Simply put – No, Budapest does not have Uber. You will find many things in the beautiful city of Budapest, including exquisite architecture, clean and insta-worthy streets and refined cityscape views but the one thing you won’t find in this picturesque capital of Hungary 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 you can overcome that minor setback and have an epic time here.
Read on to find out more…
Why Is Uber Unavailable In Hungary?
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, touristy city 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 operates with a certain advantage as it doesn’t have to adhere to the many laws and regulations applied to other forms of transport in a country.
This is a major disadvantage to local transport providers, thus adversely affecting their livelihoods.
So to ensure that licensed taxi drivers are not adversely affected by Uber, the government of Hungary officially banned the rideshare company from operating in any part of the country.
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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 better way to explore the world and discover beautiful places than to take some of those journeys on foot. And Budapest is actually an ideal city destination to explore on foot.
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 to its 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 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 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 locals as well as tourists. 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.
Uber Alternatives In Budapest
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 similarly to Uber.
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 and Google play stores.
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 or Google play stores.
Important 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 Uber, 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 cab drivers figure out you are not a local, you are potentially opening yourself to a saga of scams. From reaching a 5-minute destination in half an 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 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 pedestrians.
So there is a risk if you are willing to take it.