This guide to using Budapest-Nyugati station has been updated due its relatively new status as a key international station.
Budapest-Nyugati train station is now an international terminal because the EC daytime express and now the overnight trains between Budapest and Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Czechia, have all been switched from Budapest-Keleti station; and now arrive at and depart from Budapest-Nyugati.
This is welcome news for three reasons:
(1) Nyugati train station is closer to the city centre and the tourist heart of Budapest than Keleti station.
(2) Nyugati is in a smarter area of town than Keleti, it's actually a great area in which to stay as a base for exploring the city.
(3) Around 20 mins have been cut from the journey times of the EC trains - they used to have to travel in a semi-circle around Budapest in order to reach Keleti station.
Although the transfer of these trains to Nyugati isn't such good news if your final destination is convenient for Lines M2 and M4 of the Budapest Metro - these lines serve Keleti, but Nyugati is on Line M3.
No matter which platform/track/vágány your train arrives at in Nyugati station - the simplest route to access the Metro, trams and taxis is to walk straight ahead, passed the front of the trains on to the main concourse.
If your train has arrived at platform/track/vágány 1 - 9 you can access the main concourse by walking along platform/track/vágány 10.
If your train has arrived at platform/track/vágány 14 - 17 you can access the main concourse by walking along platform/track/vágány 13.
Once you're on the main concourse head to the entrance hall over to the left and once you're in that hall, use the exits on to the street and the tram stop will be ahead of you.
There is step free access to the tram stop from the platform/track/vágány that your train will have arrived at - so a very easy transfer if you have luggage.
Not so convenient is that despite being home to the world's longest trams - lines/routes 4 and 6 are near permanently packed with people.
All of the entrances to the Metro are outside the main station buildings at Nyugati.
And they are also not particularly obvious - you're looking for a blue M on a white background on comparatively small signs, that can be easy to miss.
Also there are no escalators down into the metro from street level - you have to use the stairs.
From the main concourse exit the main station through the doors across the front of the building.
You will see a set of stairs leading to a pedestrian underpass, but these stairs also give access to the Metro.
However, if your train arrives at platform/track/vágány 1 - 9 then don't head for the main concourse, instead walk ahead and use the exits on to Nyugati Ter, the square beside the station.
On Nyugati Ter is a somewhat hidden entrance to the Metro - there are stairs leading down to the trains in a nondescript yellow and grey building.
The taxi tank at Budapest-Nyugati is to one side of the station (on the right when facing the front of the station) - it's located on Nyugati Ter, in front of the bus station.
The main access to the taxi rank is on platform/track/vágány 10.
If your train arrives at platform/track/vágány 1 - 9 walk ahead and use the exits on to Nyugati Ter - the taxi rank will be over to the left.
If your train arrives at platform/track/vágány 11 - 17 you can either access the taxi rank on platform/track/vágány 10 via the main concourse OR if you don't have heavy luggage there is also a short cut.
Using the passage way across the station as a short cut:
A passage way runs beneath vágány (platform/tracks) 10 - 13 linking the east (Eiffel Ter) side of the station, where the vágány (platform/tracks) 14 - 17 are located, with the west (Nyugati Ter) side of the station, where vágány (platform/tracks) 1 - 10 are located.
This passage can only be accessed by stairs, but one of those staircases leads to platform/track 10, which is adjacent to the taxi rank
A set of stairs leading down to this passage way can also be found on platform/track/vágány 11 - 12.
Take Metro line 3 (direction Kőbánya-Kispest) and the heart of the city is two stops away at ‘Deak Ferenc ter’, but the closest stop to St Stephen's Basilica is Arany János utca - only one stop south of Nyugati.
You can walk to the Basillica in around 20 minutes
Four stops south of Nyugati on Line 3 is 'Kálvin tér' - the closest Metro station to the Hungarian National Museum
For the Hungarian Parliament Building:
It is a 15 - 20 min walk from Nyugati station - there are no direct public transport connections
For the Buda Castle and surrounding Varnegyed area in Pest:
There are two routes to the castle.
This first route takes you to the top of the hill on which the Buda Castle and Varnegyed district are located - go this way and you can avoid the queues at the base station of the Castle Hill funicular.
(1) Take tram lines 4 or 6 (direction Széll Kálmán tér) to the final stop at the Széll Kálmán tér interchange and then
(2) either walk up the steep hill, or take bus lines 16 and 16A up towards the castle.
Or if you want to ascend up to the castle on the Castle Hill funicular then;
(1) Take tram line 4 (direction Újbuda-központ) or line 6 (direction Móricz Zsigmond körtér) to the Oktogon stop and then
(2) Transfer to bus line 105 (direction Apor Vilmos ter) and take this bus to the Clark Ádám tér stop - located at the opposite side of Széchenyi Chain Bridge, that this bus uses to cross the River Danube.
