European Campus


 Study in Hungary
ABOUT Hungary

STUDY IN  Hungary - Living in Hungary


Social Scene    |    Local Customs and Culture    |    Transportation

Accommodation    |    Health Care    |    Emergency Contacts


Social Scene


Social Conventions

Most Hungarians enjoy modern music and dance, although older people still preserve their traditions and culture, particularly in small villages. Handshaking is customary. Both Christian name and surname should be used. Normal courtesies should be observed. At a meal, toasts are usually made and should be returned. A useful word is egészségünkre (pronounced ay-gash-ay-gun-gre), meaning ‘your health’. Few people speak English outside hotels, big restaurants and tourist offices. A knowledge of German is very useful. Gifts are acceptable for hosts as a token of thanks, particularly when invited for a meal. Casual wear is acceptable in most places, with the exception of expensive restaurants and bars. Formal attire should be worn for important social functions, but it is not common practice to specify dress on invitations. Smoking is prohibited on public transport in towns and public buildings. Travellers may smoke on long-distance trains.

Photography: Military installations should not be photographed; other restrictions are usually signposted.

Tipping: 10 to 15 per cent is expected for nearly all services in restaurants, bars, clubs, taxis and so on.


Local Customs & Culture


Food & Drink

A good range of restaurants is available. Table service is common, although there are many inexpensive self-service restaurants. A typical menu offers two or three courses at inexpensive rates. Fine dairy and pastry shops (cukrászda) offer light meals. Specialities include halászlé (fish soups) with pasta and Goulash gulyás soup. Western goulash is called pörkölt or tokány. Stuffed vegetables, sweet cakes, gundel palacsinta (pancake) and pastries are also popular.

Eszpresszó coffee bars and Drink bars offer refreshments. Gerbeaud’s is probably Budapest’s most famous coffee-house. Tokaji (strong dessert wine) or Bull’s Blood (strong red wine) are recommended. Pálinka or barack (apricot brandy) is a typical liqueur. Imported beers and soft drinks are also available. There are no licensing hours, but the legal age for drinking in a bar is 18 years. Minors are allowed to go into bars but will not be served alcohol.


Budapest has many nightclubs, bars and discos. There are two casinos in Budapest: one next to the Sofitel Hotel (formerly Hyatt Regency), and one near Buda castle. Cinemas in major towns show many English-language films. During the summer months the popular Lake Balaton resort has a lively nightlife. Western Hungary in particular has a lot of very good wine cellars. Visitors would do well to search out traditional folk music and dancing, as the gypsy music which is so common in restaurants is not considered the ‘true’ folk tradition of the country. The magnificent Budapest Opera House stages regular performances, and seats are (by Western standards) exceedingly cheap.


Special purchases include embroideries, Herend and Zsolnay porcelain and national dolls.

Shopping hours

Department stores are open from Mon-Wed and Fri 1000-1800, Thurs 1000-2000, Sat 0900-1300. Food shops are open from Mon-Fri 0700-1900, Sat 0700-1400.

Special Events

For a detailed list of festivals and special events celebrated online website:

The following is a selection of special events occurring in Hungary:

  • Jan - Mini Festival
  • Mar - Anniversary of the Budapest Spring Festival
  • May - Budapest Early Music Festival
  • Jun - Ferencváros Summer Festival
  • Jun - Budapest Fair
  • Oct - Music of Our Age
  • Oct - Autumn Festivals







AIR: Malév Hungarian Airlines operates flights to more than 40 cities.

RAIL: Services are operated by MÁV. All main cities are linked by efficient services but facilities are often inadequate. Supplements are payable on IC and express trains. Reservations are compulsory for IC trains and recommended for express trains, particularly in summer. Tickets can be bought 60 days in advance on domestic railway lines, as can seat reservations.

The most popular tourist rail routes are: Budapest–Kecskemet–Szeged– Budapest and Budapest–Siofok–Lake Balaton. Rail-bus services are available between the main railway stations within Budapest at fixed rates (tel: (1) 353 2722; fax: (1) 353 2187; website: There are also narrow-gauge railways in operation in many parts of the country.

ROAD: Traffic drives on the right. There are eight arterial roads in the country: all but the M8 start from central Budapest. Tolls are payable on some roads and all motorways. Season tickets can be purchased. From Budapest the two main highways are the M1 from Györ to Vienna and the M7 along Lake Balaton. The M3 connects Budapest with eastern Hungary. Generally the road system is good.

