Essential information about Hungary

"Getting Around Guide" for Budapest and Hungary

Budapest - the capital of Hungary, a city of old times, one of the most beautiful in the world, a place of thermal baths and fascinating buildings and monuments, as well a mecca for on-the-budget bachelor parties.. What should you know, what should you try to see, and what to avoid?
Welcome to our guide to essential Budapest-Hungary - all the things that you should do, visit or try while in Hungary.
  Banking & Money

The official currency is the Hungarian FORINT (HUF). Previously there was a change called fillér but it's officially NOT used anymore.
Coins: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 (>> up-to-date information and pictures)
Bank notes: 500, 1000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 (>> up-to-date information and pictures)

You won't need your passport as proof of ID to change hard currency into forints, although it's necessary for cashing travelers cheques.
Cash cards aren't a problem either, you can find ATMs all around in the city. 
Most banks in the city center have machines which accept major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard. Banks are usually open Mondays to Thursdays 08.00-15.00, Fridays 08.00-13.00, but are closed on Saturdays.

Here you can convert your currency into Forint to see updated rate:
Currency Converter

You may easily bump into illegal money changers who seem to offer very favorable rates at frequently visited tourist spots. This activity is not only illegal, but is also dangerous and usually turns out to produce considerable losses.

  • We recommend that you change money at the banks, hotels, travel bureaus, exchange offices or use the thousands of ATM machines of the city.   
  Electric Current

 Plugs in Hungary are the standard continental type, using 220-volt current (50 cycles A/C). Visitors from the UK need only buy a two pin plug adapter to use British 240v electrical goods, whereas North American travelers with 110v appliances also need a current transformer.
Modern equipment such as PC notebooks work equally well on both currents, although it is advisable to check operating instructions before traveling

  Language

The Hungarian language belongs to the Finno-Ugric group. It is fundamentally different from any other European language.

Despite this fact, Hungarian is not an 'impossible' language to learn, getting to grips with a few basic words and phrases will prove invaluable during your stay. For instance, rather than using prepositions, such as "from", "to" etc. Hungarian relies on adding suffixes to words. Easy enough you might think. Well, add in the fact that the choice of suffix is governed by a bewildering set of rules relating to vowel harmony and you have some idea as to why Hungarian isn't quite as easy to learn as French or German.

  Telephone

Phone
Mobile phones work practically everywhere, in the metro, even in tunnels between stations. In Hungary the standard lengths for area codes is two, except for Budapest (the capital), which has the area code 1. Subscribers' numbers are six digits long in general; numbers in Budapest and cell phone numbers are seven digits long.
Calls within local areas can be made by dialling the number without the area code, such as 123-4567 in Budapest or 123-456 in other areas. However, this is not permitted in mobile phone networks.
Calls to international destinations are in the format 00 + country code + number. On mobile phones, + can be used instead of 00.
The country code for Hungary is 36.
Certain services can be called with a short number, ignoring the above scheme.

  • 104 - Ambulance
  • 105 - Fire Brigade
  • 107 or 112 - Police
  • 143 - Telephone fault reporting
  • 180 - Exact time
  • 188 - Road help
  • 193 - Wake up service
  • 197 - Yellow Pages directory assistance
  • 198 - National directory assistance
  • 199 - International directory assistance
  Internet

Budapest is one of the most Wi-Fi enabled cities in Europe. You can find hundreds of free Wi-Fi hotspots all over the city - in cafes, restaurants, shopping malls and hotels, or even parks or busy streets.

Hungary has several local Internet Service Providers to choose from. Depending on the plan, monthly Internet fees start at about $15 a month. Some of the Internet Service Providers offer packages which combine Internet, TV and telephone subscription. Mobile Internet services can be obtained from cellular phone companies.

Budapest has a number of Internet cafes where customers can use the Internet, access e-mail, or get free WI-FI access.

  Embassies

Here are the address and numbers of a few embassies in Budapest.
For a more complete list visit this page.

