Getting Around in Hungary, Visiting Hungary - Allo' Expat Hungary
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Getting Around in Hungary

By Air

There are currently no scheduled internal air services in Hungary. Some are planned for the near future, however. As Budapest lies in the centre of the country and pretty much any point can be reached within three hours by train or bus.

By River/ Lake

There are regular services on the Danube and Lake Balaton from spring to late autumn. MAHART and the Budapest Travel Company (BKV) also operate ferries in the city centre, the Roman Embankment (Római Part) and at some crossing points. On Lake Balaton, a ferry operates during the year between Balatonföldvár and Tihany, and between Révfülöp and Balatonboglér. Contact MAHART for further details.

By Rail

Services are operated by MÁV. All main cities are linked by efficient services but facilities are often inadequate. Supplements are payable on IC and express trains. Reservations are compulsory for IC trains and recommended for express trains, particularly in summer. Tickets can be bought 60 days in advance on domestic railway lines, as can seat reservations. The most popular tourist rail routes are: Budapest-Kecskemet-Szeged- Budapest and Budapest-Siofok-Lake Balaton.

Intercity (IC) trains are the fastest, and they're up-to-date, well maintained and cleaned. They link the major cities with Budapest. Compared to the majority of Western European ticket prices, Hungary's IC trains are amongst the cheapest with an excellent record of speed and comfort. In almost all cases they also have a restaurant car. At the weekends many students use these IC trains to commute between Budapest and other cities, so an early advance booking is recommended on Friday afternoons for the trains leaving Budapest and on Sunday evenings for trains towards Budapest. Working with a notebook is generally safe, unless it's heavy overcrowded.

During summer period trains linking Balaton to Budapest are sometimes overcrowded. Pricing depends only on the distance and on the car class. Cash desks assume 2nd class by default for non-IC trains (at least in Budapest for English speakers), so if you didn't catch your IC, consider asking 1st class, paying small extra for much more comfort. When in the train, keep in mind that there are smoking and non-smoking cars--check a sign over a door inside a car.

Rail-bus services are available between the main railway stations within Budapest at fixed rates. There are also narrow-gauge railways in operation in many parts of the country.

Concessions are available for groups (minimum of 10 persons), children, students, families and pensioners. Children under six and pensioners over 70 travel free. Children aged six to 15 pay approximately half of the full fare. Balaton and Tourist Season Tickets (seven to 10 days) are also available. Contact MÁV for details (see Travel – International section for contact details). The Hungarian Flexipass, sold by travel agents worldwide and by Rail Europe, offers unlimited first-class train travel for five days in a 15-day period or for 10 days in a 30-day period. The Hungarian Tourist Card offers discounts on rail, bus, taxi and ship services, as well as accommodation, restaurants and museums. The Hungarian National Tourist Office can provide further information.

By Road

Traffic drives on the right. There are eight arterial roads in the country: all but the M8 start from central Budapest. Tolls are payable on some roads and all motorways. Season tickets can be purchased. From Budapest the two main highways are the M1 to Györ and Vienna and the M7 along Lake Balaton. The M3 connects Budapest with eastern Hungary. Generally the road system is good.

Speed limits are 50 kph (31 mph) in built-up areas, 90 kph (50 mph) on main roads, 110 kph (62 mph) on highways and 130 kph (75 mph) on motorways. Seat belts are compulsory. Children of 16 years and under must sit in the rear seats. Petrol stations are frequent and there are no special tourist petrol coupons. There is a total alcohol ban when driving; severe fines are imposed for infringements. It is obligatory to keep headlights dipped at all times when on the open road. Mobile phones are allowed only with headsets. Child seats are compulsory. The Hungarian Automobile Club operates a breakdown service on main roads at weekends and a 24-hour service on motorways.


Budapest is linked with major provincial towns. Tickets are available from Volán long-distance bus terminal, Budapest, and at Volán offices throughout the country. A bus season ticket is also available.

Bus lines often are more complete than train lines, the prices and the speed is quite similar. Buses are normally clean.

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