Budapest Keleti: See location map

small bullet point  Which platform for your train?

small bullet point  Ticket offices (international & domestic)

small bullet point  Left luggage & ATMs

small bullet point  First class business lounge

small bullet point  A meal, coffee or beer before your train?  

small bullet point  Local transport:  Walking, metro, taxis

small bullet point  How to transfer to Nyugati station

small bullet point  How to transfer to Deli station

small bullet point  Recommended hotels in Budapest

small bullet point  Kelenfold station

 

On other pages....

small bullet point  Trains from Budapest to other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from other European cities to Budapest

small bullet point  Budapest Nyugati station guide

small bullet point  Budapest Déli station guide

small bullet point  General information for European train travel

small bullet point  How to buy European train tickets online

Station overview:  See station plan

The historic Keleti Pályaudvar is Budapest's busiest railway station, built between 1881 & 1884.  Keleti Pályaudvar simply means east station.  It's a fascinating place to people watch and generally safe at all times of day, using the same common sense you'd use in any busy place.  For a short history of the station see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest_Keleti_railway_station.

The Man in Seat 61 says, "Budapest Keleti is one of Europe's great stations, with graceful architecture and trains arriving & departing to or from Munich, Vienna, Zurich & Bucharest.  The first class lounge on platform 9 is a haven of peace, where friendly staff offer a great cappuccino.  The station has a British connection too, the facade sports statues of James Watt & George Stephenson.  Arriving or departing at Keleti station is an experience in itself..."

Budapest Keleti station

Budapest Keleti station.  The facade includes statues of James Watt and George Stephenson.

Inside Budapest Keleti station

Platforms 6, 7, 8 & 9 are the main platforms inside the arched trainshed.  When you walk into the station through the main doors at the front, you find yourself here...

Behind the camera, between the entrance doors and these buffer stops was a small lower level with the former domestic ticket windows and access to the metro.  However, in 2022 this lower level is closed off for rebuilding work.  The hoarding you have to walk around is visible in the background in the photo below.

Budapest Keleti station platforms 7 & 8

Platform 9, looking back towards the buffers.  The entrance to the business lounge is just out of shot to my left.

Which platform for your train?  See station plan

The station is a terminus with easy level access to all 13 platforms, numbered 1 to 13 from left to right as you look towards the trains.  There are no ticket gates or barriers, so there's free & easy access from the street to all platforms & trains.

Platforms 1-5 are outside the main trainshed on the north side, accessed by walking 100m or so down platform 6 and turning left. 

Platforms 6, 7, 8 & 9 are the most important and longest platforms, in the centre inside the arched trainshed - see the photos above. 

Platforms 10-13 are outside the main trainshed on the south side, accessed by walking 100m or so down platform 9 and turning right.

Railjet trains to & from Vienna, Munich, Salzburg, Innsbruck & Zurich usually use platform 9.  The EuroNight sleeper train to Zurich & Munich usually leaves from platform 6 or 7.  But always check the departure screens!

The large departure board will tell you which platform your train goes from, but you can check in advance which platform your train is due to leave from using the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu.  Run an enquiry and when the list of trains appears, click on the orange arrow against your train.  The platform is often given, but not always.  Remember that the actual platform may change on the day, so always check the departure board.

Budapest Keleti station

Platforms 1-5 are outside the main trainshed on the north side, walk 100m down platform 6 & turn left.

Budapest Keleti station

Platforms 10-13 are outside the main trainshed on the south side, walk 100m down platform 9 & turn right.

Budapest Keleti station

Looking back west, showing platforms 9, 8, 7, 6 entering the main trainshed through the two archways.  Platforms 10-13 are on the left.  Platforms 1-5 are out of shot on the right.

Domestic & international ticket offices...

The international ticket & reservations office is in a passageway behind platform 6, just follow the signs.  It's open every day from before 04:00 until well after midnight.  A numbered queuing system operates, so take a numbered ticket from the machine in the corner and await your turn.  You'll usually find staff who speak English, and credit cards and euros are accepted.  Off-season it doesn't usually take long to get served, perhaps a couple of minutes, but in July & August it gets busy and there can be quite a wait, perhaps even 30-40 minutes, so it can save time to book online.

The domestic ticket office is on platform 9, near the buffer stops.

