Budapest is beautiful all year round, but at its best in spring, early summer and early autumn. In spring, the natives emerge from their post-winter slumber and the city’s premier annual event, the Budapest Spring Festival, swings into action. In September, the searing summer heat has dissipated, yet the days remain long and pleasantly balmy. Crowds are thinner too, and you’ll have the city’s attractions almost all to yourself.
From the UK:
As a capital city, Budapest is well served by flights. British Airways, EasyJet, Ryanair, Jet2 and Norwegian all fly into Liszt Ferenc International Airport (BUD, formerly known as Ferihegy) from various UK airports including Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and the various London airports.
There are a number of direct flights from all over Europe to Budapest. Lufthansa and germanwings have direct flight from Germany; Air France fly from Paris. Wizz Air has direct flights from many European airports including Istanbul, Barcelona, Brussels, Madrid, Rome and Palma. There are flights from Chania, Venice, Krakow, Oslo and Stockholm with Ryanair.
From the US:
Delta Air Lines fly from New York, via Amsterdam or Paris. American Airlines fly via London or Helsinki.
FROM THE AIRPORT
It's a 20-minute drive from Liszt airport to the city. Take a cab or ask your hotel to arrange a transfer; you won't need a car as Budapest is best explored on foot.
Alternatively you can travel by public transport: take the airport bus to to Kõbánya-Kispest metro stop, then the metro the rest of the way. Or take the public minibus (a door-to-door shuttle service that collects travellers going to the same part of the city and drops them one-by-one). Their desk is at the arrivals at the airport. Be prepared to queue up in peak airport hours.
Budapest is best explored on foot: the 2-part centre (on either side of the river) is compact enough to stroll between sights and spy hidden gems down medieval side alleys.
OUTSIDE THE CITY
If you're doing a wider tour of Hungary, you will need a car - see our car rental recommendations. Bear in mind that some of the roads are poorly signed and not as well maintained as in western Europe.