Cheap flights to Budapest, Hungary
Budapest Travel Guide
Book a flight to Budapest, Hungary and step into a hot bath. The public baths of Hungary’s capital are a time-honored tradition that helps ease the mind of worry and lessen the ache of tired muscles. Filled with workers needing relief from an intense board meeting or passersby’s needing a quick mood enhancement, the therapeutic public baths of Budapest refresh and recharge everyone from the weary traveler to the hurried executive. And if the hot soak isn’t relaxing enough, today’s hot baths come complete with a massage.
Once you’ve participated in Budapest’s bathing rituals, take time to explore the city. Budapest is really two cities (Buda and Pest) split by the Danube river and each offers its own character and personality. Buda is the older city and flanked with castles and royal palaces, while Pest is more contemporary with trendy cafes and retail boutiques. Regardless of which “city” you choose to spend your time in, there’s one thing that keeps everyone on the same page in Budapest – the weather. A cheap flight to Budapest any time of year will almost certainly come with sunshine and warm weather – Budapest averages 2,000 hours of sunshine a year. Even in the cold of winter, blue skies and bright days are abundant for travelers.
Often cited as one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe, Budapest is rich in history that goes back centuries. In the present, Budapest is a global city that excels in areas such as the arts, fashion, finance, tourism and much more. It is the home of many museums and cultural institutions, and the city offers much to see and do for the intrepid traveler. Whether you find a cheap flight to Budapest for an impromptu journey or plan a jam-packed Hungarian vacation, the trip will be unforgettable. Here are some tips to help you plan and enjoy the smoothest possible trip to this beautiful city.
What’s the weather like in Budapest?
Budapest experiences four distinct seasons and they’re usually punctuated by a drastic change in weather. Visitors spending time in Budapest during the winter should pack plenty of layers, because temperatures can plummet well below freezing. If you’re willing to brave the cold, winter is the best time to book cheap flights to Budapest. It begins to warm up in mid to late spring and into the summer, although travelers will experience frequent rain. Autumn is the most agreeable time to book Budapest flights and make travel plans, thanks to its consistently comfortable weather. However, you will have to deal with some rain as well.
When is the best time to fly to Budapest?
The city is hot and crowded in July and August, making cheap flights to Budapest very hard to come by without some forward planning and booking flight tickets early. The lake region is also mobbed with tourists so it can be better to visit outside of the peak of summer to get the most out of your holiday.
If you’re flying just for the Sziget Festival, which is one of Europe’s largest music and cultural festivals, then make sure to book your flights to Budapest as early as you possibly can as the prices will skyrocket as the dates approach.
A great time to visit is spring and autumn time, as the weather is still lovely but there are far fewer crowds. You’ll also find cheap flights to Budapest then as well as cheaper accommodation. It starts to get colder around the middle of December through March and a lot of tourist attractions and museums close for the season. Unless you’re a fan of cold weather, avoid booking flights to Budapest during December through February as the temperatures average in the low 30’s (Fahrenheit). You’ll find the cheapest flights to Budapest then though (aside from the holiday’s), and if you like the cold then it can be the perfect time to secure your flight tickets.
When is the best time to book a flight to Budapest?
If you are hoping to visit in August for the Sziget Festival you will need to book your flights to Budapest well in advance to secure the cheapest flight tickets. The Ballet Festival also takes place then too, making the cost of your flight tickets more expensive without some early planning. You can book your flights to Budapest with less notice if you are planning to visit outside of the peak summer times, with October and November providing cheap flight tickets. Try to get a window seat on the right-hand side of the plane and you’ll be greeted with stunning views of Budapest as you approach the city. Not all airlines offer the spectacular views so it can be a bit of a gamble but ensuring you’re on the right means you have the best chance.
How long is the flight to Budapest?
There are no direct flights from the United States to Budapest, so your flight will include a stopover, such as London or Paris. If traveling from New York City, your flight time is about nine hours, from Atlanta is just under eleven hours, from Chicago is about ten hours, and from Los Angeles is about thirteen hours.
Which airlines fly to Budapest?
Budapest's main airport is Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, and your flight will arrive here. Major U.S. carriers that offer flights to Budapest include Delta, United, and American Airlines. Other airlines with flights to Budapest include British Airways, Swiss Airlines, Air France, Norwegian, and KLM.
What should you pack for a flight to Budapest?
Budapest has cold winters and warm, rainy summers, so you will want to be sure you pack for the appropriate season. Bring plenty of layers you can easily remove and carry during the day as you adjust to the changing temperature. A jacket for when the weather cools and an umbrella are also a must. The city is very walkable, so you will want to have sturdy, comfortable shoes on hand for walking around town. Pack a swimsuit if you plan on enjoying any of Budapest's excellent thermal pools.
Getting to and around the city of Budapest
Located about 10 miles east of Budapest, Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD), is the largest of Hungary’s four commerical airports. Renamed in 2011 for the famous Hungarian composer and pianist on the 200th anniversary of his birth, the airport is still popularly known as Budapest Ferihegy International Airport. The airport is an important hub in Eastern Europe, and flights to the airport come from destinations all over the world.
To get to the city center, you can take the number 200E bus from terminal 2 to the metro terminus at Kobanya/Kispest anytime between 4:00 AM and 11:00 PM, and then jump on the metro line M3 towards Újpest Központ to reach the city center. In the arrivals hall, you’ll find a BKK booth where you can get all of the information you need and also buy your tickets. You can either buy enough tickets to get you to the center or a special pass that lets you use thermal baths, enter museums and gives you unlimited travel.
