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Useful Tips on Budapest and Hungary

 

Budapest History

Budapest the capital of Hungary is a city that has more than 1000 years of history.
Pest, Buda and Óbuda had originally been three separate cities, which were united only by the second half of the nineteenth century in 1873.
The unification of the three independent cities was only made possible by building the bridges across the Danube. 
Before the completion of the chain bridge in the year 1849 only ferryboat service and a temporary wooden bridge connected the two banks.

BudapestThe caves of Buda had already been used by the prehistorically men; it is also known that Buda had already been a settlement in the Bronze Age.
The arrival of the Romans, who stayed for over 300 years, resulted in the construction of towns and baths. A major outpost was the city of Aquincum in nowadays Óbuda area. After the withdrawal of the Romans, Óbuda slowly lost its importance. At the time of unification it was a city with industry and commerce. Not much is left of the charming little town that once was as we find today mostly vast pre-fab housing projects, built in the 1960's and '70's by the communist government's 5 year plan. It is also known that this area is where the original "Magyars", when settling down in the Carpathian Basin in the 9th century, chose Aquincum for a capital.

After the invasion of the Mongols in 1241 the first significant fortress- the foundation of Buda Castle - was built here for the protection of the population. Since the middle ages it has been the seat of the kings. The Anjou king Charles I of Hungary was crowned in Buda, which became his capital, meanwhile Óbuda became the city of the queens. Then came the Turks, and in 1526 the Hungarians were defeated at Mohács. Under the Turkish rule most of the city had been ruined and many of its inhabitants had been killed, but their reign had left us with lots of Turkish baths and temples. Hungarian gastronomy had also been influenced by the Turkish cuisine. After 145 years of Turkish rule the Castle of Buda was freed in 1686 – the price of this freedom was the beauty of the city and the lives of its inhabitants. After the rebuilding of the city had started, ever first time in history, in 1703, Buda was chosen as capital of the country.

István Széchenyi was a very famous Hungarian politician, theorist and writer who is well-known for the construction of the first bridge (Chain Bridge) between 
Pest and Buda. He was the one, who first suggested uniting Buda and Pest and calling the result BUDAPEST – this happened in 1829.
During the famous Hungarian Revolution of 1848, Pest and Buda had a central role. That is when the Citadella on top of Gellért hill was created.
1867 was the year of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, during which period a lot of developments took place:
-Margaret Bridge as the 2nd bridge of the city
-Funicular, New York café, Central café, Opera house, Andrássy Avenue
In 1896 The year of the Millennium. This was, when the first underground of the continent was finished. The Parliament Building was also finished by 1902
– it took 18 years to finish the Gothic building. Just as the building of Applied Art and the Vígszínház (Comedy Theatre) was given to the public
After World War I, in 1920 because of the Treaty of Trianon the country borders were redrawn.
After World War II, Budapest was one of the most heavily ruined cities in Europe.

The city was freed from the German occupation by the Russians. Budapest at this time had 22 districts.
In 1956, the big Revolution for final democracy was again sadly suppressed and Budapest was destroyed by the Russian tanks.
Turkish forces, sieges, wars, and finally the embittered battles of the last days of the World War II haven't left much remaining of the former palaces, but even in their ruins they maintain their former glory.
The blood free revolution in 1989 eventually brought us democracy.
Since 1991 June 30th (the date when the last Russian solder had left the country) every year Budapest celebrates herself with the „Budapest Búcsú”.
2004 Hungary finally joined the European Union.
Nowadays, some new buildings are also added to this city of 2 million inhabitants such as the new National Theatre, and the Lágymányosi Bridge, many reconstruction of old buildings took place.
Budapest slowly becomes the European capital of culture.
Budapest - growing into a true "world city" - renews and transforms itself from day to day, greeting those arriving with ever more to see. The past and the present live together in this exciting,
bustling city; a mood equally amazing to visitors and those who live here.

