There are a number of ways to reach the city centre from Budapest Airport, depending on your budget. The following how-to guide shows the options available, from public buses to door-to-door shuttles and taxis.

Your plane to Budapest Airport will arrive into Terminals 2A or 2B in adjacent buildings. Terminal 1 is currently not operational. Note that the train station for the airport, Ferihegy vasútállomás, is opposite this closed terminal – services run from Nyugati station and on to Cegléd and beyond, handy for provincial travellers but of little use to/from town as you're 15 minutes from Terminals 2A/2B.

At Terminal 2A or 2B, a kiosk for BKK public transport offers all types of tickets and passes – see below for more details. If the queue is long, there are also machines by the bus stops outside.

Exiting the terminal, you see a queue of people waiting by the taxi kiosk.See below Taxi services.

Public transport

Just beyond the taxi booth, a crowd will be milling around a bus stop and the ticket dispenser next to it. The machine, with an English-language option, accepts cash in Hungarian forints and credit cards. It also gives change.

The two buses here require different tickets. For the 100E that goes straight to the city centre, you need the 1,500-forint (€3.75) ticket with the plane logo on it. This runs every ten minutes, calling at Kálvin tér, Astoria and Deák Ferenc tér, all close to each other in the city centre. The last bus sets off at 1.30am and the driver usually waits for stragglers. Allow about 30 minutes’ journey time into town at night, 45 minutes during the day.

If you’re travelling to the airport from town early in the morning, the first 100E bus leaves Deák Ferenc tér at 3.30am. A disorderly queue forms around the bus stop, patrolled by BKK inspectors who also check that you have the correct ticket. Although the bus is scheduled to call at Astoria and Kálvin tér, the first morning service is generally already full at Deák tér, so either start your journey from there or wait for the next one.

The other bus stop is for the 200E, running every ten minutes but only as far as the nearest metro stop of Kőbánya-Kispest. Journey time is 20-25 minutes. The station is on the blue M3 metro line, under long-term repair.

A replacement bus service is currently in operation between Kőbánya-Kispest and town, although sections of the metro line are occasionally opened according to how renovation work is progressing.

The 200E bus between the airport and Kőbánya-Kispest/M3 replacement bus requires a standard BKK transport ticket of 350 forints, and you'll need another if you're going to change onto a tram/bus from where you alight. For all the hassle of changing onto a replacement bus, the dearer 100E makes more sense.

For both the 100E and 200E buses, enter by the front door only and show the driver your ticket before punching it into the little orange box on board. For the 100E, ticket inspectors may check before you board.

Airport shuttle

Providing door-to-door transfers, the miniBUDshuttle service is a popular way to travel from Budapest Airport to anywhere in the city. With a fleet of minibuses offering shared rides, the staff amass several passengers travelling to the same area of town, to be dropped 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 transport, but the convenience of not having to handle luggage might be worth the extra expense. If there are two of you, however, a taxi may make more sense. A one-way transfer for two from the airport to town costs €22. Check the official miniBUD website for fare information and details.

Private bus companies

Flibco offer direct transfers between the airport and central hubs Deák tér, Népliget bus station, and Nyugati, Keleti and Déli stations, with a departure frequency of every 30mins-1hr round the clock. A single ticket is 9 and can be booked online.

Taxi services

Taxis are booked from the English-speaking dispatcher at the kiosk outside Terminals 2A and 2B. Főtaxi has the contract to provide cabs into town – give your destination to the dispatcher, and they give you a receipt to give to the driver. Within a couple of minutes, a car pulls up alongside. To reach most centrally located hotels, you'll be charged around 8,000 forints (€20). You can also book online.

Other taxi companies operate at Budapest Airport, with plenty of shady individuals awaiting first-time visitors in the Arrivals area with grunted offers of a taxi service – use this option at your own risk.

See also the official airport website for more information.