About Hungary

budapest3Hungary’s location is generally defined as Eastern Europe. In fact, it is situated in the centre of the continent, in Central Europe, in its eastern part: this is the Carpathian Basin, where the Hungarian state has existed for over a thousand years. Citing the city’s unparalleled panorama, UNESCO declared Budapest, the Pearl of the Danube, a World Heritage site. After Iceland, Hungary has the world’s largest reserve of surface thermal water while also having Central Europe’s largest lake, Lake Balaton.

This small country is one of the great survivors of history: states and empires emerged, expanded or disintegrated and disappeared around it. The Hungarian national anthem describes the Hungarians as “people torn by fate”. Here one experiences a particular organic link between the old and new, between history and the present-day in a country, which still keenly safeguards its traditions, culture and arts, and is always perceptive to what is new, different and the future.

The People
The area of their country is barely 100,000 km sq. Their language is spoken nowhere else. Their folk songs bear no resemblance to those of other nations. Yet, the Hungarian people have been living in the centre of Europe for over a thousand years. Friendly, hardy and unique, the Hungarian people will make your stay a pleasurable one.

Language
Hungary’s language is Hungarian; most Hungarians speak regional dialects. English and German are widely spoken.

VISA and Passport regulations:
All U.S. and Canadian Citizens, including infants and children, need a valid passport to enter Hungary. The ticket agent at the check-in counter (at the originating airport) is required to check the passport, which must be valid during the intended stay. No Visa is required for US or Canadian citizens travelling to Hungary. All non U.S. or Canadian citizens, please contact the Hungarian Consulate nearest for assistance regarding entry requirements (www.mfa.gov.hu).

Currency
The Hungarian currency is the Forint. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Forint and bank notes of 200, 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 Forint. The 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 Forint notes are difficult to get changed especially by taxi drivers or in small shops.

Public Holidays
1 January (New Year), 15 March (National Day), Easter Monday, Whit Monday, 1 May (Labour Day), 20 August (State Holiday), 23 October (Republic Day), 1 November (All Saints’ Day), December 25 and 26 (Christmas).

Opening Hours
Most government offices are open from 08:30 a.m. to 04:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday. Many close at noon on Fridays.

Commercial offices are open from 08:00/09:00 a.m. to 05:00/06:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday, very few on Saturday from 08:00/09:00 a.m. to noon.

Shops are open from 10:00 a.m. to 06:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday, on Saturday until 01:00 p.m. Some groceries and supermarkets remain open until 07:00/08:00 or 09:00 p.m. on certain weekdays. Shops in the castle district are open from 10:00 a.m. to 06:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday, some until 09:00 p.m. Souvenir shops are open longer and also on Saturdays and Sundays. There are also plenty of non-stop shops in town, as well as shopping malls open on weekends.

Post Offices are open between 08:00 a.m. and 06:00 p.m. (some small offices in suburban areas close between noon and 02:00 p.m.) from Monday to Friday and Saturday until 01:00 p.m. The Central Post Office in the city centre and post offices in the main train stations are open from 07:00 a.m. to 09:00 p.m.

Banks are open Monday to Thursday from 08:00 or 08:30 a.m. to 04:00 p.m., on Fridays from 08:00 a.m. to 02:00 p.m. Banks are closed over the weekend and on public holidays. There are several money changing machines available in the city centre, the main currencies are accepted (American Dollar, English Pound, Euro, Japanese Yen, etc).

Electrical Current
220 volt, 50 cycle.

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