If you’re not planning to leave your hotel much then just go for the basic tickets. You can also get a private minibus service from the arrivals section of the airport. While these are more expensive and can ultimately take longer due to all of the door-to-door stops they do, they save a lot of hassle because you don’t have to carry your luggage around with you between buses and the metro.
Passengers can also take a taxi to their hotel, and the stand will be found outside of the terminal. This may be the most comfortable way to get to the city center. Be sure to take an official, licensed taxi, with a fixed sign on top. The A-category cars, which are larger and newer, have bilingual drivers. Car rental services are also available for those who wish to drive.
Once you’ve settled in to your hotel and are ready to explore the city, you’ll find that Budapest is easy to get around. Buses, trams and trains are both affordable and dependable. The metro works off of an honor system. Validate your ticket when you board, or risk paying a large fine. It’s not a risk worth taking. There are plenty of transport police and they’re strict when it comes to upholding fines.
What are some things to do in Budapest?
Budapest is a historical city that combines the cities of Buda and Pest and is often called the "Paris of the East" for its amazing culture. Buda is known for its castles and historic sites, while modern Pest is filled with shops and cafes. You will want to spend time in both sides of the river to get a full picture of all the city has to offer. Situated over the Danube is Castle Hill, which contains some of the city's most important medieval structures. Buda Castle is an impressive 200 room castle that is illuminated at night and can be seen throughout the city. You will also want to check out Matthias Church and Fisherman's Bastion on the hill.
The city has several major museums highlighting art and the country's history. At the Museum of Fine Arts, you will find one of the largest collections of art by the Old Masters. Next door, the Palace of Art houses rotating exhibits showcasing some of the city's best works of contemporary art. For an overview of Hungarian history starting with the Stone Age, head to the Hungarian National Museum to see artifacts such as Hungarian weapons, the Royal Regalia, and Beethoven's grand piano.
The Museum of Fine Arts is located at City Woodland Park, which offers pleasant strolls among 302 acres of landscaped gardens surrounding a lake. While here, you can explore the Municipal Zoological and Botanical Garden, Vajdahunyad Castle, and kid-friendly Tivoli Pleasure Park. The Danube Promenade provides wonderful views of the river and is the site of the moving Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial, commemorating Hungarian Jews killed in WWII.
No trip to Budapest is complete without spending some time in its thermal baths. Two popular locations are Gellert Spa and Rudas Thermal Baths, both which get their water from the medicinal springs flowing from Gellert Hill. Visitors also enjoy the Palatinus Baths of Margaret Island, which can accommodate up to 20,000 people.
Tips for your stay in Budapest
- Eager to relax after your flight to Budapest? Make like the Romans did when they first set up camp on the shores of the Danube and head to the thermal baths. Budapest is a city built on numerous thermal springs, and some of the original Roman and Turkish baths are still frequented by locals and visitors alike. The oldest of these baths are the Kiraly Thermal Bath and the Rudas Thermal Bath and are both excellent examples of Turkish architecture.
- With a river halving the city, Buda and Pest are connected by countless bridges and several of them are popular attractions. The Liberty Bridge takes you from Pest to the foot of the hill on which the Citadel resides, and the famed Chain Bridge, whose tongue-less lion statues pose for plenty of photo-ops, is one of the oldest structures in the city at the ripe old age of 160 years.
- If there one must-see during your Budapest trip, it’s a visit to the hilltops of Buda. Trek to the top of the hills on the Buda side where you can capture awe-inspiring views of Pest and some of the city’s most famous landmarks. Buda Castle, the Citadel, and the Fisherman’s Bastion are all structures that are standing survivors of the three wars that ravaged the city, and the caves beneath the castle were transformed into a labyrinth by the Turks that make for an eerie jaunt through Budapest’s past.
- With the fall of Communism in 1989, all statues commemorating Lenin, Stalin, and the Communist movement were promptly removed from the streets of Budapest and collected for a makeshift statue graveyard of sorts, now known as the Statue Park of Buda. You don’t have to brush up on the Communist Manifesto before your flight to Budapest in order to fully experience the sculpture collection, but this site is not to be missed. The gift shop at the Statue Park has quirky souvenirs that you won't find anywhere else, like “Red Star” coffee mugs, postcards fashioned after Soviet propaganda, and Karl Marx paperweights.
- One thing to visit whilst you are in Budapest is Memento Park. It’s home to a host of comical statues and can be enjoyed by all the family.
- Szechenyi Baths is a must-go place when you’re in Budapest. The capital is spoiled for choice when it comes to thermal baths; Szechenyi Baths is the largest medicinal pool in Europe and is surrounded by a palace.
Finding Flights from Budapest
Visiting Budapest puts you close to other cities throughout Eastern Europe, and Cheapflights can help you create the perfect Eastern European vacation by offering plenty of inexpensive flights. You can also find flights from Budapest to many other locations across the world, and flights are available from carriers such as Lufthansa, British Airways, and many more. Cheapflights can help you find the top deals on flights from Budapest to the destination you want to visit.
You can reach Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport from the city using any one of the four BKK metro lines and the express bus 200E at Kobanya-Kispest station. The airport offers several airport shuttle services throughout the city, and there are plenty of taxis available. Be sure to arrive with plenty of time to get through security and customs before boarding your flight.
Once you choose a destination, be sure to check out our Budapest airport guides for more detailed travel information and helpful tips.
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Useful information about Budapest
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- Alitalia offers international flights to Budapest.
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