This is an excerpt from our extensive Budapest guide book in which we show you the city from its most authentic and honest side through 99 chapters and more than 200 places to discover.
Budapest’s trams (“villamos'”) are shiny yellow beacons of the city’s public transportation system. Their history reaches back to more than 150 years and today, they are somewhat the “exceptional children” of the otherwise often hated-on BKV (the Budapest public transport system). And even if they’re sometimes late and rather slow, nobody can really be angry at them. Maybe it’s because of their happy colours. Or because they look simply adorable. It could be the fact that you can stare out of the windows, and enjoy a ride free of exhausts and on the surface. Or their often scenic and calming routes.
Whatever it is, riding the “villamos” in Budapest is an absolute must while you’re here. Since there are 25 of them and not all of them give you the same experience, here are the top 6 most special tram-rides of Budapest:
Tram Lines Nr. 47 & 49
These two tram lines will show you the best of Pest along with the whole beauty of Liberty Bridge and the Danube. Afterwards, they’ll take you along a chilled avenue of Buda (Bartók Béla út), which is lined with some of the coolest cafés and eateries of the city. Get off at Móricz Zsigmnd körtér and round your journey off with a laid-back walk around the “Ass-Less Lake” (Lake Feneketlen) – an inner-city lake surrounded by plenty of mystery and urban legends.
Get on at: Deák Ferenc tér
Get off at: Móricz Zsigmond körtér
Look out for:
- Deák Ferenc tér: The heart of the city; the door to the “party district” and probably the most famous meeting point of whole Budapest (stop: Deák Ferenc tér)
- the small ring road (“Kiskörút”): the former border of the city of Pest, running now where previously the old city walls stood. Today’s gate to downtown with plenty to see. (between stops Deák Ferenc tér and Fővám tér)
- the National Museum, a beautiful classicistic building with historic significance, serving as an important setting of Hungarian history. (stop: Astoria)
- the Great Market Hall (stop: Fővám tér)
- Liberty Bridge from the best possible point of view (stop: Fővám tér)
- the Danube Panorama, as the tram makes its way across Liberty Bridge (between stops Fővám tér & Szent Gellért tér)
- The beautiful Viennese-Secession-style Gellért Hotel (this is the building that inspired Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel!) (stop: Szent Gellért tér)
- Bartók Béla Avenue with some of the best cafés and eateries of the city (between stops Szent Gellért tér & Móricz Zsigmond körtér)
- the myth-enshrouded & and very laid-back Lake Feneketlen (“the Ass-Less Lake”) (stop: Móricz Zsigmond körtér)
Note: It doesn’t matter which line you take, as they only part at Móricz Zsigmond körtér.
Tram Line Nr. 2
The one you read of in every single guidebook – this time for good reason. A beautiful ride along the Pest side of the Danube Bank that’ll give you the whole beauty of the city.
Get on at: Fővám tér
Get off at: Jászai Mari tér
Look out for:
- The Buda Castle (visible on the opposite side of the Danube throughout the whole route)
- The Grand Market Hall (stop: Fővám tér)
- Liberty Bridge (“Szabadsághíd”) (stop: Fővám tér)
- The Chain Bridge (between stops Eötvös tér & Széchenyi István tér)
- The Shoes on the Danube Bank (between stops Széchenyi István tér & Kossuth Lajos tér) – a chilling reminder of history
- The Parliament (stops Kossuth tér & Országház Látogatóközpont)
- Margaret Bridge & Margaret Island (stop: Jászai Mari tér)
Explore the Authentic Side of Budapest!
Our guidebook will help you peel back the multiple layers of Budapest one by one. It’ll help you see Budapest the way it’s meant to be seen.
It’s written for conscious travellers and locals. For those who are looking for more than just a glimpse at the main tourist attractions.
For those who want to not only see, but also feel the city and experience how it lives, plays, works, eats, drinks and functions.
It features countless little gems for you to discover while strolling the city streets – be it a hidden courtyard, a secret bar, a colourful garden, an offbeat flea market, or a stunning piece of street art.
