Good to Know

Hungary is part of the EU but not yet on the Euro. This means you’ll need to use Hungarian Forint.  325 Ft equals just 1 EUR.

On a money related note, ATMs are easily accessible throughout the city.

Is Budapest safe?
Yes, it’s very safe, you can walk alone on the streets even in the nights without any bad feelings.

What language do Hungarians speak?
Hungarians speak Magyar which is ranked as one of the toughest languages to learn. However most people that you will interact with, especially in touristy areas will speak English and/or German. (And possibly Russian depending on their age.) Here are a couple basics:

  • Hello or Bye = Szia (sounds like “See Ya”)
  • Goodbye = Viszlát (sounds like “veeslat”)
  • Yes / No  = Igen / Nem
  • How are you? = Hogy vagy?
  • Thank you = Köszönöm (sounds like “kozonom”)
  • Thank you very much = Köszönöm szépen
  • Good morning = Jó reggelt
  • Good afternoon = Jó napot
  • Good evening = Jó estét
  • Cheers! = Egészségédre!
  • You’re welcome = Szívesen
  • Sorry! / Excuse me!  = (to apologize = Bocsánat!) (to gain attention = Elnézést!)

Public transportation.
It’s very easy to get around the city.

The #4 / 6 trams are the best ones to stay near. Their route runs a half circle around the eastern part of the city and #6 runs 24/7. But DO validate your ticket. Budapest public transport runs on the honor system for validating tickets, however there are frequent spot checks by security officers and you don’t want to get busted by a Hungarian officer who won’t speak much English. Fines will vary. Note there are NO FREE TRANSFERS. You need a new ticket if you are going from the train to the bus or tram. In Budapest you are better off getting a 24 ticket or a multi day pass if it’s available.

Is tap water safe to drink?
Yes, the water is safe to drink and it’s really good quality.

Drinking culture in Hungary.
Budapest has a killer night life scene and is very affordable compared to other major European cities. Visiting the ruin pubs are a must! The most popular ones are Szimpla Kert and Instat. They are basically abandoned buildings in the Jewish quarters converted into open-air bars. Different ruin pubs have different themes. The legal drinking age in Hungary is 18.

Food in Hungary
The best-known ingredient in Hungarian food is the red-powdered spice called paprika. It is used to flavor many dishes. Other staples of Hungarian cooking include onions, cabbage, potatoes, noodles, and caraway seeds. Both cream and sour cream are used heavily in Hungarian food. Dumplings (dough wrapped around different kinds of fillings) are very popular as are cabbages or green peppers stuffed with meat and rice. Another favorite is the pancake called palacsinta. It is often rolled or wrapped around different kinds of fillings.

Hungarians eat a lot of meat, mostly pork or beef. Many meat dishes are dipped in bread and then baked or fried. Hungarians also prepare many different kinds of sausages. The Hungarian national dish is meat stew. People outside Hungary call it “goulash,” but the Hungarians have several different names for it, including pörkölt and tokány . The dish they call goulash, or gulyás, is actually a soup made with meat and paprika. Paprika is also a key ingredient in another national dish; a fish soup called halaszle.