Travel Tips Hungary

By | December 22, 2022

Travel Tips Hungary – Budapest’s elegant boulevards and world-famous thermal baths welcome travelers from all over the world – but some of the aspects of the city’s navigation are not the best for visitors.

Even experienced travelers can have unpleasant interactions with ticket inspectors on the tram after incorrectly validating their tickets. One unfortunate recurring story in Budapest is one of male visitors being scammed by pretty women at black bars, and crooked taxi drivers can take unwitting passengers on a ride around the city.

Travel Tips Hungary

Fortunately, Hungary’s capital is a safe place for visitors, and you can easily avoid these situations with a little planning and by following our list of things to do – and things to avoid – while visiting Budapest .

Top 20 Amazing Things To Do In Budapest

Immerse yourself in the best experiences the world has to offer with our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox.

Knowing the locals is a great way to say “please” and “thank you” in Hungary. Before your trip, buy a phrasebook and learn the basics of this unusual language, such as “hello” and “cheers”. One very important tip: make sure you get the correct pronunciation of the “é” in “egészségedre” (“egg-ees-

Visiting Budapest’s thermal baths, such as Szechenyi, is one of the city’s highlights © Ungvari Attila / Shutterstock

Soaking in Budapest’s thermal baths is one of the most rewarding experiences in the city, so pack your swimming gear, including a pair of flip-flops or pool sandals and a beach towel. You can rent a towel if you prefer not to pack your bags in bulk, but be prepared to pay as much as 5000 HUF (about US$15).

So, I Spent 5 Hours In Budapest, Hungary

You can only enter the swimming pools at the thermal baths if you are wearing a swimming cap, a rule in place to stop stray hairs from clogging the pool drains. Many bathhouses sell swimming caps at the ticket office for up to 2000 HUF (US$6). Note that this rule does not apply to the thermal baths themselves, but to the on-site swimming pools.

It’s a good idea to bring an umbrella to Budapest, even in summer. The city can experience sudden heavy downpours, especially in the warmer months.

Since Budapest is a very walkable city, you will be on your feet all day. A pack of shoes that you’ll be comfortable wearing for hours while you’re out exploring – but remember that trainers will instantly recognize you as a tourist.

If you are visiting Budapest during peak season, especially in the summer or around Christmas, or if you have your heart set on seeing a seasonal exhibition, you can skip the long lines by booking tickets in advance. Some popular sites have introduced caps on numbers, so it pays to plan ahead and make sure you can visit what you want. If you buy a ticket before you arrive, download it to your phone, show the QR code and walk in without waiting.

Budapest Backpacking & Budget Travel Guide (updated 2023)

Although Hungary uses the forint as its currency, some hotels, restaurants and shops will accept euros, giving change back in forints. Since establishments may be reluctant to accept large bills (such as 20,000 HUF), try withdrawing smaller bills from ATMs. Some cash machines allow you to choose to withdraw the bills; if not, choose an amount like 9000 HUF or 19, 000 HUF to ensure smaller change.

You’ll see Euronet ATMs around town, especially in bars, but they charge exorbitant bank fees. The convenience is not worth the cost.

To navigate the city on the go, download the BKK (Budapest Közlekedési Központ) app, issued by the city’s official public transport agency, or CityMapper. For taxis, find a taxi app like Bolt. Please note that Uber is no longer available in Hungary.

Flagging taxis on the street is dangerous as some rogue operators rip off visitors by driving around the city or using other tricks. This has been happening less and less in recent years, but it’s still better to call a cab or use an app to order one.

Most Beautiful Places In Hungary That You Can’t Miss

The ticketing system for Budapest’s public transport can be confusing for first-time riders. The most important thing to remember is that you must buy a ticket before you get on public transport, validate it on board, and keep it until the end of your journey. Most tram and metro stops have machines where you can buy tickets; on the bus, you can buy them from the driver. Make sure your ticket is date, time stamped or punched – these mean it’s validated and you’re good to go. If not, you risk being caught by a roving ticket inspector and heavily fined.

