Getting to the center from airport
Upon arrival there are several options to get to the city. There is a bus line (200E) to the metro terminal, as well a direct service (100E) that travels right to the heart of the city at Deák tér. Tickets are available at vending machines, which have English language menus and accept card payment. The airport has a licensed taxi service run from a kiosk outside the arrival terminals, where you can order a car and a get a price estimate based on where you're heading. There may be freelancers hanging around trying to poach rides, who should be avoided. There is also a mini-bus shuttle service.
Budapest has excellent and extensive public network coverage. Tickets and passes are available at vending machines installed in most busy locations – such as the airport – and transport hubs.
Tourists can probably get the best deal through buying the hungarian capital’s official city card, the Budapest Card, which allows unlimited travel on public transport along with other services. Budapest cards are available for periods ranging from 24 to 120 hours. Enjoy hungarian cuisine, the atmosphere of historic baths, experience off-the-beaten-track programmes and sights, travel around the city for free, take in 30+ free services and 80+ attractions, programmes, gastro experiences with discounts up to 50%.
Currency and tipping
The national currency is the Hungarian forint (HUF). One euro is around 310, one dollar is around 250 forints. Keep these rates in mind, as some stores will accept payments in euros but the rates are generally poor. In restaurants it is customary to give a 10% tip. Some restaurants automatically add a service fee, but this should be stated on the menus. Don’t say “thank you” to your waiter until you're done. If you thank them when handing over payment, you're really saying “keep the change.” Major credit and debit cards are widely accepted, look for the stickers at the entrance.
Alcohol and Tobacco
Alcoholic beverages are available at virtually all grocery stores but can only be sold to people aged 18 or above. Some districts have local regulations banning the sale of alcohol after 10 PM. Tobacco products are sold in special stores called “nemzeti dohánybolt”. These usually sell alcoholic drinks as well and are exempt from the time limitations that apply to regular retailers. No one under the age of 18 may enter one of these shops.
DOs and DON’Ts,
Day and Night
At night, do:
Ask trustworthy locals to suggest authentic places to go out to.
Avoid flirty girls who suggest you to take them to specific entertainment spots and run up bills at visitor’s expense. It’s a common scam.
At night, don't:
Don’t drink alcohol in public places and do not smoke at bus/tram stops. You can be fined for doing either.
Don’t smoke indoors in cafés, restaurants and pubs as this is prohibited by law. Don’t smoke within five meters of any business entrance.
In the day, do:
Always carry some cash in forints, even though payment cards are commonly accepted. Validate your public transport ticket - but not your pass.
Look for prices at places, check them before ordering.
Always have photo ID with you.
Use exchange bureaus in the city center, as they offer the best rates.
Stay away from people who offer you free items on the street; there are no free items.
In the day, don't:
Don’t travel on public transport without a validated ticket or pass – it’s strictly controlled and you can be fined. Note that on some buses and trams you can only get on through the front door and you have to present a ticket or pass to the driver.
Don’t pay in Euros, even if a shop accepts the currency. (The exchange rates are very poor and you will pay more.)
Don’t exchange money on the streets with random strangers since it is prohibited by law. You also risk being given counterfeit money.
Don’t leave your belongings unattended while traveling the country.
Don’t hand over your ID card to anyone, except uniformed police or immigration officers with proper identification.
Don’t miss visiting one of the Budapestinfo tourist information offices to learn the latest tourist info, offers and programs.