GENERAL INFORMATION

TRAVEL INFORMATION

 

Hungary is a member of the European Union since 2004 and it is among the 26 European states that are part of the Schengen Area, which means that traveling to Hungary is comparable to visiting other Schengen states.

 

US Citizens

 

US citizens may enter Hungary without a visa for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes. You will need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months beyond your stay. You might also be asked to show a return airline ticket and prove that you have enough funds for your holiday.

 

Australian Citizens

 

Australian citizens do not need a visa to enter Hungary. You may stay as a tourist or for business purposes for a maximum of 90 days. Make sure that your passport has at least six months' validity from when you plan to return to Australia.

 

EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens

 

You will not need a visa to enter Hungary if you are a citizen of the European Union or European Economic Area. If you plan to stay for over 90 days, you must register with the regional Immigration Office.

Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Romania and Sweden, Island, Liechtenstein and Norway.

 

Citizens of states that require a visa

 

If you are from a country that has not previously been mentioned, you will need a Schengen (short-stay) visa to enter Hungary or any other country in the Schengen Area. Please check the website of  the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary for more information on the list of countries that require a visa and how to file for the application.

 

Citizens of countries that do not require a visa

 

The following states do not need visa if they intend to stay for less than 90 days. Nevertheless, they need a valid passport to enter Hungary:

Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Bermuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, East Timor, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldava, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Salvador, Samoa, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican and Venezuela.

LANGUAGE

 

Hungarian is the official language spoken in Budapest and the rest of Hungary which, shares very few words with English or other Western European languages. Many Hungarians speak English, especially in restaurants, stores, museums and hotels. But if you want to immerse yourself in the culture, below are some useful phrases:

  • Hello/goodbye  (1 person) - Szia
  • Hello/goodbye (various) - Sziasztok
  • Good morning - Jó reggelt
  • Good afternoon - Jó napot
  • Good night - Jó éjszakát
  • Welcome - Üdvözlöm
  • Please - Kérem
  • Thank you - Köszönöm
  • You're welcome - Szívesen
  • I'm sorry - Bocsánat

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

 

Check Budapest and Hungary's bank holidays and observances before planning your trip, to get an idea of when the city's sights and museums are closed.

 

2020

  • 1January -  New Year's Day
  • 15 March - 1848/49 War of Independence Memorial Day
  • 12/13 April  - Easter Holidays
  • 1May - Labor Day
  • 31May/1June - Pentecost
  • 20August - Hungary National Day
  • 23October - 1956 Uprising Memorial Day
  • 1November - All Saints' Day
  • 24December - Christmas Eve
  • 25/26December  - Christmas Holidays

CLIMATE

 

Budapest is marked by a mild and wet continental-climate, with sunny summer and cold winter. In all four seasons, the weather is not easily predictable.

 

Winter in Budapest

Winter lasts for roughly 3,5 months - starting from December to February. These months are cold and dull, with temperatures of -1.4°C (29.5°F). Precipitation is at 609.6mm (24") annually and is equitably distributed all year round. July got the most amount of rainfall, while January the least.

 

Summer in Budapest

Summer, which lasts for 3,5 months, marks the warm season. The climatic conditions during summer resemble those of the Mediterranean environment. The city sees lots of daylight averaging 9 to 11 hours every day, with temperatures hovering at 21.1°C (70°F).

Summer (May, June, July, and August) is a favorite time to tour the city. Though it may sometimes get considerably hot during the day, the city gets crowded as most tourists come to see the brimming World Heritage Sites. Weather conditions are pleasant for more sightseeing due to longer days and night walking in the warm evenings.

 

Best time to visit Budapest

The best seasons to visit Budapest are autumn and spring, but most preferably autumn. These two seasons are characterized by warm weather, lots of sunshine, and less cold - a perfect time to experience the cultural entertainment on the Budapest Spring Festivals and take great shots of the dull but gorgeous autumn colors.

CURRENCY

 

Hungary and Budapest's official currency is the "Forint" (Hungarian Forint  - HUF), although it is often mistakenly called the "florin". Although the country has wanted to replace the Forint with the euro since 2003, it still doesn't have a target date to adopt the euro.

 

Banknotes and coins

The Forint is made up of the following banknotes: 500 Ft, 1,000 Ft, 2,000 Ft, 5,000 Ft, 10,000 Ft and 20,000 Ft. It also includes the following coins: 5 Ft, 10 Ft, 20 Ft, 50 Ft and 100 Ft.

 

Banks and ATMs

There are numerous banks and ATMs in the city center, but the further away you are from the shopping areas, the more difficult it is to find a cash machine.

 

Money exchange in Budapest

The best exchange rates are normally found in the "exchange offices" in the city center. DO NOT Change money at the Airport! (very bad rates!) Before your trip, ask your bank what commissions they apply for withdrawing Forints. This way, you'll be able to see what the best option is for you.

BUDAPEST CARD

 

You can choose the following Budapest Cards: 24h, 48h, 72h, 96h and 120h depending on how long you're going to stay in Budapest for.

 

Compared to other tourist city cards, like the Prague Card, which is always worth purchasing, the Budapest Card depends on what type of holiday you would like to organize in Budapest.

 

A three-day Budapest Card costs €37 and since it includes a travel card for Budapest's public transport, you will save up by not having to purchase a 72h travel card that costs approximately €14 (4,150 Ft). Depending on what you plan to visit in Budapest throughout the three days, it can either be worthwhile or not.

 

If you are planning on visiting several museums, attractions and you wish to eat in the restaurants included in the tourist pass, the card is probably worth purchasing.

Copyright © 2004-2020 Personal Budapest Guide® Andrea Makkay. All rights reserved.