PRIOR TO traveling on Hungarian motorways and toll sections you need to buy a Matrica (motorway and toll ticket), that you keep as a 'Licence Plate' receipt.
A toll ticket can be valid for 10 Days, 1 Month or 1 Year and can be bought at petrol stations.
To park in Szeged City Centre you need to buy a parking ticket from a ticket machine.
The machine is easy-to-use, is in English and accepts cash or card payment. It costs 120 HUF (32p) per 15 Minutes.
If you want to check bus routes, and timetables, leaving from Budapest and other parts of Hungary use the Volan Busz website.
Volan Busz is a part of the Eurolines co-operative. You buy tickets from them.
They have reasonable prices per night per person.
If you are travelling to Szeged for the first time - perhaps as a new student or lecturer to the University of Szeged, someone moving from Budapest for a new job/life in Szeged, a tourist, a festival goer or potential home owner - whereby you have never travelled to Szeged before, below you will find details of 'How to get to Szeged'.
Assuming you have read the previous section about getting to Ferihegy train station: When you arrive at Budapest International Airport (Terminal 2B) you have at least two ways to reach Szeged city centre.
With this option you first need to buy a bus ticket for the 200E Shuttle Bus (as detailed in the previous section) that travels between Budapest Airport and Ferihegy train station. When you are at Ferihegy train station, on platform A, you then need to buy a MÁV START train ticket to Szeged.
This is what a MÁV START train ticket to Szeged looks like
NOTE: Newer train tickets have a barcode on them that the onboard ticket conductor zaps and checks with their portable online ticket machine. If you get an older type of train ticket, like the one above, they will write on it with a pen to state it has been checked and validated.
Once you have purchased a ticket to Szeged, stay on Platform A and wait for the next MÁV START train going to Szeged. The MÁV START train journey normally takes 2 hours and 5 minutes to complete whereby Szeged will be the last (terminating) train station.
If you want to get off between stops, for a sightseeing detour/break and/or journey to meet family/friends for example, DO NOT BUY YOUR TRAIN TICKET ONLINE because that ticket will only be valid for its particular train journey and time without stopovers. Buying your ticket from Platform A of Ferihegy train station means you can catch any train at any time and then get off at another station and request a Pass Code (stop-over/short break ticket) from its ticket office (just say you want a break for a couple of hours).
Trains are not written with English (or Hungarian) headings on the front of them and Szeged is not always advertised on billboards. Meaning you must always look at the sign, posted on each carriage door, to see a train's route (i.e. Budapest-Nyugati - Ferihegy - Szeged). If in doubt, just ask the teller inside the Ticket Kiosk on Platform A or the people standing on Platform A "Szeged? Train to Szeged!"
On rare occasions if another train is running late and arrives when your train should arrive you might mistake that late train as yours, so be careful. ALWAYS ASK "Szeged? Train to Szeged".
A sellotaped sign on the train helps when no other announcement can be seen/heard
Do not worry; it is not as bad as it sounds. There are ticket inspectors on the train too, who also get off the train and onto the platform so that they can then close any open doors before the train leaves. As a rule: Look on the carriage door sign, and billboard information if available, and make sure the train is heading towards Cegléd - The last stop will be Szeged, with the main stops being:
Budapest-Nyugati • Zugló • Kőbánya-Kispest • Ferihegy • Cegléd • Kecskemet • Szeged
I think it is fair to say many older generation Hungarians DO NOT speak English, so if you do ask someone for trains and directions in general it is best to ask a younger person.
TIP: Do not Go To Budapest! - Many travel websites and so on recommend taking a Taxi or Minibus to Budapest-Nyugati Train Station (the main train station in Budapest) in order to catch an "end-to-end journey" train from Budapest to Szeged, but this is a pointless waste of time, money and energy because that trip would mean taking an extra 30-45 Minutes to reach Budapest-Nyugati (Budapest) before coming back on yourself to Ferihegy-Airport Train Station and onto Szeged - The train will pass by Ferihegy-Airport Train Station anyway, so why waste time and money travelling up to Budapest.