Seniors over 65:  Anyone who is an EU citizen over 65 years old can travel for free within Hungary, anywhere on the Hungarian Railways domestic network.  You still need to go to the ticket office and get a free ticket to your chosen destination, and you must still pay any fast train supplement.  Or you can book online at www.mavcsoport.hu looking for the 'Reduction' drop-down menu and selecting Person over 65 under Free.  If you want 1st class you must pay the difference between 1st and 2nd class fares before boarding.  Trams and buses are also free if you're over 65.  Only applies to EU citizens, no longer to UK seniors (another Brexit bonus).

Location of MAV-start ticket collection machine at Budapest Keleti.   Location of MAV-start ticket collection machine at Budapest Keleti.

Entrance to the international ticket office, in the passageway behind platform 6.

 

Inside the international ticket office.  The door on the far side opens onto platform 6, but it's not in use.

Luggage lockers & ATMs...

A limited number of lockers are now located in the same passageway as the international ticket office, near platform 6 (you can see the lockers in the background in the photo above left).  There are large & small lockers, most accepting forint coins, a few accepting euro coins, see the left luggage page for current prices.  Unfortunately there is no longer any staffed left luggage office.  There are a couple of ATM cash points inside the station, notably one inside the station facade and another in the hall off platform 9, as shown on the station plan.

First class business lounge...

Open 06:00-21:15 every day, the first class lounge is near the buffer stops on platform 9, a set of double doors on the right before you reach the exit hall.

You can use the lounge before or after your train if you have a 1st class international ticket to or from Budapest, or a ticket for a sleeping-car berth, or a first class Interrail or Eurail pass with a reservation for that day.

The  lounge offers complimentary tea, coffee, soft drinks & snacks, there a power outlets for charging laptops & mobiles, and there's free WiFi.  You can order beer, red & white wine & Hungarian sparkling wine at extra charge.  It's particularly convenient for the railjet trains to Vienna, Salzburg, Munich or Zurich as these usually leave from platform 9, right outside the lounge.  Show your ticket at the reception desk when you enter.  Highly recommended, the friendly helpful staff in the lounge do a great cappuccino.  See www.mavcsoport.hu for more details about lounge access.

Location of first class lounge at Budapest Keleti railway station   Inside first class lounge at Budapest Keleti station

The entrance to the lounge on platform 9.

 

The lounge is open daily 06:00-21:15.  Larger photo.

Lotz Hall, South Hall...

On the north side of the station there's a hall opening off platform 6 called the Lotz Hall (Lotz Terem) after the architect.  You walk through this grand hall to the north exit and taxi rank.  Don't forget to admire the frescoes!  On the south side of the station there's a less grand hall opening off platform 9 with another exit to the street.

Budapest Keleti south hall   Budapest Keleti south hall

Lotz Hall & exit to taxi rank, off platform 6.  Larger photo.

 

South Hall, looking towards platform 9Larger photo.

The British connection...

Look up before you enter the station and you'll see this classic Hungarian station sports statues of British engineer George Stephenson and inventor James Watt.  Click the images below for larger photos.

Statue of George Stephenson, Budapest Keleti   Budapest Keleti close-up of facade   Statue of James Watt, Budapest Keleti

Somewhere to eat before catching your train...

Before it closed down, the Baross restaurant in the corner near the buffer stops on platform 6 used to be great place for an inexpensive meal, coffee or beer surrounded by faded grandeur.  In 2022 the premises are empty and being refurbished - do let me know if another restaurant opens here.

For something upmarket near the station, try the Rosenstein Restaurant, www.rosenstein.hu.

Another good choice is the Huszar, a Hungarian restaurant just a few minutes walk from the station, huszar-etterem.hu.

At the opposite end of the scale, there's a MacDonald's, Burger King and KFC outside across the road.  Simply walk out of the main doors at the front of the station, turn right and cross the road.  There are of course plenty of stalls and kiosks inside the station, where you can stock up on snacks, soft drinks and beer.

Budapest's famous New York Cafe...  If you don't mind a 15-minute walk from the station, Budapest's historic New York Cafe serves drinks and meals in dramatic Italian renaissance surroundings.  Modestly billed as 'The Most Beautiful Coffee House in the World' it's been a Budapest institution since 1894.  I recommend making a table reservation at www.newyorkcafe.hu as there's often a queue if you haven't reserved.  See www.newyorkcafe.huSee walking map.

Budapest's famous New York Cafe, exterior   Budapest's famous New York Cafe, interior

New York Cafe & New York Palace Hotel.

