Getting around in Budapest
For the numerous international tourists visiting the city, travelling by public transport in Budapest happens to be one of their favorite options. Inexpensive and efficient, while also covering most of the tourist areas in the city, the public transport system is the best way to get around. The transport network is made up of train lines, metro, tram, trolleybus and bus services while also being streamlined so that tickets for every system can be purchased from the same locations.
Most of the historic districts in the city as well as the city center is suitable for walking. While downtown Pest has pedestrian precincts, Castle Hill has restrictions on traffic movement so walking happens to be the best means for getting around in the place. However, if you look up at the sky you will find cables lining most of the city streets so as to serve the vast network of trolley buses and tramcars. The subway or metro system is efficient, clean and fast while the HEV or suburban railway runs an efficient service down to the suburbs.
Types of public transport in Budapest
Let us now take a look at the various means of public transport system in the city that will help you get around and travel to the various places of tourist interest around Budapest.
At present there are three metro lines of Budapest Metro – M1 or yellow line, M2 or red line, and M3 or blue line. The yellow line happens to be the oldest means of underground transportation in continental Europe and much of the old-world charm can be seen even today. The Deak Ferenc Ter in central Buda district is the junction point for all these lines. There is another line- M4- that is presently under construction. The details of the lines are as follows:
- Line M1 serves as a connection between the Fun Park at Szechenyi Furdo and Vaci Utca at the Vorosmarty ter terminus. The places of interest along the route are Varosliget or City Park, Hosok Tere or Heroes’ Square, the Opera House and the city center or Deak Ferenc Ter.
- Line M2 runs between the Deli Palyaudvar or terminus for the southern railway station and Papp Laszlo Sport Arena at the Puskas Ferenc Stadion. The Parliament house along the shores of the Danube (Kossuth Lajos ter), the city center, boulevard at the Blaha Lujza ter and Keleti Palyaudvar or Eastern Railway station are some of the places that you can visit along this route.
- Line M3 connects the southeastern and northern suburbs and travels through the Nyugati Palyaudvar (Western railway station) and the city center.
Villamos or Tramcar network in Budapest
There is an extensive system of trams running above-ground through the city of Budapest. Tourists will most likely find lines 4 and 6 to be most useful as they run along the large ring road encircling the city center of Budapest. It crosses the Petofi hid bridge and Margit hid bridge before reaching its terminal points, both of them on the Buda side to the north of the city. These bridges are considered to be iconic structures in the city. Trams on route 2 and 19 follow the shores of the Danube river on the Pest and Buda sides respectively. While travelling by tramcars is undoubtedly slower, it is much more attractive compared to that of the subway system. Moreover, if you travel from one terminal to another on rote number 2, it is the best means of sightseeing in the city; not even the sightseeing tours on buses can match up to it.
Bus services in Budapest
There is an extensive bus route system in Budapest. Even if you are someone who does not like travelling by bus, there are some parts of the city that are accessible only by means of bus. Buses tend to be crowded during rush hours and they also get stuck in traffic jams quite often. The bus network operates night services as well with the buses being marked by a ‘9’ at the beginning of their route number. While the various stops are listed inside the bus, it becomes very difficult to keep track of the same if there is no one getting on or off as the bus doesn’t stop in such situations. Ask locals travelling along for help as they will be quite glad to guide you about where you should be getting off to reach your destination.
Trolley bus service in Budapest
Budapest is served by as many as fourteen trolley bus lines. These trolleys are colored red. There is an interesting story behind their number starting from 70: apparently, the first trolley service started operations on Stalin’s seventieth birthday. The services run close to the midnight hours. Timetables are available at the various stops and can be relied upon as a source of information.
HEV or Suburban railway in Budapest
If you are looking to travel to the outskirts of Budapest, then travelling on the green trains or HEV is your best choice. Tourists may find the Szentendre line- running between Szentendre and Batthyany ter- to be highly interesting. Standing on the banks of the Danube, Szentendre is a small and charming town. Even if you are in Budapest for not more than a couple of days, don’t miss paying this place a visit.
There are also numerous other means of public transport in Budapest although you may consider them to be more of a means of joy ride. Systems such as the Children’s Railway, Libego or Chairlift, Funiculars and Cogwheel Railway are among such means that run for very short distances.
German and English are the languages most commonly spoken by the young generation in the city while you are likely to find that the older people have a significant knowledge of Russian. A piece of advice: if you are not familiar with one of the languages, take the help of locals rather than that of Google Translate which makes the whole affair sound extremely stupid.