B U D A P E S T
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it serves as the country's principal, political, cultural, commercial, industrial and transportation center and is considered an important thermal bath hub in Central Europe. It is the 8th most populous city in the European Union. Straddling a gentle curve int he Danube River, Budapest is flanked by the Buda Hills on its west bank and what is essentially the start of the Great Plain to the east. Due to its geographical features Budapest is considered one of the capitals with the world's most beautiful location. Architecturally, it is a gem, with enough baroque, neoclassical and Art Nouveau architecture to satisfy anyone. The finest of the Habsburg triumvirate of Budapest, Vienna and Prague, the Hungarian capital is much grander in scale than the Austrian and Czech capitals. Budapest is a city rich in historical sights, including the Roman ruins of Aquincum, the Turkish baths and the Neo-Gothic Parliament. At night it buzzes with lively bars and clubs, and offers some top-quality options for eating out.
Budapest's public transportation systems are operated by the company BKV. The service includes buses, trolleybuses, trams, underground trains (Metro) and above-ground suburban trains (HÉV).
Tickets or passes must be bought before boarding; you cannot buy them from the driver (except on the night bus network). They are available at Metro stations, tobacconists and newsagents, and from vending machines at many bus and tram stops in the city centre. The single tickets (350 HUF) are valid for one single journey of any length (without changing) on all routes (including the Cogwheel Railway, but excluding those parts of the HÉV that lie outside the metropolitan boundary of Budapest). There is also a range of pre-paid books of tickets and value-for-money passes on sale, like transfer ticket (530 HUF), metro section ticket (300 HUF), One-day travel card (1.650 HUF), Three-days travel card (4.150 HUF), Seven-days travel card (4.950 HUF) and 10 pieces discount coupon book (3.000 HUF). When using single tickets, a new ticket has to be validated at the beginning of each journey, and this is done by inserting it into the slot in the small red or orange box situated at waist height near the doors of buses, trolleybuses, trams and HÉV trains. Please note that on the Underground system these boxes are in the stations at the top of the escalator. There are many ticket inspectors wearing a red/blue armband and carry a photographic identification badge. They can ask to see tickets and passes on any vehicle and anywhere on the Metro system, including after you have got off - so please remember to validate your ticket and keep hold of it! Maps sited at the entrances to metro stations give a comprehensive overview of the entire public transport network in Budapest. Conditions of travel are also included, in German and English. Hungarian citizens as well as citizens of other member states of the European Union over the age of 65 years can travel free of charge on BKV Budapest public transport services (except for the funicular, the chair-lift and boat trips) when they present to inspectors a personal identity card or document certifying their citizenship. From Ferihegy Airport take the Nr.200 (airport) bus until Kõbánya-Kispest metro station and there take the M3 (blue) metro line to get to the city centre.