Sights you can see from tram 2. Route. Ticket prices. Timetable. Map. Basically, everything you need to know about tram 2 in Budapest.
Tram 2 in Budapest has one of the most beautiful routes in the world
A few years ago, National Geographic collected the top 10 trolley rides in the world, and tram 2 in Budapest was also on the list.
The line running along the Danube has beaten Tram 28 in Lisbon and Tram 2 in Amsterdam. Whether in the day or night, if we are in Budapest, we have to sit on it once.
What Tram 2 holds for us
The tram line was established after WWII and runs between Jászai Mari Square and Közvágóhíd passing numerous Budapest sights.
Since a significant part of the route goes along the bank of the Danube, we can also enjoy the most beautiful panorama. The Buda Castle, Gellért Hill, and Citadel seem to be within arm’s reach, but the Danube flowing slowly can make your heart pound in itself.
The total travel time is just over 20 minutes, so we can see sights such as the Parliament, Vigadó, and the National Theatre in a fairly short time.
And if we want to take our time sightseeing, we can get off at any stop and enjoy the sights. So, tram 2 provides an all-day program for us. But let’s see which sights exactly we can see if we decide to take this journey.
Table of Contents
The route of tram 2 – What sights can we see?
This line is the most cost-effective way of sightseeing since we can see the majority of the best tourist attractions in Budapest.
If that’s not enough, read my article describing more than 100 sights in Budapest.
The stops of the Budapest tram 2
Jászai Mari Square
The starting point itself is interesting. Many people don’t know that when getting on tram 2 at Jászai Mari Square, they leave behind an underground bunker system that was built by the German army during WWII.
Most of the passages are closed down from the general public, but we can see an underground art gallery in the part that can be visited. Anyone interested can get into the showroom through the hatchway in front of the McDonald’s.
After getting on and rumbling along the Danube for a short while, we will arrive at the first stop – The Parliament. Government meetings and the Holy Crown are held in the 96-meter high and almost 18,000m2 area building.
The size of the building can be estimated by the fact that we can count up to twenty while the tram passes the building. Based on its floor area, the Hungarian Parliament is the third largest parliament in the world, preceded only by the Chinese and Romanian buildings.
There are 90 statues outside the heavily decorated Gothic building, but we can see even more –exactly 152 – inside.
Adorned with gold motifs and inlays, the interior offers an exceptional sight to tourists, and fortunately, the building can be visited most of the time.
The TripAdvisor tourist portal voted it the tenth most beautiful building in the world a few years ago, so it’s definitely worth spending some time here.
The next stop is the symbolic Kossuth Lajos Square. Looking back from here we can see the beautiful view of the Parliament. The place, also referred to as the main square of the nation was declared a national point of memorial for a reason.
It is home to buildings, like the Ethnographic Museum, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the equestrian statue of Ferenc Rákóczi II.
Interested in ethnography and the past of Hungarian people? In that case, spending a whole day in the museum is the best pastime. The permanent exhibition called The Traditional Culture of the Hungarians lists 250,000 works of art.
Looking at the swelling Danube from the tram, we can see shoes on the Danube bank. In fact, it is a shocking monument setting an eternal memento for the victims of the Nazi terror.
I wrote a disturbing article about this, but it is only recommended to those with strong nerves.
During the terror of 1944, several thousand Jews were shot into the Danube – the 60 pairs of shoes are a remembrance to them.
The Holocaust exhibition, entitled Shoes on the Danube Bank, also won second place in the world at the 2017 Architecture Digest ranking, which has been awarding public works since 1920.
Széchenyi István Square
The next stop – Széchenyi István Square – got its name after the greatest Hungarian, István Széchenyi.
Among other things, we are thankful to him for the construction of the Lánchíd (Chain Bridge) connecting the Buda and Pest side. This was the first permanent stone bridge in Budapest and Hungary.
The Hungarian Academy of Sciences can be found right next to the Chain Bridge. This building was also established by István Széchenyi, who offered a one-year income of his estates to finance constructions.
In addition to the Ministry of the Interior, the square is also home to the legendary World Heritage site, the Gresham Palace.
On the ground floor, you can find the Gresham Café that has been the favorite café of the Budapest elite since the 1920s. The coffee is still perfect, so it’s worth having a break here for a hot black or a delicious cake.
Rattling down the bank of the Danube towards Vigadó Square you can enjoy the wonderful panorama of the Buda side.
The Pesti Vigadó located next to the Petőfi Square Orthodox Cathedral is famous for being the venue where the unification of Buda, Pest, and Óbuda was declared in 1873.
Built in romantic style according to the plans of Frigyes Feszl, Vigadó has been the center of cultural life in the capital with concerts performed by famous figures such as the world-famous Ferenc Erkel and Ferenc Liszt.
March 15 Square
After passing the building complex, the tram continues its way toward March 15 Square, where we can have a great meal at the Mátyás Pince Restaurant that has been open for over a hundred years.
Its cuisine has been praised by the Prince of Wales, US president Nixon, and many others, so it is definitely worth trying it, especially some of the Hungarian specialties.
Looking out the window of the tram, we can admire Gellért Hill and the Citadel rising at the top, as well as the Statue of Liberty.
The mountain got its name from Bishop St. Gellért who was knocked down from the mountain in a wooden barrel because Pegan Hungarians did not want to adopt the Christian faith. He died instantly.
Did you know that Hungarians migrated to Europe from Asia and are related to the Huns?