Ferihegy-Airport Train Station is NOT Budapest-Nyugati Train Station (the main train station in Budapest). Ferihegy-Airport Train Station is a train station located between Budapest (Budapest-Nyugati station - about 30-45 Minutes/13.6 Miles away) in the North and Szeged City (Szeged station - about 2 Hours 5 Minutes/106 Miles away) in the South.
Ferihegy-Airport Train Station is distinguished by its rusty-orange coloured bridge
If you are going around Hungary in general by local transport be aware that you will need a Single Ticket for each "Uninterrupted Trip" and that each single ticket is generally valid for 80 Minutes only (daytime) and 120 Minutes only (night time), depending on the city, after it has been stamped.
A single public transport (tram and bus) ticket costs 320 HUF in Szeged
Although one bus ride in Szeged is currently 320 HUF (About 85p), which might sound fair, it soon becomes expensive when you need many bus rides in one day; for sight-seeing or D.I.Y shop visits for example. Saying this, Budapest and Szeged are walking cities (you can easily get from A to B by walking) so it is not all bad news! In comparison: One bus ride in Miskolc Transport Web PageMiskolc and Pécs Transport Web PagePécs is 300 HUF whereas one ride in Debrecen Transport Web PageDebrecen is 330 HUF.
Look out for discounts. They are not well publicised, but do exist. For example: People who are 26 years old or under are entitled to a 33% discount, on weekends only, as are adults who accompany a child of 18 years old or under. Children under 14 years old (travelling without adults), full-time students and pensioners are entitled to a 50% discount whereas children under 6 years old can ride the public transport for free; So always check the MÁV START website and at a train station for latest prices and special discounts.
If you travel by Car using the M5 Highway (Motorway), the same trip - which is approximately 171 Kilometers (106 Miles) and takes around 1 Hour and 50 Minutes - will end up being more expensive than the train; which is often the case when travelling around Europe.
E-Sticker - If you do travel by car you will need to buy a special, online, e-sticker known as the E-Vignette, which you can also buy at any gas/petrol station (look for "E-Matrica" or "E-Vignette" signs), that permits you to drive on motorways and toll roads. A 10 Day, D1 Categorised, E-Sticker (i.e. a Car e-sticker) currently costs Official E-Sticker (E-Matrica / E-Vignette) Website2,975 HUF (£8.15) and is valid for multiple trips on all motorways and toll roads within the e-sticker's validation period.
E-Vignette - Toll roads can only be used with a pre-purchased E-Vignette sticker (i.e. you can NOT use a toll road on a Pay-As-You-Go basis). Your driving license and vehicle log book will be needed in order to determine the appropriate category and fee - e.g. category of vehicle, maximum total weight, etc.
Driving License - You do not need an International Driving LicenseInternational Driving License if you are only using your car in Hungary for one year or less. After one year you would be expected to apply for an Hungarian driving license. So for a short holiday your current country-based driving license will be sufficient.
Here is Countries That Require An International Driving Licensea list of countries that require an International Driving License (otherwise known as an International Driving Permit - IDP) - Scroll to the bottom of that page to see a list of countries.
Road Signs - Finding highways (motorways) and direction signs in general can be tricky, even for Hungarians, as not all town and cities are sign posted. Example: Travelling from Budapest Airport to Szeged, the M5 Highway and Szeged in particular is difficult to find signed posted. And from Szeged to Pécs, Pécs is not sign posted at all in Szeged. So you really need a GPS/Sat-Nav to get around Hungary. Do not rely to heavily on Google Map directions either; we found them useless when travelling from Szeged to Pécs.
If you are on a really tight budget and/or want to take the scenic view from Budapest to Szeged you can always take a coach trip via the state owned National Bus Company WebsiteVolánbusz zrt Coach Company, which is Hungary's equivalent of National Express in the UK.
