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Hungary travel guide - Travel S helper

Hungary

travel guide

Hungary is a Central European unitary parliamentary republic. It has a land area of 93,030 square kilometers (35,920 square miles), is located in the Carpathian Basin, and is bounded on the north by Slovakia, on the east by Romania, on the south by Serbia, on the southwest by Croatia, on the west by Slovenia, on the northwest by Austria, and on the northeast by Ukraine. Hungary, with a population of about ten million, is one of the most populated states in Central and Eastern Europe and a medium-sized European Union member state. Hungary’s official language is Hungarian, which is the world’s most commonly spoken uralic language. Budapest, Hungary’s capital and biggest metropolis, is a major economic center and a worldwide city classed as an Alpha-. Debrecen, Szeged, Miskolc, Pécs, and Gyr are major urban areas.

Following centuries of continuous occupation by Celts, Romans, Slavs, Gepids, and Avars, the late 9th century conquest of the Carpathian Basin by the Hungariangrand prince rpád established the foundations of Hungary. In 1000, his great-grandson Stephen I succeeded to the throne, establishing a Christian monarchy in the nation. By the 12th century, Hungary had developed into a middling power within the Western world, and by the 15th century had reached a golden era. Following the Battle of Mohácsin in 1526 and about 150 years of Ottoman domination (1541–1699), Hungary fell under Habsburg control and subsequently merged with Austria to create the great power Austro–Hungarian Empire.

Hungary’s present boundaries were set in 1920 by the Treaty of Trianon, after the country’s loss of 71% of its land, 58% of its people, and 32% of ethnic Hungarians during World War I. Hungary joined the Axis Powers in World War II after the interwar era, incurring enormous damage and fatalities. Hungary became a Soviet Union satellite state, aiding in the creation of a four-decade-long communist dictatorship (1947–1989). The country received significant worldwide attention after the 1956 Revolution and the crucial 1989 opening of its formerly closed border with Austria, which hastened the fall of the Eastern Bloc. Hungary reverted to democratic parliamentary republic status on 23 October 1989.

Hungary is a middle power in the twenty-first century, with the world’s 57th biggest economy by nominal GDP and the 58th largest by purchasing power parity, out of 188 nations as assessed by the IMF. As a significant player in a number of industrial and technical areas, it ranks 36th in terms of both exports and imports. Hungary is a high-income economy with an affluent population. It ensures the continuation of social security and universal health care, as well as tuition-free higher education. Hungary scores well in worldwide rankings; it is ranked 20th in terms of quality of life, 25th in terms of inequality-adjusted human development, 32nd in terms of social progress, and 19th in terms of safety.

Hungary became a member of the European Union in 2004 and has been a member of the Schengen Area since 2007. Hungary is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Council of Europe, and the Visegrád Group. The Hungarian army contributes significantly to international peacekeeping missions, with about 700 personnel stationed abroad, including 100 HDF troops in Afghanistan’s NATO-led ISAF force, 210 Hungarian soldiers in Kosovo’s KFOR, and 160 troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hungary is well-known for its illustrious cultural past, having made major contributions to the arts, music, literature, sports, and science and technology. Hungary is a famous tourism destination, having welcomed 12.1 million foreign visitors in 2014. It is home to the world’s biggest thermal water cave system, the world’s second largest thermal lake, Central Europe’s largest lake, and Europe’s largest natural grasslands.

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Hungary - Info Card

Population

9,749,763

Currency

Forint (HUF)

Time zone

UTC+1 (CET)

Area

93,030 km2 (35,920 sq mi)

Calling code

+36

Official language

Hungarian

Hungary | Introduction

Hungary is one of the world’s top 15 tourist attractions, with a capital that is often considered as one of the most beautiful in the world. Despite its modest size, Hungary is home to many World Heritage Sites, UNESCO Biosphere reserves, the world’s second-biggest thermal lake (Lake Hévz), Central Europe’s largest lake (Lake Balaton), and Europe’s largest natural grassland (Hortobágy). In terms of architecture, Hungary is home to Europe’s largest synagogue (the Great Synagogue of Budapest), Europe’s largest medicinal bath (Széchenyi Medicinal Bath), Europe’s third-largest church (Esztergom Basilica), the world’s second largest territorial abbey (Pannonhalma Archabbey), the world’s second-largest Baroque castle (Gödöll), and Europe’s largest Early Christian Necr

There will be safe food and water, as well as a largely stable political environment.

Hungary has always been ethnically varied, and although over 90% of the population is ethnically Hungarian today, pockets of ethnic and cultural Slovaks, Romanians, Germans, Romani/Sinti people (Gypsies), and others dot the nation. Because to Hungary’s border modifications after World War I, approximately 2 million ethnic and cultural Hungarians now reside in neighboring nations. The Hungarians, also known as Magyars, are the ancestors of numerous Central Asian tribes who were thought to be ferocious, nomadic horsemen when they arrived in Central Europe in the 9th century.

Geography Of Hungary

Hungary’s topography has long been characterized by its two major rivers, the Danube and the Tiszarivers. This is reflected in the country’s customary tripartite classification into three sections—Dunántl (“beyond the Danube”, Transdanubia), Tiszántl (“beyond the Tisza”), and Duna-Tisza köze (“between the Danube and Tisza”). The Danube River runs north-south through the heart of modern Hungary, and the whole nation is within its drainage basin.

Transdanubia, which extends westward from the country’s center into Austria, is mainly a hilly area with low mountains varying the landscape. These include the Alpokalja Mountains in the west of the nation, the Transdanubian Mountains in the center of Transdanubia, and the Mecsek Mountains and Villány Mountains in the south. At 882 meters, the highest peak in the region is the rott-k in the Alps (2,894 ft). Northern Transdanubia is home to the Little Hungarian Plain (Kisalföld). Transdanubia also has Lake Balaton and Lake Hévz, the biggest lakes in Central Europe and the largest thermal lakes in the world, respectively.

The Duna-Tisza köze and Tiszántl are defined mostly by the Great Hungarian Plain (Alföld), which spans much of the country’s eastern and southeastern regions. The Carpathians’ foothills form a broad stretch along the Slovakian border to the north of the Plain. The Kékes, at 1,014 m (3,327 ft), is Hungary’s highest mountain and may be located here.

Hungary is a phytogeographic province of the Circumboreal Region of the Boreal Kingdom, located in Central Europe. According to the WWF, Hungary’s land is part of the Pannonian mixed woods ecoregion.

Hungary contains ten national parks, 145 small nature reserves, and 35 protected landscape regions.

Climate In Hungary

Hungary’s topography has long been characterized by its two major rivers, the Danube and the Tiszarivers. This is reflected in the country’s customary tripartite classification into three sections—Dunántl (“beyond the Danube”, Transdanubia), Tiszántl (“beyond the Tisza”), and Duna-Tisza köze (“between the Danube and Tisza”). The Danube River runs north-south through the heart of modern Hungary, and the whole nation is within its drainage basin.

Transdanubia, which extends westward from the country’s center into Austria, is mainly a hilly area with low mountains varying the landscape. These include the Alpokalja Mountains in the west of the nation, the Transdanubian Mountains in the center of Transdanubia, and the Mecsek Mountains and Villány Mountains in the south. At 882 meters, the highest peak in the region is the rott-k in the Alps (2,894 ft). Northern Transdanubia is home to the Little Hungarian Plain (Kisalföld). Transdanubia also has Lake Balaton and Lake Hévz, the biggest lakes in Central Europe and the largest thermal lakes in the world, respectively.

The Duna-Tisza köze and Tiszántl are defined mostly by the Great Hungarian Plain (Alföld), which spans much of the country’s eastern and southeastern regions. The Carpathians’ foothills form a broad stretch along the Slovakian border to the north of the Plain. The Kékes, at 1,014 m (3,327 ft), is Hungary’s highest mountain and may be located here.

Hungary is a phytogeographic province of the Circumboreal Region of the Boreal Kingdom, located in Central Europe. According to the WWF, Hungary’s land is part of the Pannonian mixed woods ecoregion.

Hungary contains ten national parks, 145 small nature reserves, and 35 protected landscape regions.

Demographics Of Hungary

In 2011, the population of Hungary was 9,937,628 people. The population density is 107 people per square kilometer, which is about double the global average. More over a quarter of the population resided in the Budapest metropolitan region, with a total of 6,903,858 people (69.5 percent) living in cities and towns. Hungary, like most other European nations, has sub-replacement fertility, with the total fertility rate (TFR) in 2015 estimated at 1.43 children born per woman, which is lower than the replacement rate of 2.1. As a result, the population is gradually declining and rapidly aging. In 2013, unmarried women accounted for 45.6 percent of all births. In 2015, males had a life expectancy of 71.96 years and women had a life expectancy of 79.62 years, both of which had increased steadily since the collapse of Communism.

Ethnic groups In Hungary

Hungary has 8,314,029 (83.7 percent ) Hungarians, 308,957 (3.1 percent ) Romani, 131,951 (1.3 percent ) Germans, 29,647 (0.3 percent ) Slovaks, 26,345 (0.3 percent ) Romanians, and 23,561 (0.2 percent ) Croats, according to the 2011 census. The ethnicity of 1,455,883 individuals (14.7 percent of the total population) was not declared. As a result, Hungarians made up 98.0 percent of those who stated their ethnicity. People in Hungary may claim more than one ethnicity, thus the overall number of ethnicities exceeds the entire population.

