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(These directions are for leaving the city centre. See Budapest Ferihegy international airport for hitching from there.)
West towards Bratislava, Vienna, Zagreb (M1, M7)
There are several possibilities. It is best to use a sign "M1" or "M7", according if you want go to west or to south.
- When heading west (M7 to Balaton or M1 to Austria and Slovakia), you should take bus 272 from Kosztolányi Dezső tér or Sasadi út and get off at the stop Budaörs, benzinkút. It stops right in the Agip service station with a lot of traffic to both motorways. The journey takes 20 minutes. It can be a great place if you get a chance to talk to drivers, though the staff of the petrol station may not allow it.
- Starting from inside the city (between Moszkva tér and Kelenföld) is a possibility worth trying, especially because there are some good spots that are quite popular among local hitchhikers.
- In the neighbourhood Kelenföld, on the street Budaörsi út, get to the bus stop called Sasadi út. Buses 40, 53, 139 and 153 go there. You'll find a petrol station. However the staff of the petrol station often expels hitchhikers to the McDonald's, which is a considerably worse place to get a long ride.
- There is another OMV petrol station which is even closer to the city center. It is situated at the beginning of the street Budaörsi út. You can reach it easily by walking across the big white suspension bridge, from Pest towards the Citadel, or by taking tram 61 from the square Moszkva tér. Coming from the Pest side you could also take bus 112. There is a lot of traffic to the M1 and M7.
There are several possibilities for leaving the city in this direction.
- Take the metro to Határ út. Then take bus #84E, #89E or #294E to the stop Naszód utca (Használtcikk piac). You should see a Citroen car lot on the other side of the road. Here you can start to hitch. A sign "Szeged" is useful. If you take bus 84E, you can continue straight onto the motorway to a OMV petrol station that you can hitch from.
- Take tram 4 or 6 to Bararos tér, then take bus 54 or 55 to the stop Radnó utca. There is a petrol station on the other side of the noise barrier wall. You could also thumb at the bus stop on the bus-only lane. Don't go any further, this road will change into a motorway in few hundred meters.
- Take tram 4 or 6 to Bararos tér, then take bus number 54 or 55 to the stop Gyáli út. Walk straight for 75 m and then turn left on the street Gyáli út. After about 150 m there is a curve in the road, turn right there and walk to the motorway (it's not yet a motorway officially, so you can hitchhike there). There is no road or pavement leading there, but it's easy to cross. You will see a half complete ramp on your right going on the motorway. It's basicaly a 100 meters long lane with no traffic on it, it's ideal for cars to stop, and you are also visible from a long distance.
To get out of Budapest, get to the public transportation hub Móricz Zsigmond körtér. You can take tram 61 from near the train station Déli Pályaudvar, or tram 6 from Blaha Lujza tér or Ferenc krt. You can also take bus 7 from Ferenciek tere. Once you are at Móricz Zsigmond körtér, cross the street, walk further for about 20 m and get on bus 33 or 33A. After approximately 27 minutes, you’ll see a big shopping mall called Campona on your left. Get off at the next stop, Budatétényi Sorompó. From the bus stop, turn back and walk the way the bus just came. Cross the street at the first crossing to your right. There’s no street sign, so no name. That street has a railway overpass that crosses over it. Walk under the overpass and in a couple of minutes you'll arrive at a busy road. This is road #6 that goes south to Pécs. Turn left on that road and start hitching before the traffic light near the bus stop. There is enough room for cars to pull over there.
If you take bus 33, you can go until the last stop (Nagytétény, Chinoin). Walk forward (east) for 200 m and then turn left to the ramp which leads you to a roundabout. There is an entry to the M6 here where you can thumb.
For food, bathroom, and buses, get dropped of at the Tesco in Pécs. There's a bus station there where cars can stop.
- Take trolleybus #74 from the centre (near the metro station Astoria). You can go until the last stop, but it is better to get off one stop before the last. From there, you should hear the noise of the M3 motorway. Just follow it, walk back a bit (the opposite direction of the cars), and you'll find an entrance and also a petrol station.
