You’ve probably come to this page with a simple question: does Uber work in Budapest? And we’ve got a simple answer for you: no.
Yes, the sad truth is that Uber does not operate in Hungary at all for reasons that we will explain in detail later in this post. However, there are other alternatives you can fall back on, as well as an excellent public transport network.
So, if you’re planning an upcoming trip to the Hungarian capital and want to know what the best way to get around is, this article will help you navigate your way through the buzzing Central European hub.
Is There Uber In Budapest: At A Glance
There is no longer Uber in Budapest. The ride-hailing company operated in the city up until 2016. However, repeated protests by Hungarian taxi drivers led the government to introduce legislation that, while not directly banning the company, made it impossible for the app to function properly.
As an alternative to using Uber in Budapest, Bolt is (for now) still available. For those who are unfamiliar with Bolt, it has a very similar service to Uber, allowing you to select a location and receive an estimated price before you confirm the trip.
Local Taxis Vs Bolt In Budapest Hungary
There are several Uber alternatives you can use for getting around in Budapest. Here, we’ll look at some of the pros and cons of using a taxi versus ordering a Bolt.
✅ When you order a Bolt, you will see the estimated price in advance, so you can decide before you travel if you are happy with the price.
✅ Like Uber, the Bolt app will track your ride and show driver ratings, which provides a degree of accountability.
✅ On the whole, Bolt is more expensive than ride-hailing apps in some other Central and Eastern European capitals. For example, we paid 10 euros for a 15-minute ride from the train station to the city centre in Budapest, which was much more than we paid using Uber in Prague for a similar journey.
That’s probably down to the fact that all Bolt drivers are licensed taxi drivers, as opposed to the amateur drivers you usually get with ride-hailing apps.
✅ One other thing to bear in mind about Bolt is that you need to have either a local SIM or data roaming active on your phone to connect to the app.
✅ Taxis are plentiful on the streets, making them one of the most convenient ways of getting around Budapest.
❌ Easily the biggest problem with getting a taxi in Budapest is that they often attempt to overcharge tourists. Even though they are meant to be regulated and display their official prices on the rear door, it’s fair for us to say that they have a deservedly poor reputation.
Is There Uber In Budapest Airport?
No, there isn’t Uber in Hungary Budapest, but there are some alternative options to get from Ferenc Liszt International Airport to the city centre.
Instead of using Uber from Budapest Airport, you can arrange for a private transfer, either directly with a company or through your hotel. Prices vary greatly depending on the kind of vehicle and service you purchase, but it’s safe to say that this is the most expensive option, albeit also the most comfortable.
A Bolt ride from the airport can end up being cheaper than a legit taxi ride due to the additional fees that taxis picking up people from arrivals can charge their passengers.
For example, the average ride to the city centre from the airport should cost around 10,370 forints (27 Euro) in a Bolt, depending on the time of day and the busyness on the roads. That’s almost exactly the same price as the average price of a taxi, which is 10,800 forints (28 Euro).
Bus 100E has been specifically set up to ferry visitors from the airport to Deak Ferenc Square, right in the heart of downtown Budapest. We’ve found the service to be incredibly convenient, affordable, and reliable.
At peak times, a bus departs approximately every eight minutes, though you may have to wait up to 40 minutes if your flight gets in between midnight and 3:30 a.m.
Tickets can be purchased in the terminal, via an app, or (most conveniently) just on the bus itself for 2,200 forints (around 5.70 euros)
There is an officially contracted taxi service that operates at Ferenc Liszt International Airport called Fotaxi. Make sure that if you do opt for a taxi ride, you are utilising a car operated by this business to avoid scams. You can find the company’s booths at the exits of terminals 2A and 2B.
As we’ve noted above, the average taxi price in Budapest from the airport to the downtown area is about 10,800 forints (28 euros).
How To Avoid Taxi Scams In Budapest?
✅ Double-check that the metre is turned on every time you begin a taxi ride.
✅ Avoid freelancer taxis. Instead, only flag down taxis that are from a big taxi company, such as Fotaxi or City Taxi. You’ll be able to tell from the logos on the side of the vehicle.