Religion In Hungary

Hungary has a long history of Christianity. Hungarian history considers Stephen I’s baptism and coronation with the Holy Hungarian Crown in A.D. 1000 as the founding of the Hungarian state (államalaptás) but not of the nation (nemzet). Stephen established Roman Catholicism as the official religion, and his successors were dubbed the Apostolic Kings. Through the ages, the Catholic Church in Hungary remained powerful, and the Archbishop of Esztergom (Esztergomi érsek) was given exceptional temporal powers as prince-primate (hercegprmás) of Hungary. Although there is no official religion in modern Hungary, the constitution “recognizes Christianity’s nation-building role.” The legislature, not the court, has the authority to give a church legally recognized status; this arrangement has been criticized.

Following the Reformation in the 16th century, the majority of Hungarians adopted first Lutheranism, then Calvinism. However, in the second part of the 16th century, Jesuits conducted a successful counterreformation effort, and the nation once again became overwhelmingly Catholic. Eastern Hungary, particularly Debrecen (“the Calvinist Rome”), maintained significant Protestant populations. In Hungary, Orthodox Christianity is linked with the country’s ethnic minorities, including Romanians, Rusyns, Ukrainians, and Serbs.

Historically, Hungary had a sizable Jewish population. Some Hungarian Jews managed to flee the Holocaust during WWII, but the vast majority (approximately 550,000) were either transported to concentration camps, from which the vast majority did not return, or killed by the Hungarian Arrow Cross fascists. Because the majority of deported Jews came from the countryside, Budapest is now the hub of Hungarian Jewish life.

According to the most recent 2011 census, the majority of Hungarians (52.9 percent ) are Christians, with Roman Catholics (Katolikusok) (37.1 percent ) and Hungarian Reformed Calvinists (Reformátusok) (11.1 percent ) accounting for the majority of these, alongside Lutherans (Evangélikusok) (2.2 percent ), Greek Catholics (0.3 percent ), and Jehovah’s Witnesses (0.1 percent ). The Jewish (0.1 percent ) and Muslim (0.06% ) populations are in the minority, but this is compounded by the fact that 27.2 percent of respondents did not identify their religion, 16.7 percent declared themselves irreligious, and 1.5 percent proclaimed themselves atheist.

According to Eurobarometer’s latest surveys on religiosity in the European Union in 2012, Christianity is the most popular religion in Hungary, accounting for 71 percent of Hungarians. Catholics are the biggest Christian denomination in Hungary, accounting for 58 percent of the population, while Protestants account for 7 percent and Other Christian account for 6 percent. Nonbelievers/Agnostics account for 21%, whereas Atheists account for 1%.

In a 2005 Eurostat – Eurobarometer survey, 44 percent of Hungarians said they believed in God, 31 percent said they believed in some kind of spirit or life force, and 19 percent said they did not believe in God, spirit, or life force.

Language & Phrasebook in Hungary

Hungarian

A road sign in both the current (Roman) and ancient Hungarian scripts welcomes visitors to the town of Vonyarcvashegy near Keszthely—the latter of which, also known as rovásrás or “Hungarian runes,” is only used ceremonially or as a symbol of national pride.

Hungarians are justifiably proud of their language, which is distinctive, deep, nuanced, and highly expressive (Magyar pronounced “mahdyar”). It is a Uralic language related to the Mansi and Khanty of western Siberia. It is further subdivided into the Finno-Ugric languages, which include Finnish and Estonian; it is not linked to any of its Indo-European language family neighbors, which include Slavic, Germanic, and Romance languages. Although they are related to Finnish and Estonian, they are not mutually understandable. Aside from Finnish, it is regarded as one of the most difficult languages for English speakers to learn due to the drastically diverse vocabulary, complex syntax, and pronunciation. As a result, it is not unexpected that an English speaker visiting Hungary understands none of what is written or said in Hungarian. After becoming a Christian country in the year 1000, Hungary did adopt the Latin alphabet.

Most English-speakers find most aspects of the written language difficult to understand, including a number of unusual sounds like gy (often pronounced like the d in “during” in British English) and (vaguely like a long English e as in me with rounded lips), as well as agglutinative grammar that results in frightening-sounding words like eltéveszthetetlen(unmistakable) and viszontlátá (goodbye). Furthermore, the letters may be pronounced differently than in English: the “s” always has a “sh” sound, the “sz” always has the “s” sound, and the “c” is pronounced like the English “ts,” to mention a few.

On the plus side, it uses the familiar Roman alphabet (although with many accents) and, unlike English, has almost complete phonemic spelling. This implies that if you learn how to pronounce the 44 letters of the alphabet as well as the digraphs, you will be able to correctly pronounce nearly every Hungarian phrase. Misinterpretation or complete misunderstanding may result from a single change in pronunciation, vowel length, or emphasis. Because the emphasis is always on the first syllable of each word, all the goodies on top of the vowels are pronunciation signals rather than stress indications, like in Spanish. Diphthongs are almost non-existent in Hungarian (except adopted foreign words). One of the many profound grammatical differences between Hungarian and most European languages is that the verb “to have” in the sense of possession does not exist or is not required – the indicator of possession is attached to the possessed noun rather than the possessor, e.g. Kutya = dog, Kutyám = my dog, Van egy kutyám = I have a dog, or literally “Is one dog-my”.

Hungarian has a highly precise case system, including grammatical, locative, oblique, and less productive cases; for example, a noun used as a subject has no suffix, but when used as a direct object, the letter “t” is added as a suffix, with a vowel if required. One advantage of Hungarian is that there is no grammatical gender, even with the pronouns “he” or “she,” which are both “”, so there is no need to worry about the random Der, Die, Das kind of stuff that happens in German; “the” is just “a.” In Hungarian, like in Asian languages, the family name comes before the given name. The list of distinctions is endless, including the definite and indefinite conjugational systems, vowel harmony, and so on. Attempting anything beyond the fundamentals will win you a lot of respect since so few non-native Hungarians bother to study any of this tiny, apparently tough, yet interesting language.

Foreign languages

Because English is increasingly required in schools, addressing individuals in their teens, twenties, or lower thirties increases the likelihood that they will speak English well enough to assist you.

However, because of Hungary’s history, the older generation had less access to foreign language instruction, thus your odds are lower, and very low for those over 60. A handful of Hungarians know Russian, which was mandatory during the Communist period, but most Hungarians want to forget it, thus use it only as a last option. German is also extremely helpful in Hungary: it is nearly as commonly spoken as English, and almost universally so near the Austrian border, particularly in Sopron, which is legally bilingual and has extensive connections with Vienna owing to its proximity to the Vienna suburban trains. In these situations, and with elderly people in general, German will almost always go you far further than English.

In Hungary, bigger towns with universities, such as Budapest, Debrecen, Miskolc, and Szeged, have a far higher chance of finding someone speaking a foreign language (mainly English and German). In remote regions, the chances are much lower, especially among young individuals.

Economy Of Hungary

Hungary is an OECD high-income mixed economy with a very high human development index and trained labor force, as well as the 16th lowest income inequality in the world, according to the Economic Complexity Index. With $265.037 billion in production, Hungary is the world’s 57th-largest economy (out of 188 nations assessed by the IMF), and ranks 49th in terms of GDP per capita calculated by purchasing power parity. Hungary has an export-oriented market economy with a strong focus on international commerce; as a result, the country is the world’s 36th biggest export economy. In 2015, the nation had more than $100 billion in exports and a $9.003 billion trade surplus, with 79 percent of it going to the EU and 21 percent going to non-EU commerce. Hungary has a more than 80% privately held economy with a 39.1% total taxes, which serves as the foundation for the country’s welfare economy. On the spending side, household consumption is the most important component of GDP, accounting for 50% of total usage, followed by gross fixed capital creation (22%), and government expenditure (20%).

Hungary is one of the top countries in attracting foreign direct investment in Central and Eastern Europe, with inbound FDI totaling $119.8 billion in 2015, and the country investing more than $50 billion overseas. Hungary’s main trade partners in 2015 were Germany, Austria, Romania, Slovakia, France, Italy, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Food processing, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, information technology, chemicals, metallurgy, manufacturing, electrical products, and tourism are among the major businesses (in 2014 Hungary welcomed 12.1 million international tourists). Hungary is Central and Eastern Europe’s biggest manufacturer of electronics. Electronics manufacturing and research are two of the country’s primary sources of innovation and economic development. Hungary has also been a significant hub for mobile technology, information security, and associated hardware development in the last 20 years. In 2015, the economy’s employment rate was 65.0 percent, and the employment structure reflects the features of post-industrial economies, with 63.2 percent of the employed workforce working in the service sector, industry contributing 29.7 percent, and agriculture contributing 7.1 percent. In December 2015, the unemployment rate was 6.2 percent, down from 11 percent during the 2007–08 financial crisis. Hungary is a member of the European Union’s single market, which has a population of over 508 million people. Several domestic business policies are influenced by agreements between European Union members and EU law.

