Living in Hungary
ARRIVING TO BUDAPEST
Arriving by plane
In Budapest your plane will arrive to Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (formerly known as Ferihegy Airport) – Terminal 2. After passing through passport and customs control you can get to the city either by taxi, minibus or by public transport.
A ride to the city centre should typically cost around 6500 HUF (appr. 22 EUR) depending on traffic conditions. In Budapest, all taxis must use the same tariff system, so prices are the same.
You find information on the Airport Shuttle Minibus service including prices and zones .
If you have a tight budget you can use the Budapest public transport. The blue public transport bus 200E takes you from the airport to Nagyvárad tér metro station, where you need to change to Metro line 3 (blue metro line), which takes you to the city centre.
100E is a direct shuttle service which operates between Liszt Ferenc International Airport and Deák Ferenc tér in the city centre. Please note that passengers require a special ticket for bus line100E: the airport shuttle bus single tickets costs 900 HUF. Other types of tickets or passes are not accepted. The ticket is available through a mobile application as well. Visit BKK for details.
Drop-off points on the way to the city centre:
– Kálvin tér M (metro station)
– Astoria M (metro station)
– Deák Ferenc tér M (metro station)
Arriving by car
Either you arrive in Hungary on a motorway or wish to use Hungary’s motorway network you need to buy an e-vignette. It’s a virtual vignette, replacing the traditional windscreen stickers. You can buy the e-vignette at retailers, petrol stations, on-line on the internet or by mobile phones.
If you arrive to Hungary on Motorway, buy the e-Vignette right at the border or latest at the first petrol station. In summer there can be long queues at the petrol stations, so buying the e-sticker in advance on the web can be a good idea. Actual toll fees you find on the website of the State Motorway Management Company.
If you need any information (timetables, lines, fares, etc) about the Hungarian train and bus transport system check these websites:
MÁV – Hungarian State Railways.
VOLÁNBUSZ – Hungarian Bus Transport Provider.
Public transport in Budapest
Budapest has an efficient network of public transport, including bus, trolley bus, tram, metro services plus suburban railway lines called HÉV lines and boat services. Passes are available for various lengths of time (eg. monthly) and are valid for each form of transport – metro, bus, tram, trolleybus, boat – within the boundaries of Budapest. Single tickets that can be used on any form of transport are also available at metro stations or street kiosks. They are valid for a single journey without transfer on the whole length of a line (within the boundaries of Budapest), which means multiple tickets are needed when your journey involves changes. Bus drivers on specific routes do sell tickets but passengers need to prepare exact amounts as no change will be given back. If one regularly uses public transport, it is economically more viable to buy a monthly or yearly pass. Students are entitled to reduced rates. For current ticket types and prices, visit BKK Holders of a valid student card are entitled to fare reduction.
- Single ticket: 350 HUF
- Block of 10 tickets: 3000 HUF
- Monthly Budapest-pass for students: 3450 HUF
- Quarterly Budapest-pass for students: 10350 HUF
- Semester pass for students: 16200 HUF
- Discounted annual Budapest-pass for students: 37800 HUF
Be sure to validate your ticket using the orange/yellow/red ticket-punching machines as controllers may ask to see your ticket, and will fine you for having an invalid one.
Additionally, single tickets are available from the bus driver onboard at the price of 450 HUF.
Good to know:
Public transportation in Budapest virtually ends after 11pm, when the metro, streetcars and trolley buses stop operating. There are some night buses running (marked with “É”), but not as frequently.
Most train lines in Hungary use Budapest as a central point, which is the most common place for transfers. Although the train network has lines connecting cities and towns, to reach your final destination quickly, it is sometimes faster to travel through Budapest. Budapest has three major train stations: the Eastern Railway Station (Keleti pályaudvar) and the Southern Railway Station (Déli pályaudvar), both of which are situated at stops along metro line M2 (Red Line), and the Western Railway Station (Nyugati pályaudvar), which is situated on metro line M3 (Blue Line). Related website: MÁV-Group
If you travel outside Budapest, you can also take a coach. Coach drivers sell tickets on the coach, but to secure seat reservations, the tickets should be purchased in advance. Related website: Volan Bus
Visitors don’t need a Hungarian driving license to drive in Hungary but they need to keep all car documents, their driving license and passport with them. If they are stopped by a traffic warden or a police officer, some form of identification including these documents will have to be presented and driving without any documents is an offence. Speed limits in Hungary vary according to road types. In urban areas the speed limit is 50 km per hour, on highways it is 90 km per hour. If you drive on a motorway, the speed limit is 130 km per hour and you have to buy a motorway vignette. You can get it mainly at petrol stations. It costs HUF 2,975 per week for passenger cars. Renting a car is also possible if you are 21 years old or older and have had your driving license for at least a year. Most car suppliers require an international driving license as well. Hungary has a zero tolerance policy towards a drink-driving offence.
When taking a taxi, tourists should avoid hailing unmarked taxi cabs. Even if they have a taxi sign on the roof and are seen standing at taxi ranks, do not get in the car unless they have a company name on the outside of the car. You can always hail a taxi in the streets but it is cheaper to book one over the phone. From September 2013 every taxi is uniformly yellow in Budapest.
