BUDAPEST has an excellent network of public transport, including buses, trolley buses, trams, the metro and overland HÉV trains. Not only is the system reliable, safe and punctual, it offers an exceptionally cheap and easy method of covering the city. However, take our advice below in order to avoid the disappointments many tourists experience with the lack of these very basic rules in mind.
It is very easy to get a taxi in Budapest, perhaps too easy. There are over 15,000 registered taxis within the city and some are better than others. Never get into an unmarked taxi. The chances are you will be taken the long way around town and charged a small fortune. If possible, do not hail a taxi on the street as it is also more expensive than it is to book over the phone. Calling a taxi even if you have no Hungarian language skills is exceptionally easy as most taxi companies have English speaking operators.
When hailing a taxi on the street, ask what the fare will be to the destination before departure. There is a limit per kilometer on charges and always check to make sure there is a meter in the taxi.
Getting to and from the airport we strongly recommend you to use the Airport Minibus especially if you travel on your own. The minibus takes all the passengers directly to their hotels and it charges a reasonable price (HUF 2100/one way or HUF 3900/roundtrip ticket/ person). The minibus can be asked for at the airport upon arrival (there is a big minibus sign at the airport, it is hard to miss). On the way back to the airport you can order the minibus at the hotel - so the roundtrip ticket is reasonable choice. There is also local transport to the city centre but these buses run rarely and are not very comfortable.
Of course, you can also take a taxi to the city centre. The taxi should cost you around 4500 HUF and it is advisable to order by phone.
Recommended Taxi companies in Budapest
BUDA TAXI (36-1) 233-3333 FÕTAXI (36-1) 222-2222
CITY TAXI (36-1) 211-1111 6X6 TAXI (36-1) 266-6666 or 466-6666
Budapest's metro system is incredibly simple. Comprising of just three lines which all connect at Deák tér it is possible to go from one side of the city to the other in around 15 minutes. You can use the same type of ticket for all forms of public transport in the city but remember when you change lines or systems you must validate a new ticket.
It's probably best to get a tourist ticket (HUF 1,150 for 1 day and HUF 2,500 for 3 days) rather than try to understand the byzantine system of transfers or risk getting fined. Public transport works on a trust system making it easy to jump on a bus or tram without a ticket. If you get caught however, you will face a fine. Ticket inspectors can spring up anywhere at anytime.