8 Safe Ways to Get From Budapest Airport To City Center

If you are not sure how to get from Budapest Airport to the city center, worry not.

Budapest Airport (aka Ferenc Liszt International Airport) is well connected, and there are plenty of modes of transportation to get you from the airport to the city – from public buses to private pickups.

Generally speaking, we recommend bus 100E to get from the Budapest Airport to the city center, as it takes about 45 minutes and costs only 900 Forints. But it might not be the best mode of transport for you, depending on where you are staying in Budapest, arriving late at night, or just prefer a little extra comfort and convenience.

Below you will find all the different ways to get from Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport to the city center.

Enjoy!


8 Best Ways To Get From Budapest Airport to City Center

Even though there are more than 8 ways to get to Budapest city center from the airport, we are only including the most efficient ways. For example, you can get a bus and a train into the city from the airport, but that is usually not the quickest nor the cheapest way.

Note: We will be using the term Budapest city center interchangeably with Budapest downtown. It is a term that locals and tourists commonly used to call the city center of Budapest.

Taking Airport Bus 100E to City Center

Budapest Airport Bus 100E
The 100E Airport Bus is our favorite way to get from Budapest airport to city centre (Credit: Wikicommons)

The Airport bus 100E is arguably the most popular way to get from the airport to the city center. That is because it is affordable at 900 forints (less than 3 USD), has only a total of 3 stops (not including the airport), and takes usually 30 to 45 minutes.

The three stops are:

  • Kálvin tér
  • Astoria
  • Deák tér (in that order)

These three stops cover the main touristic areas of the city center – from the Inner District to the historic Jewish quarter to the Palace District. However, it does not cover the Pest side of Budapest.

Tickets for the 100E airport bus are easy to purchase, as you can do it at the BKK customer service centers in both Terminal 2A and 2B, and the BKK vending machine at the bus stop. We recommend just getting your ticket at the bus stop. You can pay with credit card, debit card or cash! You can also get your ticket on the app BudapestGO.

Just keep in mind that the airport bus 100E only runs between 4:10 AM and 1:05 AM, so if you are admiring outside that time frame, you will have to look for an alternative (which we will talk about below!)

  • Operating Hours: 4:10 AM to 1:05 AM
  • Frequency: Every 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the time of day
  • Cost: 900 HUF
  • Time to Get to City Center: 30 to 45 minutes, depending on traffic

Bus 200E and Metro M3 (Cheapest Way)

Metro from Budapest to City Center
The Kőbánya-Kispest Metro station (circled red) is connected to the city center (Click here for full Budapest metro map!)

If you are a budget traveler, then the bus 200E and Metro M3 combo is the cheapest way to get from Budapest Airport to the City Center. The bus 200E travels from the Budapest Airport to Kőbánya-Kispest Metro station, where travelers can hop on the metro and get to not just the city center, but any part of the city they would like.

Not only is the Bus 200E and Metro combo cheaper, but it also allows you to get to accommodations in Budapest that aren’t in the city center. The 200E and M3 both cost a single BKK transport ticket, which is 350 forints. You can buy 10 in bulk and pay 3,000 forints in total, or 300 forints each to save some money.

The BKK ticket vending machine is situated adjacent to the 200E (and 100E) bus stop, so you can grab your ticket before you get on the bus. Just make sure you validate your ticket on one of the ticket validator machines onboard!

The good thing about the bus 200E is that it runs 24/7 (though much slower late at night). HOWEVER, the metro runs only until 11 PM (and reopens at 4:30 AM), so this method only works between 4:30 AM to 11 PM.

But if you are trying outside of those hours, then there is a night bus, which we will talk about below.

  • Hour of Operation: Bus 200E runs 24/7, but the Metro only runs from 4:30 AM to 11 PM
  • Frequency: Every 10 to 60 minutes, depending on time of day
  • Cost: 700 HUF, 600 HUF if you buy tickets in bulk
  • Time to Get to City Center: About 1 hour

If you are planning on taking the bus 200E, consider getting the Budapest Card! With it, you have unlimited rides on any of Budapest’s public transport (not including the 200E), as well as plenty of benefits when it comes to sightseeing.

Find out more about the Budapest Card here!

Bus 200E and Night Bus 914/914A/950/950A

Getting-Around-Budapest
The BKK vending machine sells public transport tickets and airport bus tickets

If you arrive between 1:05 AM to 4:10 AM when the 100E bus doesn’t run and the metro is shut down, then what do you do? Worry not.

From 11 PM to 4 AM (when the Metro is not operating), Bus 200E makes an extra stop at Határ út station. From there, you can make a transfer to the night bus 914/914A/950/950A and go to different parts of the city center.

