The country of Hungary is landlocked in Europe and borders seven countries—Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and Croatia. The Danube River divides the country and the capital, Budapest, once known as two separate cities, Buda and Pest.
The following quick facts will help acquaint you with Hungary:
State form: RepublicPopulation (2021): 9,630,496
Capital: Budapest, population (2021) = 1,772,000
Currency: Forint (HUF) – View Hungarian coins and Hungarian banknotes. You can use Euros in Hungary but the exchange rate at shops may not be favorable. Major credit cards are accepted and you will find ATMs throughout urban areas.
Time Zone: Central European Time (CET) and CEST during summer.
Calling Code: 36
Internet TLD: .hu
Climate and Weather
Hungary has four different seasons. Whilst summers are warm, winters can be really cold; average temperatures range from -4 °C in January to 26 °C in July. Hungary is in the temperate zone and has a relatively dry continental climate. The country is protected from extreme weather conditions by the surrounding mountain ranges, the Alps and the Carpathians.
It’s not always easy to find the right clothes to suit the weather, but the beauty of each season is definitely worth the effort.
Language and Alphabet
Hungarians speak Hungarian, although they call it Magyar. Hungarian has more in common with Finnish and Estonian than the Indo-European languages spoken by neighboring countries. Though Hungarians used a rune script for their alphabet in days gone by, they now use a modern Latin alphabet.
Hungary is a mostly Christian nation with many different denominations of Christianity making up 74.4 percent of the population. At the 2011 census, 39 percent of Hungarians reported that they were Catholic. The largest minority religion is “none” at 16.7 percent.
Major Attractions in Hungary
Budapest is Hungary’s top destination city in Europe with the capital Budapest regarded as one of the most beautiful cities worldwide. This sprawling city maintains the regal look given to it towards the end of the 19th century. With plenty of restaurants, bars, museums, spas, and other attractions, Budapest never leaves visitors without something to do. Elaborate and historic Thermal baths are popular, especially in Budapest.
Despite its relatively small size, the country is home to numerous World Heritage Sites, UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, the second largest thermal lake in the world (Lake Hévíz), the largest lake in Central Europe (Lake Balaton), and the largest natural grassland in Europe (Hortobágy).
Hungary History and Culture
Hungary was a kingdom for a thousand years and was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During the 20th century, it was under a Communist government until 1989, when a parliament was established. Today, Hungary is a parliamentary republic, though the long existence of its kingdom, and the powers of its rulers, is still fondly remembered.
Hungarian culture has a long tradition that travelers can enjoy while exploring Hungary. Folk costumes from Hungary remember the country’s past, and the pre-Lenten festival called Farsang is a unique annual event during which furry costumes are worn by participants. In the spring, Hungarian Easter traditions brighten up city centers.
Hungary Travel Facts
US citizens will need a current (good for at least 6 months) passport to visit Hungary. Citizens of the EU or EEA do not require a visa for visits under 90 days but must have a valid passport.
Airports: Five international airports serve Hungary. Most travelers will arrive in Budapest Ferihegy International Airport (BUD), colloquially known as Ferihegy.
An airport bus leaves every 10 minutes from the airport and allows for a connection to the city center via the metro or another bus. 100E – direct shuttle service provides connection between Liszt Ferenc International Airport and Budapest city centre. 200E – regular, scheduled public transport service to the city
A train from terminal 1 takes travelers to Budapest Nyugati pályaudvar – one of the 3 main rail stations in Budapest.
Public transport provides easy access to the city center from Budapest Airport. The bus stops are located on the arrivals level, between the two terminals.
Trains: There are 3 major train stations in Budapest: East, West, and South. The West train station, Budapest Nyugati pályaudvar, connects to the airport, while the East train station, Budapest Keleti pályaudvar, is where all international trains depart or arrive. Sleeper cars are available to several other countries and are regarded as safe.
Public Transport in Budapest
Budapest has a fairly extensive and efficient public transport system. It is also cheaper than in most Western European.
Travelling with BKK (Budapest Transportation Center) a ticket, travelcard or pass
Single tickets are valid for one journey without any trip interruption or transfer and the ticket must be validated by stamping with a machine on board. If you make a transfer from the bus to the metro or another service, you must validate a new single ticket or the second section of a transfer ticket. We recommend daily or multi-day travelcards and passes which are valid for an unlimited number of trips within their validity periods and do not require any validation, but please note that they are non-transferable, which means that only one person can use them.
Ticket sales points
Several types of public transport ticket and pass are available for purchase at BKK Customer service centres at airport terminals 2A and 2B as well as from BKK ticket vending machines at the bus stops. Agents at the BKK customer service points provide information on public transport and assistance with journey planning for trips within Budapest. The Airport shuttle bus single ticket for line 100E is purchasable in mobile apps and from the driver on board.
