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Country Guides for Europe

Hungary

Hungary

Hungary is a country of turbulent history and a proud folk tradition. Straddling the beautiful Danube, romantic Budapest is a city of rich literary, musical and artistic heritage. A walker's delight, the cobbled streets are flanked with baroque architecture, Roman ruins and Medieval castles. The nearby Danube Bend offers delightful historic villages and beautiful scenery. To the east is Lake Balaton, often called "Hungary's Playground" where you can relax at a beach resort and enjoy the thermal springs. Moving northwest, the baroque towns of Eger and Holloko perfect for walking, and the Tokaj wine region produces the famous Tokaji Aszu, called "Wine of Kings, King of Wines." If you are a birder, make sure to spend some time in Hungary's wetlands, and if you're looking for fine leatherwork, music, and good museums, the southwestern city of Pecs is definitely worth a visit.

Language: Hungarian 98.2%, other 1.8%.

Major International Airport:

City

Airport
Airport
Code
Distance
From City
BudapestFerihegy AirportBUD13 miles SE

Food and waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness in travelers. Travelers' diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found throughout Eastern Europe and can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (Typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.

Malaria is a serious, but preventable infection that can be fatal. Your risk of malaria may be high in these countries, including cities. Prevent this deadly disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites. All travelers to malaria-risk areas in Eastern Europe, including infants, children, and former residents of Eastern Europe, are at risk for malaria.

An outbreak of diphtheria is occurring in all the states of the former Soviet Union. Travelers to these areas should be sure that their diphtheria immunization is up to date.

Tickborne encephalitis, a viral infection of the central nervous system occurs chiefly in Central and Western Europe. Travelers are at risk who visit or work in forested areas during the summer months and who consume unpasteurized dairy products. Vaccine for this disease is not available in the United States at this time. To prevent tickborne encephalitis, as well as Lyme disease, travelers should take precautions to prevent tick bites.

Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid nighttime travel if possible and always use seat belts.

The CDC recommends the following vaccines as appropriate for age (See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect):

  • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
  • Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment.
  • Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
  • Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults.
  • Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for 11- to 12-year-olds who did not receive the series as infants.

All travelers should take the following precautions, no matter the destination:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water. Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid travel at night if possible and always use seat belts.
  • Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Don't eat or drink dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurized.
  • Don't share needles with anyone.
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it. Never eat undercooked ground beef and poultry, raw eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products. Raw shellfish is particularly dangerous to persons who have liver disease or compromised immune systems.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Ticks are the primary source of insect-borne disease in Hungary, often carrying Lyme disease and encephalitis. Travelers should use topical insect repellent and wear insecticide-treated clothing in rural and wooded areas.

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

The urban municipal water supply in Hungary is considered safe for drinking. In rural areas the water does not meet the same standards, and water should be treated before drinking.

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

Prior police approval is required for public demonstrations in Hungary and police oversight is routinely provided to ensure adequate security for participants and passers-by. Nonetheless, situations may develop which could pose a threat to public safety. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid areas in which public demonstrations are taking place. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet website at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement , Travel Warnings, and Public Announcements can be found.

Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

CRIME: Hungary has a low rate of violent crime. However, street crime occasionally involving violence has been reported, especially near major hotels and restaurants and on public transportation. Theft of passports, currency, and credit cards is a frequent problem, especially in train stations and on public transportation.

The U.S. Embassy's Consular Section offers an informational brochure for tourists in Hungary, including a section on crimes and scams that have been encountered by other tourists. To consult this advisory, please visit the Embassy's consular website at http://www.usembassy.hu/conseng/announcements.html#advisory.

Drivers should be cautious when stopping at gas stations and highway parking lots, or fixing flat tires or other mechanical problems, especially at night. There have been reports of scams perpetrated on unwitting victims while traveling the highways. One reported scam involves someone who attracts the driver's attention by saying that there is something wrong with his/her car (e.g. a smoking hood or a flat tire) in order to encourage the driver to pull over to the side of the road. Once pulled over, the people participating in the scam will remove purses, passports, etc., from the car and drive away. Luggage and valuables should not be left unattended inside any vehicle.

Tourists who become victims of a crime in Hungary are strongly encouraged to call a 24-hour multilingual crime reporting telephone number. The number from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. is 01-438-8080; from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., the number is 06-8066-0044. There is also a 24-hour police Tour info office that provides service in English and German and is located in one of downtown Budapest's busiest tourist areas: Vigado Utca 6, 1051 Budapest.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds can be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.



Source: U.S. Department of State

Hungary's climate is more severe than its Western European neighbors, as the surrounding mountains block the moderating influence of the Atlantic Ocean. Summers are warm to hot, and winters are cold, snowy and often foggy. While precipitation can be expected year round, it is fairly unpredictable and severe summer droughts do occur.


City
Annual
Precip. Days
Annual
Precip. Totals
Budapest7820"
Debrecen8922"
Gyor8421"
Miskolc8122"
Pecs8924"
Szeged7719"

Hungary's electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items. Many North American appliances are designed to operate only within the 100-125 volt range. These appliances will suffer damage if plugged into 220-250 volts without the proper transformer or converter.

To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.

For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.

Download Magellan's Guide to World Electrical ConnectionsDownload Magellan's Guide to World Electrical Connections

A passport is required. A visa is not required for tourist stays of up to ninety (90) days. As of May 1, 2004, American citizen tourists may remain in Hungary for up to ninety (90) days during any six-month period from the date of first entry. If you plan to reside or study in Hungary for a period of more than ninety (90) days, a visa must be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Hungary at 3910 Shoemaker Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 362-6730, Internet address: http://www.hungaryemb.org, or the nearest Hungarian Consulate in Los Angeles or New York.



Source: U.S. Department of State

The time zone for Hungary is 1 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Hungary would be 6:00 pm

The unit of currency in Hungary is the forint (HUF).

Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter

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Other Travelers' Experiences in Hungary

"Weather in Hungary is actually much calmer than western Europe. I've lived there for six years and had a total of two thunder storms. Thats right...2. Now snow storms is a different story and generally Hungary will get 1-2 feet per season depending when and where you are. otherwise the weather is great!! come see us!"

"My husand and I enjoyed a long week-end in Budapest. The food was fantastic. Look for
dishes with paprika cream sauce. English
spoken almost everywhere and people were friendly. Be sure to visit the art museums."
- Jeanne Clerc, Saint Louis, MO,