Apart from being a beautiful capital and great place to study, Budapest is perfectly located for day trips to the hills nearby or for weekends away to other fascinating European destinations. Here we give a few suggestions of places you can visit to make the most of your time here.
Upon arrival in Budapest for your course, the first thing you should do is arrange student ID – this will provide you with significant discounts on city transport, rail and bus travel in Hungary.
In one of our previous Budapest Student Guide articles, we provided comprehensive details of transport around Budapest.
Now here’s information about how to get out of Budapest and enjoy what Hungary and the region has to offer.
when using your Student ID (see above), which you should carry with you at all
times, trains and buses in Hungary are very affordable. The Hungarian State
Railways, MÁV, covers most of the country.
The three main terminals in Budapest, Keleti, Nyugati and Déli (‘East’, ‘West’ and ‘South’), each have their own metro station. The word for main station in Hungarian is pályaudvar, abbreviated to pu on maps and timetables. A smaller station is an állomás.
Keleti and Nyugati are architectural landmarks in their own right and deal with a lot of international traffic. Déli is the main setting off point for Lake Balaton.
Tickets can be bought online, often at a slight discount compared to how much you would pay if going up to the ticket office, pénztár, at any station. For inland travel, there are also machines with English-language interface options.
InterCity services between main hubs – Budapest to Debrecen, say – require a supplement that you pay when you buy the ticket, specifying which train you’ll be travelling on. You can also buy seat reservations on other services.
The main bus station in Budapest is at Népliget, the nearest metro station – although sections of the blue M3 line are currently under renovation. It’s also on tram line 1. Services also leave from the Stadion station by the Puskás Aréna (Puskás Ferenc Stadion metro stop), Árpád híd station (Göncz Árpád városközpont metro station) and Újpest-Városkapu (Újpest-Városkapu metro station). Again, you can buy online, from the ticket desk or from machines.
The most popular destinations served by bus from Budapest are around the Danube Bend, Szentendre, Visegrád and Esztergom. Szentendre can also be reached by local HÉV train (part of the Budapest city transport network) while Esztergom has a rail service.
Cycling is another way to get around. Budapest’s cycle-friendly mayor is introducing more and more bike lanes – see our article on getting around Budapest for details of citywide hire companies.
There are several nice bike rides close to town, but now that the route all the way to the picturesque riverside town of Szentendre is open, you can cycle along the Buda side of the Danube for much of the way.
Google Maps now also include a cycle route planner in Hungary.
Until early October, you can also take a boat from Budapest to Szentendre – although certain services are currently affected by low water levels.
Tips & discounts
As an international student, your arrival in a new city can be smoothed over by an organisation dedicated to your needs: Erasmus Life Budapest. Its mission is to help Erasmus and international students get the best out of Budapest. Find details of the membership & discount card, parties, trips and other events.
ELB will be running longer trips to Prague, Kraków/Auschwitz, Vienna, Esztergom, Eger, Miskolctapolca, Mohács, Hollókő and Lake Bokod – check the Facebook page for details.