Good to Know
The official language of the country is Hungarian, but English and German are widely spoken.
Flying to Budapest: 50 int'l airways have direct daily connections from European cities. 11 discount airways serve 22 destinations. Budapest's airport: Franz Liszt International airport (BUD).
Transfer to/from Budapest city:
- By taxi (e.g., by FŐTAXI, the official airport taxi company) the one-way fare between the city center and the airport is about 6,000 - 10,000 HUF / 20 - 34 EUR (per taxi), no more fixed rates. Travel time is around 20-25 mins (except rush hours).
- By airport shuttle (BAM) the fare is 3,200 HUF / 11 EUR (one way, per person).
- By public transportation (BKV) take bus 200E, then metro line 3. Transfer ticket price is 490 HUF / 1.5 EUR. Travel time is around 50 mins.
Local public transportation: in Budapest, 3 metro lines, 220 bus lines, 27 tramway lines, 14 trolley-bus lines are operated by BKV. Ticket prices are: single ticket - 320 HUF / 1 EUR, weekly pass - 4,600 HUF / 15.5 EUR. 1-day and 3-day passes are also available.
The official currency is Hungarian Forint (HUF - Ft). The exchange rate is cca: 1 EUR = 295 HUF. Though Hungary is not a member of the Euro Zone, you may use EUR cash for payment in hotels and in some shops, supermarkets and petrol stations. Please, look for special signs indicating this possibility.
It is better to obtain Hungarian Forints upon arrival to Hungary than to exchange it with a bank at home, as local Hungarian banks work with better rates than their counterparts abroad. Exchanging foreign currency into Forints is therefore possible in banks, official currency exchange offices (there are affiliates of larger banks) and travel agencies. It is important to know that all official currency exchange offices determine the exchange rate on their own accord. They must fully inform you about their own rates, but not the real or the best exchange rate available – they build their costs into their very own rate. The exchange rates must be visually displayed at the place of exchange. Changing money at Budapest hotels is not advisable, as their rates are at least 10% lower than what is generally available.
In Hungary, banks are usually open between 8.00 - 16.00 on weekdays, although some close an hour earlier on Fridays. With the exception of some shopping mall bank branches, Hungarian banks are not open on Saturdays. ATM machines and currency exchange machines are available throughout the country. Credit cards - AMEX, Diners Club, Maestro, Euro/MasterCard and VISA - can be used to withdraw cash from banks and ATM machines and to pay bills in hotels, restaurants and shops.
Clocks are on Greenich Mean Time (GMT) plus 1 hour.
Electricity is supplied at 220 Volts. Two-pin electric outlets (220 V, 50 Hz) are used.
Telephones operate by phone card or coins. Cards are available at post offices and tobacconists. Country code for Hungary is +36 | Area code for Budapest is 1. Some useful telephone numbers:
Ambulance: 104 | Fire Brigade: 105 | Police: 107
The climate is continental. The average daytime temperature in March is 8-12°C.