Budapest, Hungary – May 1999

“Hungary – Budapest or Bucharest? Where is it? Is everybody a

gypsy there? Are there paved roads? Is it a dangerous place to go?”

These are probably the first questions which come to tourists’ mind

about Hungary. If you skim thourgh any of the recommended literature

you will have the following passage almost everywhere:

“Hungary has much to offer: gulyas soup, gypsy music, horse shows,

handmade tableclothes and beautiful girls.”

Thanks to this homepage you can get the best out of your stay in

Hungary by preparing your travel kit from the following useful

information.

Let’s have a quick look at the the main regions of Hungary first:

  • Budapest is the world’s only big city with over a hundred thermal

    springs, cave church, wine labyrinth and many more things off the

    beaten path.

  • Lake Balaton area (The biggest lake in Central Europe). The Northern

    shore is rich in cultural sights such as Tihany peninsula. The

    Southern one is suggested for those who just want to relax- esp.for

    families with children as the water is not so deep.

  • The Great Plain (PUSTA region) is the cradle of the folk customs and

    crafts. This is an ideal place for horse riding as it is flat, grassy/sandy

    and the horizon is extremely wide. There are two national parks with

    rare birds and animals. Sounds good doesn’t it…

  • The North Eastern highland is famous for the Lippizaner stud farm,

    the 2 UNESCO World Heritage sights and the Valley of the Beautiful

    Women. (The latter is actually a wine region. Two bottles of the

    strong red wine and no ugly women anymore)

  • Southern Transdanubia has a wild reserve , lovely hills, and the

    famous Villany wine region.

  • Northern Transdanubia is famous for its thermal spas and the

    biggest thermal lake in Europe called Heviz.

    If you are a UNESCO World Heritage sight collector, don’t miss the

    amazing Castle District of Budapest; the Living Village Museum in

    Holloko; the oldest Hungarian building – a Benedictine Abbey – in

    Pannonhalma and a romantic concert in the mysterious Aggtelek Cave.


    However, besides presenting the national beauties, the unique treasures of

    the country and the recommended things to do, I’d definitely like to

    warn you on the things NOT to do.

    The list is going to be too long to memorize everything but try

    your best in order to have a worry free trip.

  • Arriving by air, use the USE airport shuttle (1200 HUF approx 6 USD) and avoid the taxi

    drivers.

    If you are on a low budget use bus N. 93 (don’t worry about the tickets

    there is no control) and change for the BLUE metro line to the center.

    (Tickets are necessary for the metro)

  • Arriving by train, keep an eye on your belongings, avoid pushy hostel agents

  • Public transport – Purchase either a Budapest card for 3 days 2900 HUF (12 USD) which

    enables you to use every transport “freee” and also ensures free

    entrance to any museum.

    You can also buy “collective tickets” (20 pieces cost 1500 HUF /6.5 US

    Always punch tickets in the metro. You can skip the control on the

    night buses or if you are an early bird and travel before 7am.

  • Avoid illegal money changers (usually Arabs) who seem to offer

    very favourable rates. You might be cheated if you are not familiar

    with the fake local banknotes. The majority of exchange offices are

    open 24 hours.

  • Fake police! Some people try to pose as tourist police and ask for your money or

    credit card to check them. Do not show your bag or give your

    belongings to ANYBODY.

    The real police have a hologram in their ID and an identification number

    on the badge.

  • Pick pockets. These mostly Roumanian criminals are always working on the crowded

    public transport lines which connect the sights of Budapest.

    Especially trams N.2 N.4 N.6, buses N. 7 N 26. and the metro.

    Some of

    them are using razors fo cutting the bag or money belt and pushing

    each other in order to be able to touch your pocket or zip off your

    bag.

  • Taxi/CABHYENA is the Hungarian name for the cheater taxi drivers.

    You can

    avoid the overcharge by calling companies in advance and ask the

    lady about the approximate tariff.

  • Restaurants. Take a free copy of “OPEN” , “HORIZONT” or “WHERE” magazines.

    (Available in any 4-5 star hotel) or buy the Budapest SUN or WEEK in

    order to choose the proper restaurant to go.

    But BE CAREFUL, as foods and drinks are overpriced sometimes. Never accept a five digit price for one dish.

    Sometimes VERY attractive women who even speak your language may

    recommend to you restaurants or bars.

    DO NOT accept their suggestion if you are not a “walking cash

    machine” as they see you.

  • Illegal street games. Never ever take your luck in the street, go to any of the nine

    CASINOS instead.


    Adding the schedule for MAY is possible only at the very end of April,

    since this is the only time the NEW program is available.

    Meantime, let me please inform you about the year round programs

    you can participate in:

    Cultural things to do

    Join a tour to discover the city if you can afford 4400 /per

    person for 3 hours. Or, discover it on your own, since everything is

    concentrated within walking distance.

    Budapest has 5 MUST-SEE sights:

  • Castle District (UNESCO World Heritage) – FREE!

  • Gellert Hill – FREE! If you decide to go up the CITADEL, use the hostel

    entrance to skip the entrance fee.

  • Heroes’ Square – FREE

  • Parliament – 900 HUF (3-5 USD) if you organize it on your own with an

    English speaking guide. 12 USD if you join an agency tour.

    Opera House – 900 HUF

    Fun things to do

  • You can spoil your belly in the Wine House (located in the Castle

    district next to the Matthias Church.

    If you have been to Vienna this would remind you on St. Stephens Cathedral.)

    Discover the labyrinth and taste 50 kinds of wine for 2000 HUF (8.5

    USD).

  • Caving in Budapest. Takes only 15 minutes from the Center to reach PALVOLGYI cave.

    With the help of the English speaking guide you can have an unforgettable

    experience there, especially if you decide to discover it off the

    path. Don’t worry about the laundry, equipment is provided.

    (More info available on request)

  • Riding horses are available almost everywhere around Budapest for

    1000 HUF/hour (4.5 USD).

  • Movies. Films are usually subtitled so you can enjoy the original version.

    Tickets are available from 300 (1.5 USD) 900 HUF (4 USD).

    Let me please inform you about the lovely water movie we

    have in Budapest called “VIZIMOZI”.

    On these shows, old movies are brought to life with jazz, classical and

    other music. These shows will be held on a monthly basis.

    The atmosphere is amazing as a dance party is going on at the same time

    with the subtitled or silent movies. Special guests are invited, such

    as beautiful belly dancing ladies.

    The entrance fee is only 2600 HUF, but you can purchase your ticket

    for 2000 HUF (around 9 USD) in advance. (VISTA TRAVEL CENTER)

    The future schedule is something like this:

    22th of May

    12th of June

    25th of Sept.

    23th of Oct.

    20th of Nov.

    18th of Dec.

    The venue is the centrally located Rudas Turkish Bath. Those who have been there say it was the biggest fun ever.

    With the following BRIEF information I’d like to help you to make the

    best out of your stay in our country.

    As I’m an ex – incoming travel agent all your questions, doubts concerning your stay are more than

    welcome.

    Few words about myself : I’m 26 y.o. female , travel addict, born

    from bilingual parents, qualified English and Russian teacher and ex-

    incoming travel agent.

    MOTTO: If people and their manner of living were alike everywhere,

    there wouldn’t be much point in moving from one place to another.

  • Traveler Article


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