grand Boulevard (Nagykörút in Hungarian).

Buses are a good option for reaching the Buda Hills or the Castle District, with buses 16 and 16A taking you to the castle and buses 21 and 21A going to Normafa, a popular area for parks and hiking trails.

The number 210 is also a great option, taking you from Normafa on the Buda side of the city, through the Castle District, over the river, and down Andrássy to City Park.

Most new buses in Budapest are wheelchair-accessible, with drivers able to lower the bus and extend a ramp to assist passengers with mobility issues. There are also designated seats on the buses, so travellers with wheelchairs can use most bus lines with ease. However, some older buses may not have these features, and some bus stops may have uneven surfaces or obstacles.

Budapest Hop On Hop Off bus

If you want to explore the city in a more flexible way, you can also use the Budapest Hop On Hop Off bus. The sightseeing service offers audio guides in 16 languages, a free river cruise on the Danube, and optional walking tours.

The Hop On Hop Off bus stops at all the major attractions of the city, such as the Parliament Building, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Chain Bridge, Buda Castle, Heroes’ Square, City Park, and the Citadel. You can hop on and off the bus at any of the stops using the same ticket. It operates all week, from 9am to 5pm, and departs every fifteen minutes. 

Use of the Hop On Hop Off bus is included with the Budapest Card. If you don’t want to buy the Budapest Card, then fares range from 36 to 46 euros depending on the length of the card (24, 48 or 72 hours).

Suburban Trains (HÉV)

The suburban train network, known as HÉV, is ideal for day trips from Budapest to nearby towns. They’re operated by MÁV-HÉV, a subsidiary of the Hungarian State Railways. The HÉV trains run on the following routes:

  • H5: Batthyány tér – Szentendre
  • H6: Közvágóhíd – Ráckeve
  • H7: Boráros tér – Csepel
  • H8: Örs vezér tere – Gödöllő
  • H9: Örs vezér tere – Csömör

The accessibility of the HÉV trains varies depending on the stations and trains. Some stations have ramps, lifts, tactile paving, and audible signals to assist the passengers with disabilities or special needs.

However, some stations may have uneven surfaces, steep slopes, or obstacles that are not marked. Some trains have low-floor entrances, while others have steep steps or gaps, making them challenging for individuals with mobility issues. 

If possible, passengers with accessibility requirements are advised to check the conditions of the stations and trains before planning their trip. You can also contact MÁV-HÉV by phone or email for accessibility information. Their contact page, as well as information about timetables, routes, and fares of the HÉV trains, can be found on the MÁV-HÉV website by following this link.

Boat Services

Boat services are a scenic and convenient way to travel along the Danube river, connecting various stops along the banks. They offer panoramic views of the city and its landmarks, while also avoiding the traffic and crowds. While not the fastest mode of transportation, boat services provide a budget-friendly option for sightseeing from the water.

BKK currently offers the D14 Ferry Line across the Danube, operating between Csepel-Királyerdő and Soroksár, Molnár-sziget piers. It operates on weekdays from 7am to 8pm, and on weekends from 7:30am to 8pm.

You can also book sightseeing cruises, some of which include drinks, dinner and folk shows. Check out some of the options on Get Your Guide if you’d like to explore Budapest’s landmarks from the water.

According to the BKK, ferries are wheelchair-accessible. Boat service stations are also wheelchair-accessible, with ramps and lifts to help passengers board and disembark the ferries. However, some stations have uneven surfaces or steep slopes which may be unsuitable for wheelchair users and those with mobility issues, particularly during winter when it’s icy. Passengers should check weather conditions, and if possible travel with someone who can assist them.

For passengers with visual impairments, some stations have tactile paving and audible signals. However, not all stations offer these features, and some may have unmarked hazards. It’s advisable to travel with someone who can assist you, use a cane or ask staff or other passengers for assistance if needed. River boat services are also guide dog friendly.

Budapest Funicular

The Budapest funicular, also known as the Budavári Sikló, is a cable railway connecting the Chain Bridge to the Castle Hill. It was opened in 1870, making it the second oldest funicular in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It operates daily from 8am to 10pm, with a journey time of around 95 seconds. 

