Flying to Budapest
Budapest is served by just one airport. Budapest Ferihegy International Airport (www.bud.hu) stands around 30km south east of the city centre; it has three terminals: Terminal 2A (used by the national carrier, Malév), Terminal 2B (serving most of the other major airlines like British Airways) and Terminal 1 (budget airlines like easyJet and Wizzair).
Getting to the centre
Once you’ve reached the airport, there are several ways to make your way to the city centre - a journey that’s likely to take around 40 minutes.
Airport Shuttle Minibus
The minibus (+36 1 296 8555; www.airportshuttle.hu) offers a fixed-price service to any address in Budapest. It’s probably only worth considering if you are travelling alone or in a pair - if there are more of you than that a taxi will work out cheaper per person. It’s also worth remembering that there may be other passengers on board, and so - if your hotel isn’t the nearest - you will have to wait while the minibus drops others at their hotels along the way.
There are sales desks at each of the terminals, and you can book when you reach the airport. Alternatively, reservations can be made online in advance through the website; you will be issued with a code which you take to the desk on arrival (you may use the ‘e-Ticket’ lane and thereby jump any queue of passengers who haven’t reserved in advance). A one-way ticket costs 2,990 forints for one person and 4,490 forints for two, and a return 4,990/8,590 forints.
The bus represents the cheapest transfer option. Buses 200 and 200E (express) run regularly (between 5am and just after midnight) from outside the arrivals halls at both terminals to Kőbánya-Kispest metro station (from where you can take the M3 metro to Deák Ferenc tér in the city centre); these buses are designed to accommodate passengers with luggage. Alternatively, the standard bus 93 goes from outside the arrivals hall at Terminal 1 only (also to Kőbánya-Kispest, between 5am and 11pm). You can use the usual public transport tickets (available from the Tourinform booth) or pay the driver as you board (which is slightly more expensive by 50 forints or 60 forints). See www.bkv.hu for timetable information.
The main taxi companies offer fixed-price fares for journeys between the airport and the city centre (typically around 5,000 forints), and can be pre-booked or called on arrival. Főtaxi (+36 1 222 2222; www.fotaxi.hu) is the officially supported airport taxi company. It has a system of fixed fares depending upon the ‘zone’ of the city to which you are travelling (although if the metre shows a lower fare when you reach your destination then that is the price you should pay), with the city centre costing 5,100–5,700 forints. There are kiosks at each of the three terminals, just outside the arrivals halls.
There is a rail service between Terminal 1 and Nyugati Railway Station, taking around 30 minutes and running from 4am until just before midnight. The station is 200 metres from the terminal. Tickets cost 365 forints and can be bought from the Tourinform booth at the terminal, from ticket machines at the station or on board (if the ticket machines aren’t available). If you arrive at Terminals 2A or 2B you can take bus 200E to Terminal 1. You'll find the train timetable at the website of the Hungarian railway company (www.mav-start.hu).