The next sight on the Buda embankment is the Rudas Bath with the warmest thermal water in the city. There are mentions of it from as early as 1292.
The bath is history in itself. It was built in the 1600s, under Turkish oppression, and survived quite a lot of vicissitudes over the years.
If you like what you see, it is worth visiting the Buda side next time as there are several other exciting attractions in that part of the city as well.
Not to mention that CNN Travel named it the best market in Europe in 2013. It is really worth visiting the Neo-Gothic style hall as the masterpieces of Hungarian cuisine can be tried in an authentic environment. Want to cook at home? You can buy all the ingredients at the market.
At Fővám Square we can admire the Szabadság híd (Liberty Bridge) – one of the most beautiful bridges of Budapest – that is closed down from traffic on Sundays during the summer. It is then filled with the young partying and people admiring the rolling river. If you are looking for a special atmosphere, this is the place to be!
Looking over at the Buda side of the bridge, there is the Gellért Hotel, which is also home to the famous Gellért Bath.
On the right from we can see the Sziklatemplom (Cave Church).
Continuing our journey, we get to Zsil Street where the Bálna (whale) – a glass complex in the shape of a fish – is located, housing the most diverse cultural and economic programs.
It is buzzing with life during the summer with plenty of young people sitting at the banks of the Danube drinking beer.
The route goes along the slowly flowing Danube while the panorama is still amazing.
Looking right we can see the busy Petőfi Bridge, which connects Újbuda and the 9th district.
Traveling forward from Boráros Square and before reaching the stop at Haller Street, on our left there is the Zwack Unicum house which produces the internationally acclaimed herbal liqueur – Unicum.
There is also a museum in the house. During guided tours, we can also visit the distillery and the cellar and taste real specialties.
Müpa – National Theatre
Passing Haller Street, we get to the next stop, the National Theatre. Müpa is one of the most modern cultural institutes in Hungary, lighting up in different colors at night, so it can be seen from afar.
If you like contemporary arts, it is definitely worth visiting this unique building in Central Europe once.
The Budapest National Theatre is also located on the bank of the Danube. You might also want to get off at this stop and take a short walk in the green area.
The last stop of tram 2 is Közvágóhíd. If you feel like having a party, going till the last stop is a good idea because you can find one of the biggest open-air entertainment places – Budapest Park – there.
Christmas lights – the Budapest tram 2 is decorated with approximately 40 thousand lights
During Christmas season it is not only the route providing some great sights, but also the tram itself with 39,200 cool white and blue LED lights are put on it to enhance the festive atmosphere.
The sight of the approaching tram is just stunning. But when you get on it, it’s even more surprising since there are Christmas decorations in the inside as well.
When and according to what schedule do the illuminated Christmas trams run?
We can meet the Christmas tram once an hour seven days a week. And best of all, you don’t have to pay extra fees for this special service.
You can travel using the same standard ticket or pass as on all other trams.
This year (2020) the light tram runs from 29th November to 5th January:
- on tram line 2 on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays;
- on tram line 19 on Wednesdays and Thursdays;
- on tram line 47 or 49 on Fridays;
- on different tram lines on Saturdays.
How much does the Budapest tram 2 cost?
As it may be clear from the above, it is definitely worth trying tram 2, as we can admire the numerous sights of Budapest and the unique panorama for almost nothing.
But how much is a ride exactly? The price of a line ticket, which can be purchased at vending machines designated by BKK, is 350 HUF. This is approximately 1 EUR.
This is another example of Budapest being much cheaper than other Western European cities. Of course, it also matters where we exchange money after arriving in Budapest. There are several pitfalls to it, unfortunately.
If you don’t want to be surprised, read my article on where to exchange money in Budapest.
It is important to know that a ticket is only valid for a single ride, so we need to validate a new one for the journey back. Important! If we break our journey – that is, we get off the tram –, we need to buy a new one when getting on again.
In case we take tram 2 for the journey both ways, we need two BKK tickets which cost 700 HUF.
Intend to travel by other means of public transport as well? Then, I recommend you to buy a block of 10 tickets that costs 3000 HUF.
There is also a 24-hour ticket if we happen to stay at the capital for a single day. With this option we can travel as much as we want and it only costs 1,650 HUF.
The (15-day) Budapest pass is probably the most convenient solution for those of you intending to stay for a longer period of time. You can travel as much as you want with it for the price of 6,300 HUF.
A weekly pass is 4,950 HUF at the moment.
How to validate our tickets on Budapest trams?
I read some forums where there were a lot of complaints saying that BKK ticket inspectors in Budapest punished people “for no reason” since they had a ticket. Well, that is not true this way.
Then, what was the reason for fining travelers?
- You had a ticket, but it was not validated.
- Your pass expired.
- You wanted to travel back and forth with a single ticket.
- You got off the tram and did not validate a new one when getting on again.
BKK ticket validation
BKK tickets must be validated at ticket validation machines immediately after boarding the vehicle or as soon as it departs.
Put the ticket with the number grid end into the opening. Only pull out the validated ticket after you heard a buzzing sound.
You might find older – manual – ticket validators at some vehicles. In this case, put the ticket into the machine and pull the black frame of the slot toward yourself in order to punch and validate your ticket.
Tickets must be shown to the ticket inspector in case they ask for them.
The best way to avoid problems is to buy a daily, weekly, 15-day, or monthly pass. If we have a pass, we have nothing else to do but show it to the inspector in case of inspection and not bother with anything else.
The timetable of the Budapest tram 2
Cover photo: Viktor Varga