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Budapest, Hungary  City Info
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Europe > Hungary
Budapest




Country:
Republic of Hungary

Capital:
Budapest

Time:
Hungary uses Central European Time (CET). Hence, clocks are one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Currency:
Hungary wants to adopt the European Union's common currency, the euro, starting in 2008. Meanwhile, the unit of currency is Hungarian Forint (HUF). In Hungary the abbrevation of Forint is Ft. Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 HUF.

Weather:
Hungary has a temperate climate. Winters in Budapest can be cloudy and extremely cold with frequent snow. Summers, on the other hand, are warm and sunny. July and August are the hottest months, so be sure to pack appropriately. Allergy sufferers should bring their medication, as these hot months are marked by high pollen counts.

Customs:
Everyone needs a passport to enter the country. American and EU passport holders can stay in Hungary for 90 days without a visa. While the obvious bans on illegal narcotics and firearms are in place, Hungary also forbids the importation of paprika.

Electricity:
Hungary uses 220 volts AC and the continental-style plug. If your appliance has a 120/240-volt switch, all you will need is a plug adapter. Otherwise a current converter is required. Pay attention to sockets in bathrooms and on trains marked "Shavers Only!" While these put out 110 volts, they will burn out with a more powerful appliance.

Tipping:
Tipping, as in the rest of Central and Eastern Europe, is not a common practice. Feel free to leave 10-15% in a restaurant. People generally don't tip in bars and cafes when ordering drinks. Unless a price is agreed to beforehand, round up taxi fees.

Getting Around:

Driving:
Driving in Hungary is the same as in Europe and the United States. However, drivers require an international driver's license, Green Card insurance, and third-party insurance. Parking can be a problem in Budapest.

Public Transportation:
Look above the streets and you will see that most are lined with cables. Budapest has a terrific system of trolley buses and trams. Budapest also has a clean, fast, and efficient subway system. Buy tickets at tourist agencies or any subway station. To avoid lines, buy tickets from street stands and newsagents. It is also possible to buy tickets from a machine. The basic ticket is good for one trip; if you transfer, you will need to punch a new ticket. Undercover controllers may ask to see your ticket, and WILL fine you for having an invalid one. These can be bought in packets of 10 and twenty. Tickets with transfers are also available. Day and tourist packages offer a good deal for the visitor, as they allow unlimited use of the public transportation system and can be packaged with free admission to many museums. If you are planning a long stay, these passes are highly recommended. Ticket vendors rarely speak anything besides Magyar, so a little provisional sign language may help. However, detailed information about tickets and transportation is usually available next to these booths in English, French, and German. Hint: Many ticket-punching machines on buses and trams are manual. Be sure to insert your ticket in the top slot and PULL the mechanism toward you.

Taxi:
In general, avoid getting a taxi at the airport. A better option is the airport minibus, which takes you to where you are staying. However, taxis can be fast and cheap in the city. They can be hailed from the street, but it is cheaper to call ahead of time. Fötaxi (1/222-2222), Teletaxi (1/555-5555), and English-speaking Citytaxi (1/211-1111) charge fair rates. Drivers are willing to negotiate a rate late at night.

Public Holidays:
January 1st,
March 15th Easter Monday
May 1st Whitsun Monday
August 20th St. Stephan's Day, celebrating his coronation in 1000AD
October 23rd
December 25th and 26th


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