Horseback riding in Hungary

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Equestrian tours in Hungary

Hungary Mini Guide
    Source: World Travel Guide

Overview

The small country of Hungary (Magyarország), surrounded by a sea of Slavs, is unique for its language, culture and ability to survive. Settled by the Magyars (a Finno-Ugric tribe who arrived via Russia in the ninth century), the country and its people have remained true to their heritage despite Mongol invasion in the 13th century, Turkish occupation in the 16th and 17th centuries, Austrian rule in the 18th and early 19th centuries, and communist domination in the mid 20th century.

The pride locals have for their nation is immense, but it doesn't spring solely from the stalwart strength of their nation. Hungary is also home to historic urban centres and evocative landscapes, not to mention quality wines, rejuvenating thermal springs, and a thriving arts and music scene.

Budapest, the capital, is a fantastic city split in two by the Danube. Buda is older, hillier, and more graceful, while Pest is the commercial centre dotted by gorgeous art nouveau buildings. Budapest contains the country's best bars and clubs, and has been a long time haven for writers, artists and musicians. Other centres, such as Eger, Pécs, Szentendre and Sopron, to name but a few, are vibrant cities with rich histories and stunning architecture.

The Puszta, a seemingly unending prairie topped by big skies, is the country's defining landscape, but Hungary's outdoor beauty doesn't stop there. There are 11 national parks and hundreds of protected areas to explore, along with Lake Balaton, Europe's largest body of fresh water, a multitude of meandering rivers and thousands of acres of vineyards and orchards. And at the end of a hard day sightseeing, there's no better place to relax than in one of Hungary's 150 thermal spas, some of which date back to Roman days.

 

Passport/Visa

Passport Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

1

Visa Required?

British

No

Australian

No

Canadian

No

USA

No

Other EU

No

Return Ticket Required?

British

No

Australian

No

Canadian

No

USA

No

Other EU

No


Note:

Hungary joined the Schengen Agreement on 21 December 2007 for overland entry points and seaports, and on 29 March 2008 for airports.

Passports

A passport valid for three months beyond the length of stay and issued within the past 10 years is required by all nationals listed in the chart above except
(1) EU nationals holding a passport or national ID card which is valid for the duration of stay.

If travelling from one border-free Schengen country to another however, EU nationals are not required to show a passport or national ID card. It is still recommended that you travel with your passport or ID card to prove your identity if necessary though. Note that Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the UK are not part of the Schengen area, so a passport or ID card is required if travelling to/from these countries.

EU nationals are not required to possess a return ticket or show sufficient funds.

Visas

Visas are not required by nationals referred to in the chart above for stays of up to 90 days.

EU nationals staying longer than 90 days need to register with the immigration department.

Nationals of Australia, Canada and the USA staying in Hungary for longer than 90 days need to apply for a long-stay visa.

Note:
Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements (see Contact Addresses).

Visa Note

Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements for Hungary.
Visitors are not entitled to take any gainful employment. Non-EU visa-exempt nationals need to secure a work permit and working visa in advance.

Family members of EEA citizens, who hold blue residence documentation in their passports with the document type 'Residence card of a family member of an EEA national' are not required to have a visa in order to travel to Hungary.

Money

Currency

Hungarian Forint (HUF; symbol Ft) = 100 fillér. Notes are in denominations of Ft20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500 and 200. Coins are in denominations of Ft100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. A large number of commemorative coins in circulation are legal tender.

Currency Exchange

Currency can be exchanged at hotels, banks, post offices, bureaux de change, airports, railway stations, travel agencies and some restaurants throughout the country. Automatic exchange machines are available in Budapest and other main tourist centres.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

It is possible to withdraw cash by credit card at many post offices. American Express, Cirrus, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted. Credit and debit cards can be used to withdraw money from ATMs, which are found throughout the country.

Traveller's Cheques

Accepted in most post offices and banks. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Euros or US Dollars.

Banking Hours

Mon-Thurs 0800-1700, Fri 0800-1600.

Exchange Rate Indicators

Date

June 1

£1.00=

Ft404.18

$1.00=

Ft280.41

€1.00=

Ft313.79

 

Health

Vaccinations

 

Special Precautions

Diphtheria

No

Hepatitis A

No

Malaria

No

Rabies

No

Tetanus

Yes

Typhoid

No

Yellow Fever

No

Inoculation regulations can change at short notice. Please take medical advice in the case of doubt. Where 'Sometimes' appears in the table above, precautions may be required, depending on the season and region visited.



Other Risks

Tick-borne encephalitis is present in forested, grassy or lakeside areas during the warmer summer months. Insect repellent containing 30-50% DEET can help prevent bites, and long-sleeved shirts, long trousers, boots and hats should be worn to protect exposed skin. Vaccination is advised for campers and hikers visiting densely-forested areas outside the capital.

Rabies, although on the decrease, is also present. In the unlikely event of being bitten seek medical advice without delay. The sun can be surprisingly strong in summer and precautions should be taken to avoid sunburn. Mosquitoes are present by water in summer and can sometimes be a nuisance, although they carry no risk of disease.

The prevalence of HIV for adults in Hungary is estimated to be less than 0.1% of the adult population, a little lower than that in the UK. However, normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV should always be taken.

Food and Drink

Food in Hungary is as safe to eat as anywhere in Western Europe, but places where cooked food is allowed to cool before reheating are usually best avoided. Tap water is safe to drink throughout the country. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat.

Health Care

If European visitors or any of their dependents are suddenly taken ill or have an accident during a visit to Hungary, free or reduced-cost necessary treatment is available - in most cases on production of a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Full travel insurance is advised for all travelers.

