🌎Currency: Forint (HUF)
🌎Zone: +1 GMT
🌎Phone Code: +36
🌎Best time to visit: April to June
🌎Must eat: Hungarian Goulash
🌎Must drink: Hungarian Wine
🌎Don't miss: Szechenyi Baths
Hungary is located in Central Europe, being a land locked country it benefits from good ground transportation infrastructure and frequent air services. The national airline, Malev, went bankrupt in 2012, leaving a void in the market. It was quickly filled by low cost airline Wizz Air, which replaced most of the routes and took over the services despite with a low cost model of business.
Therefore reaching Hungary, and in particular Budapest the capital, is now easy and economical. Many European capitals and even other secondary cities offer direct services to Budapest, either national airlines or other low cost airlines such as Ryanair, Easyjet, Eurowings to mention a few.
If coming further away, there are no direct services between Hungary and the USA or Asia, however thanks to the growing Middle East airlines it's now possible to connect to Budapest with one stop when travelling east or connect from a larger European hub airport when travelling from the west.
As mentioned, Hungary benefits with very good connections by rail and road. If you are travelling within the area and visiting neighbouring countries coming direct by train is possible from Zurich, Munich, Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg and Ljubljana. Eurolines also offers good connections when travelling by coach.
Once in the country it's possible to travel around by various means of transport including trains, metro, trams and busses. Smaller cities only connect by bus or limited train services. However in big cities like Budapest it's practical to move around by public transport. If visiting for longer periods of time then it would be an advantage to hire a car and visit other regions.
Hungary has a typical European continental influenced climate with hot Summer's to cold freezing Winter's. Choosing the right time to visit can be difficult as the best times to travel would be in the Summer, but at the high season it can be much busier and expensive. Summer's are also hot and dry with temperatures reaching as much as 35C! However the best time to go is in the late spring, from April to June, with pleasant temperatures around 20C and flowers blooming. Alternatively September and October are nice months to travel also. Winter's are usually cold, wet and even snowy, with temperatures going down below freezing often in January.
Hungarian is known for its generous use of paprika, but its influences come from far and wide, including France, Turkey, other Central European countries and Serbia. In addition to paprika; sour cream and garlic also feature in Hungarian cuisine. The most popular meat is generally pork, with chicken a close second. There is a large mix of places to eat in Hungary that range from inexpensive snackbár or büfé (self-service establishments) to fine dining restaurants. It's also popular to find Cukrászda (patisseries), serving cakes and pastries, and kávéház (coffee shops).
Specialities found are: Halászlé, a spicy soup made with freshwater fish and paprika. Gulyás, Hungarian goulash with a hearty beef, capsicum and paprika soup. Gundel palacsinta, pancake served with walnuts, raisins, lemon rind, chocolate sauce and rum. Paprikás csirke, paprika chicken. Kolbász, sausage spiced with paprika. Tyúkhúsleves, chicken soup with vegetables and pasta. Jókai bableves, kidney bean soup. Hortobágyi húsos palacsinta, ‘Hortobagy pancake’, it's essentially pork or chicken in a thin pancake and baked with paprika and sour cream. Galuska, egg dumplings. Töltött káposzta, stuffed cabbage.
As for drinks, coffee is a popular drink, with the influence of Italy playing an important role. Wine is taken seriously in Hungary, and the country’s many vineyards produce a wide range of distinctive wines that range from full-bodied reds made from the native Kékfrancos grape to rich, sweet whites such as Tokaj.
Hungary’s capital, is divided by the River Danube. Its 19th-century Chain Bridge connects the hilly Buda district with flat Pest, from here the name of the city. You will find interesting sites like the funicular which runs up Castle Hill to Buda’s Old Town, where the Budapest History Museum is located and shows the city life from Roman times onward. Besides its historical value, Budapest has a highly developed cultural scene with its it's many festivals, theatres, museums, concert halls and sporting events. As well for those fond of nature you will find Margaret Island is the city’s “green heart” (considered by many to be one of Europe’s best city parks). If on the other hand you just want to relax, Budapest has one of the best baths in Europe, Szechenyi Bath is the biggest and most popular of all the thermal baths in Budapest. Certainly a city of many attractions in which to immerse yourself in!
Arriving to Budapest from other neighbouring countries is easy as all trains and busses will leave you within good reach of metro stations. If you arrive by train the city is merely at 10 minutes walk.
If you are arriving by plane, the best way to reach the city is by bus 2000E, which takes you to metro station Kőbánya-Kispest, (M3) and change for the city centre. If you are arriving by night take Bus 900 and change at Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út for bus 950/950A to the city centre.
Once in the city Budapest has an extensive network of metro, trolley-busses, street cars (trams) and busses all managed under a single transport system. If you are staying within the city centre it's not necessary to purchase any tickets if you are keen to walk around and explore, as the city is generally flat in the old town. However the new town is located on a hill so remember to take adequate walking shoes. There are single, day, multiple days and 10 ride tickets which can save you money on transport. Also you can buy the Budapest Card with free admission to museums and other attractions.
Below you will find the transport maps for Budapest ready to download.
There are multiple options both cultural, historical and enjoyable activities to do during your trip in Budapest. Below you will find the best ideas and suggestions to visit and explore Budapest:
Budapest's nightlife scene is widely renowned, and it's largely cantered in the Jewish Quarter of District VII. The area's top party places are all within easy walking distance from each other, so explore streets such as Kazinczy, Király, Dob, and Akácfa along with spacious gathering points like Gozsdu Udvar and Madách Square. While there are plenty of restaurants and cafés to be found, this area is particularly famous for its ruin pubs. Popular venues include Szimpla Kert, Fogasház, Mazel Tov, Ellátó Kert, and the restaurants and bars of Gozsdu Udvar. In the warmer months, garden bars and rooftop venues are very popular, so try Gozsdu Sky Terrace and Kőleves Kert, while in winter cozy venues like Spinoza Café and Lámpás are best.
In Hungary they still use their own monetary system which makes a difference when paying for goods and services. Hotels in the city centre are expensive but there are plenty of alternatives not too far to walk to and you can get reasonable hotels starting at €30 per room per night. As well there are plenty of hostels for budget and shared accommodation. If you looking for private hosting or a whole flat to yourself it's also worth checking Airbnb, since rentals are cheap and affordable.
When staying in Budapest it's easy to see the city within a couple of days if you are just transiting. Many tourists make Budapest a passing by city on their way to other European capitals. However if you really want to take in the history and facts about Hungary, learn about the culture and take a relaxed trip it's better to stay for at least 3 to 5 nights, as accommodation isn't that expensive. As well it's suggested to take some tour or day trip to other regions to admire the countryside and landscape.