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Budapest: Useful Tips for Tourists
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Budapest: Useful Tips for Tourists

Budapest – the pearl of the Danube, the industrial center of Hungary. This is a city with a bright character, unique architecture, rich cultural traditions. The romantic atmosphere of Budapest streets is often identified with Paris streets. The city is also famous for its thermal springs – there are more than 120 of them.

Budapest
Photo source: www.worldtravelguide.net

Language

You must be prepared for the fact that in Hungary few people speak English, so ask for help from the locals will not be easy. Of course, you can try to learn Hungarian, but, it takes too long.  Therefore, it is better to memorize a few important phrases in advance and upload phrasebooks and translators to your phone. Even if you can’t pronounce the right phrase, you can show it on the screen. Hungarians are friendly people, everyone will understand and will definitely help you.

Here are some useful phrases that will certainly come in handy on your trip to Budapest:

  • Hello: Szia! Sziastok! (‘See-ah! See-ah-stock!’);
  • Thank you – you are welcome: Koszonom – Szívesen (‘Keu-seu-neum – see-ve-shen’);
  • I don’t speak Hungarian: Nem beszélek magyarul (‘Nem bes-el-ek ma-ja-rule’);
  • Bon appetit!: Jo étvágyat! (‘Yoh eht-vah-djot’);
  • Check, please: A számlát, kérem (‘Aw sam-lat keh-rem’);
  • One coffee please: Egy kávét kérek szépen (‘Edge kah-v-it keh-reck say-pan’);
  • Goodbye: Viszontlátásra! Viszlát! (‘Vee-sont-lah-tash-ra! Vee-slat!’);

Currency

In Hungary are forints. Some shops and restaurants accept euros, but the course is very high.  We do not recommend changing money at the airport and downtown. It is better to do this directly in banks or away from tourist places. Before you exchange money, be sure to ask about the commission – sometimes it can even exceed the amount of the exchange. Therefore, do not be lazy to find a place with a normal exchange rate and terms of exchange.

Accommodation

Budapest is divided into 23 districts, which are simply denoted by Roman numerals. If you want quiet, but at the same time close to places of interest, you could stay in the eastern parts of district II and XII. VI, VII, VIII suitable for young people – there are many bars and clubs. But keep in mind that in the region VIII there is also a gypsy ghetto, and it is not safe to walk here in the dark. We advise you to settle not in hotels, but apartments. You can easily find comfortable apartments (even for a few rooms) for the price of a three-star hotel. Budapest often hosts various festivals and conferences, and at this time, housing prices may soar 2-3 times, so try to keep track of dates to plan your trip most successfully.

Budapest Bridge
Photo by Dan Freeman

Transport

The Budapest transport system right away can be difficult. So, there are several types of tickets and payment methods:

  • Single ticket (vonaljegy) – valid for one type of transport within 80 minutes from the date of purchase. It could be bought in special machines. Be sure to compost the ticket, because at the exit of the metro and in-ground transportation you can check the controllers. Such ticket costs 350 forints.
  • A single ticket purchased from the driver (helyszínen váltott vonaljegy) – if you suddenly did not have time to pay for the trip in advance, you can buy a ticket from the driver, but notice that it will cost more (450 forints).
  • Single ticket with a transfer (atszállójegy) – one for any two types of transport (530 forints).
  • Ten tickets (10 darabosgyűjtőjegy) – for 10 trips for any type of transport. It will be cheaper than the same number of tickets purchased separately – 3000 forints. The disadvantage is that you need to use all ten tickets until their expiration date.
  • The day ticket (24 órás jegy) – valid for 24 hours on all types of transport without restrictions on travel. It is worth 1650 forints.
  • The group day ticket (csoportos 24 órás jegy) – allows a group of up to 5 people to move around the city without restrictions for 24 hours. It costs 3300 forints.
  • A ticket for 3 days (72 órás jegy) – applies to all types of transport without restriction on the number of trips. Price – 4150 forint
  • The weekly pass (Hetijegy) – applies to all types of transport and is valid without restrictions on the number of trips, its price is 4950 forints.

Free excursions in Budapest

Budapest Parlament
Photo by Manuel Venturini

Be prepared for the fact that in Budapest you will have to walk a lot to see the main sights. Fortunately, there is an opportunity to join the group for free and eventually, you will have 3 hours to visit key places. In addition, we advise a few places in the city that are not in the standard guidebooks, but they deserve attention:

  • The Open Book Fountain (Henszlemann Imre) is a fabulous architectural creation. When you watch this fountain, it seems that an invisible magician or wizard turns the pages of a huge book. In fact, it is properly illuminated moving jets of water.

Photo source: www.aliadventures.com 

  • Sugar Shop! (Paulay Ede, 48) – a real paradise for lovers of sweetness. The largest store of various candies, sweets, cakes, and other sweets. If you think that the confectioners’ fantasies are the limit, you can be amazed by these sweets.
  • The Philosophical Garden (Gellért-hegy) is a more famous place, but still few tourists come here. A small well-kept garden, on the territory of which there are sculptures of great spiritual teachers – Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Mahatma Gandhi, and others.

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