✅ If you’re travelling from the airport, make sure you’re using a Fotaxi car.
✅ Try to check that the route your driver is taking is not a circuitous one using Google Maps. Admittedly, we’ve not always found this to be a foolproof method, as sometimes the journey Google suggests is not the optimal one.
How To Get Around Budapest?
Since there’s no Uber Budapest, Bolt is your go-to ride-hailing app. It shares a lot of the same functionality as Uber, the only difference with its operations in Hungary being that it employs licensed taxi drivers rather than amateurs.
A plentiful number of taxis can be found roaming the streets of Budapest, but unless you speak Hungarian, we would suggest relying on apps wherever possible to order your cabs. As we’ve already mentioned, it’s fairly common for the taxi cost in Budapest to get inflated by unscrupulous drivers.
Budapest public transport is pretty robust, with lots of different means of traversing the city. The most efficient is arguably the metro, which covers many of the major tourist attractions, such as the Hungarian Parliament Building (Kossuth Ter Station, Line 2), the Szechenyi Thermal Baths (Szechenyi Furdo Station, Line 3), and the Hungarian State Opera (Opera Station, Line 3).
All of the public transport Budapest possesses is charged at the same rate, regardless of whether you take the metro, the tram, or the bus. Single journeys cost 450 forints (about 1.20 euros), while a pack of 10 tickets costs 4,000 forints (about 10.40 euros). These can be purchased from ticket vending machines or digitally using the BudapestGO app.
Trams are the most scenic method of public transport in Budapest, allowing you to absorb views of the city as you trundle towards your destination. In fact, we often took the tram in Budapest just for the sake of taking the tram, as it’s a great way to cover a lot of the prettiest parts of the metropolis without having to walk everywhere.
Make sure you at least hop on Tram Line 2, which runs all the way along the Pest side of the Danube waterfront, providing you with panoramas of Buda Castle and the Buda Hills.
Buses are neither as efficient as the metro nor as scenic as the tram, but they do have many more routes and thus cover a lot more of the city. Sometimes, you may find that the most convenient way to get from A to B is the bus – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing since they’re easy to navigate.
Is Budapest Walkable?
Forget taxis, trams, and other public transport, the best way to travel in Budapest is arguably using your own two feet. The city is extremely walkable, particularly if you’re staying around District V or one of the other centrally located neighbourhoods.
When we were last in Budapest, we actually only took public transport in a couple of instances, such as to get to the Szechenyi Thermal Baths or when it was late at night. Otherwise, any person without mobility issues will find it easy and safe to walk between sights such as the Hungarian Parliament Building, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and Buda Castle.
Best Tours To Take In Budapest
Here are the best Budapest tours that we can personally recommend. Our favourite was, of course, a wine tour!
Dinner & Cruise With Folklore Dance Show
Sail down the beautiful blue Danube while taking in Budapest’s most famous riverside sights, including Buda Castle, the Gellert Baths, and the Szechenyi Chain Bridge.
When you’re not gazing through the glass windows or standing outside on the deck, you can gorge on a buffet-style meal of classic Hungarian dishes such as goulash, stew with dumplings, and strudel. A glass of sparkling wine is included so you can toast to the voyage, while additional alcoholic drinks can be purchased from the bar.
As an accompaniment to your meal, the Hungaria Folk Orchestra will play traditional tunes to fully immerse you in the local culture.
Book your dinner cruise at the best rate here:
Parliament Tour With Audio Guide
A tour of the Hungarian Parliament Building is an essential item on the itinerary of anybody visiting Budapest.
This particular version lasts 45 minutes, taking you through the glamorous halls of the building, viewing such important artefacts as the Byzantine Holy Crown of Hungary with its distinctively skewed cross and exploring the millennia-long history of the Hungarian nation.
The entry ticket to the building is included in the price of the tour.
Book your guided Parliament tour at the best rate here:
Guided Tour On MonsteRoller e-Scooter
What we like best about this tour is there is a certain degree of customisation on offer, so you can choose an abbreviated essentials exploration or deep dive into all of Budapest’s best spots.