Hungarian Money & Banks

HUF: Hungarian Forint is the official currency in Hungary. Please note in most places of business you may pay anywhere with Euros but you will get HUF for change.

Money

Money can only be changed at official exchange offices which are located throughout the city and at major tourist points. Exchanging money on the street is risky and illegal! Most banks offer 24 hour ATMs.
Coins: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 Ft *
* 1 & 2 Ft coins are no longer in distribution
Bank notes: 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10 000,  20 000 Ft*
* 200 Ft bank notes have been taken out of circulation
The most popular credit cards, such as:
AMEX, 
Diners Club, 
Cirrus, 
EnRoute, 
Euro/Mastercard, 
JCB
VISA
can be used at banks, to draw money from the ATMs, at hotels, restaurants or for paying business bills. There will usually be logos indicating which types of credit cards are accepted.
In Hungary, banks are generally open during the weekdays only from 8:00 – 16:00.

Budapest Quick Facts

The international car sign of Hungary is: H
International country calling code: + 36 or 0036
National Language: Hungarian
Hungary is located in Central Europe, in the Carpathian Basin. Hungary borders 7 countries: Slovakia (North), Ukraine (North-East), Romania (East), Serbia and Croatia (South) and Slovenia and Austria (West).
Hungary  is a member of the European Union (EU) since 2004.
Area: 93 030 km2 (about the size of the U.S. state of Indian
Hungary is 10,2 million in population and there are approximately 15 million Hungarian speakers in the world. Population density: 108 people / km2
Capital: Budapest (population of 2,1 million which mean 1 out of every 5 Hungarians live in Budapest!
Form of government: republic, parliamentary democracy
Time zone: Central European Time (CET), GMT + 1 hour

Hungarian Holidays

January 1. – New Years
March 15. – National Holiday – remembering the 1848/49 revolution and freedom fight
Easter Monday
May 1. – May Day – the day of celebrating work, admission to the European Union (2004)
August 20. – National Holiday – celebrating the establishment of the State, King St. Stephen
October 23. – National Holiday – remembering the revolution and freedom fights of 1956
November 1. – All Saints Day
December 25-26. – Christmas
December 31. – New Years Eve

Hungarian Visa & Passport Info

Citizens of the EU are exempt from the obligatory use of passports for travel between other EU member states.
A personal Identification card (ID) is sufficient to travel to Hungary for the citizens of the following states: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.
A passport is needed for citizens of Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
A visa is required for citizens from: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belarus, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldavia, Montenegro, Morocco, Peru, Turkey, Tunis, Russia, Serbia, South-African Republic and the Ukraine.
Foreigners, who wish to stay in Hungary for a time period of over 90 days, or wish to enter the country in order to work or to conduct other form of income generating activity, must apply for a visa (entry permit). Info: www.kulugyminiszterium.hu

In case your passport has been stolen, please notify the Police and your consulate http://www.embassy-worldwide.com/.

Arriving to Hungary

By Plane
Budapest is going through airport changes. From mid-2012 most airlines will now use Liszt Ferenc International airport terminal 2A and 2B. Please see www.bud.hu for the best and most up to date listings of where the planes arrive and depart from.
For airport transfers see www.budapestairporttransfers.com

By Car
Out of the four highways and four main roads, seven set off from Budapest. For the use of M1, M3, M5, M6 and M7 (highways) vignette is obligatory which can be purchased at the frontier crossing points and at all larger gas stations. Traffic signs and road signs conform to the signs used in the other European countries. The use of safety belts is obligatory in the front as well as in the back seats. In cars and on motorbikes, mobile phones can only be used via speakerphones. The consumption of alcohol in any quantity is strictly prohibited. The upper limit of speed in inhabited areas is 50 km/hour, while outside of such areas it is 90km/hour, on semi-motorways the limit is 110, while on the highway it is 130 km/hour.
Public road service call number: 188
Documents necessary to drive:
Driving license
Car documents (automobile certificate of registration, log book)
Third-party insurance (motor-car insurance)
Green Card

