Budapest Card: Is It Worth It? Pros, Cons and How to Use it
The first thing my husband and I did when we landed in Budapest was to purchase the Budapest Card 72 hours. We were going to spend 3 days in Budapest so we wanted to be prepared and equipped. Along with booking a budget hotel in Budapest, also purchasing the city card can save you some good money and allow you to enjoy what the Hungarian capital has to offer, including tours and spas.
We used the card every day quite a lot, so now we are writing a full review to help you decide whether or not it’s worth it.
Budapest Card – Our Full Review
We used our Budapest city card 72 hours every day of our trip. Was it convenient? Did we regret purchasing it? Read our full review to learn everything about the Budapest city pass.
- Which Budapest Card to choose?
- What can I do with my Budapest Card?
- Public transport with the Budapest City Pass
- Where can I buy the Budapest Card?
- How to use Budapest City Pass
- Is the Budapest Card worth it? Pros and cons
READ MORE: How to plan a perfect trip to Budapest
Which Budapest Card shall I choose?
Depending on how many days you are staying in Budapest and what are your preferences, there are different types of passes. So you go from a one-day pass (24 hours) to a 5-day one (120 hours). The 3-day Budapest city card of 72 hours comes also in two other versions, 72h Junior and 72h Plus.
So, obviously, if you are staying in Budapest for 2 days, the 48h Budapest city card is your best option. Similarly, if you are staying longer but think that you will only have three days to explore the city, you might as well buy Budapest Card 72h.
The Budapest city pass gives free entry to a number of museums and discounts on several other museums as well as activities. So your choice can also depend on what type of trip you want to have.
What can I do with my Budapest City Card?
As mentioned earlier, the Budapest city pass gives you free entry to several museums and a discount on others and on popular activities, from 10 to even 50 per cent off. The discounts and free entries vary depending on which card you buy.
For example, the Budapest Card 72 hours and 72h Plus gives you a discount on two dinners at one of the restaurants partners in the initiative, while you won’t have this with the 48h card.
All cards buy you free access to the Lukacs Thermal Baths, Hungarian National Museum, the two galleries inside Buda Castle (Budapest History Museum and Hungarian National Gallery), Memento Park, a visit to Buda Tower, Aquincum Open Air Museum and the Hungarian House of Photography among others. You will also get a free guided walk around Buda and Pest.
Unfortunately, many of the main tourist landmarks are not included in the pass. In some, you will have a discount, while others are simply not participating in the initiative.
Some of the most popular for which you will need to pay are the House of Terror, Matthew’s Church, the Hungarian Parliament, the Great Synagogue and Fisherman’s Bastion. At the Fisherman’s Bastion, you will have a 10 per cent discount. Also, the panoramic point of Saint Stephen’s Basilica is not included. With the card, you will have 15 per cent off.
Most of these are actually must-see landmarks for anyone travelling to Budapest for the first time. This is why adding the single tickets to the Budapest card price makes it pretty expensive.
The Budapest Card will also give you a discount on the Hop-On-Hop-Off tourist buses. These are managed by private companies, so check with them first if they are a partner in the initiative and how much is the discount.
Public transport with the Budapest City Card
Probably the number 1 reason that made us not regret buying the Budapest pass was free public transport. Having free buses, trams and metro was not only great to save money, but also to save time and avoid the hassle of always looking for the tickets.
Budapest Card 72h gives you also free transport between the airport and the city centre. You can take the bus 200E to the metro station Nagyvarad tér on the blue line and then take the metro to your destination. Everything is included in the card price.
The other shuttle bus from the airport, n. 100E is not included in the Budapest pass. So you would need to buy it separately at the airport and pay either by card or with the local currency HUF. The bus 100E takes you directly to the city centre and important metro stations such as Kalvin tér and Deak Ferenc.
If you choose the Budapest Card 72h Plus, you also have free airport shuttle bus miniBUD and a free cruise on the Danube that the other cards don’t contemplate.
Where can I buy the Budapest Pass?
There are many ways and places where you can buy the Budapest city card. Probably the best option is to buy it online before leaving, so when you arrive, you just need to take the receipt to one of the official stands and they will give you the card.
The places where you can collect your Budapest city pass are:
- Budapestinfo Point at the Terminal 2A of Liszt Ferenc Budapest Airport
- Budapestinfo Point at the Terminal 2B of Liszt Ferenc Budapest Airport
- Budapestinfo Point at Deák Ferenc Square 1052, Sütő u. 2
- Budapestinfo Point at Heroes’ Square 1146, Olof Palme sétány 5
- Budapestinfo Point at Budavár Budapest Tárnok u. 15. (Holy Trinity square pavilion)
- Chocolate Museum Szamos, 1055 Budapest, Kossuth tér 10
It’s possible to buy the Budapest city pass also directly at these info points but be aware that at the airport they don’t accept any currency different from the Hungarian. So unless you already have the local money, you either pay by card or need to withdraw.
If you want to buy your pass in one of the info points in the city, you might miss on some free transport that the card would likely give you, also from the airport to the city centre.
How to use the Budapest City Card
Specific rules apply to how to use the Budapest card pass. This is a handy checklist on what to do when you buy the pass and how to activate it.
- With a pen, write the starting date with the exact time and your signature on the back. The card is valid only if it’s signed.
- The card is valid for 24, 48, 72, 96 or 120 hours from the time you start using it, which is the time you wrote on the back.
- Wherever you use it, they will check it. They never checked ours on the buses or trams, but always before getting on the metro.
- You can register your card on the official website so you can have a free replacement if you lose it or get stolen.
- The Budapest Card 72h Junior can be used by young people aged 6 to 18, who are always required to show their ID.
- If you don’t use the card, you can’t give it back. You can use it on your next visit but within a specific time span. Enquire at one of the info points for more info.
READ MORE: Our apartment in Budapest: Full Review
Budapest City Pass price: is it worth it? Pros and cons
This is the price of the Budapest city card depending on its duration:
- Budapest Card 24h: 6.490 HUF (21,99 €)
- Budapest Card 48h: 9.990 HUF (32,99 €)
- Budapest Card 72h: 12.990 HUF (42,99 €)
- Budapest Card 72h Junior: 9.990 (32,99 €)
- Budapest Card 72h Plus: 19.990 HUF (66,90 €)
- Budapest Card 96h: 15.990 HUF (52,99 €)
- Budapest Card 120h: 18.990 HUF (62,99 €)
Pros of Budapest City Pass
- The biggest benefit we found was, by all means, free public transport. We saved time and money.
- You have some free museums among the most important ones such as the National Hungarian Museum and the History Museum, and some other lesser famous.
- You have a free entrance to Lukacs thermal baths and discounts on others.
- You have discounts on landmarks and activities including the Hop On Hop Off buses and some cruises on the Danube.
- You can enjoy a free guided walk.
Cons of Budapest City Card
- It’s not that cheap. Costing 43 euro per person, I would have expected more attractions and activities free of charge.
- Many important landmarks are not included, such as the Hungarian Parliament, Matthew’s Church and the House of Terror.
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