How to get to downtown Budapest from the airport
Over recent years, it is becoming increasingly easier to reach the heart of Hungary’s capital from Budapest Airport, whether taking public transportation or utilizing private door-to-door transfer services. We offer the following guide with options suitable for all budgets, including photos of exactly what you’ll see immediately after clearing customs.
Your plane to Budapest Airport will arrive into terminals 2A or 2B in adjacent buildings. Terminal 1 is now closed.
Immediately after customs in either Terminal 2A or 2B, a booth in Arrivals offers “Information and tickets” from Budapest’s BKK public-transportation network. Here you can buy all types of tickets and passes – see below for more details.
The booth also serves as an outlet for purchasing the Budapest Card, providing unlimited use of city transport along with admission to museums and a thermal bath, free tours, and various discounts. If you are only traveling to your hotel and do not plan to go out much afterwards, it’s best to wait to take full advantage of the 24-, 48-, or 72-hour time limit that begins with its first use. You’ll also find an ATM inside the terminal.
Exiting terminal 2, you see a line of people waiting by the taxi kiosk. Taxis are run by the cartel of Főtaxi and other ones cannot be used. See below Taxi Service.
Just beyond the taxi booth, a crowd will be milling around a bus stop and another ticket machine next to it. The machine, with an English-language option, accepts cash (in Hungarian forints) and credit cards, and gives change.
The two buses here require different tickets. Swifter but less frequent bus 100E requires a 900-forint (3-euro) ticket – look out for the airplane logo on the machine.
This runs every 30 minutes directly into town, calling at Kálvin tér, Astoria and Deák tér, all close to each other in the city center. The last bus sets off at 12:30am and the driver usually waits for stragglers. Allow about 30-40 minutes’ journey time into town at night, nearer to an hour during the day.
The alternative is to take the 200E bus as far as the Ferihegy rail station opposite old Terminal 1, about halfway to Kőbánya-Kispest, then jump on a regular train to Nyugati Station in town, a journey of 20 minutes. There is a ticket machine on the station platform. A standard one-way ticket is 370 HUF but some services are InterCity ones and require a supplement. The ticket machine allows you to specify which train you intend to take. Using the train might make more sense on your journey back to the airport, when you can pick up the 200E about ten minutes to the airport. Again, specify which train you intend to travel with.
If you’re traveling to the airport from town early in the morning, the first 100E bus leaves Deák tér at 4am, calling at Astoria and Kálvin tér shortly afterwards. A line forms around each bus stop, patrolled by BKK inspectors who also check that you’re holding the 900-forint airplane-logo’d ticket and not the standard 350-forint one. You should arrive at the airport by 5am, probably even 4:45am.
Providing door-to-door transfer services, the shuttle service is one of the most popular ways to travel from Budapest Airport to anywhere in Hungary’s capital. Transfers can be booked with miniBUD. With an extensive fleet of modern minibuses offering shared rides, the staff amasses several passengers that are traveling to the same area of the city and then drops them off in the most convenient order possible. Because of this, it can actually take longer to reach a destination with this service than it takes to use public transportation, but the convenience of not having to handle luggage on the bus and metro can be well worth the extra expense and time. Check out the official miniBUD website for fare information and details.
From 2017, Luxembourg-based company flibco.com has been offering direct bus-transfer services between downtown Budapest and the airport with a departure frequency of every 30 minutes round the clock. The bus stops at several transport hubs citywide, including at Deák Square, at Népliget Bus Station, and at Nyugati, Keleti, and Déli railway stations; a one-way trip costs 9 euros per person.
Other taxi companies operate at Budapest Airport, with plenty of dodgy individuals awaiting fresh visitors in the arrivals area with grunted offers of taxi service, but utilizing their services invites unpredictable outcomes for your pocketbook.
Check out the official airport website for more information about transportation to and from Budapest Airport.