What you need to know before going to Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is a beautiful city to visit all year round.  When you are planning for a visit to this awesome city, take note of the following:

1. Join a free walking tour (a pay what you want tour)

Budapest is a walking city, you can join a free walking tour that you will get the insight about Buda and Pest.  Budapest is made up of Buda and Pest, these two places are separated by the Danube River.  This fun-filled and informative walks will take you approximately 2.5 to 3 hours.  The local guide will share with you about the history, best sights, architecture and how Hungarians are living in their daily life.

Free walking tour - Tour guides in action.
Free walking tour – Tour guides in action.

There are 2 sessions daily, morning walk start at 10:30am and 2:30pm for the afternoon walk. This is the most economical way to experience and discover this beautiful city.  At the end of the tour you can show your appreciation by leaving a tip.

Meeting point

free walking tour meeting point

You can find more information here

2. Check at the money exchange offices

Money changerYou need to use HUF when you are in Budapest.  EUR might be accepted in some restaurants, but they will charge you with much higher exchange rate.  There are many money exchangers around the city.  USD and EUR are widely accepted at the exchange offices.  However, you need to ask how many HUF you will get before you change money.  Most exchange offices will charge commission rate and it is subject to the amount you will change.

 3. Note the drinking water

The tap water is safe to drink and it is free!   If you prefer mineral water, you need to take note of the bottle caps in the shops:

Blue = fizzy

Pink = still

Green = softly carbonated

4. Travel around

You can easily get to most attractions in the city center by walks.  However, Budapest has a fairly extensive and efficient public transport system. You can hop on any of these public transport services: four metro lines, major tram lines (No. 4, 6 and 2) and local buses.

Please take note of the most common type of Tickets and Passes.  All these ticket is valid on all public transportation.

    • Single ticket: 350 HUF (for a single trip)
    • 24-hour travel pass: 1650 HUF. Unlimited number of trips from 0:00 to 24:00 of the day indicated on the ticket once you have punch it.
    • 72-hour travel pass: 4150 HUF. Unlimited number of trips for 72 hours starting from the time and date you punch it.

If you plan to use the public transportation for more than four times in 24 hours, you should just go for the 24-hour travel pass.

5. Punch your ticket

You must validate your ticket at the start of your journey in all public transportation.   There are ticket validation machine (orange colored box on a metal pole) in all metro stations.  For tram and busses, you will find the similar orange box or a small red box).

If you don’t punch your ticket and get caught by a ticket inspector, you will be fine on the spot with 8000 HUF.

Orange box

More details on getting arround.  

Estrid Teoh, Readers Bureau, Fellow

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