Bus: Budapest is linked with major provincial towns. Tickets are available from Volán long-distance bus terminal, Budapest, and at Volán offices throughout the country. A bus season ticket is also available.

Car hire: Available at Ferihegy Airport or at Volán and Budapest tourist offices as well as at major hotels. Regulations: Speed limits are 50kph (31mph) in built-up areas, 90kph (50mph) on main roads, 110kph (62mph) on highways and 130kph (75mph) on motorways. Seat belts are compulsory. Petrol stations are frequent and there are no special tourist petrol coupons. There is a total alcohol ban when driving; severe fines are imposed for infringements. It is obligatory to keep headlights dipped at all times when on the open road. Mobile phones are allowed only with headsets. Child seats are compulsory.

Breakdowns: The Hungarian Automobile Club operates a breakdown service on main roads at weekends and a 24-hour service on motorways. For further details contact the Hungarian Automobile Club, Rómer Flóris utca 4/A, H-1024 Budapest (tel: (1) 345 1800 or 345 1755 (24-hour emergency helpline); e-mail:; website:

Documentation: Pink format EU licence accepted but International Driving Permit required if green licence held.

URBAN: There is good public transport in all the main towns. Budapest has bus, trolleybus, tramway, suburban railway (HEV), a three-line metro and boat services. The metro has ticket barriers at all stations. The bus–trolleybus–tramway system has pre-purchase flat fares with ticket puncher on board. Day passes are available for all the transport modes in the city. Trams and buses generally run from about 0430-2300. Some night services also operate. The metro runs from 0430-2310 and stations can be identified by a large ‘M’. There is also a cogwheel railway (Városmajor–Széchenyi Hill), a Childrens’ Railway (Hüvösvölgy–Széchenyi Hill), a chairlift and a funicular. There are tramways in some of the other towns, or else good bus services. Day passes and season tickets are available in Budapest.




Note: The Hungarian Tourist Card provides discounts on accommodation including hotels, guest houses and youth hostels (the Hungarian National Tourist Office can provide further information or visit the website

HOTELS: In all classes of hotel, visitors from the West can expect to be made very welcome and service will usually be friendly and smooth. In addition to hotels, there are Tourist Hostels, which provide simple accommodation usually in rooms with four or more beds. For information contact the Hungarian Hotel Association, Secretariat, Novotel Budapest Convention Centre, Jagello-u 1-3, 1123 Budapest (tel: (1) 466 9462; tel/fax: (1) 322 3854; e-mail:; website: The HNTO also issues a brochure with listings of hotels, guest houses and tourist hotels.

Grading: Hungarian hotels are classified by use of a star rating system: 5- and 4-star hotels are luxury class and are generally extremely comfortable; 3-star hotels are comfortable but less luxurious and offer good value for money; and 2- and 1-star hotels are generally adequate and clean.

GUEST HOUSES: Available almost everywhere. Paying-guest accommodation is an inexpensive and excellent way of getting to know the people. Renting often includes a bathroom but not breakfast. Such accommodation should be reserved well in advance. Further information can be obtained from the Hungarian National Tourist Office

SELF-CATERING: Bungalows with two rooms, fully equipped, can be rented at a large number of resorts. Full details and rates can be obtained from the Hungarian National Tourist Office.

CAMPING/CARAVANNING: Camping is forbidden except in specially designated areas. Booking is through the Hungarian Camping and Caravanning Club, Mária u., 34. II floor, 4apt, H-1085 Budapest (tel: (1) 267 5255/6; fax: (1) 267 5254). Further information can also be obtained in a special catalogue published by the Hungarian National Tourist Office (see Contact Addresses section) and there is an online booking facility (website: Most of the sites cater only for campers bringing in their own equipment. Caravans are permitted in all sites that have power points; a parking charge is made. There is no charge for children under the age of six and young people between six and 16 years of age pay half price. Grading: There are four categories of site, designated I, II, III and IV, according to the amenities provided, and most are open from May to September.


Health Care


There is a reciprocal health agreement with the UK. On presentation of a UK passport, treatment is free at hospitals, ‘poly-clinics’ and doctor’s surgeries

Charges will be made for dental and ophthalmic treatment and for prescribed medicines. Chemists are generally open from 0800-1800. There are chemists with a 24-hour emergency service open in every district


Emergency Contacts

For Emergencies Ambulance Police Fire
104 112 112 112
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