Highway fees
Visit the Hungarian Highway authorities for highway sticker prices http://www.motorway.hu/

Approaching Budapest
Arriving from Vienna: A4-Hegyeshalom - M1 highway
Arriving from Prague: Bratislava-Rajka - M1 highway
Arriving from Bratislava: Rajka - M15 – M1 highway
Arriving from Croatia: A4 – Letenye - M7 highway (almost finished)

Parking in Budapest
Parking in Budapest requires a parking fee and you must use change to get a ticket from one of the many parking meters throughout the city. In the downtown area you must pay for parking between 8 AM and 8 PM. There are many parking garages in city with plenty of space. See www.ezpark.hu for more info.

By Train
Budapest is connected by railway directly to 25 capital cities and the numbers of daily international trains exceed 50. Trains leave to Vienna for example, every three hours. The most popular trains connecting Budapest and the other major domestic cities are the Intercity trains. Three international railway stations can be found in the capital, all right next to the major metro (subway) lines. At the Keleti and Déli Railway Stations (pályaudvar, pu) you find metro line number 2 (red line), while at the Nyugati Railway Station is metro line number 3 (blue line).

Information:
Keleti Railway Station (Keleti pályaudvar): VIII., Baross Square. Tel: (+36-1) 413 - 4610.
Nyugati Railway Station (Nyugati pályaudvar): VI., Nyugati Square Tel: (+36-1) 349-8503
Déli Railway Station (Déli pályaudvar): I. Krisztina krt. 37.  Tel: (+36-1) 375-6593
Info: www.mav.hu
  
By Bus
The international (Eurolines) buses arrive and depart from Népliget bus terminal, which is also the terminal for many domestic bus lines. Tel: (+36-1) 382-0888.
Domestic lines also arrive to and depart from the Árpád Bridge (+36-1) 412-2597), from the Stadiums (Stadionok) (+36-1) 220-6227), and in Buda from Etele Square (+36-1) 382-4910).
Info: www.volanbusz.hu

By Ship/Boat
Hydrofoil boats: Run (ply) daily on the Danube River, on the Budapest-Bratislava-Vienna-Bratislava-Budapest route, between the 1st of May and the 29th of October.
Hydrofoil boats: transport passengers on the Danube River from Budapest to Vienna via Bratislava and back to Budapest from May 1. - Oct. 29.
International ferryboat lines: Ply between the Slovakian Sturovo (Párkány) and Esztergom on a daily basis.

Domestic boat lines: Scheduled boats depart from Budapest, through the Dunakanyar, arriving to the northern Hungarian holiday resorts.
Pleasure-boats (cruise ship lines): Boats offering great experiences cruise on certain sections of the Danube River. (Duna Corso – sightseeing program, Dance-music pleasure-boat, Margaret Island line). www.mahartpassnave.hu

Hungarian Language, words, phrases and numbers

General words & Phrases
Igen – Yes
Nem – No
Kérem - Please
Jó napot kívánok – Good afternoon! (used from about 10am to 18pm)
Viszontlátásra – Good bye (polite until we see each other again)
Jó reggelt – Good morning (used before 10am)
Jó estét – Good evening
Szia – Hi
Hello – Goodbye
Köszönöm – Thank you
Szívesen – You're welcome
Elnézést – Excuse me / Sorry
Bocsánat – Pardon me
Beszélsz angolul? – Do you speak English?
Nem értem - I don't understand
SEGÍTSÉG! – HELP!
Mennyibe kerül? – How much does it cost?

Getting around 
Busz - bus
Villamos - tram
Taxi – taxi
Jegy - Ticket
Berlét - Pass

In a restaurant
Vegetáriánus - vegetarian
Jó étvágyat! – Enjoy your meal!
Finom! – It's tasty.
Egészségedre! – Cheers!
Fizetek – I'd like to pay.
Hívna egy taxit nekem? – Could you call a taxi for me?
Kérem a panaszkönyvet! – Complaint book please
Számlát kérek – I'd like a receipt.