Most of the time, you can get on the bus in Budapest through any door, and there is no need to show your ticket to the driver. If you have a single ticket, validate it using the machines on board (if you have a longer pass, keep it), and you’re ready to ride. Some buses, however, have only one front board. If you notice a bus that only opens the front door for boarding passengers, go online and have your ticket or passport ready to show the driver.

Some restaurants include a service charge on the bill, so it’s a good idea to ask if this is included when you pay (it usually appears on the bill as

). If not, it is usual to charge around 10%. Hungarians often collect the bill and tell the waiter how much they want to pay, including tips (especially if they still want change back). If you give a bill that’s bigger than your bill and say “thank you,” your server will likely see that as an invitation to keep the change.

Great Tips For Backpacking Europe Better

Hungarians don’t say “cheers” to beer – or at least they haven’t for the past 150 years. When the Habsburgs of Austria defeated Hungary in the revolution of 1848, the Austrians in Vienna celebrated the victory by toasting and clinking beer steins. As a form of subtle protest, the Hungarians vowed never to do this – and haven’t raised their beer glasses since. You may notice that some of the younger crowd obey this rule, so if you have a beer in the company of Hungarians, follow their lead.

Look at the other person and say “cheers” while raising a glass of anything other than beer.

Hungarians are not the most cheerful people, and smiling at strangers is much less prevalent in Hungarian culture than in, say, the United States. It will probably be obvious to the locals that you always walk around with a big smile on your face

One of them. There’s no harm in smiling – but you might attract a tout trying to sell you a bus ride.

Best Things To Do In Budapest: Flytographer’s Local Travel Guide

Although Budapest residents don’t smile much, it is considered polite to greet shoppers with a friendly “good day” © Fat Jackey / Shutterstock

Unfortunately, one of the main risks of visiting Budapest is getting ripped off – and there’s one recurring scam that’s as old as time. Friendly and attractive young women will often approach male travelers who invite them to a bar. Once inside, the men are presented with a huge bill, along with threats to call the police if they don’t pay. Moral of the story? Try not to tag along with any women who approach you – or at least avoid any bars they recommend.

Pickpockets are common on public transport around the clock and in busy tourist areas. Keep your belongings in a safe place, for example in a money belt or in a zipped up compartment inside a bag, and don’t put your wallet or phone in your pocket, the easiest place to swipe a pocket.

Budapest’s city center (especially District VII) is fairly nocturnal, and the central areas within the Grand Boulevard are safe after midnight. If you’re staying in the outer neighborhoods of Budapest, however – such as District VIII or IX, off the Grand Boulevard – it’s safer to take a taxi to your accommodation if you have a late night.

Hungarian Paprika Hero

Hungary is earning a bad reputation for LGBTIQ+ travelers due to recently enacted laws, such as laws that make it impossible for transgender people to legally change their gender. Another, the so-called Anti-Pedophile Bill, draws stark parallels between pedophilia and homosexuality and bans LGBTQI+ representation in media available to under-18s.

The good news is that Budapest is more liberal, especially if you stay around the city center. A vibrant population of progressive activists keep up the fight for LGBTQI+ rights in Hungary, and Pride gets bigger every year, with thousands joining in solidarity. You will find many places welcoming LGBTQI+ visitors; Budapest Pride maintains a helpful directory of safe and LGBTQI+ friendly venues.

For peace of mind, it’s a good idea to get insurance before you travel. The Hungarian public health system is often understaffed, and it is difficult to find English-speaking doctors or nurses in public hospitals and clinics. Many good private clinics are popular with the local ex-pat community, including First Med and Swiss Clinic. If you need a pharmacy, you’ll find them all over the city centre, with a few open 24/7.

The last trip

Travel Tips For Traveling To Hungary