 

Inside the New York Cafe.  Larger photo.

Local transport: Walking, taxis, metro

Walking:  You can walk from the station to the Danube in around 40 minutes, see Google map of Budapest.  You may prefer to take the metro or a taxi.

Metro:  Budapest's metro is cheap, clean and efficient.  Budapest Keleti is served by metro lines 2 & 4, to reach the metro walk out of the front of the station and go down the steps to the metro station on the lower level in front of the station, following the metro signs.  The metro is the ideal way to reach Deli or Nyugati station, or to reach the Danube and city sights.  For example, metro line M2 will take you from Keleti to Kossuth Lajos Ter at the Hungarian Parliament, on the Danube.

For Budapest metro information see bkk.hu, click EN top right for English.  For a metro map, click on Timetable, trip planner, then on maps .  Metro stations are marked 'M' on this Google map of Budapest, so you can easily find the metro station closest to where you want to go.

Buy metro tickets on your phone:  Download the BudapestGo app for iPhone or BudapestGo app for Android.  You can then buy Budapest city transit tickets in the app on your phone using your credit or debit card, including single tickets, 30 or 90 minute timed tickets (which allow multiple transfers within that timeframe) or an inexpensive travelcard giving unlimited travel on trams, buses & metro for 24 hours.  If you buy one or more single tickets or 30 or 60-minute tickets, these sit on your phone until you need them.  When you want to use one, simply click validate against that ticket in the app, your camera will open, scan the QR code on the metro station ticket validators or on the tram doors and that ticket is activated.  One-day and longer travelcards & passes don't need to be validated as they are bought for a specific day.  The whole system is open, with no ticket gates to go through, you simply show the ticket QR code on your phone if stopped by an inspector.

Taxis:  The taxi rank is on the north side of the station, walk from platform 6 through the impressive Lotz Hall (marked Lotz terem on this station plan) and out of the exit.  For a taxi fare calculator see www.taxifarefinder.com/main.php?city=Budapest-Hungary&lang=en.  Taxis are usually plentiful on this rank, but as always make sure you use a clearly-marked city taxi and make sure they start the meter.

Tip:  Budapest's official taxis come in two varieties, taxi companies and freelancers.  Both are yellow.  To reduce the chances of being overcharged, avoid those which say Freelancer on the front doors and use taxis which have a company logo on the doors.  Trustworthy companies include Főtaxi, Citytax & Bolt.  There is no Uber in Budapest.

View from outside Budapest Keleti

This is the view when you walk out of the front of the station.  For the metro station, go down these steps to the lower level.  To walk to the Danube, walk straight ahead along the Rákóczi út, the road leading away from the station.  The dark grey modern building is the Intercity Hotel, a good choice if you want to be near the station.

Budapest metro train at Kaleti metro station

Metro:  Budapest's metro is the best way to transfer between Keleti, Deli & Nyugati stations, or between Keleti and the inner city.

Budapest Keleti taxi rank

Taxis.  The taxi rank is on the north side of the station.  Go to platform 6, walk through the impressive Lodz Hall and out of the exit, you'll find the taxi rank to your right.

How to transfer from Keleti to Deli station...

By metro:  The easiest way!  Metro line M2 links Keleti and Deli with just 7 stops.  You can buy tickets in the metro station or download the BudapestGo app & buy tickets on your phone as explained in the local transport section above.  The Budapest transit website is bkk.hu.

By tram, walk 13 minutes along the main boulevard (Rákóczi út) towards central Budapest to the Blaha Lujza tér tram stop and take tram 4 or 6 to Széll Kálmán tér which is 9 minutes walk from Deli Pályaudvar.  Tram line 4 & 6 crosses Rákóczi út from left to right and you'll find the tram stop a few metres up the street on your left.  Buy a ticket from a ticket vending machine before boarding the tram and remember to validate the ticket in the validator on bard the tram.  Alternatively, download the BudapestGo app & buy tickets on your phone, as explained in the local transport section above. The Budapest transit website is www.bkk.hu.

By taxi it is 5.5 km, journey 14 minutes, fare around 2,500 forint.

How to transfer from Keleti to Nyugati station...

By metro, use metro line 2 for three stops between Keleti pályaudvar and Deák Ferenc then metro line 3 for two stops between Deák Ferenc and Nyugati pályaudvar.  You can buy tickets in the metro station or download the BudapestGo app & buy tickets on your phone, as explained in the local transport section above.  The Budapest transit website is bkk.hu.  Check metro website as there are engineering closures on line M3 in 2022.