The BUX, the Hungarian stock market index listed on the Budapest Stock Exchange, includes large Hungarian businesses. MOL Group, OTP Bank, Gedeon Richter, Magyar Telekom, CIG Pannonia, FHB Bank, Zwack Unicum, and other well-known businesses include MOL Group, OTP Bank, Gedeon Richter, Magyar Telekom, CIG Pannonia, FHB Bank, Zwack Unicum, and others. Aside from that, Hungary has a considerable number of specialized small and medium-sized enterprises, such as a significant number of automotive suppliers and technological start-ups, among others.

Budapest is Hungary’s financial and commercial capital. The capital is a significant economic hub, classified as an Alpha- world city in the Globalization and World Cities Research Network study, and it is the second fastest-developing urban economy in Europe, with GDP per capita increasing by 2.4% and employment increasing by 4.7% in 2014 compared to the previous year. On a national level, Budapest is Hungary’s primate city in terms of business and economics, accounting for 39% of national revenue. The city has a gross metropolitan product of more than $100 billion in 2015, making it one of the biggest regional economies in the European Union. Budapest is also one of the top 100 GDP performing cities in the world, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, and in an EIU global city competitiveness rating, it ranks ahead of Tel Aviv, Lisbon, Moscow, and Johannesburg, among others.

Hungary has its own currency, the Hungarian forint (HUF), and although the economy meets the Maastricht requirements with the exception of public debt, it is also considerably lower than the EU average, at 75.3 percent in 2015. The Hungarian National Bank, established in 1924 after the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is now focused on price stability, with a 3% inflation goal.

Entry Requirements For Hungary

Visa & Passport for Hungary

Hungary is a signatory to the Schengen Agreement.

  • Border restrictions are usually not required between nations that have signed and implemented the pact. This covers the majority of the European Union as well as a few additional nations.
  • Before boarding foreign planes or boats, passengers’ identities are typically checked. Temporary border restrictions are sometimes used at land boundaries.
  • A visa issued to any Schengen member is also valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty.

Recognized refugees and stateless persons with a valid travel document issued by the government of any of the above countries/territories are exempt from obtaining a visa for Hungary (but not for any other Schengen country except Germany and, for refugees, Slovakia) for a maximum stay of 90 days in a 180-day period.

Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda are allowed to work in Hungary without a visa for the duration of their 90-day visa-free stay. This right to work without a visa, however, does not necessarily apply to other Schengen nations.

Croatian citizens may enter the nation by presenting their identification card, however they may not remain for more than 90 days in a 180-day period or work in Hungary without a work permit.

How To Travel To Hungary

Get In - By plane

Liszt Ferenc Airport in Budapest, Airport Debrecen in Debrecen, and FlyBalaton Airport in Sármellék are Hungary’s international airports. Malév (Hungarian Airlines), Hungary’s flag airline, was decommissioned in early 2012. There are many low-cost carriers that fly to Budapest, including Ryanair, Wizzair, Easyjet, Eurowings, and Airberlin.

Get In - By train

With regular trains from Austria, Germany, Czechia, and Slovakia, Budapest is a major railway hub for the whole country of Hungary and a significant portion of Eastern Europe. There is at least one train every day from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Serbia, Switzerland, and Ukraine, as well as through cars from Poland and seasonal via sleepers from Bulgaria and Montenegro.

You may look for international train connections on the official schedule site of MV, the national rail operator, or on the German Railways website, which covers nearly all of Europe.

Get In - By car

To enter the country, make sure your International Motor Insurance Card (H) is valid for Hungary, as well as your vehicle registration and a Power of Attorney from the owner if the automobile is not yours. The border guards are very rigorous about allowing vehicles to through without these papers.

Hungary’s border control is very rigorous and comprehensive. If required, they will not hesitate to perform a thorough vehicle search. Since the elimination of physical borders, entry from Schengen nations (Austria, Slovenia, and Slovakia) is exempt from such border controls. All of those that remain display mild control (Romania, Croatia), and owing to a bilateral agreement, Serbian nationals no longer face rigorous border checks. However, you should be aware that if you enter the nation from the Schengen region, you may be subjected to a so-called inside-customs check everywhere you go. Non-Schengen travelers must be aware that customs prescriptions from Ukraine and Serbia will be strictly enforced. You are permitted to carry two packs of cigarettes into Hungary if you are traveling from Serbia. If you bring more than that, they will confiscate it and penalize you €102. If you hold a European License, you may bring in hunting weapons from any EU member state.

However, if you have that, you are not permitted to purchase or sell your or a new weapon here. Automatic firearms are not allowed to be carried, and you will never be able to acquire one in HU. The same holds true for illegal substances. Infringement of these regulations will very certainly result in your arrest! Entry from non-Schengen nations may take a lengthy time, especially on weekends when EU-Nationals are returning north via the E75 corridor from Belgrade, Serbia. The queues to cross the border have stretched as long as 7 kilometers, with wait times of up to 6 hours. Bypassing may be accomplished via alternative border crossings in Hungary or Croatia. If you are driving in from an EU nation, such as Austria, you must stop and check with officials at the border; otherwise, the crossings are open and the immigration control kiosks are typically vacant.

When driving into Hungary, make sure that the border crossing on the route you select permits foreigners to enter through. In addition, several minor crossings shut for the night in the afternoon. It is also necessary to get a vignette if you want to drive on highways.

Get In - By bus

Several international bus routes go through or into Hungary. Volánbusz, the national bus operator as well as the local Eurolines representative, has a website where you can discover schedules and buy tickets. Orangeways bus company, on the other hand, provides service between Budapest and Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. Their website has timetables as well as online reservations. On the southern border with Serbia, don’t be shocked if a collection is being held on the bus for a payment to the border-guards in order for the bus to pass quicker.

Get In - By ship

International shipping lines on the Danube (Duna) or Tisza rivers may enter Hungary. Between May and September, Mahart operates a regular hydrofoil service on the Danube to and from Vienna and Bratislava.

How To Travel Around Hungary

Get Around - By plane

There are currently no regular domestic flights in Hungary. Due to Budapest’s central location and the fact that almost every place in the nation can be reached in three hours by rail or bus, there is no demand for scheduled domestic flights.

People with a valid pilot’s license, on the other hand, have many options for renting an aircraft and exploring by air.

Get Around - By train

MV and GYSEV are the acronyms for the Hungarian National Railway (some lines in the west of the country). MV offers an online timetable as well as a price webpage. You may buy domestic and certain international rail tickets in English on the internet. Read and follow the instructions provided below.

The railway network is star-shaped (hub-and-spoke), radiating from Budapest’s center. This is due to history, since half of the once-complete railway infrastructure was transferred to neighboring nations after World War I. If neither the beginning nor the finishing destination is in Budapest, plan to travel for a long period, with many changes in Budapest.

Intercity (IC) trains are the quickest, as well as the most modern, well-maintained, and clean. They connect the main cities to Budapest. Expect to pay an additional charge of approximately 550 Forints (= €2) for the mandatory seat reservation, regardless of distance (not in international ICs, ECs). In certain instances, the additional fee may be lesser. In comparison to the bulk of Western European ticket rates, Hungary’s IC trains are among the most affordable, with an outstanding track record of speed and comfort. Many students use these IC trains on weekends to travel between Budapest and other places, therefore early advance booking is advised on Friday afternoons for trains departing Budapest and Sunday nights for trains returning to Budapest. Working with a laptop is usually safe, unless the area is very busy.

Other railway lines are often slower, less clean (even in first class), and frequently vandalized (particularly in the Budapest area); nevertheless, quality standards are increasing. During the summer, trains between Balaton and Budapest are sometimes packed, with the IC generally sold out. The gyorsvonat, or old fast train, is the next option. The price is determined only by the distance traveled and the vehicle class. For non-IC trains, cash desks presume 2nd class by default (at least in Budapest for English speakers), so if you missed your IC, try asking for 1st class and paying a little fee for much greater comfort. Smoking is not permitted on any train or on the station platforms.

Weekend travel for young persons (those under the age of 26) is discounted by 33%. (Friday afternoon included). Children (under the age of six) and the elderly (residents of EU nations over the age of 65) may ride for free, except on InterCity trains, which need an additional charge (reservation).

It is possible to purchase a Hungary Interrail pass. Check to see whether purchasing tickets for each trip is less expensive.

Check the MAV website for a list of stations where you may purchase a train ticket with a debit or credit card. It is worth noting that gépi menetjegykiadás refers to a staffed cashier desk, while jegykiadó automatame refers to a vending machine.

Tickets may be purchased in Euro. An international ticket and supplement may be purchased at any Hungarian train station with an international cash counter. Please keep in mind that cash desks do not take Euro bank notes worth more than EUR 50, and you will be given change in forints.

A list of stations with ticket selling machines Typically, tickets to locations not mentioned by vending machines will be given free of charge by the conductor on board. These people are working with just a brief midnight break.

International bike travel by rail is also available on certain trains for €4-10 (varies), with the lowest fare going to Vienna and the highest going to Hamburg (via Berlin).

