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Getting There Getting Around
Malév Hungarian Airlines, the national carrier, flies direct to Budapest from the USA and more than 30 European countries. It also has Mediterranean services to/from Cairo, Larnaca and Tel Aviv. Hungary is connected to all of its seven neighbouring countries by road and rail. Volánbusz (which means 'steering wheel bus' - as opposed to those without steering wheels presumably) runs regular transport services to about 18 different European countries, while Magyar Államvasutak (MÁV) has express rail services that run as far as London, Stockholm, St Petersburg, Istanbul and Rome. Motorists can choose from 60 or so border crossings into the country, although 15 are restricted to citizens of Hungary and the neighbouring countries. You can also walk or cycle across the border (many border guards frown on this, particularly in Romania, Serbia and Croatia) or take the hydrofoil that plies between Budapest and Vienna from April to early-November.
Hungary's domestic transportation system is efficient, comprehensive and inexpensive. Volán run yellow buses between neighbouring cities and towns, and yellow-and-red long-distance buses to far-flung smaller communities. Rail services, run by MÁV, are less extensive, although they do have some delightful excursions, including a 'nostalgia' steam-train trip around Lake Balaton in summer. There are also a number of narrow-gauge trains, operated by United Forest Railways, which run in wooded and hilly areas. Ferries operate on Lake Balaton, the Danube between Budapest and Esztergom, and the Tisza River, but these are generally warm-weather pleasure-trips rather than real means of transport.
There are no scheduled domestic flights in Hungary at present, although several routes are planned. Major international car-rental agencies have offices in Budapest, and there are scores of local companies throughout the country, but don't count on any bargains. Motorists can expect good roads, widely available fuel, and petrol stations that stay open all night.
Local transport in the cities and towns is well developed, and includes buses and trolley buses, as well as trams in Budapest, Debrecen, Szeged and Miskolc. Budapest also has an underground Metro and a suburban commuter railway called the HÉV. Taxis are plentiful and, if you're charged the right fare (not always the case in Budapest), very reasonably priced.
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