The Hungarian National Railway is MÁV (http://www.mav-start.hu/) and GYSEV (http://www.gysev.hu) some lines in the west of the country. MÁV has an online schedule and pricing site (http://elvira.mav-start.hu/), which can be used in English as well.
The train network is star-shaped hub-and-spoke, fanning out from the centre at Budapest. This is caused by history because half of the once complete train system went to the neighbor countries after World War I. If neither the starting or ending point is Budapest, expect to travel for a long time often with change in Budapest.
Intercity IC trains are the fastest, and they're up-to-date, well maintained and clean. They link the major cities with Budapest. Expect to pay about HUF550 =EUR2 extra fee independently from the distance for the mandatory seat reservation not in international ICs, ECs. In some cases the extra charge can be lower. Compared to the majority of Western European ticket prices, Hungary's IC trains are amongst the cheapest, with an excellent record of speed and comfort. In almost all cases they also have a restaurant car. At the weekends many students use these IC trains to commute between Budapest and other cities, so an early advance booking is recommended on Friday afternoons for the trains leaving Budapest and on Sunday evenings for trains towards Budapest. Working with a notebook is generally safe, unless it's heavy overcrowded.
Other train lines usually are not that fast, and not always cleaned up to the high standards even in the 1st class, and often vandalised mostly in Budapest region; however quality standards are improving. During summer trains linking Balaton to Budapest are sometimes overcrowded with the IC usually being sold out. The next choice is the gyorsvonat fast train, with a moderate extra fee. Pricing depends only on the distance and on the car class. Cash desks assume 2nd class by default for non-IC trains at least in Budapest for English speakers, so if you didn't catch your IC, consider asking 1st class, paying small extra for much more comfort. Smoking is prohibited on all trains, as well as on the station platforms.
Young people under 26 years may travel with 33% reduction at the weekends Friday afternoon included. Children under 6 years and retired citizens from EU countries over 65 years can travel free except on InterCity and fast trains where the extra fee reservation must be paid.
It is possible to travel with an Inter Rail pass in Hungary. Check whether buying tickets for each journey is cheaper.
Within the city centre of Budapest, you will find there is local metro underground stations throughout the capital and within proximity to many tourist attractions, usually indicated with large "M" signs. Tickets are available at kiosks and at automatic ticket machines newer ones accept coins, banknotes and credit cards as well. If buying single tickets remember that they must be validated punched at the machines in front of the escalators or if travelling on buses and trams at the machines inside the vehicle. Single tickets are valid for one journey on one service. If you change between metro lines, you don't have to validate a new ticket, but in any other cases changing from metro to bus or tram, bus to bus, tram to bus etc. you have to use a second ticket. If you make only occasional journeys, save by buying a book of 10. However, be warned that many ticketing staff do not speak English and some times it is best to use the available ticket machine which has an English option. However, if you do plan to see a number of attractions with public transport, it is best to get a 24 hour travel card. It is valid for a full 24 hours from the time of purchase. There are also 3 day and weekly tickets. If you buy a three day Budapest Card, this includes public transport and entry to many museums. Many travellers will find that there are metro ticket inspectors virtually at every stop. If you are caught with invalid fare, you will be asked to pay a fine of 8000 HUF on the spot or you will be taken to the police station.
When you approach the ticketing machine, you will see a number of options. Short fare is intended for only 3 stops, and only on metro lines, regardless of which one you catch or change to. Regular fare instructions is as listed, but be sure to validate your fare or it'll be considered invalid. For more information: (http://www.bkk.hu/en/prices/)
Hungary presently has no regular domestic flights. As Budapest lies in the center of the country and pretty much any point can be reached within three hours by train or bus, there isn't much need for scheduled domestic flights.
However there are many opportunities for people with a valid pilot's license to rent a plane and explore by air.
A Pilot's Academy of Malev Flying Club(http://www.malevpilotaisk...) +3620565-6467, Dunakeszi. Lightweight gliders and other stuff.
Most roads in Hungary are two lane apart from modern motorways. Main roads are mostly in good shape, however cracks, potholes and bumpy roads are common on minor roads and in major cities though they are constantly being repaired. Usually you can travel by using a map and the road signs.
Motorists frequently pass cars at the last possible moment resulting in a daily symphony of near, head-on collisions. As there are few shoulders alongside Hungarian roads, motorists are frequently passing bicyclists and the numbers of fatalities have risen sharply in recent years. Generally speaking, Hungarians tend to drive very aggressively, tailgating, flashing, and honking is very common, especially on motorways. In large urban areas, you can sometimes see motorists fighting each other during traffic jams, and they may even sometimes pull you out of your car if they think you have offended them in some way, though such occurrences are rare.