Coach Routes (Inter-Urban Services) 0600 and 1100 both go to Szeged City Centre (Szeged, aut. áll / Szeged Bus Terminal) from Budapest (Budapest, Népliget aut. pu / Budapest, People's Park), taking approximately 3 Hours at a cost of 3,395 HUF per adult, but this does mean taking a 30 Minute or so Fötaxi - Official Taxi Company for the airportTaxi or MÁV START Train ride to Budapest City Centre first.
Alternatively, you can take the 200E Shuttle Bus from Budapest International Airport (Terminal 2) to its last stop at PDF File - 200E Shuttle Bus MapKöbánya-Kispest Metro Terminal and then take the M3 (Blue Line) Metro towards Újpest Központ but get off at M3 (Blue Line) Metro WebsiteNépliget Bus Terminal (the fourth stop). From there you would take the 0600 or 1100 Volánbusz zrt coach to Szeged, but this would be a tiresome, adventurous, rough-guide journey only for the brave!
Route 0600 - Budapest • Kecskemét • Szeged • Subotica.
Route 1100 - Budapest • Kecskemét • Szeged • Hódmezövásárhely/Makó
Times Of Travel for both routes are - 7:00, 8:30, 11:30, 12:30, 15:00 and 18:30.
When travelling on certain Volánbusz routes it is compulsory to buy an Intercity Supplementary Ticket as part of your journey, due to the way National Fares, Discount Cards, etc are calculated and governed. Szeged is such a route, which means the 175 HUF Intercity Supplementary Ticket needs to be purchased alongside your actual Budapest > Szeged (Full Price) National Ticket.
If you buy your Full Price National Ticket online the computer system will calculate the sum of that Full Price National Ticket and the small fee Intercity Supplementary Ticket and show you the total price within the online checkout.
Door-To-Door (Home <--> Airport) TransferZölt (Green) Transfer are a Door-To-Door Shuttle (Car/Van) Service that travel to/from Budapest International Airport (Ferihegy) to/from an address of your choice in Szeged; with their VIP service. The journey takes between 90 Minutes and 2 Hours, depending on stop-over (service station/toilet) time and traffic, with Green Transfer PricesPrices that rival public transport fares - Prices range from 6,500 HUF (£16.25) to 19,500 HUF (£49.50) depending on the service you use.
One person travelling to Budapest Airport (Terminal 2) from Szeged currently costs 6.500 HUF (Orange service), 8,500 HUF (Green service) or 19,500 HUF (VIP service). In this case the orange service is good enough. However, when travelling from Budapest Airport (Terminal 2) to Szeged the VIP service is better, but more expensive, simply because you will not be sharing your car/van with other people from other flights.
With the non-VIP services, which are shared-vehicle services, you have to wait anywhere from 30 minutes to 120 minutes for other people's flights to arrive before leaving Budapest Airport with those people. The VIP service works out more economical when travelling as a group of 3 or more people.
Cost versus Comfort - If you calculate the price of a single/adult ticket from your Szeged apartment to Szeged train station (320 HUF), the train fare to Budapest airport (3,395 HUF) and the 200E bus fare to Terminal 2 (350 HUF), which totals 4,065 HUF for a single/adult, the difference is only an extra 2,435 HUF (£6.08) for quicker travel time and less hassle.
If you want any easy life just take the 200E Shuttle Bus to Ferihegy-Airport Train Station (Terminal 1 of Budapest International Airport), buy a train ticket from the kiosk on Platform A (which will be valid for any train to Szeged) and then catch the next available train to Szeged. When buying a ticket just ask for: 1 Ticket To Szeged Please - Second Class, Thanks, which means you want to buy a standard, adult, single, second-class (non-InterCity)/non-First Class), ticket.
Alternatively, you could try Zölt (Green) Transfer - I have used their VIP service from Szeged to Budapest Airport and have no complaints. Highly recommended.