Getting Around Budapest
The best ways to get around Budapest are on foot and by public transit. The city's neighborhoods are extremely walkable, and you'll be able to admire the historic architecture as you stroll. But when it comes to getting across town, rely on Budapest's extensive network of public buses, trams, and metro lines. Should you be making your way home from a night out, avoid getting lost by simply taking a taxi.
If you're flying into town, the city is serviced by Budapest Ferihegy International Airport (BUD), roughly 15 miles southeast of downtown. Taxis are the quickest way to get from the airport to your hotel, but they are also the most expensive—expect to pay about 5000 HUF (about $23 USD) for a ride. The Airport Minibus Service is cheaper, but makes up to seven pick-ups en route. The cheapest yet most time-consuming mode of transportation from the airport to the city is the airport bus (BKV Plusz Reptér Busz) which terminates at the Kobánya-Kispest metro station and costs 320 HUF (about $1.50 USD). Another popular option to arrive is via train, many of them making the three-hour connection through Vienna. Budapest has three main train stations, so make sure to plan accordingly. For a unique way of getting to the city, why not take a trip on the Hydrofoil boat from Vienna? It operates between April and October and is a scenic six-hour trip on the Danube River.
There is only one way to effectively see the vibrant life and population of this city, and that is walking through its streets. The entertaining pedestrian traffic can even garner its own photographs. And bonus: many of the city's sites are within walking distance of each other. Just make sure to have a map handy!
With various forms of efficient public transport, Budapest feels a lot smaller than it is. Spring for a taxicab when convenient, but avoid renting a car. Driving here tends to be stressful and more hassle than it's worth.
Budapest's transportation system, called BKV Zrt, offers cheap and efficient bus, tram, and metro services throughout the city. Make sure to validate your tickets before you get on the metro and as soon as you get on buses and trams, as plain-clothed inspectors can show up out of nowhere, and the fines for not validating can be pretty hefty. Get your tickets ahead of time at a metro station or at a newsstand, as you're not guaranteed to find them for sale onboard. One-way tickets cost between 260 and 400 HUF (roughly $1.20 to $1.80 USD).
Taxicabs are widely available for those few occasions where public transport won't be convenient. Make sure you are getting in a legitimate taxi—one with a yellow license plate, a yellow taxi sign, and an ID badge on the dashboard—as there are many stories of unauthorized taxi drivers hustling naïve tourists. To avoid possible scams, do as the Budapesti do and call ahead for a taxi. Fares tend to be cheaper this way, anyway.
Entry & Exit Requirements
Citizens of the United States and Canada are required to have passports, but visas aren't necessary for stays that last less than 90 days. There are no exit requirements. Visit the U.S. State Department's website for the latest information on foreign exit and entry requirements.