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Getting to Hungary by bus from other European cities is fairly easy, and typically accomplished from Western Europe with Eurolines, Europe's main coach line. Routes run between London and Budapest, for example, several times a week, and take approximately 24 hours. Service within Hungary is generally timely, especially on routes originating in Budapest and most other cities; but be prepared for modest delays at intermediate points. All routes, both domestic and international, are no-smoking.
Most buses in Hungary are run by the state-owned Volánbusz company, which is in partnership with Eurolines, Europe's main coach line. Long-distance buses link Budapest's Népliget bus station with most cities in Hungary as well as major cities in Europe. Some routes tend to be crowded, so if you travel by bus, buy your tickets as far in advance as possible, either at the station or at a Volánbusz travel agency. The Budapest-Vienna route is especially popular. That said, on many domestic routes originating in cities outside of Budapest you can buy a ticket only from the bus driver as you board, so on these routes you don't want to be the last in line.
Buses to the eastern part of Hungary depart from the Stadion station in eastern Pest; those to western Hungary generally leave from the Népliget station, also in eastern Pest. For the Danube Bend, buses leave from the bus terminal at Árpád Bridge, near the northern end of Margaret Island, also in Pest. Quality-wise, buses in all areas are a bit of a mixed bag: most are modern and quite comfortable, and even air-conditioned; though some buses appear to be holdovers from the communist era and can get quite hot on warm summer days if the a/c isn't working (though they usually have curtains you can pull closed to block the sun). Domestic routes have no toilets, but many do make pit stops of 5 minutes or more every hour or two (but do confirm before wandering off!).
Long-distance coaches are generally comfortable, but in warm weather it's worth asking about air-conditioning, as some don't have it. Smoking on board is prohibited on both domestic and international routes.
There are no classes on buses in Hungary. Although on some older buses you won't be able to move your seat back much, in general you can expect a moderate degree of legroom and mostly clean seats upholstered in fabric you don't stick to it on hot summer days (with some exceptions).
With the exception of one-month passes of interest primarily to locals, there are no multiday passes or multitrip bus passes available for travel between cities within Hungary. That said, children under 6 travel for free.
Schedule and fare information is available online in English on the Volánbusz Web site. Should a telephone inquiry in English not work, which is a distinct possibility, you might ask for help at your hotel. Of course, you can also go in person to the bus station or, more conveniently, to the Volánbusz travel office in downtown Pest, which handles most, but not all, bus routes.
The general information line for Volánbusz, for both domestic and international routes, is 1/382-0888.
Bus Stations & Ticket Offices
Árpád Bridge bus station (1/412-2597.)
Népliget bus station (1/219-8020 information; 1/219-8016 int'l. ticket office.)
Stadionok (1/251-0125 or 1/252-2096.)
Volánbusz Travel Agency (1/219-8063 Travel agency; 1/219-8064 Travel agency; 1/382-0888 Volan information. www.volanbusz.hu.)
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