Some of you may have not been to Budapest before, so we tried to collect some useful tips about the town.
Budapest has a quite useful public transportation system. Four metro lines, trams and bus services are maintained by the same company called BKK or BKV. The fare system is quite old, though. You can buy tickets for one ride for a little more than 1 EUR, but if you change to another line, you'll have to validate another ticket. The only exception is the metro system, where you can change from one line to another using the same ticket until you come above the ground again.
Tickets can be purchased from vending machines that accept cards (contactless and chip too). You will find such vending machines and even a BKK/BKV kiosk at the airport too.
There are different types of tickets and daily/weekly passes you can choose from. Please check this website for more information:
Google Maps can help you with route planning using public transportation and the transport company also has an app for the same purpose.
Getting into town from the airport
Budapest Airport is fairly close to the center of town. There is a public bus (100E) which takes you to town in 40 minutes and cost you 900 HUF (less than 3 EUR). It has only three stops - all in the center of town. From there you can easily access anything by public transportation. Information about this bus can be found here: https://bkk.hu/en/airport-shuttle/
If you prefer a door-to-door shuttle I would recommend using miniBUD Airport Shuttle services. You can pre-book with them on their website and they have door-to-door shuttle services and I believe they have better prices compared to taxi companies. They have a desk inside the terminal right at the arrival gate.
Regarding the taxi services: the fare prices in Budapest are regulated by the local government which means they all have the same price. The differences are only in the list and quality of services they provide.
One of the largest and actually the oldest taxi companies in Budapest is FŐTAXI. They are the official taxi contractors at Budapest Airport, they even have a reception booth right outside the terminal, so you don't have to pre-book with them, because there are always a few cabs waiting to take you from the gate. For details, check this webpage: https://www.bud.hu/en/passengers/transport/airport_transfer_and_other_services/taxi
Survival tip: The only thing you will have to be careful during your stay is not to wave, or sit into a cab waiting on the streets even if it looks like an official taxi and don't accept taxi drivers' offers hunting for passengers at the arrival gate. Always order by phone or app or at the official desk service, because unfortunately there are still drivers out there with tampered taxi meters costing you a fortune to ride with them.
Paying for goods and services
The official currency in Hungary is the Hungarian Forint (HUF). If you pay cash, 90% of the places accept HUF only. You can find money exchange services in town, especially in the center.
But almost every place accepts cards (contacless and chip). They will charge it with HUF amounts and you can also use an ATM to get cash easily.
Hungary is member of the EU therefore the EU voice and data roaming regulations apply to the country. This practically means that if you are travelling from an EU country your home data and voice plans are valid here too. 3G is available almost everywhere (even in the metro) and 4G is also quite usable in most places. Still, I would recommend asking your mobile service provider before travelling just to make sure.
Almost every restaurant has it's own WiFi hotspot which is usually free for customers. If you don't see a sign with the WiFi password, you can ask the waiter and often he/she has it.
Budapest is a town with lots of water. Tap water is safe to drink everywhere and tastes quite good in my opinion. If you still insist on drinking bottled water the colors of the caps mean the following:
- Blue = carbonated
- Pink = still
- Green = lightly carbonated in most cases
- All other colors: usually it means flavored water
Hungary is a wine country. We produce both red and white wine in several regions. Try them if you have a chance, it's not expensive at all, especially compared to the quality. We prefer dry wine here, but you can get sweeter types if you ask.
You can get many familiar brands of beer here, mostly imported from Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Most local beers are pils type, but we also have microbreweries producing ales and lagers and whatnot - yes, even IPA.
Coffee here is very popular. If you order a "coffee" here you will most likely get an Italian espresso like cup. But you can order longer versions, like Americano or the ones made with milk too.
This one's easy. You can get all kinds of food in Budapest. You will probably want to try traditional Hungarian foods and it's always a good idea. Hungarian food is similar to Slavic and Austrian foods. Be careful, because these are usually heavy dishes and some of them are quite spicy.
But - especially here in Budapest - we have all other types of foods which you know from around the world including Asian, American, Italian, Balkan and Turkish. Street food is also quite popular here.
Hungary's official language is - what a surprise - Hungarian. Unfortunately for many foreigners it doesn't have anything common neither with German nor English, Latin or even Slavic languages.
But don't be afraid. We have most signs in English, restaurant staff speak English well enough, many of them also speak German and some French too. And you will always have a great chance of meeting a passer-by who speaks English well enough to help you out if needed. Most Aikido people in Hungary speak English too. In case you need any help, you can always turn to the organizers as we all speak English well.