Though the route is slightly different, the time it takes to get to the city center from Budapest Airport still takes about an hour. So there is nothing to be afraid of if your flight lands at an ungodly hour. Budapest is quite safe, even at night!

  • Hour of Operation: Bus 200E runs 24/7, the night buses run between 11 PM and ~4 AM (4 AM is the time when the metro and 100E start running again).
  • Frequency: Every 10 to 60 minutes for the 200E, depending on the time of day. The night buses run frequently (approximately every 10 minutes)
  • Total Cost: 700 HUF, 600 HUF if you buy tickets in bulk
  • Time to Get to City Center: About 1 hour

Shared Shuttle Services From Budapest Airport to City Center

One of the safest, cheapest, and quickest ways to get to the city center from BUD airport is taking a shared shuttle service such as the one offered by miniBUD.

They offer shared shuttle services that depart every 15 to 25 minutes from the airport and take you directly from the airport to your hotel in the city center.

Not only that, they offer 24/7 service, so if you are arriving at 3 AM in the morning, there is someone waiting for you to take you back to your cozy accommodation in Budapest center. And because the shuttle service is shared, it is very affordable even for budget travelers!

  • Hour of Operation: 24/7
  • Frequency: Every 15 to 25 minutes
  • Total Cost: ~11.5 USD
  • Time to Get to City Center: About 30 minutes to 1 hour

Interested in miniBUD shared shuttle service from Budapest airport to city center?
Find out more here!

Private Airport Transfer From BUD to City

If you are traveling to Budapest as a family, then taking a private airport transfer to city center is ideal for you. This is especially true if you are a group of 3, because that means the cost will be divided by three and be more economical.

An English-speaking driver waits at the arrivals hall with a sign with your name on it, so you don’t have to worry about finding WiFi, messaging the driver, and all that mess! Once you are picked up, the driver takes you to the door of your accommodation in the city center, all hassle-free!

  • Hour of Operation: 24/7
  • Total Cost: ~45 USD (prices can vary)
  • Time to Get to City Center: About 30 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on traffic

Want more info on a private transfer from BUD airport to city center?
Find out more here!

Renting a Car

If you are planning on doing day trips from Budapest or want to explore more of Hungary, then renting a car at the Budapest Airport might be the best way to get to the city center. Because Budapest is such a popular tourist destination, there are plenty of car rental companies to choose from, and many of them are actually quite affordable.

Just beware that if you are staying in the city center of Budapest, the street parking situation is a little bit complicated, especially for foreigners, as the signs are in Hungarian. There are plenty of parking garages though, but they are a little bit more expensive.

If you just have a short Budapest itinerary, renting a car is not a good option. Budapest is very well-connected by public transportation and is very walkable. Having a car might actually hinder you from sightseeing!

Interested in renting a car at Budapest Airport? Check out our recommended low-cost car rental company here!

Taking An Official Budapest Airport Taxi

Fotaxi from Budapest Airport to City (1)
Főtaxi is the only contracted taxi company to serve the BUD airport (Credit: Főtaxi)

Főtaxi, the official airport taxi company that has been around since 1913, is the only contracted taxi provider that serves passengers going from Budapest Airport to the city. They charge a fixed of 300 HUF per kilometer, an initial fee of 700 HUF, and a waiting fee. A taxi ride from the BUD airport to the city center costs around 7,500 HUF (22 USD), depending on traffic conditions.

Főtaxis are bright yellow and hardly missable. You can make reservations for the taxi at the Főtaxi booth in both terminal 2A and terminal 2B.

We don’t recommend getting any other taxi besides Főtaxi, as unauthorized taxis sometimes scam and overcharge you.

If you have not planned your journey from the airport to the city center, then the taxi is the ideal solution!

  • Hour of Operation: 24/7
  • Total Cost: Approximate 7,500 HUF (22 USD), prices can vary depending on traffic conditions
  • Time to Get to City Center: About 30 minutes to 45 minutes

Using Bolt, the Uber of Budapest

Lastly, if you have a sim card in Hungary or use the airport’s WiFi, then you can order yourself a Bolt, which is the Hungarian version of the ride-sharing app Uber. The cost of a Bolt is similar to that of a taxi, and often times, you do get a taxi when you order a Bolt.

From our experience, the Bolt is usually slightly cheaper, but you do run the risk of having a non-English speaking driver. And if you are arriving at night, you won’t find lots of Bolts to pick you up.

