Tuesday, October 26, 2021

How To Travel Around Hungary

EuropeHungaryHow To Travel Around Hungary

By plane

There are currently no regular domestic flights in Hungary. Due to Budapest’s central location and the fact that almost every place in the nation can be reached in three hours by rail or bus, there is no demand for scheduled domestic flights.

People with a valid pilot’s license, on the other hand, have many options for renting an aircraft and exploring by air.

By train

MV and GYSEV are the acronyms for the Hungarian National Railway (some lines in the west of the country). MV offers an online timetable as well as a price webpage. You may buy domestic and certain international rail tickets in English on the internet. Read and follow the instructions provided below.

The railway network is star-shaped (hub-and-spoke), radiating from Budapest’s center. This is due to history, since half of the once-complete railway infrastructure was transferred to neighboring nations after World War I. If neither the beginning nor the finishing destination is in Budapest, plan to travel for a long period, with many changes in Budapest.

Intercity (IC) trains are the quickest, as well as the most modern, well-maintained, and clean. They connect the main cities to Budapest. Expect to pay an additional charge of approximately 550 Forints (= €2) for the mandatory seat reservation, regardless of distance (not in international ICs, ECs). In certain instances, the additional fee may be lesser. In comparison to the bulk of Western European ticket rates, Hungary’s IC trains are among the most affordable, with an outstanding track record of speed and comfort. Many students use these IC trains on weekends to travel between Budapest and other places, therefore early advance booking is advised on Friday afternoons for trains departing Budapest and Sunday nights for trains returning to Budapest. Working with a laptop is usually safe, unless the area is very busy.

Other railway lines are often slower, less clean (even in first class), and frequently vandalized (particularly in the Budapest area); nevertheless, quality standards are increasing. During the summer, trains between Balaton and Budapest are sometimes packed, with the IC generally sold out. The gyorsvonat, or old fast train, is the next option. The price is determined only by the distance traveled and the vehicle class. For non-IC trains, cash desks presume 2nd class by default (at least in Budapest for English speakers), so if you missed your IC, try asking for 1st class and paying a little fee for much greater comfort. Smoking is not permitted on any train or on the station platforms.

Weekend travel for young persons (those under the age of 26) is discounted by 33%. (Friday afternoon included). Children (under the age of six) and the elderly (residents of EU nations over the age of 65) may ride for free, except on InterCity trains, which need an additional charge (reservation).

It is possible to purchase a Hungary Interrail pass. Check to see whether purchasing tickets for each trip is less expensive.

Check the MAV website for a list of stations where you may purchase a train ticket with a debit or credit card. It is worth noting that gépi menetjegykiadás refers to a staffed cashier desk, while jegykiadó automatame refers to a vending machine.

Tickets may be purchased in Euro. An international ticket and supplement may be purchased at any Hungarian train station with an international cash counter. Please keep in mind that cash desks do not take Euro bank notes worth more than EUR 50, and you will be given change in forints.

A list of stations with ticket selling machines Typically, tickets to locations not mentioned by vending machines will be given free of charge by the conductor on board. These people are working with just a brief midnight break.

International bike travel by rail is also available on certain trains for €4-10 (varies), with the lowest fare going to Vienna and the highest going to Hamburg (via Berlin).

List of vending machine-style e-ticket acceptance locations. Purchase your ticket online and locate the pre-purchased ticket issuing machine at the station to verify and print your ticket.

You may get information on luggage rooms or lockers (Hu: csomagmegörz) at railway stations here. Lockers cost (as of 2010): HUF400 for small lockers and HUF600 for larger lockers every 24 hours. More than one day costs HUF600 each day begun. Luggage rooms or lockers are available at the following stations: Budapest-Déli, Kelenföld (Budapest), Budapest-Keleti, Budapest-Nyugati, Debrecen, Gyr, Miskolc-Tiszai, Nyregyháza, Siófok, Sopron, Szolnok, Szombathely.

By bus

Hungary’s national bus network is managed by 28 state-owned firms affiliated with the Volán Association. Connections are frequent, and fares are the same as on non-intercity trains. Bus routes are often more comprehensive than rail lines, and their speeds are comparable. Long-distance buses are clean and safe, although they are often delayed. Before boarding, buy your ticket at the station ticket counter; if you do not take your bus at a major station, get a ticket from the driver. Even if you purchase from the bus driver, make sure you verify your tickets. The tiny orange boxes are used to validate tickets and may be found throughout the bus. On the airport bus, ticket inspectors work, and if you have not validated your ticket, you will be fined HUF7,000 on the spot. It is a good idea to book your tickets in advance for national holidays, Friday and Sunday nights. The online booking system is only accessible in English. You may also check out the domestic long-distance bus routes in English, French, Hungarian, and Romanian here. Anyway, here are some key terms in Hungarian that may be useful: “honnan” means “from,” “hová” means “to,” “Autóbusz állomás” means “bus station,” “naponta” means “daily,” and “munkanapokon” means “on workdays.”

