Simply put – No, Budapest does not have Uber.
You will find many things in the beautiful city of Budapest, Hungary. Exquisite architecture, clean and insta-worthy streets, refined cityscape views, heartbreakingly delicious food – influenced by the central European regions, super-rich culture and history and many more. But the one thing you won’t find in this picturesque capital of Hungary (Or any part of Hungary now that you think about it) is an Uber.
If you are someone who has gotten used to depending on an Uber to get to places, no matter in which part of the world you are, this may come as a bit of a shock (or not, if you have travelled enough).
Don’t worry – before you get second thoughts about visiting this beautiful landlocked nation in central Europe, there are plenty of ways on how you can overcome that minor setback and have an epic time there.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Is Uber Unavailable In Hungary?
- 2 Best Way To Travel Around Budapest?
- 3 Are Taxis Expensive In Budapest?
- 4 Alternatives For Uber In Budapest
- 5 Important Points To Remember
Uber operates on a large scale in many countries all across the world – this was true for Hungary as well, at least until the year 2016. Locals and visitors had gotten so used to using Uber for transport, that it seemed like a clear disadvantage to not have Uber operating in a country – especially a bustling, traveller-magnetic capital like Budapest. So why is Uber not available in Hungary now?
Uber stopped operating in Budapest and all of Hungary after it got kicked out by legislation. While some call it a ban or a forced suspension, the bottom line is it’s not available.
Many agree that Uber – a global transport app, operates under a certain advantage since it doesn’t have to adhere to the many laws and regulations applied to other forms of transport in a country. It is a disadvantage to local transport providers, and it affects their livelihoods negatively.
So to ensure that licensed taxi drivers are not adversely affected by the continuous usage of Uber, the Government of Hungary officially removed Uber from operating in any part of the country.
You might be also interested in: Does Budapest have an Old Town?
Best Way To Travel Around Budapest?
If you are under the impression that the government’s decision to remove Uber has negatively affected the nation’s transport, think again. In fact, it has allowed the transport systems of Hungary to diversify and consistently maintain quality standards in all their forms of transport.
Airport Transfers – Shuttle Buses
Yes, most of the time you can settle for a taxi, but the shuttle busses are worth giving a shot here in Budapest, Hungary.
One of the main areas you really need transportation is from the airport to the city and back again to the airport. There is of course the shuttle bus, which is very budget-friendly and is readily available throughout the day (they run every ten minutes actually).
Discovering Budapest on Foot
Another method for travelling that doesn’t involve any kind of a two-wheeler or four-wheeler option is to go on foot. Maybe in your head, you are going “no way!” But hear us out.
There’s no way you can explore the world and discover beautiful places, without taking some of those journeys on foot. And Budapest is actually an ideal city destination to explore on foot. Whether you are out on an adventure to explore the local scene, taste the incredible flavours of different Hungarian cuisine, check out the cafes and restaurant scene in Budapest, visit some museums or even go for a lovely thermal bath, you can be assured that most of these are within a decent walking distance. Keep in mind – that some of the thermal bath spots are approx. a 40-minute walk away.
Cross over the bridge, over the gracefully flowing Danube River to explore the different sides of Budapest. Whether you go to the Buda side (on the west) or the Pest side (on the east), you can selfishly immerse in the distinct beauty the city freely offers wandering travellers.
Yes, all of that can be done on foot!
Cycling around Budapest
If you still say you can’t walk, then lucky for you, there is always cycling. The Bubi App – is Budapest’s bicycle sharing network. There are plenty of docking stations (approx. 140 plus) and approx. 1800 bikes and there is plenty of coverage in the Pest area of the city. But if you are thinking of taking a cycle ride through the Buda parts, it will be a little more challenging and energy-consuming since the landscape is a little bumpier and elevated on certain roads and areas.
To grab your cycle, you can use the Bubi app – which is available in the Apple and Google Play stores.
Travelling in Taxis
If you still prefer the four-wheel transportation over everything else, then, of course, taxis await!
Keep in mind that licensed ones are usually painted yellow. The bright side is that the taxi rates are regulated all over Budapest. It will contain a fixed base rate, and a distance-based charge will get added based on how long you keep the cab and the distance travelled (obviously).
Usually, the official rates are displayed on one of the rear doors for any travellers’ reference.
So that’s cool.
Cheers to Public Transportation!
There is much to admire in Budapest. Public transport is definitely one of them. From the buses to the subways to the trams and trolleys.
The fares are super reasonable for any local as well as traveller. To make matters simpler and more convenient, you can purchase your transport fares from the BudapestGO App (Available in Apple and Android smart device app stores) – or you can just directly purchase the ticket from the driver. It’s a clean, efficiently-operating transport system that covers Budapest thoroughly.
The ride can be an experience all on its own since several of the transportation lines offer sightseeing tours around the city for a super sweet price. Two of the busiest tramlines even offer incredible sceneries when crossing the Danube River.
Are Taxis Expensive In Budapest?
Compared to other European countries, the taxis in Budapest are relatively cheaper. Compared to all the other transport alternatives available in Budapest, taxis are not that cheap.
Alternatives For Uber In Budapest
If the idea of Uber or even Lyft not being available in Hungary is putting you off on your plans to visit Budapest or any region of Hungary, then stop stressing. Hope is not lost. There are some pretty good, Budapest- approved taxi apps available to make your tours around this stunning city convenient.
If you ask around, we are sure the name Bolt would pop up quite a lot. It’s an easily downloadable app that works very similar to Uber (but without the nondescript vehicles being used). Once the app services ping your location, you can add in your destination and be on your merry way (once your taxi arrives, obviously).
For a traveller/visitor, this is the most recommended app by other fellow travellers and locals. Because it is safe and it offers fair rates. Unlike Uber, the Bolt app has licensed cabbies. Bolt (formally called Taxify) can be easily downloaded via Apple Store, Google Play and even through AppGallery.
But if you are looking for more alternatives (because there’s nothing wrong with having a backup taxi alternative) you can always try City Taxi or Fotaxi, all of which have updated websites as well as mobile apps that can also be effortlessly downloaded using Apple Store or Google Play Store.
Important Points To Remember
Now that you have gained thorough knowledge about the many different modes of transport available within Budapest, and the many alternatives available for taxis, there are a few must-remember points! Knowing these points can help you avoid turning your trip to Budapest into a real rendetlenség (‘mess’ in Hungarian).
Never Just Get Into A Taxi
When the cab driver figures out you are not local, you are opening yourself into an involuntary saga of scams. From getting to a 5-minute destination in half-hour to overpaying for a short ride, you are risking a possible rip-off. So caution is advised.
Research A Little Deeper On The Best Way To Get Around
Always do your research. Get a feel of what to expect on the roads from those who have gone to Budapest. Watch vlogs and get a feel of what it will be like travelling around. Check the most recent reviews to understand the best mode of transport according to the seasons. For instance, yes exploring Budapest on foot is a great way to truly immerse in its beauty, but it’s not going to be all that simple during the winter season.
Electric Scooters Are Not Regulated Properly
Electric scooters have become a whole thing in Budapest, with an app, you can travel around in them with ease. But these scooters are not regulated properly and have stimulated a number of safety risks – especially to the pedestrians. So there is a risk if you are willing to take it.