There is no domestic air service in Hungary, which means there are no intra-Hungary flights.
Budapest is served by two adjacent airports, Ferihegy 1 and Ferihegy 2, both located in the XVII district in southeastern Pest. Ferihegy 1 is the airport that all budget airlines use, while Ferihegy 2 (which has a Terminal A and a Terminal B) serves the flagship carriers and other traditional airlines. The distance between the Ferihegy 2 terminals is about 1 block, so there is no need to be concerned if you arrive at the airport for your flight and are at the wrong terminal, but there is some concern if you arrive at the wrong airport. With Hungary's entry into the Schengen zone, terminal 2A is exclusively used for flights to Schengen countries, so you will pass through security, but not Passport Control. All other flights will depart from 2B and have Passport Control. There are several main information numbers: For airport information, call tel. 1/296-9696; and for general information, call tel. 1/296-7000. For ease of language, use the airport's English version website at www.bud.hu/english for flight information. The airport code for Budapest is BUD.
Arriving passengers at either airport need to pass through Customs and Passport Control, when appropriate, before they emerge into the bustling arrivals halls of the respective airports.
Ferihegy 1 was remodeled and enlarged just a few years ago, due to the then-expanding number of budget airlines; however, a large number of airlines have pulled out due to lack of demand. Ferihegy 2 is larger, but still not overwhelming -- you shouldn't have any fears of getting lost in it like some other major airports. In each airport, you'll find accommodations offices, rental-car agencies, shops, exchange booths, plus a Tourinform desk. Exchange rates are much less favorable in airports than in the city, so rather than change money, take it out of the ATM. Even with bank fees, you'll come out ahead in the end. Often, people become confused and anxious with currency in thousands, so to avoid surprises or unnecessary ATM fees, do yourself a favor and print out a currency cheat sheet before leaving home from www.oanda.com/convert/cheatsheet.
Getting into Town from the Airport -- You have four general choices to get from or back to the airport depending on your budget. Although in the past airport taxis were notorious for scamming tourists, the airport authority took steps to correct this situation. The airport exclusively contracts with Zóna Taxi services (tel. 1/365-5555), making this the official taxi service of both Budapest airports. The fares are fixed rates per cab, not per person and adhere to predestined zones within the city. Fares run from zones 1-4 and cost from 3,500 Ft to 5,400 Ft. These taxis are also metered, so if the metered fare is less than the zone rate, you pay the reduced fare. By law, all taxis must give you a paper receipt for your fare. If you know of another taxi company and prefer them, you will need to call them. The unauthorized taxi stand pick-up area is away from the general taxi area, but there are signs in English.
Airport Shuttle (tel. 1/296-8555; www.bud.hu/english) is a public service owned and operated by the Budapest Airport Authority. There is a clearly visible kiosk for the shuttle in each terminal. If you know you will use this service to return to the airport, a round-trip ticket is less expensive than two one-way tickets. A round-trip fare is 4,990 Ft per person and one way is 2,990 Ft per person. For two traveling together, there is a discount: for one-way, it is 4,490 Ft for two and 8,490 Ft for a round trip. The fares are the same for both airports. Depending on the number of people, you may find the taxi service to be less expensive. When you purchase your tickets for the shuttle, you'll be asked which district you are going to since many districts have streets with the same name. Once a minibus is sufficiently full, the driver will call out your destination, direct you to the vehicle and load your luggage. This can take anywhere from 10 minutes to as much as 1 hour, depending on how busy it is at any given time of day. The shuttle takes you directly to the door of any address in the city. The trip takes from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic and how many stops are made. To arrange your return to the airport from where you are staying, call the number above 24 hours in advance, but not longer than 24 hours in advance and absolutely not less than 12 hours in advance. The shuttle office is open from 6am to 10pm, but be warned that you may have to wait on hold for some time and may possibly get disconnected in the process. The shuttle will pick up passengers virtually anywhere in the Budapest area from their front door. You will be given a 10-minute time frame for when the shuttle will arrive to pick you up, based on your flight departure. You will be asked to wait outside the door during this 10-minute period to facilitate the pick-up process.
There are also two public transportation options with the trip taking about 1 hour total on either. Two buses leave the airport for the metro. From Ferihegy 2, you will take bus no. 200E to the last stop, Kobánya-Kispest. From there, the Blue metro line runs to the Inner City of Pest. The cost is two transit tickets, which is 540 Ft for both; tickets can be bought from the automated vending machine at the bus stop (coins only and not recommended) or from any newsstand in the airport. From Ferihegy 1, take bus no. 93 or 200E to the same metro stop as above.
Trains stop at Ferihegy 1 only and go to Nyugati train station. After using the highway overpass, stand on the tracks and wait for the train. Take note that there is no station at the airport, but just a siding where the train stops. You must buy the 300 Ft ticket for a one-way journey at the airport. Purchasing a ticket on the train could result in a hefty fine. There are more than 30 trains daily. If you arrive at Ferihegy 2, take bus 200E to Ferihegy 1 in order to catch the train. Plans to extend the train tracks to the second airport still have not happened.
Trains arrive regularly from Vienna, Bratislava, and other European cities either as a destination or as a train passing through for somewhere else. It will depend on where your journey began as to which of the three stations you arrive at. In order to curb fare dodging, some of the tracks are barricaded by inspectors who will want to see your ticket when leaving a train as well as boarding it. Don't toss your tickets until you leave the station.
There are a number of cruise ships on the Danube route making Budapest a stopover or final destination. For those not on a cruise ship, there are hydrofoils that transport passengers between Vienna or Bratislava and Budapest as well as smaller towns within Hungary. For information and schedules in English see www.mahartpassnave.hu after clicking on the British flag.
Once you arrive in the city, you'll want to either park your car or return it to the rental agency. Driving in the city is hazardous to one's health as there are not as many stop signs as needed. There are many one-way streets, and restrictions on making turns onto major roads, so you'll have to find the right place where you can turn around in order to head in the direction you want.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.