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Public transport in Budapest and the Universe

Public transport in Budapest and the Universe

Let me tell you: the Universe works in mysterious ways and everything is wonderfully interconnected… in Budapest… when using public transport!

If you came to this post to find out how to get around and how much it costs scroll further down for sheer facts on Budapest’s public transport.

Otherwise, you are welcome to enjoy our story first.



Walking past a movie theatre, Tomek and I decided to enjoy some straight forward action with the Bourne Legacy, not taking into account that the metro in Budapest closes at midnight.

Entrance bars were just being lowered, when we arrived at the metro. But we weren’t bothered, because there are plenty of night buses, that run at least once every hour.

Unexpectedly, there was a vehicle from the heavens, standing in front of the metro. Except that it wasn’t send from the heavens, because that bus was going the opposite way, inevitably driving away from town. We were approaching a forgotten district that didn’t even belong to Budapest until the 60s. It was progressively getting pitch black outside.

Curious about our whereabouts, we consulted earthly Android: ‘Quarry-Garden suburb, largely working class, Roma gipsy presence scattered all over, groups of immigrants, area improved in the 1980s’.

As I was reading the info on our mobile, I noticed other passengers. Young, physically agile lads with neatly shaved heads, some wearing hoods, loose fitting jogging tops, with American cities spelt across their chests, dressed in grubby Nike trainers, rolled-up Adidas tracksuit bottoms, curiously observing. We were heading for townie territory.

I wasn’t worried. I, the perpetual traveler, am a neglected minority, too and as such I learned not to cling to material things.

However, we thought it would be a good idea to get out, when we see signs of civilisation. At that point, anything with lights would do. And so we found ourselves stranded, in the middle of outland, in between a gas station and a gloomy circus tent, surrounded by old camper homes.

The bus stop to go into town was just on the opposite side of the street. Checking the timetables, it turned out that the very first bus approaching towards what we shall refer to as ‘station backwoods‘, was going the right direction.

Moreover, this bus would be operating about 42 stops (we were very far out), but dropping us off pretty much at the front door to our rented flat. Didn’t know till then that we actually had a bus station on our street.

That’s not all. The waiting time for our four-wheeled saviour, at ‘station backwoods‘ was not going to exceed three minutes, while being scheduled to regularly run only once an hour.

The morale.

Making thoughtless decisions makes the universe work over time.

Moving in the direction of lunatic decisions urges the workings of the world to align. As adults with decreased maturity levels (that’s mainly me), we just went with emerging opportunities… and everything fell into place, effortless.

Yeah, it’s supernatural.

Nah, simply spiritual nonsense. Let me just take out those mind-hazing incense sticks, and tell you about the greatness of public transport in Budapest. The facts:



– is cheap and exactly on time

easy to navigate for the tourist

– covers all destinations you will ever need to cross

– consists of buses,  trams,  trolley buses , the metro and suburban trains

– gets you comfortably home at night, as night buses take over the metro system after midnight


Prohibition signs on buses are tied to specific CUSTOMS of each country. See the man sipping from the bottle?

Prohibition sign on bus Budapest


I also like the depictions of Hungarian elderly folk. Yes, ALL Hungarian men with baskets wear over-dimensional moustache. Grannies wear red lipstick and huge pearls with big handbags to attract the snatch-hand.

Prohibition sign on bus Budapest


Waiting for the bus? With pleasure. All public stations are smoke free!

No smoking sign at bus stop Budapest Hungary girl waiting at the bus stop Budapest




– are rigorously controlled and it is not worth to dodge paying the fare

– have to be presented at the escalators to the metro or, very often, at the door, when getting on a bus

– can be bought for each ride at ticket machines or counters at the metro

– are valid for all public transport in Budapest (restrictions apply only to suburban trains)

– if you stay longer, it is worth to buy a weekly pass (4,600 Forint) or a monthly pass (9,800 Forint)

– we bought a monthly, even though we are staying for three weeks only – it’s cheaper than to buy three times the weekly pass! (I did the math by myself.)


Have your ticket handy, when getting off the metro.

Ticket control at Metro Budapest



You will find modern ticket machines and communist window displays at the Metro. That was one dusty era.