The tour always starts at the Hungarian Parliament Building and can encompass Buda Castle, Matthias Church, Heroes’ Square, the Citadel, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and Margaret Island. The total trip will last between one and three hours.
Don’t worry if you’re not a frequent e-scooter rider, as the guide will provide a short tutorial and test run before you head off around the city.
Book this fun trip at the best rate here:
Wine Tasting Tour In Etyek Near Budapest
Most people have heard of the sweet wine Tokaji, but Hungary has several other intriguing wine varieties to offer oenophiles. This tour takes you on a half-day trip to Etyek, a village 30 kilometres from Budapest that’s famous for its surrounding vineyards.
Run by a local guide, the excursion will take in between two and three family-run cellars, where you’ll learn about wine production, sample up to 12 different bottles, and savour a two-course Hungarian meal.
We took this tour to celebrate Robin’s birthday and had a fabulous time. It was only us and another couple from the States, which made the experience feel incredibly intimate and personalized. Our guide, István, was a fountain of knowledge, offering rich historical tidbits about Hungarian viticulture that made the whole tour educational yet delightfully entertaining.
Book your wine-tasting trip at the best rate here:
Best Areas To Stay In Budapest
Visitors to the Hungarian capital are spoilt for choice when it comes to places to stay. The walkability of the central districts, as well as the ease of use of public transportation in Budapest, means that almost nowhere in the city is inconvenient, though each place does have its own distinctive vibes.
Downtown (District 5 & 6)
In our opinion, wandering the streets of Districts 5 and 6 gives you the best flavour of what modern Budapest has to offer. There are tons of restaurants, coffee houses, and bars, as well as numerous modern sculptures.
For shopaholics, high-end boutiques abound along the famous Andrassy Avenue, sometimes called Budapest’s answer to Paris’ Champs Elysees.
Downtown also plays host to such iconic structures as the neo-gothic Hungarian Parliament Building and the neo-classical St. Stephen’s Basilica, which share the honour of being the joint tallest buildings in the city.
Áurea Ana Palace by Eurostars
Suppose you’re somebody who likes a bit of grandeur. In that case, the Aurea Ana Palace is an opulent mansion with stunning communal spaces, including a dazzling ballroom, a tranquil basement spa, and a modern bar with plush sofas.
Castle District (District 1)
The Castle District is where you’ll find Budapest’s impressive baroque castle, the neo-Romanesque Fisherman’s Bastion, and the gothic Matthias Church with its unique ceramic roof tiles.
Our favourite things about the Castle District are its grand architecture and great views, while history buffs will also find plenty of fascinating facts about the past to dig into at the Budapest History Museum.
The only con of staying in this part of Budapest is that a constant stream of tourists is always flowing through the area, cameras aloft to capture the picture-perfect sights.
Monastery Boutique Hotel
There are 47 rooms at this atmospheric former abbey-turned-hotel, which is around 300 years old. The property contains two restaurants, private parking, and pet-friendly amenities. Rooms are simply but comfortably decorated.
Jewish Quarter (District 7)
Also known as Erzsebetvaros, the Jewish Quarter contains Europe’s largest synagogue, situated on Dohany Street. The exterior of the building is instantly recognisable thanks to its striking twin onion-domed towers, while the inside is beautifully preserved and boasts dazzling chandeliers.
The Jewish Quarter is also where you’ll find Budapest’s famous ruin bars, including the oft-frequented Szimpla Kert and the slightly less touristy Koleves Kert. These drinking dens originally popped up in buildings that had become derelict following the prolonged period of poverty that Budapest experienced after World War II but have since become trendy hangouts for the city’s youth.
Bo33 Hotel Family & Suites
A contemporary 4-star hotel right in the middle of District 7, Bo33 Hotel Family & Suites features a rooftop relaxation area with sauna, a lobby bar with PlayStation and playground, and a buffet breakfast that includes sparkling wine.
Palace Quarter (District 8)
Once upon a time, the Palace Quarter was home to Budapest’s well-to-do residents, who custom-built magnificent mansions. Following the heady, decadent days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, however, the area has become rather dilapidated and unloved.