  • Hour of Operation: 24/7
  • Total Cost: Approximate 7,000 to 9500 HUF
  • Time to Get to City Center: About 30 minutes to 45 minutes

How Far is the Budapest Airport From City Center

Map of Budapest Airport from City Center
The distance between Budapest Airport and its city center is only 21 kilometers!

Before you book your transport from Budapest Airport to the city center, let’s talk about how far they are from each other. The distance between the airport and the city center is about 21 kilometers or 13 miles. It is one of the closest international airports to their city center.

Though a short distance, the traffic near the city center can be awful, especially during rush hour. This is something you need to factor in, especially going back to the airport from the city.


Where to Stay in Budapest City Center

Best Hostel in Budapest – Maverick Hostels & Ensuites

Best Hostel in Budapest
Where to Stay in Budapest

Staying in a historic building in Budapest doesn’t have to be expensive, thanks to Maverick Hostels & Ensuites. Situated in Ferenciek Square, you are in the heart of Budapest, within walking distance to the pest side, Jewish quarter, and many of Budapest’s best attractions (such as the Hungarian Parliament Building and St. Stephen Basilica).

When it comes to amenities, this hostel offers mixed dormitory rooms (some without bunk beds), two common areas, social events, 24-hour reception, and free tea and coffee at all times! For its price, it is one of the best value-for-money hostels in Budapest.


Best Vacation Rental in Budapest – Art Deco Basilica Residence

Vacation Rental in Budapest
Rental Apartment Budapest

If you are someone that misses the coziness of a homey atmosphere, then a rental apartment in Budapest is ideal for you. The Art Deco Basilica Residence is quite a unique rental, as it offers the usual comfort but also the luxury of a royal residence. From the upscale furnishings to the fancy interior decor, it is a unique experience to stay here.

This apartment features 1 extra-large double bed and a sofa bed, so a maximum of 4 guests can stay there. It also features a fully-equipped kitchen, something very rare for rentals in Budapest. This is perfect if you are tired of eating goulash or langos or any other typical Hungarian foods.


Best Hotel in Budapest – Leo Boutique Rooms

Best Area To Stay in Budapest
Best Boutique Hotel in Budapest

Looking for a stylish boutique hotel in Budapest to call home? Look no further than Leo Boutique Rooms. With its chic and charming decor, visitors can stay in style and enjoy the best of Budapest thanks to its location at Ferenciek ter in the city center.

Wake up every morning to a freshly brewed cup of coffee from your private coffee machine, before heading out to sightsee. Thanks to its central location, it is very easy to get there from the airport. It is literally a few minutes’ walk from Astoria, one of the stops of the 100E airport bus.

Though this hotel in Budapest doesn’t feature a kitchen, its surrounding neighborhood is filled with excellent eateries, which the friendly staff at Leo Boutique Rooms are more than happy to tell you about.


Cash or Card in Budapest?

Getting cash in a foreign country can be difficult, especially if you just arrived at its airport. But worry not, I am here to tell you that Budapest is a very card-friendly city. During our 2-month stay, we probably used cash maybe once or twice.

Though you can’t pay for public transportation onboard with your credit or debit card, you can buy the tickets at the vending machine with a card. If you have contactless, it makes it even easier.

It is good to have a little bit of emergency cash on you at all times, but generally, you will be using your card most of the time!


Best Time to Visit Budapest

Szechenyi-Thermal-Bath-Budapest
Though winter is Budapest’s low season, it makes enjoying its famous thermal baths much more pleasurable!

The peak season for visiting Budapest is definitely the summer (June to August), when the weather is nice and the streets are flooded with locals and tourists out to have a good time.

Summer in Budapest has a kind of revitalizing energy that cannot be compared with any other season. The only problem is accommodations are harder to find and you will generally pay a little more.

Winter (December to mid-March) is bitterly cold in Budapest and snow is not uncommon. The sun sets at around 3:30 PM daily, limiting your opportunity to sightsee significantly. If possible, we do not recommend visiting Budapest in the winter.

Spring (March to May) and Fall (September to November) are the shoulder seasons in Budapest and generally considered the best time to visit. The weather is nice and Budapest’s beauty is enhanced by spring blossoms or fall foliage.

The city isn’t as crowded or expensive when compared to summer. If you can, we recommend exploring the countryside of Hungary during this time, the nature is simply glorious.


Final Thoughts

There are many different ways to get from Budapest Airport to city center. Depending on your budget and preference, you can get public buses, get a shared shuttle, or even just hop on an official taxi.

For us, we really like taking the airport bus 100E, as it is cheap, quick, and very reliable.

Which is your favorite way to get to the city center from Budapest Airport?

Let us know in the comments!

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