Hungary — Transportation
Hungary Taxis and Car Rental
Getting around Hungary by taxi is straightforward and usually trouble-free, provided you use a registered, metered cab from one of the larger companies. Offers from random drivers at airports and rail stations should be refused and downtown cabs not affiliated with reputable firms are infamous for overcharging. Calling a cab from your hotel is the best way to avoid being ripped off, with major companies provided English-speaking switchboard staff. Be conscientious and check your change, as a recent scam involves giving worthless Romanian currency. Requesting an approximate price for your journey before setting off is also a good idea. Taxi-Cab (+36-70-645-4444) is a multilingual firm, and Taxi 2000 (+36-1-200-0000) is a reliable alternative.
Renting a car is the most practical way to get around Hungary, and Budapest in its center means most attractions can be reached on a daytrip. Budapest’s traffic is notoriously heavy and the downtown roads are confusing, but outside the city, there’s an extensive motorway connecting other major cities and attractions. Highways have no speed limits, but major roads are limited to 56 mph (90 kph). The zero tolerance policy on drinking and driving is rigorously enforced, with arrests following even a single drop of alcohol in the your bloodstream.
Hungary Water Taxis
Ferries link towns on Lake Balaton, and water taxis can be taken on the Danube, but working hours are undetermined and the service is unreliable as a result. Hydrofoil lines operate from Budapest to other Danube towns including Esztergom and Visegrad and, from May to September, there’s a ferry from Vienna to Budapest.
Hungary Trains and Buses
The Hungarian National Railway comprises two lines, MAV and GYSEV, and fans out from Budapest. Intercity trains link major conurbations and are fast, cheap and comfortable, with quality standards improving on other lines. First class tickets on fast trains cost only a little more than second class and give a greater degree of comfort, and retired EU citizens over 65 can travel for free on all local trains. Budapest’s Metro links most sites of interest.
Bus travel is by 28 state-run companies united in the Volan Association, with frequent routes and costs identical to those on the non-intercity train services. Long-distance buses are well-maintained and clean, but delays often occur. Trams, trolleys and buses in Budapest are the cheapest way to get around, and the comprehensive service is easy to understand with the help of a public transportation map.