Fun Facts From Globus Tours
- Founded way back in 896, Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe.
- There are as many as 1,500 spas in the country, adorned with Roman, Greek, and Turkish architecture. Hungary also boasts 450 public baths.
- In 1989, Hungary became the first Communist-bloc country to open its borders with Western Europe.
With a population of roughly 9.6 million, Hungary is a country with a diverse and colorful culture and hectic history. It is a nation settled in the Carpathian Basin for more than two millennia with a territory of 36,000 square miles of mountainous highlands and vast plains.
Marcello Mastroianni, an Italian actor, said of the capital, “Budapest is a quiet city; both her past and future are hidden behind the windows of the old houses. Budapest is like a veiled bride; only after the wedding you’ll be able to recognize her beauty.” Stroll down the winding, cobblestone streets of the medieval quarters in the Buda side of the capital; enjoy a strong, black coffee in one of the numerous cafés. Walk across Chain Bridge over the mighty silver ribbon of the Danube River. Mingle in bustling crowds on the Pest side. Visit the amazing Parliament building, and see the oldest royal crown in Europe. Pick up a word or two of this exotic language (Magyar).
Rubik’s cube, fearless horsemen, medical spas, hot goulash soup, Attila the Hun, handsome macho hussars, Liszt, Bartok, Teller, a wine with a potent kick called “bull’s blood,” spicy salami, and fiery paprika—all this is Hungary, and there’s much more. Lift the veil on this fascinating country, a magical land of friendly people.
VISAS, PASSPORTS, AND OTHER ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
Visas to Hungary are not required for US citizens. If you hold a passport from another country, please check with your local consulate about requirements for travel to Hungary. All passengers traveling internationally are required to have a passport. Please carry proper identification (your passport) on you and do not leave it in your suitcase or hotel room.
It is advisable to carry your passport with you at all times.
The country code for Hungary is 36. When calling to Hungary from overseas, dial your international access code (011 from the US/Canada), followed by the country code, area code, and phone number. Phone numbers in Hungary are eight digits in length. Dialing from the US/Canada: 011 36+ ## ### ###.
The official currency of Hungary is the Hungarian Forint (HUF)
Bank hours: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.
HUNGARIAN FORINT (HUF)
- Banknote denominations: 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000 Forint
- Coin denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 Forint
For the most current exchange rates, please go to our website at Globusjourneys.com/Currency.
Euro may also be accepted in Hungary, however change will be given in the local currency (HUF).
Credit cards are accepted (mostly Visa and MasterCard), and you should have no problems using them in larger shops and restaurants. Smaller shops may ask you to pay in cash or have a minimum amount required to use a credit card.
BUDGETING AND SHOPPING
The following budget guidelines are just approximate values or starting values for meals and are per person. Actual prices will vary widely by restaurant and city within a country but below are some averages as provided by our experienced personnel.
- The approximate cost of a soft drink/mineral water/coffee is 450-500 HUF.
- An average lunch consisting of a salad or sandwich and a soda or water starts at approximately 2000 HUF.
- Dinner at a mid-range restaurant with dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage starts at approximately 6000 HUF.
Please note that soft drinks and mineral water are often as expensive, if not more expensive than wine or beer.
It is not advisable to visit restaurants/bars promoted by taxi drivers or people on the street. In order to avoid scams in restaurants/bars, ask to see the menu and prices before ordering.
Shopping specialties: peasant embroidery, Herend porcelain, paprika.
Counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available; be aware that under local law transactions involving such products may be illegal, and bringing them home may result in confiscation and fines.
Sales tax or VAT (value added tax) is included on price tags. To obtain VAT refunds (which may take up to three months to process) special forms usually have to be stamped by Customs; please ask for a tax-free shopping form with each purchase and follow the instructions for completion. Customs import charges on items shipped home are not included in purchase prices.
In restaurants, if a service charge is included in the bill, round up the amount and tell the waiter how much you are paying. Otherwise a reasonable tip is 10- 15%. Tips are given directly to the waiter and not left on the table.
For taxis, a 10% tip is customary.
Tip hotel staff 1000 HUF for room service.
ELECTRICITY AND ELECTRICAL OUTLETS
Voltage for outlets is 220V. North American voltage is generally 110V. Therefore, you will need a converter for your travels. Adapters will be necessary to adapt your plug into the outlet, but these may not convert the voltage, so both devices are necessary. Hungary uses a round, 2-prong plug that looks like:
Hungary’s weather is moderate with warm and long summers and cold winters. Summer offers lots of sunshine while spring and fall can bring cold nights (pack mixed layers). To help you plan, below are average low and high temperatures for Hungary.
To convert to Celsius, subtract 30, then divide by 2. While not exact, this simple formula will give a close estimation.
“Bull’s blood” wine, spicy salami, and paprika.
CUSTOMS and CULTURE
Be aware of cultural and behavioral differences in Eastern Europe; you may not be greeted as cheerfully as back home; smiling is generally reserved for intimate friends. So be especially wary of people presenting themselves as “instant friends”, and never accept any offer of food or drink from strangers.
FEW WORDS OF THE LOCAL LANGUAGE
Good morning (til 9 a.m.): Jó reggelt, Good day: Jó napot, Good evening: Jó estét, Goodbye: Viszlát, Please: Kérem, Thank you: Köszönöm, Yes: Igen, No: Nem, 1: Egy, 2: Kettö, 3: Három, 4: Négy, 5: Öt, 6: Hat, 7: Hét, 8: Nyolc, 9: Kilenc, 10: Tíz, I don’t understand: Nem értem, Please write it down: Kérem írja le, Where is…?: Hol…?, Telephone: Telefon, Coffee: Kávé, Bottled water: Palackozott víz, Cheers!: Egészségedre!
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE COUNTRY INFORMATION
Additional country-specific information for US citizens can be found on the US Government’s website www.travel.state.gov. Here, you can find the most up-to-date information about destination descriptions, passports/visas, safety and security, transportation, travel local laws, alerts/warnings, vaccinations, and more. For citizens of other nations, we recommend you consult your local consulate for travel information, regulations, and requirements.