- Base fare: 450 HUF
- Kilometer-based fare: 280 HUF/km
- Time-based fare: 70 HUF/minute
Main taxi companies:
Forint (HUF) has been the local currency in Hungary since August 1946. It was named after the city of Florence, where golden coins had been minted since 1252.
Banknotes come in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000 and 20,000. All of them are watermarked, contain an embedded vertical security strip of thin metal and are designed to be suitable for visually impaired individuals. Six different coins are in use: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 forint coins.
You can also open a bank account as the non-residential account service is designed especially for foreign nationals. All you need is your passport. You can open a HUF account or any other currency account.
Please visit the Hungarian National Bank’s website for the current exchange rates.
COSTS OF LIVING
|Accommodation||Dormitory||< 35 000 HUF||< 110 €|
|Private flat||< 124 500 HUF||< 390 €|
|Shared flat||< 55 500 HUF||< 174 €|
|Food||Basic food||< 40 000 HUF||< 125 €|
|Recreation||Movie, theatre, concert||< 2 500 HUF/occasion||< 8 €/occasion|
|Party||< 5 000 HUF/occasion||< 16 €/occasion|
|Sport activity||< 2 000 HUF/occasion||< 6 €/occasion|
|Transportation||Cycling (with own bike)||FREE||FREE|
|Public bike-sharing system (Only available in Budapest; 8000 HUF/semester||< 1 333 HUF/occasion||< 4 €/occasion|
|Urban public transport (Monthly pass with Hungarian Student ID)||3 450 HUF||~11 €|
Please note that the prices listed are guidelines, not actual prices. The actual costs of living depend on your personal preference and financial ability.
If you want to enjoy Hungarian culture, rich cultural life awaits for you in every town, especially in the capital. Here you can read every basic information about culture, events and what to see in Hungary: http://gotohungary.com/
Hungarians normally give tips when eating out, having a drink at a bar or when using a taxi. The tipping etiquette is 10% in case of a proper service. However, many restaurants include extra charge for serving customers in the total, therefore check your bill prior to paying. In that case you don’t have to leave any extra tip. Taxi service is also up to 10% if the service was satisfying.
1 January New Year’s Day
15 March 1848 Revolution Memorial Day
1 May Labour Day
20 August Saint Stephen’s Day (founder of the Hungarian state)
23 October 1956 Revolution Memorial Day
1 November All Saints’ Day
25-26 December Christmas
There is no school on National Holidays but be aware because most of the shops are closed as well.
COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA
Hungary’s country code is 36. To make a long distance call within Hungary, you have to dial 06 followed by the area code, then the actual number. ‘Green numbers’ starting with 06 80 are free of charge, while calling ‘blue numbers’ (starting with 06 40) entails a local call charge.
Foreign talks are very expensive, so we suggest to buy a Hungarian SIM card and net mobile for the duration of your studies in our country. There are three mobile service providers: Telekom, Telenor and Vodafone, whose networks can be accessed all over the country. They all offer prepaid cards, which you can buy at newsstands, post offices and petrol stations.
There are numerous post offices throughout the country. Opening hours vary, depending on office locations. In Budapest, the Central Post Office is situated near the Western Railway Station and is open weekdays from 7.00 to 20.00, and from 8.00 to 18.00 on Saturdays. Mail boxes are red and bear the word: ‘Posta’. Besides mailing your letters at a post office, this is also a place where you can pay your bills, transfer money, send faxes, buy phone cards, order a newspaper or open a PO box if you do not have a permanent address.
Newspapers and magazines
You can browse any news portal, while YouTube and social media websites are also freely accessible in Hungary, including international profiles.
For non-Hungarians there are also some local newspapers available in foreign languages, such as the Budapest Times in English, Budapester Zeitung in German or Le Journal Francophone de Budapest in French. And in case you can’t go without them, the best-known international newspapers and magazines are also available at major newsstands and foreign-language bookshops.
To keep up-to-date with what there is to do and see in Hungary and in Budapest, pick up a copy of Funzine, We love Budapest, and English-language programmes and events magazine, or read it online. It is free and available at many hotels, restaurants, clubs, cafés and universities.
IMPORTANT TO KNOW
In Hungary, none of the drugs are legal, moreover, the purchase, consumption, and possession of illegal drugs are all criminal offences. Even if the use of a particular drug is not a criminal offence in your country, you are still obliged to comply with Hungarian law, and will be held accountable to the same standards as a local person. You can learn more from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
The speed limit for cars and motorcycles on the motorway is 130 km per hour (approximately 80 mph) on highways, the limit is 110 km per hour (approximately 65 mph) and in town and village areas the speed limit is 50 km per hour (approximately 30 mph)
Hungary has a zero tolerance policy for driving under the influence. It is against the law to use a hand-held cell phone while driving anywhere in Hungary and seat belts are mandatory for everyone in the car.
Before travelling to Hungary, you should bear in mind that mains sockets may be different from those in your home country. This problem can be easily solved with a universal adapter. The voltage is 220V AC, 50 Hz, sockets are twoforked.
Important telephone numbers in case of emergency:
|General emergency service phone number||112|
112 is the European emergency number in all 28 EU member states, as well as other countries in Europe and elsewhere.
To call these numbers is free of charge.
|24-hour English language crime hotline||+36 1 438 8080|
|English language telephone directory service||191|