Numbers 
1 egy 
2 kettő
3 három
4 négy 
5 öt 
6 hat 
7 hét
8 nyolc
9 kilenc
10 tíz
100 száz
1.000 ezer

Budapest Sights

Great Market Hall
Hungarian State www.opera.hu
Andrassy ut
Parliament Budapest
Saint Stephen's Basilica www.basilica.hu
The Chain Bridge 
The Margaret Island 
Citadella Budapest & Gellért Hill www.citadella.hu
Statue Park or Memento Park www.mementopark.hu
Buda Castle District
Royal Palace
Funicular
Trinity Square with Matthias Church
The Heroes' Square & City Park
The Synagogue
The Roman Ruins of Aquincum
János Hill lookout Tower, Chairlift 
Hidden Treasures in Budapest

Budapest Museums

Aquincum Museum and Roman Ruins : (III. Szentendrei út 139)
Budapest History Museum – Castle Museum: (I. Szent György tér 2.)
Museum of Applied Arts (IX. Üllői út 33-37)
Kiscell Museum (III. Kiscelli u. 108)
Museum of Contemporary Art - Ludwig Museum Budapest (Palace of Arts)
Transport Museum (XIV, Városligeti körút 11.)
Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum (VI.Vörösmarty u.35.)
Hungarian National Gallery (I. Dísz tér 17, Budavári Palota, Buildings B, C and D)
Hungarian National Museum (VIII. Múzeum krt. 14-16)
Hungarian Agricultural Museum (XIV. Városliget, Vajdahunyadvár)
Hungarian Natural History Museum (VIII. Ludovika tér 6)
The House of Future Centre (Millenaris Park, II. Lövőház u.)
Art Hall (XIV. Hősök tere):
Ethnographical Museum (V. Kossuth tér 12)
Museum of Fine Arts (XIV. Hősök tere)
House of Terror (VI. Andrássy út 60.)
Jewish Museum (VII. Dohány u. 2)

Budapest Shopping

Budapest Shopping -Opening Hours
Food stores are open from 6.00 or 7.00 to 18.00, 19.00, Monday to Friday, on Saturdays from 6.00 or 7.00 to 13.00
Other Budapest shops are open Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 18.00, on Saturdays from 10.00 to 13.00.
Large supermarkets have longer opening hours and are NOT open on Sundays.
Deák Ferenc utca, - fashion street
Andrássy Blvd

Allee Budapest
Október 23. utca
1117 Budapest, Hungary
http://www.allee.hu/

West End City Center Budapest
Váci út 1-3.
1062 Budapest
Tel.: 238-7777
www.westend.hu

MOM Park Budapest
Alkotás utca 53.
1123 Budapest
www.mompark.hu

Mammut Shopping Center
1024 Budapest, Lövöház street. 2-6.
Phone.: +36 (1) 345-8020; 345-8333 
http://www.mammut.hu/

Flea market! Antiquities
Budapest Flea market int he city park http://www.bolhapiac.com/
Ecseri Flea Market http://www.ecseri.hu/

Budapest Map

cityspy
Budapest City Map brought to you by City Spy - Fun and entertaining European maps

Budapest Tourist Information Offices

There are tourist information centers at the airport, train stations and many places in Budapest downtown area.
Locations:

Absolute Tours Budapest – Independent Tourist Center
Lázár street 16. Just behind the Opera House
www.AbsoluteTours.com

Budapest Tourinform Oktogon
Liszt Ferenc Square 9-11.
Tourinform (Budapest Tourism Info Centre)
Sütő Street 2.
www.BudapestInfo.com

Taxis
Taxis are the best way to get around if you don't want to take public transport. They are still relatively cheap but you should pay attention to the taxi companies you use. Also please note that in Budapest it is cheaper to call a taxi ahead of time then to hail one down in the street. The companies listed below are all reliable and speak English. Only take a taxi that is well marked and has one of these names:

Company

Number

City Taxi Budapest

(+361) 211-1111

Rádio Taxi Budapest

(+361) 377-7777

6×6 Taxi Budapest

(+361) 266-6666

Taxi 2000 Budapest

(+361) 200-0000

 

Budapest Public transport & Budapest Card

It is fairly easy to get around in Budapest by public trasport. The subway network is made up of 4 metro lines (Red, Blue, Green and Yellow). Plus there are extensive tram and bus lines that will get you everywhere you want to go in and around Budapest. Tickets are mostly unavailable on the vehicles themselves, you have to buy them in advance, at the ticket office, metro stations or newspaper kiosks. Regular public transport is from 5 am to 23 pm or midnight, during the night there are several night lines troughout the city. More info on the times and prices can be found at www.bkv.hu

Budapest for Kids & Families

Many fun things await families visiting Budapest here is a list of programs, activities, sights and more that you can entertain the little ones with.

City Park Area
Here you have many offers for children that can lead to a whole day program. Here are a few links:
Budapest Zoo Built during the expo times it is a pretty grand zoo for a city this size. www.zoobudapest.com
Budapest Circus Weekly programs and special guest performaces year round. www.fnc.hu
Zoo Playhouse is next to the zoo, excellent for rainy days. Special discounts with http://www.jatek-mester.hu/

Other Children Friendly Places
Eleven Park Is a huge indoor fun center for kids with all those jumping climbing things that kids love to play on. Over 4000 sqm of space. Located in middle south Buda www.elevenpark.hu
Railway History Museum You can drive a real steamengine here. Perfect place for all those Thomas the tank lovers www.vasuttortenetipark.hu
Tropicarium Sharks and other tropical creatures make this a fun stop fror the little ones. Located in south Buda in a shopping mall. www.tropicarium.hu
Millenaris Park, House of Future (Jövő Háza) & Palace of Miracles (Csodák Palotája)  http://www.millenaris.hu/ is connected with a big modern park with many play grounds. Offers many programs for all ages. Hands on science and activity museums. Located in the Millenáris Park in Budapest's II district. Very good park for familes as well.
Hungarian Natural History Museum Every major city has one and a great place for those inclimate days. www.mttm.hu
Chair lift www.libego.hu runs between Zugliget and János-mountain (Jánoshegy). Has connection to the children's railway as well. Can be reached via bus line 158 from Moszkva Square Allows for access to many hiking trails in the Buda hills.
Children's railway www.gyermekvasut.com Runs from Hűvösvölgy to Széchenyi-mountain in the Buda hills. A miniauture version of a real life working railroad passenger train that educates and teaches children about the railway. It is mainly open during the off season on weekends and national holidays and in the summer daily.
Margit Island is Budapest's central park where you go for city strolls, runs and just relaxing a day at the park. The entire island is car free and offers many things. There is a swimming pool, children's zoo (free), many playgrounds, Japanese garden and more. To get around on the island a 4 wheel bike called a BRINGO COACH might help www.bringohinto.hu

Swimming and water related activities for families:
Aquaworld All year round indoor water theme park www.aqua-world.hu
Dagály Swimming Pool (summer) www.spasbudapest.com
Plaatinus Strand (summer) located on Margit Island www.spasbudapest.com
Római Swimming Pool (summer) Located in Buda's Northern side www.spasbudapest.com

Budapest Thermal Bath houses & Spas

Gellért Baths
Kiraly Baths 
Rudas Baths
Szechenyi Baths
Danubius Thermal Hotel
Dagaly Spa and Swimming Pool
Lukacs Baths and Swimming Pool
Rac Baths
King Baths

Budapest Weather

Weather Today in Budapest

Budapest weather in general is mainly continental, with hints of mediterranean weather attributes. We have a full four seasons and in summer it is very hot and winter very cold. Check the forecast before your trip and dress accordingly.

 

 

 

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