List of vending machine-style e-ticket acceptance locations. Purchase your ticket online and locate the pre-purchased ticket issuing machine at the station to verify and print your ticket.

You may get information on luggage rooms or lockers (Hu: csomagmegörz) at railway stations here. Lockers cost (as of 2010): HUF400 for small lockers and HUF600 for larger lockers every 24 hours. More than one day costs HUF600 each day begun. Luggage rooms or lockers are available at the following stations: Budapest-Déli, Kelenföld (Budapest), Budapest-Keleti, Budapest-Nyugati, Debrecen, Gyr, Miskolc-Tiszai, Nyregyháza, Siófok, Sopron, Szolnok, Szombathely.

Get Around - By bus

Hungary’s national bus network is managed by 28 state-owned firms affiliated with the Volán Association. Connections are frequent, and fares are the same as on non-intercity trains. Bus routes are often more comprehensive than rail lines, and their speeds are comparable. Long-distance buses are clean and safe, although they are often delayed. Before boarding, buy your ticket at the station ticket counter; if you do not take your bus at a major station, get a ticket from the driver. Even if you purchase from the bus driver, make sure you verify your tickets.

The tiny orange boxes are used to validate tickets and may be found throughout the bus. On the airport bus, ticket inspectors work, and if you have not validated your ticket, you will be fined HUF7,000 on the spot. It is a good idea to book your tickets in advance for national holidays, Friday and Sunday nights. The online booking system is only accessible in English. You may also check out the domestic long-distance bus routes in English, French, Hungarian, and Romanian here. Anyway, here are some key terms in Hungarian that may be useful: “honnan” means “from,” “hová” means “to,” “Autóbusz állomás” means “bus station,” “naponta” means “daily,” and “munkanapokon” means “on workdays.”

Get Around - By boat

MAHART PassNave Ltd. operates numerous scheduled riverboat and hydrofoil lines from Budapest to cities along the Danube, including Szentendre, Visegrád, and Esztergom, as well as an excellent hydrofoil boat link between Vienna and Budapest from May to September.

MAHART PassNave Ltd. and other maritime firms, such as Legenda Ltd., offer numerous sightseeing and night cruises in the capital city.

There are several ferries on the Danube and Tisza, although their schedules are unpredictable. For a reasonable fee, you may rely on the ferry on Lake Balaton.

Get Around - By car

Apart from new highways, most roads in Hungary are two-lane. The majority of main highways are in excellent condition; nevertheless, cracks, potholes, and rough roads are frequent on smaller roads and in large cities, despite the fact that they are continuously being fixed. Traveling using a map and obeying road markers is generally not difficult.

Although expressways are not free, there are no toll roads or tunnels. Similar to neighboring Austria and Slovakia, a vignette system is utilized, however as of 2013, the vignette is kept electronically and verified for utilizing gantries that scan license plate numbers. You may buy them in 10-day increments (called “Weekly vignettes”), one-month increments, or one-year increments. The vignette is crucial, and it is a good idea to get it even if you do not intend to use the highway. Control is automated using video cameras, and you will be issued a high ticket (HUF20,000) without notice.

When traveling on regular roads, the speed limit is 90 km/h between cities and 50 km/h inside cities, slowing you to an average of 60 km/h. Routes are often congested (particularly major roads like #8 to the west, #6 to the south, and #4 to the east). On highways, the speed limit is 130 km/h, travel is the same as in Germany, and it is quite usual for someone to pass you in the inner lane.

Expect the police to deploy a variety of speed traps, including permanent ones on all marked highways and movable ones from bridges, vehicles parked on the shoulder, or behind shrubs and trees. Be aware that some cops may hide behind speed limit signs, particularly if the sign is clearly worthless or if the speed limit is very sluggish for the given road type. Police corruption is common, particularly in Budapest (usually, HUF10,000 fixes most issues if you don’t get caught).

When traveling from west to east (or vice versa), keep in mind that there are just a few bridges spanning the Danube outside of Budapest. However, there are some ferries available.

Outside of metropolitan areas, driving with headlights on is a legal necessity, even during the day—a requirement that is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the EU.

Hungary maintains a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol. If you are found driving after just a few of units of alcohol, you will very certainly be arrested.

Highways

Hungary has a rapidly expanding roadway network (1,480 km in total). Every roadway begins in Budapest.

  • M0 – Motorway ring around Budapest. The north-east and south sections are ready.
  • M1 – connection to Győr, Austria and Slovakia(west)
  • M2 – connection to Vác, planned to reach the border to Slovakia by 2015 (north)
  • M3/M30/M35 – connection to Miskolc, Debrecenand Nyíregyháza (east)
  • M5 – connection to Serbia, via Kecskemét and Szeged (south-east)
  • M6/M60 – Connection to Dunaújváros and Pécs(south)
  • M7/M70 – connection to Lake Balaton, Croatia and Slovenia (south-west)
  • M4 – provide connection to Romania via Szolnok
  • M44 – provide connection between the M5 at Kecskemét and the Romanian border via Békéscsaba (east)
  • M8/M9 – cross the country east-west

Except for M0 and small portions surrounding large towns, which are free, all highways need a single vignette. Vignettes may be bought with a credit card on the web (and many private online businesses), at gas stations, and at AK (State Motorway Management Co.) offices. During the summer, a 10-day vignette for a passenger vehicle costs HUF2,975 (€10); the 4-day ticket for a car has been discontinued. A camera system controls the vignettes automatically.

Get Around - By car pool

The Hungarian oszkar.com social car pool network/website can help you locate low-cost transportation across the nation as well as from (and to) several European towns (especially Vienna, but many German cities are also well “serviced”).

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, individuals who travel by vehicle and are looking for passengers publish their schedule. You may hitch a ride by reserving it on the website and then calling the driver, whose contact information is provided on the website. People who want to carpool may also post and expect to be discovered by a potential driver. Passengers are required to pay to the trip’s cost, although “tickets” are usually considerably cheaper than bus/coach or train fares (e.g. as of 2013, a trip from Vienna to Budapest may cost anywhere between 2500 and about HUF6,500). A major disadvantage is that the site is in Hungarian (though you may be able to browse it using Google Translate) and that booking (but not searching) needs free registration. Drivers and passengers may evaluate one other after journeys, similar to how auction sites work.

Drivers are usually young people (young enough to be acquainted with the Internet but old enough to own their own vehicles); this also means they’re somewhat more likely to know a foreign language than the ordinary Hungarian, but don’t rely on it.

Some professional “shuttle operators” have recently begun to use oszkar.com to provide rides as well; their postings are visibly distinct from “amateur” ones.

Oszkar.com is a buyer’s market, with much more passenger seats available than passengers.

Get Around - By taxi

Examine the change given to you by taxi drivers. Cab drivers often defraud visitors by offering them change in obsolete Romanian money, which resembles Hungarian currency but is useless and cannot be redeemed.

Destinations in Hungary

Regions in Hungary

  • Central Hungary
    Because of the capital, Budapest, this is the most visited region of the nation.
  • Lake Balaton
    Siófok, the unofficial summer capital of Lake Balaton, attracts tens of thousands of tourists each year.
  • Transdanubia
    This ancient area west of the Danube is one of the country’s most economically prosperous.
  • Northern Hungary
    Here you may view ancient towns, wine areas, and (cave) spas.
  • Great Hungarian Plain
    This is a vast area with flat to rolling plains that is rather isolated from the rest of the nation. Debrecen may be called the region’s unofficial capital.

Cities in Hungary

  • Budapest is one of Europe’s most pleasant and pleasurable towns, with green filled parks, fascinating museums, and a pulsing nightlife.
  • Debrecen is Hungary’s second-largest city.
  • Gyor has a beautiful baroque city center with numerous cafés, restaurants, shops, and nightclubs.
  • Kecskemét, Hungary’s capital, is known for its lively music scene, plum brandy, and Art Nouveau buildings.
  • Miskolc — the country’s third biggest city, situated among the Bükk hills, has a unique cave spa in Miskolc-Tapolca.
  • Nyiregyháza is a mid-sized city featuring a popular water resort, a museum town, and an annual fall festival.
  • Pécs is a lovely cultural hub and academic town.
  • Szeged is Hungary’s sunniest city.
  • Székesfehérvár is a former royal seat that is now known for its baroque architecture and museums.

Other destinations in Hungary

  • Lake Balaton is Hungary’s largest and most important lake, as well as the largest in Central Europe.

Accommodation & Hotels in Hungary

Hostels

The cost varies a lot. Expect to spend between €6 and €10 for the lowest accommodation in a youth hostel in Budapest, although the average cost in a hostel is €20-22 per person.

Farmhouses

In Hungary, village tourism is popular and well-developed, and it may be a memorable experience. 1Hungary , National Federation of Rural and Agrotourism, and Centre of Rural Tourism are good places to start your study. There are also rural homes to rent near Budapest, such as the Wild Grape Guesthouse, which provides for a nice mix of seeing the city and a National Park while staying in the same place.

