Sleeping in Airports

Budapest Airport Layover Sightseeing

This article includes links to our travel partners at Tripadvisor, where you can read traveller reviews, book tours and plan your visit to Budapest.

Budapest Airport Layover Sightseeing
(photo credit: eskystudio / Shutterstock)

The Heart of Europe, the Queen of the Danube, the Capital of Spas and Thermal Baths… through the years, Budapest has collected a few nicknames! This unique city is known for its magnificent spas, stunning buildings, and vibrant nightlife. But is Budapest worth your time if you’re on a short layover at its main airport, Budapest Ferenc Liszt International? Let’s find out together!

Airport Overview

First, let’s explore your options if your layover is too short and you won’t have time to venture outside the airport. Luckily, Budapest Airport has plenty to offer passengers. Pick up those last-minute souvenirs from the Hard Rock Budapest Shop to stores selling Hungary’s best products. Enjoy the free WIFI, get a bit of sun on the airport terrace before your next flight, and choose from a variety of cafés and restaurants. On the corridor connecting Terminals 2A and 2B, you will also find a gallery of photos from Hungarian amateur photographers working at the airport. For more airport information, visit our Budapest Airport Guide.

Budapest Sightseeing Attractions

Below are a few of the top things to do in Budapest:

Hop-on Hop-Off Tours

Heroes' Square
(photo credit: ZGPhotography / Shutterstock)

Hop-on Hop-off tours are ideal if you don’t have much time but still want to see Budapest’s prominent landmarks. These buses will take you to the city’s most popular areas, and you can hop off at whatever tourist attraction you think is worth visiting in depth. Some sites often included in the tours are Heroes’ Square, Széchenyi Lánchíd, the State Opera House, the Parliament  Building and Castle Hill.

  • How to get there: Most Hop-on Hop-Off Tours depart from the Budapest city centre. You can head here by opting for one of the buses leaving from the airport. This will take you from 40 to 50 minutes, depending on traffic.
  • Time Required: This largely depends on how many stops you want to add to your itinerary. Tours, on average, last from one to two hours, but always double-check with your chosen company.
  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about Hop-on Hop-Off Tours in Budapest, read traveller reviews or book a tour.

Jewish Quarter

Jewish Quarter
(photo credit: robertonencini / Shutterstock)

This is the place to visit if you want to immerse yourself fully in Budapest’s vibrant culture. The old Jewish Quarter is, in fact, home to some of the best ruin bars in the city. These are unique cafés with eccentric decorations, ranging from bathtubs to lamps of every size and shape, and even cars! The Jewish Quarter is known for being where most young people meet in the evening to enjoy a drink and a chat.

  • How to get there: You can reach the Jewish Quarter by opting for one of the buses departing from the airport. Budget from 40 to 50 minutes, depending on the traffic.
  • Time Required: We suggest you budget a few hours to stroll through the neighbourhood and venture into a few bars.
  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about the Jewish Quarter and read traveller reviews.

Buda Castle

Buda castle
(photo credit: ZGPhotography / Shutterstock)

Buda Castle is one of the main attractions in Budapest. This building served as the historical palace complex of the Hungarian Kings and was first completed in 1265. Buda Castle has been renovated several times, and most of what can be seen today dates back to the 18th century.

  • How to get there: Buda Castle is located on the west side of the Danube. You can reach this site by heading to the city centre with one of the buses departing from the airport and then relying on public transport. This will take you about 50 minutes to one hour. Alternatively, you can go by Taxi, however, this option will be more expensive.
  • Time Required: Buda Castle is massive, so you can easily spend half a day here.
  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about Buda Castle and read traveller reviews.

Szechenyi Spa Baths

Szechenyi Spa Baths
(photo credit: majicphotos / Shutterstock)

If all you want to do on your layover is release the stress accumulated during your flight, heading to Szechenyi Spa Baths will be your best option. Renowned worldwide, these thermal baths are all you need to recharge before your next flight. Make sure to bring your swimming suit and towel (towels can also be rented).

  • How to get there: Take a bus to the city centre and then opt for a bus or metro. Keep in mind that the whole trip can last from 50 to 70 minutes, depending on the traffic. Of course, you can also opt for a taxi, but this will be more expensive.
  • Time Required: We recommend you spend at least an hour here, but remember that the hot water can be quite addictive, especially after a long flight. So you may want to budget a bit of extra time!
  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about Szechenyi Spa Baths and read traveller reviews.

Airport Transportation

Budapest Airport is located approximately 20 km southeast of the city centre. You can choose between a few options to head to the old town. Here are a few:

  • Bus: The 100E Airport Express is one of the best ways to reach the centre. Buses depart every 7 to 12 minutes and stop at three sites: Kálvin tér metro station, Astoria metro station, and Deák Ferenc tér metro station. A ticket will cost you roughly 6 euros. For more information, visit the Budapest Airport website.
  • Trains: The closest train station to the airport is Ferihegy, which can be reached by bus number 200E. The train will take you to the city centre for a few hundred HUF and is cheaper than the bus. If you opt for the train, remember that you will be in the centre in about 30 minutes plus the time needed to reach Ferihegy station by bus. For more information, visit the Budapest Airport website.
  • Taxi: Of course, you can always opt for a taxi. In this case, the price will be about 28 euros. You can reserve your ride in person at the Főtaxi booths on the exit of Terminals 2A and 2B. Unfortunately, Uber does not operate in Hungary, meaning a taxi will be your best option if you want extra comfort.

Before You Go: Layover Tips

You are now ready to plan your layover in Budapest. But before you start organizing everything, stay with us for a few extra minutes. There are still a few points you should consider.

  • Do you need to organize a visa to leave the airport? Requirements change frequently and for each nationality, so be sure to seek out current details on the availability, cost, and procedures of obtaining a transit visa.
  • When is your next flight’s check-in time? Double-check with your airline exactly when you need to be at the airport – and plan your layover accordingly.
  • What are security wait times like at the airport? Some airports are notorious for extended security wait times, so research in advance and factor that into your overall time budget.
  • What’s happening with your luggage? When you check in to your first flight, be sure to confirm whether your luggage is checked through or needs to be picked up between your connecting flights.

Other Useful Resources

Finally, here are a few handy resources to help you plan your layover even more thoroughly: