Budapest: Car Rental
The Capital of Hungary
Local Travel Info in Budapest
Internal Flights and Major International Airports in Budapest
There are a good number of cheap flights every day from the major airports in the UK. Ferihegy airport is situated 15 miles (24km) southeast of Budapest on the E60 route. At present there are no domestic flights in Hungary.
Getting to and from the Airport at Budapest
The best way to travel to Budapest from the airport is by public transport. The cheapest way is with the pre-pay No 93 bus which takes you to Kobanya Kispest where you catch the Metro 2 on the blue line to Budapest. Alternatively you could take an airport shuttle bus for £6.50 (2100) HUF which runs from the terminal building every half an hour. It is not advisable to take a taxi as these are run by the mafia and are very expensive, around £18-£20 (6000-7000 HUF.) When catching taxis in Budapest, be wary of the driver taking the 'scenic route.'
Renting Cars in Budapest
There are a number of car hire firms in Budapest offering competitive rates and cheap and easy ways of hiring a car. To hire a car in Budapest you need a valid driver's licence, a credit card and a passport. Some car rental companies include insurance in the hire charge and others don't so make sure you know what you are getting for the estimated amount before you confirm your booking. Prices vary dramatically also but the average cost of hiring a car in Budapest is around £25-£35 per day depending on the size of car you wish to hire, your age and country of origin.
Driving by Car and Drivers License Requirements in Budapest
To drive in Budapest you must hold a valid drivers licence which includes the counterpart document. In Budapest they drive on the right-hand side of the road and, as with many roads in Hungary, operate a toll system, indicated by an 'M' sign, so ensure you are carrying small change. The maximum speed limit is 80mph (130 kilometres per hour) on motorways and 30mph (50km/h) in the city and Hungarian law requires you to drive with your headlights on at all times. Driving under the influence is treated with zero tolerance. The penalties for drink driving are severe and could warrant a prison sentence and/or a maximum fine of £5000. All passengers must wear a seatbelt at all times and mobile phones and other gadgets such as ipods are also considered a distraction and seriously forbidden. Traffic in Budapest is heavy and cars are not allowed on Castle Hill or Margit Island. Cars involved in an accident are required to stop. Failure to do so is considered a serious offence and could incur a prison sentence.
Budapest by Public transport
Budapest is a large city, but with an excellent transport system is easily manageable. Public transport systems in Budapest run a regular service and are cost effective. A single ticket on bus, tram, trolleybus or metro system allows you to take one line at a time for an unlimited distance, whilst a transfer ticket allows one transfer (i.e bus and metro) for the cost of one ticket. It's most cost effective to buy a book of tickets or day passes, or multiple day passes. Tickets are available from ticket machines, but these can be complicated to understand so it is safer to order them from sales windows. Single tickets are also available from news stands. If you switch from one form of transport to another you must validate a new ticket. If you have a book of tickets leave them in the book otherwise they will not be accepted as a valid ticket. Public transport in Budapest runs daily from 04.30 to until 23.00. If you do not want the hassle of buying and validating tickets, a Budapest pass will cover the cost of public transport within the city limits as well as access to over 60 museums and sights and reduced fares for cultural and folk programs.
Budapest by Taxi
Most taxi firms in Budapest are run mafia style and are expensive. It is advisable not to travel by taxis in Budapest unless you have to and even then ask the locals or travel guides for a reputable firm that can be trusted. The price charged is calculated by distance, but can also include a booking fee or waiting fee. In addition is custom to give a 10% tip to taxi drivers. If you do travel by taxi in Budapest it is advisable to phone a large cab firm rather than flagging one down of the street. The bigger taxi companies charge a lower rate to most other firms.
Cycling in Budapest
Cycling is not the easiest of safest way to see Budapest with only 170km of pathway designated for cyclists, though there are plans to improve on. The cycle paths are painted red with two yellow strips down either side of the track so are easily recognisable. Most pavements in Budapest though are shared with pedestrians making cycling difficult. Cycling on the roads of Budapest is dangerous as drivers have no regard. The best place for bicycles in Budapest is Margrit Island and the Buda Hills where there are long stretches of paths for bikes. You are not allowed to take bicycles on buses, trams, or metro, but they are tolerated on suburban trains. There are several outlets where you can hire a bike in Budapest for around £8 a day or £14 for two days. A deposit is not usually required, but you will need to show your passport.