Things To See in Hungary

Hungary is home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

  • The Danube Banks, the Buda Castle Quarter, and Andrássy Avenue are all part of Budapest.
  • Hollók’s Old Village and its Surroundings
  • Beautiful caverns with dripstones and stalagmites at Aggtelek National Park.
  • Pannonhalma’s Millenary Benedictine Abbey and its Natural Environment
  • National Park of Hortobágy – Puszta
  • Pécs’ Early Christian Necropolis (Sopianae)
  • There is much to see in Fert Lake Cultural Landscape, which is a shared location with Austria.
  • Wine regions of Tokaj and Villány, as well as historic cultural landscapes

Lake Balaton is another popular tourist attraction, with wineries and thermal spas in Hévz, Hajdszoboszló, and Harkány nearby. Sopron is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area.

There are also some breathtaking sights to see.

  • Tiszavirágzás. In mid-June, the Tisza generates swarms of mayflies that resemble flowers. The population has recovered after being devastated by pollution. (They’re renowned for only surviving for 1–2 days.)
  • Busójárás. In February, residents of Mohács use loud clamping to ward off evil spirits.

Things To Do in Hungary

Birdwatching Hungary is a great location for a birding vacation. The puszta consists of forested slopes, extensive fish pond systems, and grasslands. The Kiskunsag and Hortobagy National Parks, as well as the Aggtelek, Bukk, and Zemplen Hills, are particularly beautiful.

Riding a horse Hungary is an excellent nation for horseback riding due to its vast open landscape and ancient equestrian traditions. The south’s wide open plains and the north’s wooded hills provide a variety of riding terrain.

Baths

Hungary is rich in thermal waters, with over 1000 thermal springs, many of which have been converted into baths and spas. The most well-known are Budapest’s Szechenyi baths. However, there are hundreds of separate baths located across the nation. Some good examples are the Miskolc-Tapolca cave baths and the Egerszalók spa.

Money & Shopping in Hungary

Money

Hungarian currency is denoted by the Forint, abbreviated HUF or Ft. Bills are available in quantities of HUF20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, and 500; coins are available in values of HUF200 (two coloured, equivalent to €1), 100 (two coloured, similar to €2), 50, 20, 10, and 5.

Most hotels, as well as several restaurants and businesses, now take Euros. Check the currency rate; occasionally even well-known establishments (such as McDonald’s) may exchange at ridiculous rates. The forint is set to be phased out in the coming years in favor of the euro, although no timetable has been set.

You may use major credit cards (EuroCard, Visa) at bigger stores and restaurants, but never expect to do so without first verifying. Small businesses cannot afford to process credit cards. ATMs are accessible even in tiny towns, and coverage is excellent.

When doing monetary transactions, it is preferable to pay in HUF wherever possible. Some restaurants and hotels demand a high rate for Euro conversion, and owing to HUF volatility, the cost and services mentioned may fluctuate greatly.

Money exchange

Shopping in Hungary is very affordable for individuals from the Eurozone and the United States. One exception to this rule is that luxury items are often more expensive than in Western Europe or the United States.

Within central Europe, the exchange rates for euros and USD are approximately the same (at least in Budapest and Eger). Rates will almost certainly be considerably higher at airports and major railway stations, so just change what you need to get to the city center. A smart practice is to check the purchase and sell rates: if they are significantly different, you should look elsewhere. Official exchange offices always provide a receipt and usually place a big glass between the customer and the cashier, making all processes visible to the client.

The cash is the thumb rule. € is widely accepted in hotels, some splurge restaurants or bars, some shops (like all SPAR super/hypermarkets, usually at the cashdesk area is a board with the actual rate), or international cash desk, but the rates are five to ten percent lower than in banks, and they should be prepared to receive change in HUF. Try using tiny notes (max. 50), and at the international cash desk, you may also pay with coins and get a good rate. K&H Bank: AUD, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HRK, JPY, NOK, PLN, SEK, USD; OTP Bank: AUD, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HRK, JPY, NOK, PLN, SEK, USD; OTP Bank: AUD, CAD, CHF, CHF, CHF, CHF, CHF (comission). Smaller banks, such as Raiffeisen Bank (for CZK), Oberbank (for CHF), or Sberbank (for RUB), provide better rates but do not convert as many currencies (check, it varies!). Buying €, $, and CHF for your remaining forints is always accessible, while others are only available when in’stock.’ ‘Exotic’ currencies such as ILS, HKD, and UAH could only be exchanged at money changers.

Only ATMs, money changer businesses, and a few hotels are open if you arrive in Hungary on weekends, holidays, or in the evening (mostly the biggers). One or more ATMs and banks may always be found in hypermarkets or retail malls.

If you arrive at Budapest Ferihegy Airport late at night or on a state holiday, there are exchange money changer offices available (five). The hours of operation vary: from early dawn to about midnight, with one of them operating 24 hours a day! There is an ATM in the arrival hall of Budapest Ferihegy Airport, and the prices for using ATMs with a card are often better than those offered by bureaus de change. Also, interchange has booths at the railway stations of Déli (one), Keleti (three), and Nyugati (one), which are open daily from 7:00 a.m. or earlier to 20:50 p.m. or later. Locations and opening times may be found here. The branch at #2 Vörösmarty plaza in Budapest’s city center is open 24 hours a day.

There are many bank ATMs in Budapest that take European and North American debit/credit cards; if this becomes required, it may be in your best interest to withdraw a substantial amount for your stay, since this will frequently provide a more advantageous rate.

Visitors say that unauthorized money changers operating near an official money changing booth provide unfavorable prices, and they advise utilizing official exchange offices. It is important to note that such transactions are unlawful, and you may get anything other than Hungarian money or nothing at all.

Tipping

In Hungary, tips are paid for a variety of services, including those provided by restaurants, pubs, taxi drivers, hairdressers, and, on occasion, those who repair items around the home, such as plumbers and electricians.

Although not legally required, societal conventions promote tipping. The amount varies by profession: at restaurants and bars, the standard amount is at least 8% of the entire bill, and is typically 10% to 12%. While some hairdressers may anticipate 5-10% or even more, this is hardly the norm.

What to buy?

Apart from traditional tourist gifts like postcards and trinkets, here are some items that are either unique to Hungary or difficult to obtain elsewhere.

Hungarian foods

  • Duck and goose liver
  • Salamis – Picks are the finest Hertz goods; try the Winter salami (Hu: Téliszalámi).
  • Sweets Fruit-flavored chocolates Szaloncukor, meaning “parlour candy,” is a famous Christmas sweet made of brandy, Szamos Marzipan treat, and praline with truffle.
  • Cold-smoked sausages – Specials on mangalica and grey beef
  • Herbal Teas
  • Truffle Products – Honeys, Jams
  • Spices: Mangalica and grey beef specials
  • Gundel set of cheese: aged in Gundel wines, with walnut bits, or with spices Most readily obtained in 350 g sets of three types at the duty-free section of Budapest’s Ferihegy Airport (at least in Terminal 2), but also possibly available in Gundel 1894 Food & Wine Cellar. Keep in mind that this cheese has a 2-month shelf life.

Hungarian beverages

  • Champagnes
  • Wines: The finest wines are produced by the vineyards of Badacsony, Tokaj, and Villány, but while buying wine, it is also essential to consider the wine rack. The wrought iron with wine leaves is extremely spectacular, but it is difficult to carry if you are going by aircraft, so maybe a wood is more practical and you can purchase a broad variety of it. Other excellent names are: Somlói Juhfark, Egri Bikavér (see Liquor), Kadarka, Villány red wine, and so on.
  • Pálinka: a well-known and powerful fruit brandy
  • Unicum: a digestif liqueur with herbs

Others

  • Black pottery – Black pottery is a kind of Transdanubian folk art.
  • Porcelain – Look for high-quality handcrafted Herend and Zsolnay items, which are typically sold in sets; basic candle holders are considerably less expensive and more popular.
  • Herend majolica at a lower price than the traditional Herend.
  • Hungarian Cookbook (English, German, French, Spanish, Italian)
  • ‘matyó’ patterned wooden spoons, Sárospatak ceramic spoon holder
  • Embroideries like patterned Kalocsa or Matyó.
  • Blueprinted textiles are usually made of linen or cotton.
  • Try your luck at Szentendre, Europe’s biggest diamond and jewelry hub, with diamonds in handcrafted white gold and platinum inlay jewelry.
  • Handicrafts and decorative arts pieces with traditional Hungarian folk themes (letter-paper envelope sets, greeting cards, handkerchiefs, napkins, tablecloths, pillows, towels)