By boat

MAHART PassNave Ltd. operates numerous scheduled riverboat and hydrofoil lines from Budapest to cities along the Danube, including Szentendre, Visegrád, and Esztergom, as well as an excellent hydrofoil boat link between Vienna and Budapest from May to September.

MAHART PassNave Ltd. and other maritime firms, such as Legenda Ltd., offer numerous sightseeing and night cruises in the capital city.

There are several ferries on the Danube and Tisza, although their schedules are unpredictable. For a reasonable fee, you may rely on the ferry on Lake Balaton.

By car

Apart from new highways, most roads in Hungary are two-lane. The majority of main highways are in excellent condition; nevertheless, cracks, potholes, and rough roads are frequent on smaller roads and in large cities, despite the fact that they are continuously being fixed. Traveling using a map and obeying road markers is generally not difficult.

Although expressways are not free, there are no toll roads or tunnels. Similar to neighboring Austria and Slovakia, a vignette system is utilized, however as of 2013, the vignette is kept electronically and verified for utilizing gantries that scan license plate numbers. You may buy them in 10-day increments (called “Weekly vignettes”), one-month increments, or one-year increments. The vignette is crucial, and it is a good idea to get it even if you do not intend to use the highway. Control is automated using video cameras, and you will be issued a high ticket (HUF20,000) without notice.

When traveling on regular roads, the speed limit is 90 km/h between cities and 50 km/h inside cities, slowing you to an average of 60 km/h. Routes are often congested (particularly major roads like #8 to the west, #6 to the south, and #4 to the east). On highways, the speed limit is 130 km/h, travel is the same as in Germany, and it is quite usual for someone to pass you in the inner lane.

Expect the police to deploy a variety of speed traps, including permanent ones on all marked highways and movable ones from bridges, vehicles parked on the shoulder, or behind shrubs and trees. Be aware that some cops may hide behind speed limit signs, particularly if the sign is clearly worthless or if the speed limit is very sluggish for the given road type. Police corruption is common, particularly in Budapest (usually, HUF10,000 fixes most issues if you don’t get caught).

When traveling from west to east (or vice versa), keep in mind that there are just a few bridges spanning the Danube outside of Budapest. However, there are some ferries available.

Outside of metropolitan areas, driving with headlights on is a legal necessity, even during the day—a requirement that is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the EU.

Hungary maintains a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol. If you are found driving after just a few of units of alcohol, you will very certainly be arrested.


Hungary has a rapidly expanding roadway network (1,480 km in total). Every roadway begins in Budapest.

  • M0 – Motorway ring around Budapest. The north-east and south sections are ready.
  • M1 – connection to Győr, Austria and Slovakia(west)
  • M2 – connection to Vác, planned to reach the border to Slovakia by 2015 (north)
  • M3/M30/M35 – connection to Miskolc, Debrecenand Nyíregyháza (east)
  • M5 – connection to Serbia, via Kecskemét and Szeged (south-east)
  • M6/M60 – Connection to Dunaújváros and Pécs(south)
  • M7/M70 – connection to Lake Balaton, Croatia and Slovenia (south-west)
  • M4 – provide connection to Romania via Szolnok 
  • M44 – provide connection between the M5 at Kecskemét and the Romanian border via Békéscsaba (east)
  • M8/M9 – cross the country east-west

Except for M0 and small portions surrounding large towns, which are free, all highways need a single vignette. Vignettes may be bought with a credit card on the web (and many private online businesses), at gas stations, and at AK (State Motorway Management Co.) offices. During the summer, a 10-day vignette for a passenger vehicle costs HUF2,975 (€10); the 4-day ticket for a car has been discontinued. A camera system controls the vignettes automatically.

By car pool

The Hungarian oszkar.com social car pool network/website can help you locate low-cost transportation across the nation as well as from (and to) several European towns (especially Vienna, but many German cities are also well “serviced”).

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, individuals who travel by vehicle and are looking for passengers publish their schedule. You may hitch a ride by reserving it on the website and then calling the driver, whose contact information is provided on the website. People who want to carpool may also post and expect to be discovered by a potential driver. Passengers are required to pay to the trip’s cost, although “tickets” are usually considerably cheaper than bus/coach or train fares (e.g. as of 2013, a trip from Vienna to Budapest may cost anywhere between 2500 and about HUF6,500). A major disadvantage is that the site is in Hungarian (though you may be able to browse it using Google Translate) and that booking (but not searching) needs free registration. Drivers and passengers may evaluate one other after journeys, similar to how auction sites work.

Drivers are usually young people (young enough to be acquainted with the Internet but old enough to own their own vehicles); this also means they’re somewhat more likely to know a foreign language than the ordinary Hungarian, but don’t rely on it.

Some professional “shuttle operators” have recently begun to use oszkar.com to provide rides as well; their postings are visibly distinct from “amateur” ones.

Oszkar.com is a buyer’s market, with much more passenger seats available than passengers.

By taxi

Examine the change given to you by taxi drivers. Cab drivers often defraud visitors by offering them change in obsolete Romanian money, which resembles Hungarian currency but is useless and cannot be redeemed.