The funicular is a convenient and scenic way to reach the Castle District, which is home to some of the most popular attractions in Budapest, such as Buda Castle, Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, and the National Gallery. 

You can also enjoy the historical and artistic design of the funicular stations and the two passenger cars, named Gellért and Margit. They each have three-tiered cabins, with a capacity of 24 passengers.

The funicular is accessible for people with disabilities, with ramps and lifts at both stations. However, you need to follow some rules when using the funicular, such as not bringing large luggage, bicycles, or pets, and not smoking or eating on board. You should also be aware that you aren’t allowed to board with ice creams or open drinks cans.

MOL Bubi bikes

MOL Bubi bikes are a public bike-sharing service in Budapest, offering quick and eco-friendly travel. The MOL Bubi app allows you to register, buy a pass or pay as you go, check the number of available bikes, and unlock the bikes by scanning a QR code. There are thousands of bikes available across the city, and hundreds of stations at which to pick them up and drop them off.

The Pest side of the city is best for exploring on a bike, as well as the numerous parks and gardens. City Park, Margaret Island and Normafa (on the Buda side) are all fun to explore on two wheels, particularly during summer.

The Castle District and Gellért Hill are more challenging and less accessible to cyclists. You should also be careful of traffic and road conditions when cycling in Budapest, and avoid cycling in bad weather.

Budapest green  MOL Bubi bikes
MOL Bubi bikes

Night Services

The Budapest public transport network offers a night service, consisting of Tram 6 and a number of buses. It’s mainly used by workers during the week, and by young partygoers at the weekends.

Budapest tram line 6 is the only tram line that operates round the clock in the city, providing a convenient and frequent service for the night owls. It runs along the Grand Boulevard, connecting Buda and Pest. Some of the popular stops at night are Oktogon, where you can find many bars and clubs; Nyugati Railway Station, where you can transfer to night buses; and Jászai Mari Square, where you can enjoy views of the Parliament Building and the Danube.

Night buses run from 11:00 p.m. to 4:30 a.m., with some lines operating more frequently on weekends. Some of the popular night bus routes are:

  • 914: This line passes through the inner districts of Pest. It stops at important stations such as Lehel tér, Deák Ferenc tér and Astoria.
  • 923: This line connects the Buda and Pest sides of the city, running along the Grand Boulevard and crossing the Danube at the Margaret Bridge. It stops at major hubs such as Nyugati Railway Station and Ferenciek Square.
  • 950: This line passes through the outer districts of Pest and Buda. It stops at Gellért Hill, Astoria and the Puskás Arena.

Ride-Sharing Apps and Taxis

For late-night rides or convenient transportation, ride-sharing apps such as Bolt provide a reliable and efficient option. They’re particularly popular if you want to avoid the hassle of learning to navigate public transport. However, there are some differences and advantages between them that you should know before choosing your mode of transport.

Ride-sharing apps like Bolt are similar to Uber or Lyft, except that they use licensed taxi drivers. You can order a ride to your desired destination through their app, which shows the estimated fare and arrival time. Bolt is great option if you don’t speak any Hungarian, as you won’t need to negotiate the fare or give directions.

Ride-sharing apps are usually cheaper and more convenient than regular taxis, as you don’t need to hail them on the street or negotiate the price. However, they may not be available in some areas or at peak times, and you may have to wait longer for your ride.

Taxis, on the other hand, are more traditional and reliable, as you can find them easily in most parts of the city. You can also call them directly or use their own apps, such as Főtaxi or City Taxi.

Taxis are more expensive than ride-sharing apps, as they charge by the meter and may add extra fees for luggage, night time, or airport trips. However, they are faster and safer, as they have priority lanes and professional drivers.

Taxi accessibility

Accessibility is an important factor for people with disabilities or special needs who want to use ride-sharing apps or taxis in Budapest. Unfortunately, wheelchair-accessible taxis are not commonplace in Budapest.

