Budapest Life and Visitor Travel Tips
Since much of life in Budapest is now directly linked to its thriving tourism industry in one way or another, this city now offers a discount card, similar to many other leading European cities. The Budapest Kártya (Card) allows either reduced or free admission to some 60 museums and other attractions, along with free travel on all different types of public transport and savings on various organised tours.
The Budapest Card also boasts car rental discounts and further savings at thermal spas, shops and restaurants. However, the guidebook provided with the card can be a little ambiguous, so do read it carefully and make sure that you are getting what you expect before you hand over your Hungarian Forints.
Useful Contact Details
Featuring a team of staff and a 24-hour hotline, the Tourinform office is generally considered to be one of the best sources of information within the city of Budapest, which includes plenty of brochures about locations all over Hungary. Operated by both the Tourism Area of the Economic Ministry and also the Hungarian National Tourist Office, the Tourinform can become extremely busy during the summer.
The Budapest Tourist Office (BTO) has numerous outlets and these tend to be somewhat less crowded at peak times. BTO offices can be found at Castle Hill, the Nyugati Train Station and also at Ferihegy International Airport, where offices are located in arrivals and departures.
Address: Március 15 Tér 7, Budapest, HU-1056, Hungary, HU
Tel: +36 01 266 0479 / +06 80 630 800 (24-hour)
Fax: +36 01 266 7477
Budapest Tourist Office (BTO)
Address: Castle Hill, Budapest, Hungary, HU
Tel: +36 01 266 0479
Address: I Szentháromság Tér, Budapest, Hungary, HU
Tel: +36 01 488 0475
Address: Nyugati Train Station, Nyugati Pályaudvar, 16 Várbusz, Budapest, Hungary, HU
Tel: +36 01 302 8580
Address: Oktogon, VI Liszt Ferrenc Tér 11, Budapest, Hungary, HU
Tel: +36 01 322 4098
Language and Dialect
Locals in Budapest speak the language of Hungarian and this is considered to be a modern European language. Whilst some restaurants will offer English menus, don't expect all locals to be this helpful. Your holiday will be all the more enjoyable with the help of a pocket-sized Hungarian phrase book, which you will be likely to use again and again during your stay. Here are some rather simple Hungarian phrases to start you off:
- Yes - Igen
- No - Nem
- Please - Kérem
- Thank you - Köszönöm
- What is your name? - Hogy hivják?
- My name is... - ...Vagyok
- Do you speak English? - Beszél angolul?
- Nice to meet you - Orülök hogy találkoztunk
- I do not speak Hungarian - Nem beszélek magyarul
- Do you understand? - Erti?
- How do I get to...? - Hogy jutok el...?
- How much does it cost? - Mennyibe kerül?
Dos and Don'ts / Tourist Traps
- Drinking - be cautious of girls who ask men if they'd like to join them for a drink nearby, as you may end up with a rather inflated bar bill that you are then forced to pay
- Exchanging Money - banks and ATMs are popular ways to obtain your Hungarian Forints whilst in Budapest, although both apply high levels of commission. Instead, try the more competitive local booths, such as those around the Vaci Utca, where the exchange rates are often surprisingly good, applying little or no commission
- Pickpocketing - always take extra care with your valuables and personal belongings, since pickpocketing can be rife in some parts of Budapest, particularly around the Keleti railway station. However, this upset can usually be avoided by using commonsense and staying alert within crowds
- Public Transport - don't forget to stamp your ticket when using public transport, since you never know when you might encounter a ticket inspector
- Signs and Translating - the majority of the main attractions in Budapest only have signs in Hungarian, and so therefore a little research in advance will make sure that you truly make that most out of your stay
- Souvenirs - the best places to find good value gift ideas in Budapest are at the main department stores and the grand bazaars
- Taking a Taxi - many taxis drivers see tourists as a means to easy money and can change the speed on the meter. Therefore, do try to fix the overall fare first, before you leave, and always use official taxis with the approximate signage