Ticket machine Budapest Metro display window Metro Budapest


Single tickets are valid for the distance of three stations and are 260 Forint per ride.Single tickets Budapest Metro


Brand new monthly tickets. Tourists don’t need a photo with a metro ID card.

Monthly tickets at Metro Budapest




Ticket Price Table for bus, metro,trolleybus, tram Budapest Public Transport




– the metro trams are noisy, rusty and falling apart but the vintage blue is beautiful

– lucky tourists will be able to appreciate its shabby beauty for the last time, because brand new trains are being tested and will be launched some time very soon

– you will be thrilled by the sight of excessively long escalators going through endlessly long metro tunnels

– your hair style will depend on the intensity of strong winds flowing through the metro tunnels, thereby disarranging carefully prepared coiffures, taking wigs and accessories. A mind blowing experience. At the same time you will experience sudden changes in temperature. It can get very hot/cold beneath the surface of Budapest.


The metro consists of three lines, each designated by a number and a colour.

Metro Budapest


No, I meant, really looooooooooong escalators.

escalators Metro Budapest


If I take off my heavy pink sneakers, I will fly away.

long escalators Metro Budapest


Communist metro architecture.

Metro Budapest


I have counted the layers of paint inside the train. It was repainted at least four times, going from grey, blue, green to arrive at pastel green.

inside Metro wagon Budapest inside Metro wagon Budapest


Looking for the next stop on the display? The old metro provides you with real cockpit indicators instead!

inside Metro train Budapest


Another neat extra feature of the Budapest metro. It counts seconds until the next train arrives.

Metro Budapest


Above the doors, you can trace the stations. Underneath each station name, you can find connecting transport (bus numbers etc.).

Metro line Budapest


The future has just arrived. New metro trains go through a test phase these days and do not let anyone board yet.

new Metro wagons Budapest


The oldest metro line is the yellow MILLENIUM UNDERGROUND M1 and dates back to 1896. It is the second oldest metro in the world (after London) and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The original appearance of the old stations has been largely preserved.

Millenium Underground M1 oldest Metro line Budapest


During a ride in newer trains you can hold on to antique-looking leather straps.

oldest Metro Budapest leather straps oldest Metro Budapest


Each station features displays of historical photographs and information. Guess, what exhibition I am going to visit.

Millenium Underground M1 oldest Metro line Budapest


A friend of a friend explains the uniqueness of this metro sign. It has been kept in its original condition since 1896. Need that anti-ageing secret.

station sign Millenium Underground M1 oldest Metro line Budapest


Time travel is possible in Budapest.

Millenium Underground M1 oldest Metro line Budapest


All passengers, please get off now – we have arrived at 1896. Next station 1897.

Millenium Underground M1 oldest Metro line Budapest


Everything is made out of wood. At the Millennium Underground Museum in the Deák Ferenc Square concourse, many artefacts from the Metro’s early history can be seen.

Millenium Underground M1 oldest Metro line Budapest


After all that travelling, I finally arrived in Art Nouveau heaven!

art nouveau posters Millenium Underground M1 oldest Metro line Budapest

You did notice, how the tongue of that peeking man lustfully hangs out, upon the sight of the undressing Geisha, didn’t you?

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  1. Dear dasza,

    I’m glad that you liked Budapest and its transport system this much.

    Most of the old soviet trains on the M2 line are now replaced by the new ones (similar trains will run on the 4th line too). As for line M3 the old rolling stock will stay until 2014-2020.

    The ‘excessively long escalators going through endlessly long metro tunnels’ exist beacuse of two reasons: 1) The M2 line has to go under the Danube which is quite deep arond the city center 2) the stations on the M2 and M3 lines can be used as bomb shelters – they can keep 220.000 people safe for 3 days. (Cold war paranoia at its finest)

    I hope you and your friends will wisit the city in 2014 too when the new M4 line will be fully operational.

    Best wishes,

    • Thanks a lot for the update. Riding the M4 in Budapest 2014 sounds like a plan :)

      • You’re welcome. :)

        They transport company now states that the opening of the M4 line will be on March 31, 2014. However this line suffered a lot of construction delays so we can’t be 100% sure.

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