Let me tell you about public transport in Hungary for travelers exploring the country independently. You’ll learn all the details about finding schedules, buying tickets, and the fares for interurban buses and trains. Moreover, I’ll explain the extent of Hungary’s public transportation network and what a tourist can expect.

Public Transport in Hungary: General Information

It’s useful to know that

public transport in Hungary, overall, is well-developed. There are numerous routes with relatively frequent services. If you’re traveling around Hungary without a car, you won’t be stranded relying on public transport. Admittedly, it might take longer, and not all locations are accessible by bus or train, but with determination, you can reach about 90% of the places that interest tourists.

I also want to provide some historical context: there’s a lot of outdated information on the internet claiming that buying train tickets or checking schedules is an immensely challenging quest. True, this was the case about seven years ago when transport companies lacked proper websites or apps, and everything was in Hungarian. However, today, there are no such issues as this field has adapted entirely for tourists. Nonetheless, there’s outdated and intimidating information still floating around the internet. Challenges might arise, but it’s not as daunting as it seems.

buses and trains in hungary
Railway station in Budapest.

Interurban Buses in Hungary: Prices, Routes, Schedules

Summarizing the key points regarding interurban buses in Hungary:

  • The largest carrier in the country is Volanbusz, offering the most extensive range of routes.
  • For prices, schedules, and ticket purchases, everything is available on the official website: https://www.volanbusz.hu/en
  • Tickets can also be bought at any bus station ticket office.
public transport in hungary
At any bus station, you can easily purchase tickets for interurban buses in Hungary.
  • All buses are comfortable and new.
  • For a general idea about prices: an average ticket for a trip between cities around 120-150 km costs 10 euros per person.
  • There aren’t any hidden fees, such as for baggage; it’s all straightforward.
buses in hungary
Most interurban buses in Hungary look like this. It’s the main mode of transport for intercity routes.

To prevent confusion, let me clarify. Budapest has a super convenient app called BudapestGO for public transport. There, you can buy tickets for the public transport in Budapest (and some other cities), passes, track your bus in real-time, and more—it’s extremely convenient. Additionally, you can purchase tickets for intercity buses through the app, but it’s not as user-friendly.

  • Reviewing the app and the entire Budapest’s transport, tourist passes, and validating tickets are covered in the article: Budapest’s metro, buses, and trams.
  • Under the “My tickets”-Purchase section, choose InterUrban (for routes between cities). This will display all local carriers and their tickets.
buy bus ticket hungary
In the app, purchasing intercity tickets goes like this: 1. Select Interurban to switch from city transport to intercity. 2. Choose the carrier. Then, view Full Price tickets—only the full fare applies to tourists.
  • Each carrier has its routes and fares. Some carriers display specific prices for a particular route between cities in the app, easy to purchase in two clicks.
  • However, most carriers, like Volanbusz, sell tickets based on distance, which confuses tourists. Here’s how it looks in the app.
intercity bus ticket in hungary
Suppose you want to buy a ticket from Budapest to Debrecen; the app displays tickets based on distance. It’s a bit unfamiliar for tourists, but it’s not the most popular method. It’s easier to buy tickets for a specific route on the carrier’s website than to calculate kilometers.
  • The process can be convoluted: first, visit Hungary’s transport lines’ website https://menetrendek.hu/. Enter the departure and arrival cities, and it’ll show you the distance. Knowing this figure, round it up and purchase a ticket in the BudapestGO app for that distance.
  • I don’t quite understand why they did this when there are much simpler methods. By the way, tickets can also be bought directly on the same website.

The author’s advice:

If you plan to travel by bus in Hungary, it’s better to buy tickets on the official Volanbusz website, https://menetrendek.hu/, or at the bus station ticket office. Using the BudapestGo app might confuse you more.

All about trains in Hungary: How to buy a ticket

There’s not much to say here. Everything is clear and straightforward:

  • The operator of all Hungarian railways is MAV, and there are no others.
  • The railway network is excellent; you can reach any major city in the country by train. There’s even a railway line around Lake Balaton with trains from Budapest.
  • Checking schedules, fares, and purchasing tickets is easy on the carrier’s official website, which has been significantly simplified and made tourist-friendly over the years: https://www.mavcsoport.hu/en.
  • And you can always buy a ticket at the train station ticket office.
  • Trains run punctually according to the schedule.
  • Fares for both buses and trains are approximately the same.
trains and buses in Hungary schedule routes
Trains in Hungary are no different from ours. You buy the ticket on the official website.

Advice:

If you plan to visit several attractions outside Budapest, it’s better to consider renting a car. It’ll be cheaper, faster, and the car rental process is straightforward and accessible. Read more about car rental in Hungary and personal experiences.

But if you’re just planning a quick trip, let’s say to Debrecen for a couple of days and back, then of course, it’s better and easier to do it by train. Major cities in Hungary have excellent transport connections with Budapest.

  • A comprehensive overview of Debrecen, where to eat, whether there are thermal baths, and much more.
  • And if you’re considering traveling around Hungary by car, an article on routes in Hungary by car will greatly assist you in planning your perfect trip.

In conclusion: Interurban public transport in Hungary is very well-developed. If you need to get to a reasonably large city, you won’t face any problems. The country is small, distances aren’t vast, and trains and buses run frequently. But if you plan to visit several attractions outside the capital and you’re a group of 3-4 people, renting a car is faster, cheaper, and more comfortable.


IMPORTANT: Below are useful links that will help organize your trip to Hungary and Budapest:

  • Flight: Aviasales – compares prices for flights among 30+ airlines flying to Budapest.
  • Tours and excursions:
    • Viator and GetYourGuide – the best services for finding tours in Budapest and Hungary with the largest database of activities in Hungary. They offer river cruises on the Danube, tickets to baths, and 1000+ tours (available in different languages).
  • Accommodation, apartments, hotels, hostels:
    • Hotellook compares the prices among dozens of other booking services and offer the best price
    • Booking – the most popular booking platform
    • Agoda – even more accommodation options in Hungary
  • Car rental: DiscoverCars – the leading and largest car rental service in Hungary.
  • Travel Insurance: EKTA.
  • eSIMAiralo virtual SIM card in Hungary.
  • Taxi and airport transfers: Intui.Travel