Festivals & Holidays in Hungary

Public holidays

Date English name Local name Remarks
1 January New Year’s Day Újév According to legend, eating lentil soup on this day makes people wealthy, rolling out strudel dough ensures long life, and eating poultry causes luck to “fly away.”
15 March National Day Nemzeti ünnep Day of Remembrance for the 1848 Revolution (which aimed the independence of the Hungarian Kingdom from the Austrian Empire). Speeches and music pieces (such as Nemzeti dal) are frequently performed, and many individuals wear a cockade with the national colors (red, white and green).
Moveable EasterSunday Húsvétvasárnap
Moveable EasterMonday Húsvéthétfő Men pay ladies visits to shower them with perfume (or, in the countryside, water), before requesting permission by reciting a poem. In exchange, the women provide the males with eggs (sometimes painted, sometimes chocolate). The Easter Bunny brings chocolate eggs (sometimes fruits and nuts, sometimes chocolate rabbits) to children; these presents are occasionally buried in the yard or home. (Real rabbits are occasionally given as gifts.) For supper, it’s common to have ham, eggs, and sweetbreads.
1 May Labour day A munka ünnepe Special programs are conducted to represent the EU nations, bridges are adorned, and exhibits are staged. Labour Day falls on the same day as May Day (majális), and many people celebrate in public parks. Since 2004, it has also been the anniversary of the EU’s entry.
Moveable PentecostSunday Pünkösdvasárnap Easter Sunday, 49 days later
Moveable PentecostMonday Pünkösdhétfő Monday after Pentecost
20 August State Foundation Day Az államalapítás ünnepe St. Stephen’s Day commemorates Hungary’s first monarch, as well as the day of Hungary’s foundation and “the day of the new bread.” As Hungary’s first monarch, St. Stephen of Hungary (Szent István király in Hungarian) (ca. 975 – 15 August 1038) brought the nation into the Christian church and created the institutions of the kingdom and the church. He was canonized on August 20, 1083, and his feast day is August 20. In the evening, there is a half-hour fireworks show on the Danube bank, which is attended by many people on both river sides and is seen by many from the hills on the Buda side of the river and from the roofs of both Pest and Buda.
23 October National Day Nemzeti ünnep Memorial Day for the 1956 Revolution (which sought, among other things, for the withdrawal of Soviet soldiers from Hungary and democratic elections). It is also the anniversary of the establishment of the Third Hungarian Republic (1989). Speeches and exhibits were held to commemorate the occasion.
1 November All Saints Day Mindenszentek Day of Remembrance for the Dead Graves in Christian cemeteries are adorned with flowers and candles by family and friends of the deceased.
25 December Christmas Karácsony Most families meet to celebrate the 24th (“Szenteste”) at about 4 p.m., putting gifts beneath a Christmas tree that has been decorated while the youngsters are gone from the home. In order to commemorate the occasion, gifts are unwrapped and a big dinner is consumed. People typically visit relatives on the 25th and 26th of the month.
26 December Second Day of Christmas Karácsony másnapja

Remembrance days endorsed by the state

In Hungary, Remembrance Days are working days.

Date English name Local name Remarks
1 February Memorial Day of the Republic A köztársaság emléknapja Since 2006, a memorial day has been observed to commemorate the legislation (1946. évi I. törvény) on the establishment of the republic in 1946.
25 February Memorial Day for the Victims of the Communist Dictatorships A kommunista diktatúrák áldozatainak emléknapja Béla Kovács, Secretary-General of the Independent Smallholders’ Party, was imprisoned and deported to the Soviet Union on this day in 1947. Commemorations on Memorial Day have been held at high schools since 2000.
16 April Memorial Day for the Victims of the Holocaust A holokauszt áldozatainak emléknapja Subcarpathia’s Jews were gathered up and put into ghettos on this day in 1944. Commemorations on Memorial Day have been held at high schools since 2001.
21 May National Defense Day Honvédelmi nap The Battle of Buda (1849)
4 June Day of National Unity A nemzeti összetartozás napja Commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Trianon, which resulted in the loss of 72 percent of the Kingdom of Hungary’s territory. Since 2010, Memorial Day has been observed as a national holiday.
19 June Day of the Independent Hungary A független Magyarország napja Commemorating the execution of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution victims (on June 16, 1958), as well as the conclusion of the Soviet occupation of Hungary. Since 2001, Memorial Day has been observed.
6 October Memorial Day for the Martyrs of Arad Az aradi vértanúk emléknapja The anniversary of the execution of the 13 Martyrs of Arad after the loss of the Hungarian Independence War in 1849. Commemorations on National Memorial Day are held at high schools.

Holidays not endorsed by the state

Date English Name Local Name Remarks
8 March International Women’s Day Nemzetközi nőnap Women get flowers and presents from their jobs, while students often send gifts for their instructors.
6 December Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas Day MikulásTélapó Every Hungarian kid polishes his or her boots and hangs them in the window on this day. Mikulás appears in the middle of the night and fills them with chocolates and/or little gifts. If they were naughty, they could receive sticks instead of, or in addition to, gifts.
31 December New Year’s Eve Szilveszter Young folks party till the wee hours of the morning. Paper trumpets, hoots, and the burst of champagne corks fill the streets, and individuals often wear masks and hurl petards. Those who remain at home typically watch comedy designed for the occasion, and around midnight they drink champagne and wish each other luck in the new year. At midnight, national television networks aired the orchestral and choral national anthems, followed by the President’s address. Fireworks shows are frequent. The following day, the streets remain as deserted as ever, and people sleep for extended periods of time (or sleep themselves sober). Lentils are eaten to represent money for good luck.
Moveable Carnival Farsang A six-day regional carnival, originally celebrated by the Šokci (ethnic-Croatians) living in the town of Mohács. Traditions include folk music, masquerading, parades and dancing.

Special events

Budapest Spring Festival (mid-March to mid-April), Hortobágy Equestrian Days (late June), Sopron Early Music Days (late June), Festival in Budapest (late June), Miskolc Opera Festival (late June), Miskolc Kalálka International Folk Festival (July), Gyr Summer Festival (late June), Gyr Summer Cultural Festival (late June to late July), Pannon Festi (late June to late July), Pannon Festi (late June to late July), Pannon Festi (mid-September to mid-October).

St. Stephen’s Day (August 20) is marked with sports events, parades, and fireworks throughout the country. On the same day, Debrecen has a Floral Festival and Hortobágy hosts a Bridge Fair. The Hungaroring in Mogyoród, 18 kilometers northeast of Budapest, hosts Formula 1 automobile races in early August.

Budapest Spring Festival

This metropolitan festival was established in 1981 to meet the demands of Budapest’s cultural legacy as well as its requirements as a contemporary Central European center. By exhibiting and distributing cultural assets, the city’s image is enhanced and dynamic growth of cultural tourism is encouraged. This “festival of festivals,” which typically covers a wide variety of creative disciplines, offers a succession of homogenous artistic events that are connected by worldwide professional symposia. During the final two weeks of March, Budapest hosts the Budapest Spring Festival. The program’s primary focus is on symphony orchestra concerts, opera and ballet performances that will appeal to the broadest audience, but it also includes open-air activities and an Operetta Festival.

The concerts take place at the capital’s most significant music halls and theaters, which are often located near historic landmarks. The Budapest Spring Event has grown to encompass a number of regional towns throughout the years — Debrecen, Gödöll, Gyr, Kaposvár, Kecskemét, Sopron, Szentendre, and Szombathely – and has thus become a national festival. The program usually includes famous international visitors, as well as prominent performers and ensembles from Hungary’s musical scene. Classical concerts, Opera House performances, open-air events, the Operetta Festival, the Dance House Convention, the Dance Panorama, and the exhibits are among the highlights.

Haydn Festival in Eszterháza

Haydn at Eszterháza: For the first quarter century of its existence, the palace was the main residence of the renowned composer Joseph Haydn, who composed the bulk of his symphonies for the Prince’s orchestra. Since its inception in 1768, the theater has been a significant venue for opera, frequently hosting more than a hundred performances each year. The palace was geographically secluded, which contributed to the musicians’ feelings of loneliness and boredom. This is evident in several of Haydn’s writings, as well as the well-known story of the Farewell Symphony.

The festival’s main goal is to recreate the musical paradise that Eszterháza was during Haydn’s time, inside the historic walls, using period instruments and performance practice. The programs are primarily concerned with pieces written during Haydn’s Eszterháza era, namely those belonging to the most significant genres (symphonies, string quartets, keyboard sonatas and trios). However, works by the “unknown Haydn” are often included on concert programs (baryton pieces, rarely heard church compositions, wind divertimenti, etc.). The festival’s goal is to bring together the world’s most exceptional Haydn performers to draw inspiration from the ambiance and acoustics of the venue, as well as to inspire one another via shared music-making.

The majority of the performers perform only Joseph Haydn’s compositions, but in exceptional cases other works closely connected, either directly or through their composers, with Haydn, Eszterháza, or the Esterházy princes’ family – such as Mozart’s string quartets dedicated to Haydn, and certain pieces by Michael Haydn (the composer’s younger brother), Luigi Tomasini (le The majority of the performances are held in the palace’s enchantingly gorgeous ceremonial hall, which has excellent acoustics. The sala terrena, the center chamber of the original, smaller Renaissance hunting castle, hosts some of the more intimate, solistic performances. Some church music performances are held in one or more of the neighboring communities’ churches.

Győr Summer Festival

This event takes place every year from the second week of June to the second week of July. The Gyr Summer International Cultural Festival, which showcases Gyr’s cultural legacy, has a three-decade history. The events, which span a broad variety of genres, are organized into a series of distinct activities. Every year, for a month in June and July, the International Ballet Festival, the International Puppet and Street Theatre Convention, the International Folk Dancing and Folk Music Festival, and the International Handcraft Fair and Exhibition take over the city center, its atmospheric courtyards, and the banks of the Rába river. Visitors may witness performances by visiting theatrical companies and musical ensembles in addition to those by the hosts – the Gyr Ballet, the Gyr National Theatre, and the Gyr Philharmonic Orchestra.