Ride-sharing apps such as Bolt don’t offer any special options for wheelchair users or visually impaired customers. Therefore, people with disabilities or special needs often face difficulties or discrimination when trying to use ride-sharing apps or taxis in Budapest. They may have to wait longer, pay more, or be refused service by some drivers.

Rental Cars

Renting a car in Budapest is primarily recommended for day trips and exploring the countryside. Companies like Discover Cars and Qeeq offer vehicle rentals, and BikesBooking offers motorcycle rentals. You can collect cars/bikes from the airport, or at various points around the city.

However, due to the efficient public transport system and pedestrian-friendly streets, renting a car isn’t necessary for exploring Budapest itself. The only reason it may be more convenient to rent a vehicle is if travelling with someone with mobility issues. As mentioned above, Budapest doesn’t have many wheelchair-friendly taxi options, so renting an accessible vehicle could really make the difference to your trip.

If you do wish to drive in Budapest, you need a valid driver’s license and an international driving permit if your license isn’t in English or Hungarian. You’ll also need a bank card and a passport to rent a car.

It’s important to be aware of the driving laws and customs in Budapest. For starters, if you want to explore the surrounding areas you’ll need a vignette, which is a sticker that allows you to drive on certain motorways. You can buy these online or at gas stations.

The speed limit is 50 km/h in urban areas, 90 km/h on main roads, and 130 km/h on motorways. You must follow the traffic signs, such as the yellow and white diamond-shaped signs that indicate the right of way. Most importantly, never drink and drive, as the blood alcohol limit is zero.

Challenges of driving in Budapest

You should be prepared for the challenges of driving and parking in Budapest. The city is often congested, especially during rush hour and on weekends. Road works, narrow streets, one-way systems and tram lines are common difficulties to encounter. You also need to be careful of pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers, who may not always follow the rules.

Most road and traffic signs are in Hungarian, although certain symbols and pictograms should be easily understandable, for example, signs for speed limits. Some signs have English translations, such as the signs for the airport and signs for hotels and major attractions. You’ll need to learn common road signs before you start driving in Budapest and the surrounding areas.

Parking can be difficult and expensive, as there are different zones and fees depending on the location and time of day. You can use the BKK route planner (available on their website) to find the best parking options. 

Tips and Safety on Budapest Public Transport

Public transport in Budapest is generally safe and reliable, and is regularly patrolled by transport officers employed by the BKK. However, as in any city when using public transport, there are some risks that travellers should be aware of. Bear in mind the following:

  • Pickpocketing can happen during busy periods such as rush hour or when the city is hosting popular events. Don’t leave your belongings unattended, and try not to check your pockets in public. Checking your pockets in public lets pickpockets know where you’re keeping things like your phone and wallet. If possible, keep valuables in an inside pocket, or in a bag worn across your body (and keep it in front of you where you can see it).
  • You should avoid unlicensed taxis, and try to agree on a fare before starting the journey. This usually depends on how well you can communicate in Hungarian, or how well the taxi driver can communicate in your language. Taxi apps like Bolt are a good way to avoid any misunderstandings arising from language barriers.
  • Occasional strikes by transport workers are possible. This one is difficult to avoid, so the best you can do is keep up to date with the latest news before and during your trip.
  • When using the buses at night, you should sit as close as possible to the driver, or in the first tram car when using the tram. If you have any difficulties, alert the driver, or a transport officer if there’s one on board.

By following these simple precautions, you can enjoy the convenience and affordability of public transport in Budapest without compromising on safety.

If you require emergency assistance in Budapest, dial 112 to contact emergency services.

Final thoughts on using the Budapest public transport system

Budapest has a safe, reliable and wide-reaching public transport network. The accessibility improvements made in recent years have made huge strides in inclusivity, and the system, overall, is now one of the best in Central and Eastern Europe.

As well as the information in this article, you may find our articles Best of Budapest: A Comprehensive Guide to the Top Things to Do and Best ways to explore Budapest useful for planning a trip to the city. If you’re already in Budapest, let us know in the comments how your visit is going so far!

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