Hungary’s first passenger transport ropeway has well deservedly become one of the most popular attractions of the capital city. The Chairlift has transported visitors to János-hegy, the highest peak in the city, and back since 1970, on a track length of 1,040 metres covering a 262 m difference in elevation, in about 12 minutes each way. The 2,600-metre-long cable has 102 hanging double-chairs.
The Chairlift in the Zugliget neighbourhood of the Buda Hills was opened on 20 August 1970. István Hantos Jr. prepared the construction plans for the aerial lift based on a German example, but realisation never happened due to the Second World War. The wire ropeway was the most practical solution to take tourists uphill, thus providing a travel option of a few minutes to János-hegy as opposed to a long walk of at least one and a half hours from the nearest tram line or from the cogwheel railway. A decision was made in the end in 1967 by the council of Budapest District 12 and several different designs were proposed regarding not only the location of the terminuses, but also whether hanging chairs or cabins should be used. The final plans were implemented according to the concepts of the Road and Railway Planner Company (UVATERV).
Construction started on 24 March 1969. The special wire rope and chairs were imported from Austria, but whatever was possible was manufactured in Hungary. The National Mining Machinery Manufacturer Company was the main contractor of the construction, while the Coal Mining Company from the city of Tatabánya produced the steel pillars.
A competition was launched to name the ropeway, which in itself was a major boost in the project’s popularity. The original list of proposed names contained a few remarkable ones, such as Hill-copter, Space Bus or János-hegy Hummer. The winning entry was “Lebegő” (Hovering thing), from which the current Hungarian name was created.
The structure of the Chairlift is regularly checked, and if needed, bearings and wheels are replaced, the stretched rope is shortened. An extra power supply is available as a back-up for the electric engine moving the rope in case of power failures. There have been no accidents on the line, so the Chairlift can be considered the safest means of transportation in Budapest.
The surroundings of the upper station of the Chairlift on János-hegy peak is being renovated and upgraded: a leisure park was set up with mobile pavilions and a wheelchair-accessible look-out point was created at the terrace of a former restaurant.
- Phone numbers to call during the hours of operation: +36 1 391 0352; +36 1 394-3764
- Maintenance: Mondays on even weeks
- In case of a severe and lasting storm, the service might be suspended for a whole day as ordered by the operations manager.
How to get to the Chairlift
- Address: 1121 Budapest, Zugligeti út 97.
- The lower station is located at the terminus of bus 291 in Zugliget. Bus 291 departs from Nyugati pályaudvar.
The upper station is accessible by taking buses 21 or 21A from Széll Kálmán tér to Normafa and then walking from there on the footpath for 20-30 minutes.
Alternatively, a short walk through the forest from the János-hegy or Virágvölgy stations of the Children’s Railway will take you to the top station.
- Children under age 3 ride for free.
- No pensioner discounts or any other types of discounts are available.
- Dogs and small pets can ride in a carrier box and they require a full-price ticket.
Budapest Card and BudapestCard Plus holders ride for free in both directions.
You will receive your Chairlift Ticket at the buffet at either the lower or at the upper station.
It is essential that you wear a facemask and keep a safety distance of 1.5 metres while waiting for your ticket both outside and inside the station building!
Only tickets purchased from the BKV ticket vending machines located at the terminuses of the Chairlift are valid for travel. The ticket vending machines accept all major credit cards and bank cards. No other tickets or passes, travel certificates or other documents certifying the right for free travel apply to the Funicular.
The single ticket is valid for an uphill or downhill journey, while the return ticket is valid for a return trip; ticket validity is one year counting from the date of purchase.
Age limit information
- Children under age 3 ride for free on accompanying adult’s lap
- Children ages 3–15 are entitled to discounted tickets.
- Children under age 10 must travel accompanied by an adult who is in possession of a full price ticket.
- A group of at least 10 students ages 15–18 are entitled to discounted tickets if the students can present their valid student IDs.
- Customers over age 19 require a full-price ticket. No discounts are available for senior citizens.
Tickets are refunded only in the case of service disruptions or cancellation due to a technical breakdown, power cut or other external reasons (such as weather conditions not permitting safe operation).
“Partial” refunds are also available for return tickets for the remaining section of the journey in the amount of the price difference between the return ticket and the single ticket. In case the return trip of a return ticket cannot be started during the hours of operation on the day of purchase, the ticket will be valid for the remaining one-way section of the journey for one year.
Transport capacity per double chair:
- maximum two adults
- one adult plus up to two children under age 10
- one adult with one child under the age of 10 may carry a piece of hand-luggage (e.g. a folded baby carriage)
The chairs on the ropeway are in constant motion, so extra caution is needed when embarking and disembarking. The safety bar of the chair must be fully lowered and kept in a lowered position during the whole ride.
Entering the closed-off technical service area is forbidden, therefore, passengers need to get off at both stations in all cases even if they have return tickets. Holders of return tickets must join the queue at the boarding area for the remaining part of the ride.
Transportation of hand luggage, skis, sleds, baby carriages, children’s bicycles
- You are allowed to transport up to one piece of hand luggage not exceeding the size of 40x50x60cm and the weight of 10kg, as well as a pair of skis and ski sticks free of charge.
- Baby carriages can be transported in a folded state as hand luggage by an adult holding a full price ticket.
- A children’s bicycle not exceeding the size of hand luggage or one sled may be carried as hand luggage by passengers over the age of 10.
- It is not allowed to transport hand luggage that is heavier, bigger in size or number than described above, nor any other items (e.g. a bicycle) even if paying extra.
Transportation of live animals (e.g. small dog) is allowed only in a closed container not exceeding the permitted hand luggage size and requires a full-price ticket. The passenger transporting the animal bears full responsibility and must ensure that the animal remains in the container during the whole journey. Deviation from this rule is strictly prohibited!
At the stations it is forbidden to
- remain outside the opening hours
- engage in any sales activity without permission
- post any signs or notices
- disturb others with noisy or any other discomforting activity
- behave in an indecent or unruly way
- access the boarding area without a valid ticket
While travelling it is forbidden to
- eat or drink
- lift up the safety bar
- stand on the chair or on the foot-rest or to lean forward excessively
- swing the chairs
- throw garbage or any object from the chair
- damage the cableway or its equipment
The following persons will be denied travel
- those unable to present a valid ticket for boarding
- those behaving in an inappropriate or disturbing manner
- children under the age of 10 without and accompanying adult holding a full-price ticket
- persons with significantly reduced mobility and those under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- those who wish to transport an object not qualified as hand luggage or who are not capable of carrying their luggage in the operator’s judgement
- those who wish to board with ice-cream, with an opened bottle or can or a cup of drink etc.