- From the metro stations Astoria or Blaha Lujza tér take bus #173E and get off at the last stop Újpalota, Nyírpalota út. Walk along the big street on your left for about 10 minutes, check the signs and get onto the motorway. It's not the best hitchhiking spot, but it works after a while.
- Take the metro to Örs Vezér tér. Cross the big square and then from the HÉV (regional train station), take a train in the direction Gödöllő and get off at the station Mogyoród. Five minutes' walk from here is an entrance to the motorway, while two kilometres further there is a petrol station.
- To get to this spot take the bus #5 from somewhere the centre. Quite a long ride as you need to get off in the stop Szentmihályi út. Walk on the big road, you'll see the bridge over it. That's the motorway.
- Take metro line 3 to the end of the line where you will find a bus station. Take the airport bus, it will stop at terminal 1, stay on the bus until the second to last stop before the airport. You will notice that the city ends quite abruptly. Prior to this you will see a petrol station, this is the last petrol station for at least 10–15 km. From the second to last bus stop you will have to walk back to this station. There is no good place to hitch after this point for around 10–15 km as the road is motorway. Later on there are more hitching opportunities and it's easy to get dropped off somewhere useful.
- Take a regional train from the train station Nyugati Pályaudvar to the station Üllő (it costs about HUF 550 and takes 30 minutes). You can walk through the town to a big roundabout where there is a MOL petrol station.
There is one straight highway from Budapest to Warsaw. The construction of the M0 and M2 motorways has made getting out of Budapest more difficult. Hitching on the border of the city quite pointless since most of the traffic is very local and going in unsuitable directions. You will have rely on several local lifts in order to reach the Šahy with Slovakia.
- Take a local train from the train station Nyugati Pályaudvar to the station Sződliget (HUF 550/2€) which goes very often and takes 33 minutes. The road E77 (still a motorway there, but changes into regular road very soon) is about 200 m to the right (east) of the Sződliget station. Hitch on the road itself, not on the on-ramp.
- Hitch on the national road 2 until the town of Vác, and then hitch turn towards the border.
- Take the bus 104 further to the stop Székesdűlő, and start hitching there to Vác and then the border.
Once you are at the Parassapuszta-Šahy border crossing you can easily stop a truck to Poland (there is no need to stop anywhere in Slovakia). Trucks go until the Chyzne border crossing between Slovakia and Poland, where it's easy to get a lift to Krakow or further to Warsaw.
Budapest has an extensive public transportation system consisting of a metro, buses and trams. A single ticket is about 1.10€ (a set of 10 tickets is about 7€). After you buy your ticket, you have to validate it. There are red machines on buses and trams that punch a hole in a different place on your ticket each day, which is how they determine if you validated your ticket that day (or at least not the day before...)
Inspections on buses and trams are rare except for the most popular lines (e.g. buses 7, 7E, 173 and 173E and trams 4, 5 and 6). Rush hours are usually safe when the trams/buses are too crowded for the inspectors to walk through the vehicles. If you want to be safe, hang around the machine and if you see an inspector coming, punch your ticket immediately.
In the metro there are inspectors posted at the entrance to the platforms during all operational hours who will demand to see your ticket. Most of the time they check those who are entering and don't bother with people who are leaving the platform (Keleti railway station is one notable exception), so if you see no conductors at the entrance then you are fine. Either you take your chance that there will be no checking at the exit, or take the bus/tram, you can get pretty much everywhere without the metro.
If you get caught without a valid ticket, the official fine on the spot is HUF 6000, which is about 20€. Do not let yourself be fooled with another amount, it is HUF 6000, and the received paper is valid for traveling that day. But if you are cool enough you can get away without paying at all.
If you want to sleep outside in summer, you can do so anywhere in Buda hills. Other possibilities are the two big parks, Margitsziget (47.528694,19.047618) and Városliget (47.513566,19.085126). Margitsziget is an island in the Danube and it's a popular place to walk and escape from the busy city in the nice weather. Városliget is about the same. In both places you could find hidden places where nobody would bother you at night. Although there are sometimes people still awake at nights, especially young ones, but they won't harm you. Homeless people are harmless.