BKK ticket vending machines feature a menu system in eight different languages (English, French, Mandarin Chinese, German, Russian, Romania
- Tickets and Passes, Prices
- Airport-City Centre by Public Transport , New Direct Bus Line, No. 100E
- Buying Tickets
- Bus, Night Services
- Suburban Railway
- Public Boats
- Transporting Bikes
- Special Vehicles
- People with Physical Disability
Using taxi in Budapest
Taxis in Budapest are numerous and subject to a strict legislative framework that applies in particular to their tariffs and obligatory yellow color. It is easy to book a taxi in Budapest or hail one in downtown, and their cost is well below the average in European capitals.
BUDAPEST TAXIS RATES
All taxis in Budapest (except the ’limousine’ taxis of the luxury hotels) must apply the following tariff as from the 1st of July 2018:
Pick-up cost: 700 forint (≈ 2,1 € ≈ 1,9 £ ≈ 2,4$ ).
Price per km: 300 Ft ≈ 0.9 € ≈ 0,8 £ ≈ 1,03$.
At stop: cost of 75 Ft/mn ≈0.21 € ≈ 0,2 £ ≈ 0,26$).
No extra cost the number of passengers or pieces of luggages.
No differentiated price between night and day.
The price of a Budapest taxi is the same whether you order by phone (immediate request or booking in advance) or ‘catch’ it in the street.
Most taxis accept payment in euros but they will apply a very unfavorable conversion rate and will only give back change in forint.
In general, a taxi accepts up to 4 passengers (including the person sitting next to the driver).
Tipping: If you are satisfied with the service, you usually add 10% to the price of the fare.
Most taxis in Budapest accept payment by credit card and cash.If you want to pay by credit card, always ask when you enter the vehicle if this payment method is valid.
MAIN BUDAPEST TAXI COMPANIES
- City Taxi: tel 00 36 1 2111 111
- Taxi Tele 5: 00 36 1 3 555 555
- FőTaxi: tel 00 36 1 222 22 22
- Taxi Bolt: tel 00 36 1 4445154
- 6X6 taxi:00 36 1 666 66 66
- Taxi 4: tel 00 36 1 444 44 44
- TaxiPlus: tel 00 36 1 888 88 88
- Taxi 2000 : tel 00 36 1 2000 000
HOW TO BOOK A TAXI?
The Budapest taxi companies mentioned above have call centers where English-speaking operators can be reached.
You will be asked for your name, mobile number and, of course, your address (street, number, district) and often your destination address.
Do not hesitate to ask the operator in how many minutes your taxi will arrive.
On Friday and Saturday nights (18:00 to 20:00), it is recommended to book your taxi in advance, especially on event days in Budapest or furing heavy rain…
If you are used to order taxi on Uber, then use the app of BOLT taxi company which is similar.
OUR TIP Download the application of the company BOLT (free app. available on Android GooglePlay and IOS AppStore, website link ). You will be able to order a taxi through the application and see exactly the time to wait for the taxi. The company BOLT (ex Taxify) has also a good quality service and each customer is asked to rate his fare on the application.
1052 Budapest, Sütő u. 2. (Deák Square)
1146 Budapest, Olof Palme sétány 5. (in the building of the City Park Ice Rink)
At Budapestinfo Points any bank card purchase has became easier and more economical as you can use your own currency instead of HUF. This development helps you to avoid the surcharges.
Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport Terminal 2A: 08-23; 2B: 08-23
BUDAPESTINFO POINT PARTNERS
Vásárcsarnok (Central Market Hall), 1093 Budapest, Vámház körút 1–3.
Open: Mon. 6–17, Tue.–Fri. 6-18, Sat. 6–15
Keleti Pályaudvar (Eastern Railway Station), Information Open: 7–19
Important phone numbers:
- Ambulance: 104
- Police: 107
- Fire service: 105
- Central help number: 112
- General enquiries: 197
- Domestic enquiries: 198
- International enquiries: 199
- Auto club help number: 188
- Speaking clock: 180
- Tourist Police (0-24): 06-1-438-8080
- 24-hour medical assistance in English (Falck SOS Hungary): 06-1-2400-475
- 24- hour pharmacy: District 6, Teréz krt 41. (telephone: 06-1-311-4439) near Oktogon
- Airport Ferihegy – general (flight information) number: 06-1-296-7155
- Lost and found-terminal 2A: 06-1-296-8108, 06-1-296-7217
- Lost and fund-terminal 2B: 06-1-296-7690, 06-1-295-3480
- Airport Ferihegy Terminal 2A – information about arrivals: 06-1-296-8000
- Airport Ferihegy Terminal 2A – information about departures: 06-1-296-7000
- Airport Ferihegy Terminal 2B – information about arrivals: 06-1-296-5052
- Airport Ferihegy Terminal 2B – information about departures: 06-1-296-5883
- Information about local and international trains: MÁVDIREKT 06-40-49-4949