In the case of an emergency, round-the-clock healthcare is available in Budapest from Fönix SOS Ambulance (tel: (1) 200 0100; www.fonixmed.com), which also has its own ambulance service. The Rózsakert Medical Centre in Budapest (tel: (1) 391 5903) offers a private healthcare service with American-trained doctors.

Emergency dental care may be had at SOS Dental Service (tel: (1) 269 6010 or (30) 383 3333 in Budapest, which is open 24 hours a day. Many visitors make use of Hungary’s private dental services, which are highly professional are very affordable in comparison to other countries. Several companies offer holiday packages in which extensive dental treatment is combined with a city break.

Many visitors travel to Hungary to make use of the country’s numerous thermal baths, which are claimed to be beneficial for a wide variety of chronic complaints, in particular for dermatological conditions and arthritis.

 

Getting There

Getting There by Air

The national airline is Malév Hungarian Airlines (MA) (website: www.malev.hu).

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Budapest is 2 hours 30 minutes; from New York is 8 hours 40 minutes.

Main Airports

Budapest Ferihegy (BUD) (website: www.bud.hu) is 16km (10 miles) from the city. To/from the airport: Regular coach and bus services are available to the city. The airport minibus (tel: (1) 296 8555) runs to and from any address in the city by prior arrangement. The 93 and 200 buses offer an express service between the underground terminus at Kobánya-Kispest and the Ferihegy terminals. Taxis are available at all times (journey time - 45 minutes). Facilities: Duty-free shop, car hire, restaurants and bar, banks/bureaux de change, shops, hotel reservation desk and post office.

Departure Tax

None.

Getting There by Water

Few visitors arrive by water in this landlocked country. Minor ports are located on the River Danube. From May to October there is a daily hydrofoil service run by MAHART (tel: (1) 318 1223; website: www.mahartpassnave.hu) between Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. The journey takes approximately 6 hours.

Getting There by Rail

Hungarian State Railways (MÁV) operates Hungary's rail network (tel: (1) 461 5400 or (06) 4049 4949 for enquiries; website: www.mav.hu). Direct services connect Hungary to over two dozen European cities including Basel, Berlin, Bratislava, Bucharest, Dresden, Ljubljana, Munich, Paris, Vienna and Zagreb.

Rail Passes

InterRail: offers unlimited second-class travel in up to 30 European countries for European residents (or non-European residents who have resided in Europe for over six months) with two pass options. The Global Pass allows travel for 22 days, one month, five days in 10 days or 10 days in 22 days across all countries. The One-Country Pass offers travel for three, four, six or eight days in one month in any of the countries except Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro. Travel is not allowed in the passenger's country of residence. Travellers under 26 years receive a reduction. Children's tickets are reduced by about 50%. Supplements are required for some high-speed services, seat reservations and couchettes. Discounts are offered on Eurostar and some ferry routes. Available from InterRail (website: www.interrail.net).

Eurailpass:
offers unlimited travel in 20 European countries. Tickets are valid for 10 days to three months. The Eurail Global Pass Saver ticket offers discounts for two or more travelers, while the Eurail Global Pass Youth ticket provides discounts for those under 26. The Eurailpass Flexi allows 10 or 15 travel days within a two-month period. The Eurail Selectpass is valid in three, four or five bordering countries and allows five, six, eight or 10 travel days within a two-month period. For five bordering countries, there is also a 15-travel-day option. The Eurail Regional Pass allows three to 10 travel days in a two-month period in two or three neighbouring countries. Children receive a 50% reduction. The Euro One Country Pass for Hungary entitles a person to five days of travel in a 15-day period or 10 days travel within a month. The passes cannot be sold to residents of Europe, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia or the Russian Federation. Available from The Eurail Group (website: www.eurail.com).

Getting There by Road

It is possible to drive to Hungary from all of its neighbouring countries and from further afield. The most direct way route from Belgium to Hungary follows the E40, E35, E56 and E60 towards Vienna; from Vienna the E60 crosses into Hungary at Hegyeshalom, from where the M1 (E60/75) runs to Budapest. Anyone driving from the UK will have to travel via the Channel Tunnel (tel: 0870 535 3535, in the UK; website: www.eurotunnel.co.uk).

Bus:
Bus connections are available from most major European cities; contact Volanbusz for further details (tel: (1) 382 0888; website: www.volanbusz.hu). Eurolines (tel: 0870 514 3219, in the UK; website: www.eurolines.com) runs regular coach services from the UK to Hungary. Coach passes: Budapest is one of 40 cities that travellers can visit with a 15- or 30-day Eurolines Pass. These can be brought online from Eurolines' website.

 

Climate

There are four seasons, with a very warm summer from June to August. Spring and autumn are mild, while winters are very cold. Rainfall is distributed throughout the year with snowfalls in winter.

Required Clothing

Lightweights for summer. Mediumweights for spring with heavier clothing for autumn and winter.

 

Contacts

Embassy of the Republic of Hungary in the UK

35 Eaton Place, London SW1X 8BY, UK 
020) 7201 3440 (embassy) or (020) 7235 5218 (consular).
Website:
www.mfa.gov.hu/kulkepviselet/UK

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0930-1200 (visa section).

Hungarian National Tourist Office (HNTO) in the UK

46 Eaton Place, London SW1X 8AL, UK
Tel: (800) 3600 0000 (24-hour English-language free enquiry line).
Website: www.gotohungary.co.uk

Embassy of the Republic of Hungary in the USA

3910 Shoemaker Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 362 6730.
Website: washington.kormany.hu 
Opening times: Mon-Fri 0930-1230 (visa section). 

Hungarian National Tourist Office (HNTO) in the USA

447 Broadway, 5th floor, New York, NY, 10013, United States
Tel: (212) 695 1221.
Website: www.gotohungary.com

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