Tram Lines 4 & 6
Among the busiest tram lines of the world (legend says it’s *the* busiest!) – these two lines truly never sleep. Being the only public transport (except for the night buses) that run round the clock, every night, they transport millions of passengers every year along Budapest’s big ring road (“Nagykörút”) . All of this at max. 15min-intervals, although during rush hours they run every 2(!) minutes. The route is a real spectacle; the best is to just sit back and take it all in, but here are some points of reference:
Get on at: Széll Kálmán tér
Get off at: Rákóczi tér
Look out for:
- Margit körút – The Forgotten Ring Road and its Bauhaus architecture (between stops Széll Kálmán tér and Margit híd, Budai hídfő)
- The Danube Panorama (including the Citadel, the Parliament and the Buda Castle) (between stops Margit híd-Budai hídfő and Jászai Mari tér)
- Margaret Island (stop: Margitsziget-Margit híd)
- The impressive Nyugati Railway Station built in the style of French Renaissance. Fun fact: It was planned by August de Serres and Gustave Eiffel. Yapp, that guy who later planned the Eiffel tower. (Stop: Nyugati pályaudvar)
- All the little, often trashy and weird shops that are inherently characteristic for the Ring Road. Especially the numerous bridal shops! (mostly between stops Nyugati pályaudvar and Király utca)
- Rákóczi Square Market Hall: The much less touristy little sister of the Grand Market Hall (stop: Rákóczi tér)
Note: It doesn’t matter which line you take, as they only part for their two final stops.
Tram Line Nr. 61
Makes its way through the beautiful forests and enchanting houses of faraway Buda. A true hidden gem of a line!
Get on at: Széll Kálmán tér
Get off at: Hűvösvölgy
Look out for:
- The “Körszálló”: Budapest’s “Round Hotel” which you can see even from far above in the Buda Hills. It looks like a giant barrel and was built in the 60s to show “the West” that “we can build skyscrapers, too!” (stop: Városmajor)
- The “Bauhaus-street” and its super interesting buildings in Napraforgó utca (stop: Zuhatag sor)
- The enchanting forest and the little houses along the way (between stops Budagyöngye to Hűvösvölgy)
- The final station of Hűvösvölgy – looks like straight out of a fairytale and is under monumental protection. (stop: Hűvösvölgy)
Our tip: If you’re up for the biggest toy of Budapest, you can jump straight into the Children’s Railway at Hűvösvölgy and start a great hike in the giant mountains of Buda from here. Here is everything there is to know about this peculiar little vehicle of Budapest. Find all our infos here or this awesome trip.
Tram Line Nr. 51
The ugly beauty of the Pestest Pest. Get ready for old factories, run-down buildings and be enchanted by a lot of industrial charme on the way. A ride into the dark side to fall for. For everyone who has a rough side to their heart.
Get on and off at: Mester utca / Ferenc körút
Look out for: Just take it all in!
Tram Line Nr. 41
The adorable Buda-bro to famous tram-line 2. Beautiful Danube bank & panorama, all without the tourists. Once you leave the bank, get ready for some serious Buda-peace & chill as you slowly make your way to the “Chamber Forest” (Kamaraerdő). Take a big, big walk from there!
Get on at: Margit híd-Budai hídfő
Get off at: Kamaraerdei Ifjúsági Park
Look out for:
- The whole Danube-panorama (between stops Margit híd, Budai hídfő & Szent Gellért tér)
- The beautiful Viennese-Secession-style Gellért Hotel (this is the building that inspired the Grand Budapest Hotel!) (stop: Szent Gellért tér)
- Kamaraerdő (“The Chamber-Forest”) – a peaceful recreation forest perfect for going on a hike after the ride
And now we’d like to hear from you: Which is your favourite tram line of Budapest (or even the world)? Any other mode or line of transport you totally fell for here? Which gems did we miss along the way? Let us and others know in the comments below!
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