By tram:  Walk 13 minutes along the main boulevard (Rákóczi út) towards central Budapest to the Blaha Lujza tér tram stop and take tram 4 or 6 to Nyugati pályaudvar.  Tram line 4 & 6 crosses Rákóczi út from left to right and you'll find the tram stop a few metres up the street on your left.  Buy a ticket from a ticket vending machine before boarding the tram and remember to validate the ticket in the validator on bard the tram.  Alternatively, download the BudapestGo app & buy tickets on your phone, as explained in the local transport section above.  The tram stops outside the front of Nyugati station.  The Budapest transit website is bkk.hu.

By trolleybus, take trolleybus 73 from the bus bays on the south side of Keleti station (the station plan shows the exact stop), this goes directly to Nyugati station.

By taxi it is 3 km, journey 9 minutes, fare around 1,600 forint.

On foot it is 2.8 km and takes around 36 minutes.

Budapest 4 & 6 tram

Number 4 or 6 tram.  My favourite way between Keleti & Nyugati stations, calling at the Corinthia Hotel!

Hotels in Budapest...

If you need a budget option close to the station try the inexpensive Baross City Hotel just across the road or the Elit Hotel two minutes walk down the road.

Also consider the Hotel Bristol, an inexpensive 4-star hotel 550m 8-minute walk from the station with great reviews.

But perhaps the best option for a decent hotel near Keleti station is the Intercity Hotel, just across the square.

For a splurge on somewhere special, the Corinthia Hotel is the Grande Dame of Budapest hotels.  Opened in 1896 as the Grand Hotel Royal, it was almost certainly the inspiration for the 2014 film The Grand Budapest Hotel.  It's a superb hotel with a great spa and an excellent breakfast - with choice of dry or sweet champagne included.  It's 20 minutes walk from Keleti station or 9 minutes by taxi.  It's a !5 minute walk or a few minutes by taxi or number 4 or 6 tram from Nyugati station.

Also historic and top notch, the New York Palace Hotel opened in 1894 and houses the famous New York Cafe on its ground floor.  It's 15 minutes walk from Keleti station and gets fabulous reviews.

Corinthia Hotel, Budapest   Corinthia Hotel, Budapest

A suite at the superb Corinthia Hotel, Budapest...

Budapest Kelenföld...

Journey planners sometimes suggest Budapest Kelenföld as your Budapest arrival/departure station, if you ask for plain generic BUDAPEST.  Kelenföld is a busy 16-platform secondary station just outside the city centre, it's Budapest's Clapham Junction.  It's fully modernised but with limited facilities and a long way from anywhere you'd want to be.  If a long-distance train calls at Kelenföld, it almost certainly continues to, or comes from, either Budapest Deli or Budapest Keleti in the city centre, and it's better to use those central termini than to get on or off at Kelenföld.  Boarding a train at the terminus where is starts is much more relaxed than boarding during at a brief station stop en route, and the termini are far more centrally located.  So if your booking website suggests Kelenföld, re-run the enquiry specifying Budapest Keleti or Budapest Deli.

If you do end up at Kelenföld, all is not lost.  Metro line M4 was extended to Kelenföld in 2014, and now links Kelenföld with the city centre and Keleti station, a fast and easy way into the city centre.

There's one good reason to use Kelenföld:  If you're travelling from Zurich/Munich/Salzburg/Vienna to the Lake Balaton area (or vice versa) it's better to make an easy same-station change at Kelenföld than to continue into Budapest Keleti, change stations by taxi or metro to Budapest Deli for a train to Balaton (which calls at Kelenföld again on its way out of Budapest).

Entrance to Budapest Kelenfold station

The entrance to Budapest Kelenföld.  The original station building is visible on the right alongside the tracks, now defunct, decrepit and fenced off.

The modern station is simply a wide concrete underpass beneath all 16 tracks, with escalators, steps and lifts up to each platform.  The ticket office and entrance to the metro are in the underpass, along with a few food outlets and retail units.

Kelenfold station underpass/concourse   Metro train at Budapest Keleti metro station

Budapest Kelenfold:  The concourse is a wide underpass beneath all the tracks, with a small ticket office & food outlets.

 

Budapest Kelenfold has 16 modernised platforms, all with lifts and/or escalators to the concourse below.


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