A beautiful country with a volatile past, Hungary today boasts some of the finest and most diverse architecture in Europe ranging from Roman ruins and Baroque Palaces to Art-Nouveau mansions and cutting edge contemporary buildings. This intriguingly unique country has so much to offer; sample its famed wines, marvel at its beautiful landscape, be left perplexed by its distinctive language, take a stroll along the Danube or relax in one of its many thermal spas. With all this and more, a trip to Hungary is bound to be unforgettable.
Hungary has a continental climate with hot summers and cold snowy winters. Temperatures range from 27 to 35°c in Summer and 0 to -15°c in Winter. Humidity is low overall but rain is frequent throughout the year with May, June and November being particularly wet.
There are 13 official holidays recognised in Hungary. These include National Day on the 15th March and St Stephen Day on the 20th August. Christmas, New Year and Easter holidays are celebrated the same as the rest of Europe.
The main airport in Hungary is Budapest Ferihegy (BUD) which is approximately 16km\10 miles from the city centre. This airport charters international flights and takes 2h30 from London.
Máv, Hungary's rail network operates direct services to over 20 European cities including Basel, Berlin, Paris and London. Rail passes for use in Europe and Hungary are available.
It is possible to drive to Hungary from its neighbouring countries and from further afield. There are 8 arterial roads in Hungary and all but one start in central Budapest. The quality of the roads is good, fuel is widely available with 24 hour petrol stations in most towns and cities. Tolls are operated on some roads and on all motorways.
Unless otherwise stated the speed restrictions are as follows:
50kph (31mph) in built up areas, 90kph(50mph)on main roads, 110kph (62mph)on highways and 130kph (75mph)on motorways.
Seat belts must be worn at all times. Children of 16 years and under must sit in the rear. Child seats are compulsory. Use of hand-held mobile phones is prohibited.
Volánbusz runs regular coach fleets namely from Budapest to over 13 different European countries. Volán run domestic buses between neighbouring cities, towns and villages.
In Major Towns and Cities:
Local transport in the towns and cities is well developed and includes buses, trolley buses and trams. In Budapest there is an underground metro system and a suburban commuter railway. Taxis are plentiful and usually very reasonably priced.
Hungarian (Magyar) is the official language but German is widely spoken. English is spoken in most tourist areas and hotels.
The following phrases may be useful:
Hello: Jó napot
Thank You: Köszönöm
The currency in Hungary is the Forint which divides into 100 fillér and is abbreviated to ft. The currency code is HUF.
The domestic electricity voltage is 230v, 50Hz. A two pin European plug is used and adaptors are readily available.
The telephone country code for Hungary is +36. To call another country from Hungary, dial 00 then the relevant country code and the rest of the number.
In an emergency dial the following numbers:
112: any emergency
105: Fire brigade
ATM's accepting most credit and cash cards are everywhere in Hungary including small villages. Credit cards, especially Visa and MasterCard, are widely accepted.
Hungarians are very tip conscious and routinely tip waiters, taxi drivers, hairdressers, petrol station attendants and even doctors about 10%. Not leaving a tip or leaving a very small tip is a very strong signal that you were dissatisfied.
Never leave a tip on the table in a restaurant. Alternatively tell the waiter how much you want to tip as you are paying the bill.
Bargaining is generally not done in Hungary but you can try a little gentle bartering in flea markets or with independent folk craft sellers.
When meeting a Hungarian, handshaking is customary and both their first name and surname should be used.