Confession time - we have to admit we have yet to take a train from Nyugati, we were last in Budapest when the EC trains still used Keleti, but we have visited the station and the impressions were favourable.
Budapest Nyugati station has a straightforward layout.
The majority of international and domestic express trains depart from the central group of vágány (platforms/tracks) 10-13, which are steps away from the main concourse, which is located across the front of the station
In common with many stations in Hungary, Nyugati has an aura of faded grandeur - but it provides an atmosphere of the romance of rail travel.
It also seemed clean and well-maintained, but a modernisation program has been recently announced.
Although the biggest ticks in the box are immediately outside Nyugati station.
There are smart bars/cafes in which to wait for a train around the Eiffel Ter (to the right of the station when facing the trains).
Nyugati is also located in one of Budapest's main shopping areas.
Arriving at Nyugati station by tram:
Tram lines 4 and 6, which are the most frequent tram routes in Budapest, stop outside Budapest Nyugati station and there is step-free access from this stop to the main concourse.
Use the pedestrian crossing that is at one end of the tram stop and one of the main entrances to the station will be in front of you.
Go through this entrance into the station and the access to the main concourse and trains will be to the left.
Arriving at Nyugati station by Metro:
The metro station is named 'Nyugati pályaudvar'
The access up from the metro to the station buildings is not step-free.
All of the Metro station's exits are outside the main station building at Nyugati, but all of these are only steps away from the station.
However, the optimum access is to use the stairs that connect the Metro to the main entrances at the front of the station;use these and you won't have to cross any streets.
Follow the signs pointing the way to 'Nyugati pályaudvar'.
Arriving at Nyugati by taxi:
Taxis drop passengers to the side of the main station buildings, by the bus station on Nyugati Ter.
Go through the side entrance to the station and you will be on platform/track/vágány 10.
The main concourse will be to the right.
Using the ticket machines at Nyugati station in Budapest:
The MAV (yellow) ticket machines on the main concourse are relatively easy to use.
Not only do they have an English language option, they also have step-by-step instructions in English - the staff at the domestic ticket counters may not speak English.
If you will be travelling to another destination in Hungary you will only pay the equivalent of a couple of €s more at the station compared to booking in advance online.
If you have booked a ticket online from outside Hungary for a domestic journey within Hungary and now have a reference number to be used for collecting a ticket, you have to use these machines.
Entering the reference number in order to for your ticket to be printed out is straightforward.
The instructions on these machines also cover how to collect these tickets.
Using the domestic ticket office at Nyugati station in Budapest:
The main domestic ticket office is on platform/track/vágány 13, steps away from the main concourse.
Though the staff may not speak English and the ticket machines have good English translations.
If you have booked a ticket online on MAV you have to collect it from the ticket machines and not the ticket office.
Using the international ticket office:
International tickets can be arranged at the international ticket office, which is located further along platform/track/vágány 13 - you will have to walk passed the domestic ticket office to reach it.
Rail pass users can arrange rail pass reservations at this ticket office, they are not available from the ticket machines.
For Keleti - Take Metro line 3 (direction Kőbánya-Kispest) to Deak Ferenc ter and transfer there to Metro line 2 (direction Örs vezér tere) and leave the train at Keleti pályaudvar.
For Deli station - Take Metro line 3 (direction Kőbánya-Kispest) to Deak Ferenc ter and transfer there to Metro line 2 (direction Deli pályaudvar.) and leave the train at its final stop
For Kelenfold station -Take Metro line 3 (direction Kőbánya-Kispest) to Kalvin ter and transfer there to Metro Line 4 to Kelenfold vasutallomas, leaving the train at its final stop.
These hotels are all within a 10 min walk from Budapest Nyugati station and have high guest satisfaction ratings:
Hotel Metro 3-star
City Hotel Ring 3-star
Mamara Hotel 4-star
Hilton Hotel Budapest City 4-star
Mystery Hotel Budapest 5-star
By Kalvin Ter station
Staying in the neighbourhood around Kalvin Ter station is a particularly good option if you will be arriving and departing in the city at different stations.
It is the only metro station with direct links to all four of Budapest's main railway stations - Deli, Kelenfold, Keleti and Nyugati.
These hotels in the vicinity have the best guest ratings:
The Hotel Rum (personally recommended)
By Dean Fereck Ter station:
This Metro station, close to the heart of the city, has a direct link from Budapest Keleti and staying in the area can be a particularly good option if you are on a budget as there a a number of hostels within a 10 walk of Dean Fercek ter.
Hostel One Basilica and a little further away Hostel One Budapest
Both of which are featured on this guide to Europe's best hostels with easy access to train stations.
Also in the area are:
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