Another problem is the police. Besides maintaining public safety, they sometimes concentrate on fining motorists and revoking driving licences. You can expect speed cameras in many places hidden in roadside bushes, behind trees, garbage bins, parked vehicles, and so on. Road defects are often fixed with 30km/h speed limit signs, and police cars equipped with speed cameras may show up shortly after the sign has been installed.
Expressways are not free, but there are no other toll roads or tunnels. A vignette system is used, similar to that in neighbouring Austria and Slovakia, but as of 2008 the vignette is stored electronically and checked for using gantries that read license plate numbers. You can purchase them in intervals of 10 days, 1 month, or 1 year. The vignette is very important and it is a good idea to buy it even if you don't plan to use the highway. Control is automatic with video cameras and you will get a high ticket HUF70,000 automatically without any warning.
If you travel by normal roads the speed limit is 90km/h between cities and 50km/h inside, which slows you to the average around 60km/h. Roads often have high traffic especially main roads like #8 to the west, #6 to the south and #4 to the east. On highways, the speed limit is 130km/h unless explicitly noted otherwise, but in the inside lane it is still very common to have someone speed by you. As elsewhere in Europe, you are expected to use the right lane for travel, and move into the left lane only for passing. Passing on the right in not allowed on highways.
When you cross the country from the west to the east or vice versa, take into account that there are only a few bridges crossing the Danube outside Budapest. There are some ferries available though.
Outside urban areas, it is a legal requirement to drive with headlights on, even during the day. A peculiar custom in Hungary is that the flashing of one's headlights in an intersection means that the driver is giving up his or her right of way and letting the other party ahead.
Hungary has a policy of zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. If you are caught driving even after only having a couple of units of alcohol you are most likely to be arrested.
There is a fast growing highway network in Hungary 1,480km in total. Each highway starts in Budapest.
M0 - Motorway ring around Budapest, with a missing section in the north-west.
M1 - connection to Győr, Austria and Slovakia west
M2 - connection to Vác, planned to reach the border to Slovakia by 2015 north
M3/M30/M35 - connection to Miskolc, Debrecen and Nyíregyháza east
M5 - connection to Serbia, via Kecskemét and Szeged south-east
M6/M60 - Connection to Dunaújváros and Pécssouth
M7/M70 - connection to Lake Balaton, Croatia and Slovenia south-west
M4 - will provide connection to Romania via Szolnok by the year 2015 east
M44 - will provide connection between the M5 at Kecskemét and the Romanian border via Békéscsaba east
M8/M9 - will cross the country east-west by 2015
A single vignette is required to use all highways. Vignettes can be purchased online with bankcard on (http://www.ppo.hu), at filling stations and at ÁAK State Motorway Management Co. offices. A 10-day vignette for a passenger car costs HUF 2975 ~EUR 10 during summertime, the 4-day ticket for car has been cancelled. Vignettes are controlled automatically through a camera system. See (http://www.motorway.hu/) or (http://www.nart.hu/) for details.
There are several scheduled riverboat and hydrofoil lines operated by MAHART PassNave Ltd. from the capital city Budapest to towns in the Danubebend, like Szentendre, Visegrád and Esztergom. (http://www.mahart.info/we...)
In the capital city there are several sightseeing and night cruises opereated by MAHART PassNave Ltd. and other shipping companys, like Legenda Ltd.
Although from May to September there is a good hydrofoil boat connection (http://www.mahart.info/we...) between Vienna and Budapest.
There are some ferries on Danube and Tisza but their undetermined working hours make them non-recommended. You can trust the ferry on Lake Balaton, though, for a modest price.
Hungary’s national bus network is operated by 28 state run companies, united under Volán Association (http://ujmenetrend.cdata....). Connections are frequent, prices are close to those on non-Intercity trains. Buses, especially longer distance ones are efficient and quite similar in speed to the train, sometimes even faster as they do not need to connect through Budapest unlike the train. Demand for bus transport is high and buses tend to get overfilled. To guarantee a seat on a long-distance bus it is therefore recommended to queue on time for the bus at its departing platform. Tickets are purchased from the bus driver, this usually includes most long-distance buses. Have sufficient cash on you as it is not possible to pay by card. It is a good idea to reserve your tickets for national holidays, Friday and Sunday evenings beforehand.
If you use the public Budapest airport busline No. 200E, make sure you validate your ticket after buying it. You can buy it from the bus driver as well. The small orange boxes on the bus are used for validating tickets. Ticket inspectors can show up and if you have not validated your ticket you are liable for a 8000HUF on the spot fine.