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Getting around Budapest

Public transport

The trams, buses, metro, trolleybuses and train services that form Budapest's integrated public transport system are run by Budapesti Kozlekedési Központ (BKK) (tel: +36 1 325 5255; www.bkk.hu). BKV Danube ferries run a summer service.

Trams form the backbone of Budapest’s transport with a network throughout the city. The extensive bus service is also a popular choice. Budapest’s four metro lines primarily serve Pest. Most transport starts at 0500. With the exception of night buses (marked É) there is little transport past 2300.

You can buy single tickets or 10-journey carnets. Travelcards are available for one, three or seven days. Alternatively, the Budapest Card is valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours and allows unlimited travel on public transport, along with free or discounted admission to numerous attractions.

Taxis

There are plenty of taxis in Budapest, and fares are cheaper if booked by phone. Flagging down taxis is possible, but check they are displaying a taxi sign and have a yellow registration plate, as both are required by law. Use a taxi card for an idea of rates as fares can vary between firms.

Companies in the city include Budapest Taxi (tel: +36 1 777 7777), with discounts for phone bookings, Fötaxi (tel: +36 1 222 2222), recognised by their red and white chequered doors, and City Taxi (tel: +36 1 211 1111).

If you're satisfied with the service, a tip of around 10% is appreciated.

Driving

Central streets are frequently jammed due to road works, and the city’s cobblestones can make for a jolting journey. Tramlines and unusual driving techniques make navigating the capital a hair-raising experience. Access to the Castle District and Margaret Island is limited.

Parking is not permitted for longer than three hours in the city centre, with clamping strictly enforced. Multi-storey car parks are open 24 hours a day and many larger hotels have underground garages. Central car parks are on Aranykéz útca 4-6 and Szervita tér 8. Alternatives include Futó útca 52 and Mester útca 30-3.

Car hire

A valid national driving licence, third-party liability insurance and a credit card are required to hire a car. The minimum age is 21 years, but some companies require drivers to be over 25. 

Car hire is available at Ferihegy airport or at the Volán, Express and Budapest tourist offices. Some large hotels offer car hire too. Always ensure that the price includes Áfa (VAT). Major companies include Avis (tel: +36 1 318 4240; www.avis.hu), Budget (tel: +36 1 214 0420; www.budget.hu) and Sixt (tel: +36 1 451 4220; http://hu.sixt.com).

Bicycle hire

While cycling along the Danube is popular, other parts of the city aren’t so bike-friendly.

Recommended bicycle hire companies include Velo-Touring, Előpatak útca 1 (tel: +36 1 319 0571; www.velo-touring.hu), and Yellow Zebra Bikes, Lázár útca 16 (tel: +36 1 269 3843; www.yellowzebrabudapest.com).

Budapest also has its own bikeshare scheme called MOL Bubi (tel: +36 1 325 5255; http://molbubi.bkk.hu), with more than 1,000 bikes and over 90 stations. You can buy access for 24 hours, 72 hours or a week, after which the first 30 minutes of any journey are free.

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