Traditions & Customs in Hungary

Many Hungarians still have mixed feelings about the 1956 Revolution. You should avoid any discussion of the Treaty of Trianon (1920) since the Hungarians may be quite sensitive to it.

The open exhibition of the Communist red star and hammer and sickle emblem, the Nazi swastika and SS insignia, and the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross are all illegal. Even if it’s only a joke, make sure your clothes doesn’t have these symbols on it. It is punishable by a fine.

Members of the Gypsy community may find the traditional Hungarian term ‘Cigány’ (pron. ‘tzigan’) unpleasant and prefer to be referred to as Roma.
Hungarians fondly describe to themselves as “dancing with tears in our eyes” (“srva vgad a magyar”) as a rural custom, as in a bittersweet surrender to their long history’s perceived ill luck. Avoid making fun of Hungarian history and patriotism.

Loud talking is usually considered impolite. You’ll note that most Hungarians keep their voices low in public.

Shoes should usually be removed before entering a house.

Displaying a good upbringing is a social status symbol, and this is mainly shown via respect for elders. If there are no other vacant seats on public transportation, it is considered impolite not to give your seat to elderly persons (approximately 65-70). Offering your seat to someone in their 50s or 60s, on the other hand, may result in a snarky “I’m not that old.”

Uncommon customs

Hungarians do not clink beer glasses or beer bottles as is customary. This is because, according to tradition, Austrians celebrated the execution of the 13 Hungarian Martyrs in 1849 by clinking their beer glasses, thus Hungarians swore not to clink their beer glasses for 150 years. Obviously, this epoch has passed, but old traditions die hard, although less so in newer generations.

Culture Of Hungary

Architecture

Hungary is home to Europe’s largest synagogue (Great Synagogue), which was completed in 1859 in Moorish Revival style with a capacity of 3000 people, Europe’s largest medicinal bath (Széchenyi Medicinal Bath), which was completed in 1913 in Modern Renaissance Style and is located in the City park, Hungary’s largest building (the Parliament building), which is 268 meters (879 feet) long, and one of the world’s largest bagel shops.

Historicism and Art Nouveau, or rather many variations of Art Nouveau, are two notable architectural styles in Hungary. Hungarian Art Nouveau, in contrast to Historicism, is based on indigenous architectural features. dön Lechner (1845–1914), the most significant person in Hungarian Art Nouveau, was originally influenced by Indian and Syrian architecture, and subsequently by traditional Hungarian ornamental patterns, taking into consideration the Hungarians’ eastern roots. He developed a unique synthesis of architectural styles in this manner. He created a form of Art Nouveau that was unique to Hungary by applying them to three-dimensional building components.

The group of “Young People” (Fiatalok), who included Károly Kós and Dezsö Zrumeczky, were to utilize the distinctive structures and forms of traditional Hungarian architecture to accomplish the same goal, while departing from Lechner’s style but drawing inspiration from his method.

Apart from the two main styles, Budapest also exhibits localized adaptations of trends from other European nations. The Sezession from Vienna, the German Jugendstil, Art Nouveau from Belgium and France, and the influence of English and Finnish architecture can all be seen in buildings built around the turn of the twentieth century. Béla Lajta followed Lechner’s style at first, then drew influence from English and Finnish styles; after becoming interested in Egyptian architecture, he eventually arrived at contemporary architecture. Aladár rkay followed a similar path. István Medgyaszay created his own style, which varied from Lechner’s, by creating ornamental patterns in concrete utilizing stylized traditional themes. The School and Museum of Decorative Arts, which established in 1896, were primarily important for spreading Art Nouveau throughout the applied arts world.

Foreigners have “discovered” that a substantial percentage of the population lives in historic and aesthetically important structures. Almost majority of the buildings in Budapest’s downtown district are over a century old, with strong walls, lofty ceilings, and front-wall themes.

Music

Hungary’s music consists mostly of traditional Hungarian folk music and music by notable composers such as Liszt and Bartók, two of Hungary’s finest composers. Dohnányi, Franz Schmidt, Zoltán Kodály, Gabriel von Wayditch, Rudolf Wagner-Régeny, László Lajtha, Franz Lehár, Imre Kálmán, Sándor Veress, and Rózsa are among the other internationally renowned composers. Because the first syllable of each phrase is always emphasized in Hungarian traditional music, it has a strong dactylicrhythm.

György Ligeti, György Kurtág, Péter Eötvös, Zoltán Kodály, and Zoltán Jeney are only a few of Hungary’s globally famous modern classical music composers. Béla Bartók, one of Hungary’s finest composers, was also one of the twentieth century’s most influential musicians. The themes, modes, and rhythmic patterns he learned in Hungarian and surrounding folk music traditions energized his work, which he blended with influences from his contemporaries to create his own unique style.

In the areas of folk, popular, and classical music, Hungary has made many contributions. Hungarian folk music is an important element of the country’s identity and continues to influence Hungarian music. Former country portions that belong to surrounding nations such as Romania, Slovakia, southern Poland, and particularly southern Slovakia and Transylvania, which both contain large populations of Hungarians, have been important in Hungarian folk music since the 1920 Treaty of Trianon. Hungary produced a significant number of art musicians with the founding of a music school headed by Ferenc Erkel and Franz Liszt.

According to Broughton, Hungary’s “infectious sound has had a remarkably impact on surrounding nations (owing possibly to the shared Austro-Hungarian heritage), and Hungarian-sounding songs are not unusual to hear in Romania, Slovakia, and southern Poland.” It’s also strong in the Szabolcs-Szatmár region, as well as in the southwest portion of Transdanubia, near the Croatian border. The Busójárás carnival in Mohács is a significant Hungarian folk music festival that used to include the Bogyiszló orchestra, which is well-known throughout Hungary.

Hungarian classical music has long been described as a “attempt, created from Hungarian ancestors and on Hungarian soil, to build a conscious musical culture [using] the musical universe of the folk song.” Although the Hungarian upper class has long had cultural and political ties with the rest of Europe, resulting in an influx of European musical ideas, rural peasants maintained their own traditions, allowing Hungarian composers to (re)create a Hungarian classical style by the end of the nineteenth century. Bartók, for example, gathered folk tunes from all across Central and Eastern Europe, including Romania and Slovakia, while Kodály was more concerned with developing a unique Hungarian musical style.

A Song Committee examined and controlled popular music in Hungary during the Communist period (1944–1989) for signs of subversion and ideological impurity. Since then, the Hungarian music industry has started to revive, with prominent artists in the areas of jazz such as trumpeter Rudolf Tomsits, pianist-composer Károly Binder, and Ferenc Seb and Márta Sebestyén performing a modernized version of Hungarian folk. Illés, Metró, and Omega, the three titans of Hungarian rock, are still extremely popular, particularly Omega, which has fans in Germany and abroad as well as Hungary. Veteran underground bands from the 1980s, such as Beatrice, are still popular.

Cuisine

Hungarian food, like the art of hospitality, is an important part of Hungarian culture. Traditional foods like the world-famous Goulash (gulyás stew or gulyás soup) play an important role. Paprika (ground red peppers), a Hungarian invention, is often used in dishes. One of the most popular spices in traditional Hungarian cuisine is paprika powder, which is made from a particular kind of pepper. The finest paprika is produced in the city of Kalocsa. Tejföl, a thick, heavy Hungarian sour cream, is often used to lighten the flavor of the meals. Fisherman’s soup, or halászlé in Hungarian, is typically a rich combination of various types of poached fish.

Chicken paprikash, foie gras prepared from goose liver, pörkölt stew, vadas (game stew with vegetable sauce and dumplings), fish with almonds, and salty and sweet dumplings, such as trós csusza, are among the other delicacies (dumplings with fresh quark cheese and thick sour cream). Dobos Cake, strudels (rétes) stuffed with apple, cherry, poppy seed, or cheese, Gundel pancake, plum dumplings (szilvás gombóc), somlói dumplings, dessert soups such as cold sour cherry soup and sweet chestnut puree, gesztenyepüré (cooked chestnuts mashed with sugar and rum and split into crumbs, topped with whipped cream). Pastries like perec and kifli are quite popular.

The csárda, or old-style tavern, is the most characteristic kind of Hungarian inn, serving traditional food and drinks. A borozó is a quaint old-fashioned wine tavern, a pince is a beer or wine cellar, and a söröz is a bar that serves draught beer and, sometimes, food. The bisztró is a low-cost restaurant that often offers self-service. Although one may have to dine standing at a counter, the büfé is the cheapest option. Cukrászda is a confectionary that serves pastries, cakes, and coffee, while an eszpresszó is a cafeteria.

Pálinka is a Hungarian fruit brandy made from fruit cultivated in orchards on the Great Hungarian Plain. It’s a Hungarian spirit that comes in a range of flavors including apricot (barack) and cherry (cseresznye). However, the most popular flavor is plum (szilva). Beer: Many traditional Hungarian meals go nicely with beer. Borsodi, Soproni, Arany szok, Kbányai, and Dreher are the five major Hungarian brands.

