Luxury holidays in Budapest
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When to go
The outdoor garden bars (kertek) are open in summer, but that’s also when most tourists arrive – late July and August are the most crowded months, but spring and early summer are quieter, and the trees are in full bloom. Winters are chilly, but you’ll soon warm up in the thermal baths.
PlanesTouch down at Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (still known locally by its former name, Ferihegy), which is 16km from downtown Budapest and is served by a flock of budget airlines as well as British Airways and Lufthansa. The 93 bus takes passengers between the airport and the Köbánya-Kispest M3 metro station; a taxi from the terminal to the city centre will cost between 3,500 and 8,000 HUF; and frequent trains from the airport to the central Budapest-Nyugati Railway Station for about 365 HUF (www.bud.hu/english).
TrainsBudapest’s three international train stations (Keleti, Nyugati and Déli) are connected to 25 other European cities, as well as other Hungarian destinations. The journey from Berlin takes just under 12 hours, Prague’s seven hours away and Vienna can be reached in less than three. The three main railway stations are also connected to Budapest’s underground system, the Metró (www.elvira.hu/english).
AutomobilesTo drive on five of Hungary’s motorways and main roads (almost of all which start in Budapest), you’ll need to buy a sticker that serves as your pass; buy your stickers for the M1, M3, M5, M6 and M7 at the border or a petrol station. The Magyar Autóklub has a 24-hour helpline for drivers in distress (+36 (1) 345 1755); check road works and diversions online before you travel (www.motorway.hu).
TaxisDon’t flag down a taxi in the street: it’s liable to cost you far more than the going rate, and it’s far more economical to call a local cab companies. City Cabs can generally pick you up within five minutes in central Budapest, and they speak English (+36 (1) 222 2 222).