Hungary - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Hungary


Hungary's location in the centre of Europe along with its hospitable attitude makes it one of the best places from which to embark on an Eastern European journey. It is both European and distinctly Hungarian, incorporating a mixture of history and the present-day. The country proudly upholds its traditions, culture and arts, but is attentive to what is new and fashionable in the outside world.

A small landlocked country sharing its borders with seven neighbouring countries, travellers to Hungary should note that it was originally inhabited by the Magyars, an equestrian nomadic tribe. They were eventually converted to Christianity and in the year 1000 their Prince Stephen was crowned the nation's first ruler. Since then Hungary has seen numerous dynastic changes, from Turkish occupation to the era of Communism, and today quaint little towns, cities and ruins in the countryside bear the marks of this turbulent history with a rich mosaic of architectural styles and fortified hilltop castles. The Hungarian people, neither Slavic nor Germanic, are formal, reserved and intensely proud of their ancient nation and its cosmopolitan capital, Budapest.

Most visitors arrive in Budapest, situated on a lovely stretch of the Danube, the river that invokes feelings of romantic enchantment and musical memories. It is a city of culture and of astounding beauty and grace, and visitors are drawn to its enchanting magnetism. Outside of the capital the plains, rolling hills and rivers, lakes and vineyards hold much to offer the visitor. The Baroque town and fine wines of Eger, historical riverside villages along the Danube Bend, commanding fortresses, castles and palaces, the resort-lined Lake Balaton and the thermal spas and volcanically heated lake at Hévíz are just some of the country's many highlights awaiting discovery.

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

Hungary is one of Europe's most fascinating countries and offers a wealth of sight seeing and attractions to meet just about every tourist's needs. Explore Budapest, one of the world's most beautiful cities, marvel at the architecture, enjoy the renowned operatic and music events and experience the romance of the Danube River and Budapest's famed spa baths. Visit Hévíz and soak in the world's second largest thermal lake, Gyógytó, visit Momento Park, one of the world's most bizarre attractions, where hundreds of giant figures were banished at the end of the Communist era; take a trip to Szentendre for a spot of shopping, and visit the old university town of Keszthely to enjoy the quaint streets lined with trees, trendy cafés and busy markets. The best season to visit Hungary is in the summer between April and September, when the days are long and the weather warm. Most towns and cities in Hungary have reliable and affordable public transport but the best way to see the country is to hire a car and experience it all for yourself!


A handshake is the standard form of greeting when doing business in Hungary and in mixed company it is usually women who initiate. Conservative suits and ties are standard business dress and business people should be addressed by their title and surname. Business cards are often exchanged; Hungarians usually list their surnames first. It is useful to have a local representative when doing business in Hungary who can set up meetings and act as an interpreter. It is important to invest time on building relationships; socialising is a key element of this and face-to-face meetings are vital. Punctuality is vital to all occasions, and cancelling a meeting at the last minute may be detrimental to a business relationship. Due to the communist legacy there is an aversion to risk and plenty of red tape and therefore negotiations can be slow-moving and patience is required. Although Hungary remains male-orientated, being female is not a disadvantage to doing business. Business hours are usually from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday, though summer hours tend to be shorter.


Hungary's climate is mild and it is best visited over the summer period, when the weather is warmer and the attractions are all open. The weather in spring and autumn can be very pleasant, but temperatures drop to around 20°F (9°C). Over winter temperatures approach freezing. Some rain can be expected throughout the year.


The international access code for Hungary is +36. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g., 0044 for the United Kingdom). City/area codes are in use, e.g., (0)1 for Budapest. There are often high surcharges on calls made from hotels; it is cheaper to use public telephone boxes or calling cards. Local directory assistance is available by dialling 198, and international directory assistance is 199; callers may have to hold for a few moments, but English-speaking operators are available. The local mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most international operators. Internet cafes are available in the main towns.


All travellers to Hungary must carry official identification at all times; photocopies are not acceptable.

Duty Free

Travellers to Hungary with goods purchased in the EU for personal use do not have to pay customs duty on 3200 cigarettes, or 400 cigarillos, or 200 cigars, or 3kg of smoking tobacco; 10 litres of spirits; 110 litres of beer; 20 litres of fortified wine, such as sherry or port; and 90 litres of wine. Travellers arriving from non-EU countries do not have to pay customs duty on 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250g of smoking tobacco, or a proportional mix of these. Alcohol allowances (for passengers over 17 years) include 1 litre of spirits and 2 litres of wine; perfume up to 50g and 250ml eau de toilette; and other goods for personal consumption to the value of EUR175 per adult or EUR90 for children under 15 years. Prohibited items include fresh meat and dairy products.

Electrical current is 230 volts, 50 Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are standard.
Getting Around

Most of Hungary's larger towns and cities have efficient and reliable public transport. However, hiring a car is definitely the way to get the most out of a trip to Hungary. Travellers are advised to be wary of crowded buses as there have been incidents of pick-pocketing.


No vaccinations are required for travel to Hungary and standards of public health are good, but a hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Tap water is safe to drink and food poisoning is not considered a high risk, although visitors are recommended to vaccinate against typhoid, unless on a short stay and only eating at major hotels and restaurants. Travellers intending on visiting forested, grassy, lakeside or rural areas in spring and summer should consider a tick-borne encephalitis vaccine. A reciprocal health agreement with countries of the EU provides nationals with free emergency health care on presentation of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). All towns have pharmacies, but anyone requiring specific medication should bring a supply with them as most medicines are of Eastern European origin. Health insurance is recommended.

Hungarian (Magyar) is the official language, but German is widely spoken, especially in the areas close to the Austrian border. English is spoken in tourist areas and most hotels.

Even though Hungary is part of the EU it does not use the Euro; the official currency is the Hungarian Forint (HUF). Travellers cheques are not widely favoured. Credit cards most accepted in the country are AMEX, Diners Club, EnRoute, Euro/Mastercard, JCB and Visa, and these can be used to withdraw cash from banks and ATMs and to pay bills in hotels, restaurants and most shops. Banks usually open between 8am and 4pm on weekdays and some are open on Saturdays. ATMs and currency exchange machines are available in towns and cities throughout the country. It is advisable to retain exchange receipts for proof of legal currency exchange.

Passport Visa

The borderless region known as the Schengen Area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option, and which allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all the aforementioned countries. All visitors to Hungary, other than EEA members, should ensure that their passports are valid for at least six months beyond the expiry date of their visa. Foreign passengers must be in possession of a return/onward ticket (or sufficient funds to buy one), and the necessary travel documentation for their next destination. Additionally, visitors must hold the equivalent of HUF 1,000 per day of stay, in hard currency, although the following documents are also accepted: a major credit card, a letter of invitation, proof of accommodation (reserved and paid for), or a document authorising the visitor to withdraw cash from a bank in Hungary. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.


Most visits to Hungary are trouble-free, but normal precautions against petty crime should be taken. Pick pocketing and bag snatching are common in Budapest, especially on crowded public transport and other places frequented by tourists. Some bars, clubs and restaurants in Budapest charge outrageous prices by means of scams that target foreigners in particular. Be cautious of invitations off the street to dine in certain establishments or of recommendations by taxi drivers who are often in on the scam. All political demonstrations should be avoided, as they have led to violence in the past.


Taxi drivers and waiters expect a tip of 10 to 15% in Hungary. Waiters should be handed the cash, rather than have it left on the table. Most people in the service industry expect to be tipped about 10 to 15%.

Looking for something a bit different?  Check out our selection of cultural & adventure holidays or if you're looking to go it alone then see our selection of solo holidays.