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Things to know about Hungary

 


Capital: Budapest

 

Religion: Catholicism. Protestantism and Judaism are also spread.

 

Official language is Hungarian. Most of the population speak English. German and Russian are popular as well.

 

Climate is temperate continental with cold winters and warm summers. Sea winds rarely reach the central part of Hungary, that’s why these territories have the most favourable weather. The main feature of the Hungarian climate is concerned with such seasons as spring and autumn that are warm and quite long in Hungary. Snow remains for 30-40 days per year.

 

The average temperature:

 

October +12°C
November +5°C
December +2°C
January −1°C
February +1°C
March +5°C
April +12°C
May +17°C
June +20°C
July +20°C
August +22°C
September +17°C

 

Currency
Official currency is Hungarian forint (HUF). It is divided into 100 fillér, which are no longer in circulation. Circulated banknotes are in denominations of 100, 200, 500 and 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10000 forint, as well as Hungarian forint coins in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 forint.

 

Means of payment
Across the country, in restaurants, hotels and shops you can pay in national currency, as well as use traveller’s cheques or credit cards. A wide range of cards are acceptable, including Mastercard, EuroCard, Visa Electron, and American Express.

 

Currency exchange: you’re advised to exchange currency only at official exchange offices. In addition, you should save a certificate about such operation during your visit in the country. You’d better convert a large sum of money at banks and travel companies. Banks are usually open from 8:00am to 3:00pm. On Friday, they finish at 1:00pm. After work hours, you can convert money using different ATMs or other special machines.

 

Calls to Hungary from other countries: from landline you should dial:
+36 (dialling code) X-XXX-XXX;
For example: +36 (30) X-XXX-XXX.

 

Calls from Hungary to other countries: Hungary has 2 types of public phone boxes. Ones accept cards and others – coins. To use the first type mentioned above, you should buy a phone card that can be sold at post offices or kiosks. Such card will allow you to call both within Hungary and abroad. One minute of an international call will cost you about 1 American dollar.

 

Useful phone numbers in Hungary:
Police – 107
Ambulance – 104
Fire Department – 105
Private twenty-four-hour medical service SOS – 204-5500 or 204-5501

 

Time zone: UTC (IST) +1
Summer time: UTC+2
Daylight saving time in summer: the last Sunday of March at 1:00am.
Daylight saving time in winter: the last Sunday of October at 1:00am.

 

Customs
You can bring into country duty-free:
- up to 250 cigarettes;
- 250 grams of tobacco;
- up to 1 l of spirits and 2 l of wine, 5 l of beer.
In addition, you can import not more than 350 000 forint for a person.

 

Shopping: Department stores and grocery shops are open from 7:00am to 7:00pm. On Saturdays, they work from 7:00am to 1:00pm. Sunday is a day off for most shops, only some large supermarkets are open. Stores, which sell clothes and other products, are open from 10:00am to 6:00pm on weekdays, and from 9:00am to 1:00pm on Saturday.

 

Transport

 

1) Public transport
1. Taxis in Hungary are coloured in yellow and have the sign "TAXI". Prices for services are usually shown on the door of a car, or on the top of a dashboard. Initial tariff entry ranges from 100 to 200 forint, and 1 km of a trip costs between 140 and 280 forint.

 

2. Subway. Only Budapest has a subway. It consists of three lines, which cross the central Deak Ferenc Square. Metro trains run with 2 or 5 minute intervals. The subway works from 4:30am to 11:10pm.

 

3. Trams. Budapest, Debrecen, Miskolc and Szeged have tram lines. There are more than 30 lines in the capital city. The price for a ticket is about 300 forint.

 

4. Trolleybuses run in every big city. One ticket is acceptable in all kinds of public transport, so it’ll be cheaper to buy a tourist ticket for 3 days.

 

5. Buses. In Hungary, buses are the most popular kind of public transport. Bus, tram and trolleybus tickets are the same. One trip costs from 300 to 450 forint. You can buy tickets from a driver, as well as at special kiosks, offices and ticket machines.

 

6. Bicycles. Bicycle rental service is well developed and quite popular in Hungary. You can rent it for €8 per day.

 

b) Long-distance transport
1. Buses. The most popular kind of long-distance transport is a bus. Tickets are sold at bus stations. You can also buy your tickets directly from a driver. Buses run quite frequently, and ticket prices are similar to public ones.

 

2. Trains. Hungary has two large railway companies. One of them serves in western territories; another one provides trips for the rest of the country. All trains are high-speed and very comfortable. Large cities have railway connection with Budapest. Ticket price depends on the distance, and it is about 550 forint. If you book tickets in advance, the cost will be reduced.

 

3. Aircrafts. The main airline company serves direct flights from Hungary to more than 30 countries. The country has 45 airports, 5 of them are international. Despite the fact that all large cities are connected by air, it’s cheaper to travel around the country by bus or train.

 

Car rental: Hungary has many car rental companies. To rent a car, a tourist must be at least 21 years old with driving experience at least one year, and have an international driving license.

 

Some traffic rules:
- Hungary has EU-wide traffic rules and a clear road marking.
- The driver and all passengers have to fasten their seat belts.
- You can talk on mobile phone only with ‘hands-free” system. In case of emergency, drivers are permitted to sound the horn.
- The driver is strictly prohibited to drink alcohol, even in a minimal amount while driving a vehicle.
- It’s prohibited to turn left on many crossroads. If you go on the main road and want to turn into the side road you are not obligated to use the turn indicator, as it is obvious that you don’t change the direction of movement.
- Outside cities you must switch on the upper beam at day. Besides, you’d better go on the outside line and change it for overtaking or turning.
- The car must have a warning triangle.
- Children under the height of 150 cm must travel on special child safety seats.
- Speed limit for vehicles:
- in the city: up to 50 km/h;
- out of the country (side roads): 80 km/h;

 

Water transport: In summer, boats carry passengers across the Danube and Lake Balaton.

 

Hotels: Croatia has the same European hotel classification as other European countries. The number of stars – from 2 to 5 – they indicates quality. The most favourable places are student hostels and tourist camping places.

 

Tips aren’t included in the bill, so you’re advised to leave about 10-20% of the total. Furthermore, in Hungary you should tip in a taxi, hairdresser’s or beauty salons.

 

National Holidays:
1 January – New Year


1 May – Labour Day


20 August – Constitution Day


23 October – Republic Day


25, 26 December – Christmas


Behaviour rules in Hungary


The Hungarians are very polite. On meeting they usually say their family name, and then the first name. During the conversation, they avoid questions about salary, employee relations, health and family relationships. The Hungarians like dancing, that’s why national dances are the main attribute of any folk festival or party.


Visa is not required for citizens of the Schengen area, as well as the USA, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Croatia, Spain, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, El Salvador, Singapore, the New Zealand, Uruguay, Venezuela.

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