That’s now beginning to change, as District 8 becomes an increasingly popular part of town to go to escape the general tourist crowd. Hipster joints are popping up apace, and many of the unsightly communist-era constructions are being torn down while former palaces undergo tasteful restorations.
Courtyard by Marriott Budapest
The Courtyard by Marriott Budapest City Centre is one of those hotels where you can feel secure in knowing that you’re staying with an international chain that guarantees a certain level of comfort and service, even if the décor is pretty basic.
Is There Uber In Budapest: FAQ
What is Bolt in Budapest?
Bolt is essentially the only real ride-hailing game in town, though you can also use apps to order cars from reputable local taxi companies such as Fotaxi. Using these platforms, you can see an estimate of how much your journey will cost beforehand so you can make an informed decision about whether to opt for public transport instead.
What is the best way to get around Budapest?
In our personal opinion, Budapest getting around is best accomplished on foot, as this allows you to get a real feel for the different neighbourhoods of the city.
Plus, the Hungarian capital is very walkable, with lots of room for pedestrians to traverse the streets. Alternatively, trams provide a particularly picturesque sightseeing option, while the metro system is fast and convenient.
Are taxis expensive in Budapest?
In theory, taxis should be relatively cheap in Budapest, particularly compared to the rest of Europe. Having said that, they are more costly than public transport. Additionally, many taxi drivers (especially ones who have a licence to work as freelancers) are prone to overcharging tourists, which can end up making taxis the most expensive travel option of all.
What taxi apps are used in Budapest?
Bolt is arguably the most reliable taxi app – and it is essentially a taxi app in Budapest since only licensed taxi drivers can operate the service. There are also local companies like Fotaxi and City Taxi that have their own taxi apps. However, these tend to be less reliable as the user experience is not as sophisticated or as well executed.
Is there LYFT in Budapest?
Just as there’s no Uber in Budapest, there’s also no LYFT for very similar reasons, i.e., local regulations have made it impractical for them to operate in Hungary. Bolt is the only international brand that currently functions in Budapest, though they have also come under pressure from other local taxi businesses to exit the market.
Do taxi drivers in Budapest speak English?
English is the second most spoken language in Hungary, but that doesn’t mean you should assume that everyone will speak it. While many taxi drivers will be able to communicate in English, we wouldn’t advise risking the language barrier. Instead, make sure you have your destination written down or can show it to the driver on your phone.
How much is taxi from Budapest airport to city Centre?
The average taxi journey should cost you around 10,800 forints (28 euro) from Ferenc Liszt International Airport to the city centre. However, this will fluctuate depending on the exact location you are travelling to. One of the good things about Budapest’s taxis is there’s no night tariff, meaning you should pay the same price regardless of the time of day.
Do I need cash in Budapest?
If you are planning to travel in taxis, it’s advisable to have small change so you don’t get scammed by the drivers. On the whole, however, most places will accept cards, including the 100E bus from the airport and the ticket vending machines. Most restaurants and shops will also accept cards.
Do you tip taxi drivers in Budapest?
It is customary to tip about 10% to taxi drivers in Budapest (incidentally, that also holds true for other service industries like waitstaff, etc.). If you are using Bolt, it’s possible to tip using the app if you have an efficient, stress-free journey. Unlike in countries like the USA, you should never feel obligated to tip if you do not believe you have received a decent standard of service.
Is there Uber Eats in Budapest?
Uber Eats Budapest does not exist for the same reason that Uber doesn’t operate in Hungary. The local laws make the city an inhospitable place for the company to try to operate, and they would have to significantly alter their modus operandi to meet the government regulations that were specifically introduced to discourage Uber’s presence.
Is There Uber In Budapest: Final Word
While you won’t be able to rely on the trusty old standby of Uber in Budapest, hopefully, this article has provided you with a solid guide to the available alternatives. With Bolt, Fotaxi, tram lines, and metro routes, there’s plenty of choice, from scenic travel to optimum efficiency.
Budapest is one of our favourite places in Central Europe, filled with a mixture of delicious restaurants, fun-filled nightlife, and gorgeous architectural attractions that hark back to the glory days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and, even further back, the majesty of the early Magyars.