Wine: According to Hugh Johnson’s book The History of Wine, Hungary’s terrain is excellent for winemaking. Hungarian winemaking has seen a rebirth after the collapse of communism. Year after year, the selection of high-quality wine grows. North-Transdanubia, Lake Balaton, South-Pannónia, Duna-region or Alföld, Upper-Hungary, and Tokaj-Hegyalja are the six wine regions of Hungary.

The primary products of Hungary’s wine regions are elegant and full-bodied dry whites with excellent acidity, but complex sweet whites (Tokaj), graceful (Eger), and full-bodied robust reds (Villány and Szekszárd) are also available. Olaszrizling, Hárslevel, Furmint, Pinot gris or Szürkebarát, Chardonnay (whites), Kékfrankos (or Blaufrankisch in German), Kadarka, Portugieser, Zweigelt, Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet franc, and Merlot are the most common grape types. Tokaji Asz and Egri Bikavér are two of Hungary’s most well-known wines. Tokaji is a Hungarian word that means “of Tokaj” or “from Tokaj” and is used to identify wines from the Tokaj-Hegyalja wine area. Many great writers and composers have praised Tokaji wine, including Beethoven, Liszt, Schubert, and Goethe; Joseph Haydn’s favorite wine was a Tokaji. Louis XV and Frederick the Great tried to outdo one another in the quality of the vintages they stocked when they served Tokaji to guests like Voltaire. Every year, Napoleon III, France’s final Emperor, requested 30–40 barrels of Tokaji for the Court.[citation required] Gustav III never drank any other wine. Customers in Russia included Peter the Great and Empress Elizabeth.

Unicum, a liqueur made from a mix of 40 Hungarian herbs, has been around for over 150 years. Unicum is a bitter, dark-colored liqueur that aids digestion whether consumed as an aperitif or after a meal.

Recreation

Hungary is known for its hot springs. From the outset, a love for spa culture and Hungarian history have been linked. Roman, Greek, Turkish, and northern country architectural features may be found in Hungarian spas.

Thermal water of high quality may be found in large amounts over approximately 80% of Hungary’s land due to its favorable geographical position. In Hungary, there are about 1,500 thermal springs (more than 100 just in the Capital area). In Hungary, there are about 450 public baths.

The earliest period of spas in Hungary was inaugurated by the Romans. In Buda, the ruins of their bath facilities may still be seen. During the Turkish Invasion, the thermal springs of Buda were utilized to build a variety of bathhouses, some of which are still operational today, such as the Király Baths and Rudas Baths.

The development of deep drilling and medical research in the nineteenth century paved the way for a further improvement in bathing culture. The prominence of grand spas like Gellért Baths, Lukács Baths, Margaret Island, and Széchenyi Medicinal Bath reflects this revival. The Széchenyi Thermal Bath is Europe’s biggest spa complex and the first thermal bath constructed on Budapest’s Pest side. This structure is a well-known example of contemporary Renaissance architecture. The Gellért spa, located on Budapest’s Buda side, is the city’s most well-known and opulent thermal complex.

Folk art

Ugrós (Jumping Dances): Old-style dances from the Middle Ages. This category includes solo or couple dances with old-style music, shepherd and other solitary man’s dances from Transylvania, marching dances, and relics of medieval weapon dances.

Karikázó is a women-only circle dance accompanied by singing of folk tunes.

The Hungarian term for the national dances, with Hungarian embroidered clothing and powerful music, is Csárdás: New type dances emerged in the 18–19th century. Csárdás shows the contagious exuberance of the Hungarian folk dancing still enjoyed in the countryside, from the men’s complex bootslapping dances to the old women’s circle dances.

Verbunkos is a single man’s dance that originated from the Austro-Hungarian army’s recruitment demonstrations.

The Legényes is a men’s solo dance performed by ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania’s Kalotaszeg area. Although it is typically performed by young guys, it may also be performed by elderly men. The dance is usually done freestyle in front of a band by one dancer at a time. Women join in by standing to the side and singing or screaming lyrics while the males dance. Each guy executes a set of points (dance phrases), usually four to eight, in a non-repetitive manner. Each point is divided into four sections, each of which lasts four counts. For the most part, the first portion is the same for everyone (there are only a few variations).

The current form of Hungarian folk art emerged in the early 18th century, combining Renaissance and Baroque components, as well as Persian Sassanide influences, depending on the region. The main ornamental motifs are flowers and foliage, with the occasional addition of a bird or spiral decoration. A flower with a centerpiece that resembles the eye of a peacock’s feather is the most common decoration.

Almost every kind of folk art practiced elsewhere in Europe thrived at one time or another among the Magyar peasants, with pottery and textiles being the most developed of them.

Embroideries, which differ from area to region, are the best accomplishments in their textile arts. Those from Kalotaszeg, Transylvania, are beautiful Oriental-style goods, usually stitched in a single hue — red, blue, or black. The embroideries are put on altar cloths, pillowcases, and sheets in a soft line.

Sárköz in Transdanubia and Matyóföld on the Great Hungarian Plain create the best embroidery in Hungary. Women’s hats in the Sárköz area have exquisite black and white lace patterns, demonstrating the people’s great creative sensibility. The embroidered motifs used on women’s clothing have been adapted to tablecloths and runners that may be used as contemporary wall decorations.

These black clay pots are based on more than 300 years of traditional Transdanubian folk patterns and forms. Because all of the labor is done by hand, including the shape and ornamentation, no two are exactly identical. The impressions are produced by the ceramist’s thumb or a finger while he or she creates the item.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Hungary

Stay Safe in Hungary

Hungary is a fairly safe nation in general. Petty crime, in particular, continues to be a problem, as it does in any other nation.

On public transportation, keep an eye on your belongings and pockets. Pickpockets are a real threat. Thieves often target passports, cash, and credit cards. Keep things that you don’t want to leave in your hotel safe or at home in a secure location, but be mindful that pockets, purses, and backpacks, even when closed, are particularly susceptible. There have also been reports of people’s luggage being taken while sleeping on the train.

In comparison to other European nations, Hungary is relatively calm at night, and tourist crime is confined to pickpocketing, pricing and bill scamming, and taxi charges.

Everyone must have their passport and ID card with them. Failure to do so resulted in a run-in with the cops. A color copy of your passport is usually accepted by the police.

Although the police force is competent and well-trained, the majority of officers do not speak English.

More detailed and useful information on typical street scams and tourist traps in Hungary may be found in the Budapest travel guide.

Driving conditions

The majority of Hungarians drive recklessly, with 739 people killed on the highways in 2010. This is mainly attributable to inattentive driving. Many drivers do not adhere to speed restrictions, so be especially cautious on two-way highways where local drivers pass each other often and provide for less space than you are used to.

For babies, car seats are needed. Children under the age of 12 are not permitted to ride in the front seat. Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt. On a red signal, you cannot turn right. For traffic infractions, the police issue tickets and penalties on the spot. In reality, the laws are often disregarded.

In addition, Hungarian regulations maintain a zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving, with a hefty punishment as a result. It implies that no alcoholic beverage may be taken while driving, and no amount of blood alcohol is permissible. Failure to pay penalties may result in the confiscation of your passport or possibly a prison sentence until you pay the fee.

More significantly, police officers often stop cars for paperwork checks. When you’re stopped, don’t be concerned; it’s the law that everyone’s identity documents be examined.

Most individuals are engaged in a vehicle accident, Hungary has some of the toughest, if severe punishments. Involvement in a vehicle accident carries a fine as well as the possibility of a prison term ranging from one year to five years (depending on the aggravating circumstances).

Stay Healthy in Hungary

Even in isolated communities, food and water are usually safe.

When traveling outside of Budapest, private health care providers are of excellent quality, although their services are restricted. Dentistry is less expensive here than in Western Europe (8-10000 HUF for an appointment and x-ray) and physiotherapy is similarly less expensive (3000 HUF for a half-hour session), but verify with the provider before making an appointment. Outside of Budapest, you’ll probably have to explain your requirements in rudimentary Hungarian, since few physicians understand English or German.

In metropolitan regions, public health care is free for qualified (insured) individuals and of sufficient quality.

Because the nation joined the EU, EU citizens have basic coverage; nevertheless, verify before visiting the country to see how far you are covered and how much you will have to pay. Expect the local doctor to be unaware of EU regulations at this time; be prepared to give information.

EU nationals who want to get free treatment must provide their European Health Insurance Card.

Pharmacies may be found almost everywhere; anticipate high costs but comprehensive medication coverage. Unfortunately, the situation has obviously deteriorated since early 2010, with many pharmacies unable to maintain a sufficient supply of medications. Another issue may be speaking with the pharmacist, since the majority of them only speak Hungarian. Unexpectedly, some rusty Latin may be useful. For individuals from Eastern Europe, be aware that certain common medicines are unavailable owing to Hungary’s restricted or abandoned commerce with Romania (as of December 2006), thus be prepared to locate a replacement ahead of time.

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