  • Austria, (Budapesti Osztrák Nagykövetség), Benczúr u. 16.
  • Belgium, Toldy Ferenc utca 13, +36 1 457 9960.
  • Canada, Ganz u. 12-14, +36 1 392-3360, fax: +36 1 392-3390
  • Czech Republic, VI., Szegfű utca 4, +36 1 462 5014
  • China, Városligeti fasor 20-22 , +36 1 413-2401, +36 1 413-2419
  • Croatia, Munkácsy Mihály u. 15, +36 1 354 1315,
  • Denmark, (Danmarks Ambassade, Ungarn), Határőr út 37, +36 1 487 9000
  • Egypt, 1125 Istenhegyi út. 7/B, +36 1 225-2150, fax: +361 2258596
  • Finland (Finn Nagykövetség, Suomen suurlähetystö), 1118 Kelenhegyi út 16/A, +36 1 279 2500
  • France, Lendvay utca 27, +36 1 374 11 00, fax: +36 1 374 11 40
  • Germany, Úri utca 64-66, +36 1 488 3500.
  • Greece, Szegfű u.3, +36 1 413 2621, fax: +36 1 342 1934
  • the Netherlands (Holland Királyság Budapesti Nagykövetsége), Füge utca 5-7, +36 1 3366 300
  • India, Búzavirág utca 14, +36 1 325-7742, fax: +36 1 325-7745
  • Israel, Fullánk utca 8, +36 1 392 6200
  • Italy (Olasz Nagykövetség), Stefánia út 95, +36 1 460-6200, fax: +36 1 4606 260
  • Japan (在ハンガリー日本国大使館), Zalai u. 7, +36 1-398-3100
  • South Korea (주 헝가리 대한민국 대사관), Andrássy út 109, +36 1 462-3080
  • Macedonia, Andrássy út 130, floor 1-2, +36 1 336 0510
  • Norway, Ostrom u. 13, +36 1 325 33 00, fax: +36 1 325 33 99
  • Philippines (Filippin Köztársaság Nagykövetség), Gábor Áron utca 58, +36 1 391 4300
  • Poland, Városligeti fasor 16, +36 1 413-8200, fax: +36 1 351-1722
  • Romania, Thököly út 72, +36 1-384-8394
  • Saudi Arabia (سفارة المملكة العربية السعودية سعود), Bérc utca 16, +36 1 436-9500
  • Switzerland, Stefánia út. 107, +36 1 460 70 40
  • Sweden, Kapás utca 6-12, +36 1 460 6020, fax: +36 1 460 6021
  • United Kingdom, Harmincad utca 6, +36 1 266 2888, fax: +36 1 429 6296
  • United States, Szabadság tér 12, +36 1 475-4400, fax: +36 1 475-4764
  Public holidays

The main Public Holidays, Festivals and Annual Events in Budapest are as follows:

  • 1 January - New Year's Day
  • 15 March> - National holiday marking the anniversary of the uprising against the Habsburgs in 1848
  • 1 May - May Day Celebrations
  • 20 August - St Stephen's Day
  • 23 October - Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising and the proclamation in 1989 of Hungary's democratic constitution
  • 25/26 December - Christmas
  Budapest Card

Budapest Card offers its holder more than a hundred services:

  • unlimited travel on public transport
  • free entry to 60 museums and to some sights
  • sightseeing tour for half price
  • reduced price tickets for cultural and folklore programs
  • discounts in restaurants and spas
  • discount for the airport minibus service, car rental, sports facilities and in many other places

For further features and more details visit its homepage.

  Restaurants, bars
 You can easily find a restaurant or a bar in Budapest to match both your purse and your taste. At some places frequently visited by tourists average quality food and drink may be overpriced. Quite often attractive women who speak foreign languages may recommend restaurants and bars to undecided guests. Accept these invitations only if the bill doesn't make any difference to you. We would rather discourage our friends to do so.

  • Before ordering make sure you know the prices, a five-digit price for one dish is unrealistically high.
  • Never accept menus which do not contain prices or are coded, these are illegal.
  Pick pocketing
 Pick pockets in Budapest too prefer working in huge crowds. Careless travelers can easily be deprived of their belongings, you, therefore, should be extremely careful when traveling on crowded vehicles, or on public transport lines which connect the sights of Budapest (streetcars no. 2, 4 and 6, buses no. 7 and 26 in the summer, and the metro). At the most frequently visited places of Budapest, such as downtown streets, Matthias Church in the Castle, Heroes' Square, the Citadel, and the underpasses, some groups of people may try to surround unsuspecting tourists making a loud noise and turmoil in an attempt to steal their belongings.

  • You are recommended to leave your valuables, cash, airplane or train tickets in the safe at your accommodation.
  • You should not take more cash with you than necessary for the shopping.
  • Keep your bag closed and don't keep your cash and credit card at the same place.
  "Street games"
 In the Citadel, Fishermen's Bastion, Váci utca or Heroes' Square people who play betting games turn up from time to time tempting visitors to make easy money. Players always cooperate with their friends who pose as spectators. If you enter the game, you can take it for granted that you will loose.
  • Don't try your luck in the streets if possible, there are casinos in the city.>

Map of Budapest


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