You will find that people in Budapest are friendly in restaurants, theatres and other public places. More and more people, especially the younger ones, speak English and/or German.
For suggestions for points of interests, look at the pre-conference page.
Budapest is expensive for Hungary but cheap for foreigners. An average main course varies between 2.200 (decent meal) and 5.000 ft (luxury meal), being between 6 and 15 euro. Wine usually is ordered by decilitre and varies between 290 and 700 ft (1 till 2 eur/dl). Beer around 350 ft usually for 0.5l (1 euro), depending of the type. Espresso usually around 250-300 ft (1 euro). So, enjoy the good life of one of the nicest cities in the World at a reasonable price!
Salaries in Hungary are rather low. Therefore, please be generous in following the national rule of thumb to leave a 10% tip for the serving staff in restaurants and bars. Of course, only when you are satisfied with the service. You may ask if service is included. More and more restaurants do this, since foreigners tend to pay by credit card, leaving no tip. For large amounts, you can reduce the percentage, of course.
You can pay in most restaurants with your Maestro card, using your PIN-Code, or a VISA card. However, in many bars, people prefer cash. Do indicate when you ask for the bill, how you want to pay, since the Hungarian tax office has special rules in this context and when the waiter ticks in ‘Cash’ and it turns out you prefer to pay by card, there will be a problem and you have to visit a nearby ATM for the cash. So make sure you indicate this in advance and always have some cash with you. A note of 10.000 ft (30 euros) will do in most cases. Make sure that you have it arranged so your credit card won’t get blocked abroad by the bank.
ATMs are plenty around and can give you sometimes EUR and/or HUF. The exchange rate with the EUR varies quite a lot between 305 and 315. There are many local exchange offices. It sometimes is worth checking around a bit, if you have time and it is a large amount. Do not change in the street!
Budapest has one of the best public transport systems I have ever experienced, with a well organised multi-modal network consisting of buses, trolleys, trams and 4 metro lines. There is a strict check on having a valid ticket. Usually, at least two persons check at the entrance of the metro, and sometimes surprise checks are being held at the exit. Also in trams, frequent checks are organised. Foreigners are always checked. In case you are given a fine you feel is not correct, make sure the person involved is not a fake control person… In case you are 65 or more, pleasant surprise is that public transport is free for you! Regional buses will only ask 175 forint registration fee (60 eurocents), but in principle, you do not pay in any bus, tram, trolley, metro, train or boat. Just say “nyugdijas” – pronounced “nuke diaz”- and show any identity card.
There are night buses; please check with your hotel. We will post a schedule of night buses that stop at Kalvin Ter, but remember that the buzzling district with most bars is just walking distance from Kalvin ter. Furthermore, it usually is best to ask the restaurant or bar to call a taxi, especially when you are with more people. Also here, tip of about 10% is the custom.
Budapest is a relatively safe city. But, as it is a large city with around 2 million inhabitants, it always is wise to walk in groups at night and avoid dark alleys.
On most web sites, you will find the same comments: “Downtown Budapest (districts V., VI., part of district VII. along Grand Boulevard) is fairly safe at night. Safety TIP: Avoid, however the outer part of district s VII., VIII., and IX. As a general rule of thumb avoid poorly lit streets and underpasses.”
More info at: safety in Budapest
In case of problems, these telephone numbers may be good to know:
- Police 107
- English-language hot-line specifically set up for tourists: 438 8080
office: Vigadó utca 4., V. district
- Ambulance: 104 or 311 166
- Loss of passport should be reported to: Immigration and Citizenship Budapest and Pest County
Address: Budafoki út 60., XI. district,
Tel (round-the-clock): 463 9165 or 463 9181