About Budapest

Hungary

Hungary lies in the Carpathian Basin of Central Europe. The greatest distance from North to South is 268 km, and from East to West, 528 km.

Area: 93.030 km2 | Population: 9.879.000 (Hungary),  1.735.711 (Budapest) | Capital: Budapest | Time zone: GMT + 1 hour | Official language: Hungarian (English and German widely spoken)

The Hungarian state was founded in 896, after the conquest of the Carpathian Basin by the Magyar (Hungarian) tribes. The people were converted to Christianity by King St. Stephen I, who was crowned by the Pope in 1000 AD. The Basilica of Budapest is dedicated to this great king, and his crown and the royal insignia are on display in the Hungarian Parliament. After the assault by the Mongolian Tartars, Hungary revived in the second half of the 15th century, when the Renaissance King Matthias spread the fame of Hungary. Ruins of his royal residence at Visegrád in the Danube Bend are still fascinating. Ups and downs in the forthcoming epochs, the Turkish occupation for 150 years, the Habsburg domination, the Reform Age, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, World War I and II, the Soviet military supremacy – left Hungarians still keeping their heads up.

Remnants of these eventful centuries can be seen everywhere: Turkish baths, royal palaces, churches, castles, and mansion houses are all fine examples of the various architectural styles. In addition to the charm of the landscape are the historic Danube Bend, Lake Balaton, the romantic national parks of the Puszta with the horse ranches, and the famous wine regions like Eger, Tokaj, Villány, Badacsony, Neszmély, etc.

Hungary is becoming a firm favourite in the meetings industry, a vibrant destination with warm and friendly people, varied and distinct cuisine choices among beautiful buildings and streets. It is conveniently located in the very heart of Europe, and is well served by affordable transport links. It offers a plethora of attractions – bold and intricate architecture, beautiful and varied scenery, and a colourful cultural heritage of music, dance and art. There is a rich culinary tradition too and excellent wines being produced in 22 regions. All major hotel brands can be found in Budapest and beyond to cater for conferences and incentive trips.

CLIMATE

Hungary has a temperate climate, similar to the rest of the continental zone – hot in summer, cold in winter. The temperature is highest in July / August (21,3 °C average) and lowest in winter, January is the coldest month, when it often falls below freezing (-1 °C average). About ten hours of sunshine can be expected daily between April and September. The number of sunny hours a year: 2038
The average temperature in April is maximum 16°C, minimum 6°C. The average maximum temperature in May rise up to 21°C.

CURRENCY

The official national currency is the Forint (HUF). You can take unlimited foreign currency in and out of Hungary. Exchange facilities are offered to participants at the airport, in hotels and at the banks. Prices are often set in Euros (EUR) or US dollars (USD). Banking hours generally are from Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Currency exchange machines and ATMs operate after hours in Budapest and other major cities. Credit cards are widely accepted.

GETTING IN

Citizens of EU- and EEA-member states may travel to Hungary without a visa. Family members of citizens of EEA Member States may also travel to Hungary without a visa if they received a residence card issued for family members of EEA citizens or a residence permit issued by any Schengen Member State. For detailed information in English, please visit www.mfa.gov.hu

WITH PERSONAL ID CARD

Citizens of the following countries may enter the territory of Hungary with a personal identification card for a stay of maximum 90 days, provided the purpose of their visit is not to take up work or to conduct business-related activities:
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

WITH PASSPORT

Citizens of the following states may also travel to Hungary without a visa:
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong (applies only to holders of a passport of the special administrative territory of Hong Kong), Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Macao (applies only to holders of a passport of the special administrative territory of Macao), Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Salvador, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela.
For detailed information in English, please visit www.mfa.gov.hu

Why Budapest?

Budapest is the second best city in Europe according to 1,3 million voters. (Condé Nast Traveler, Readers’ Choice Award 2014)

… Budapest was awarded the best value for money destination by one of the largest travelling websites, Tripadvisor, in 2014.
… the Budapest Rudas Bath is the fourth most beautiful bath in the World. (thrillist.com)
… the restaurants of Budapest received three Michelin stars and achieved amazingly high scores in the Gault&Millau guide. (The owners of the Michelin stars are the Costes restaurant, Onyx restaurant and the Winekitchen restaurant.)
… the Great Market Hall in Budapest is the best market hall in Europe, ahead of the Portobello Road in London, for example. (CNN Travel)

… the Sziget Festival is the Best Major Festival in Europe and also holds the Best European Festival Line-Up award! (European Festival Awards, 2015)
… according to the Lonely Planet guide, the best bar in the World is the A38 boat in Budapest. Also, the third best is Szimpla Kert, also from Budapest.
… one of the ten most fascinating tram lines of the World can be found here. Tram number 2 from Budapest overtook the trams of Lisbon, Amsterdam and Berlin. (National Geographic)
… the New York Café is the most beautiful café of the World. (ucityguides.com)
… the Hungarian capital is the second most romantic city in the World! (Foursquare, Spotistic)

Story of Budapest

With its population of over 2 million, Budapest is the capital of Hungary. It was not until 1873 that the twin cities BUDA and PEST united with a third, Óbuda to finally be named Budapest. However its history goes back to the Roman times when in the 1st century AD, the land was a province of the powerful Roman Empire, and Aquincum (on the site of present-day Óbuda) was its capital. The Danube River formed an important natural boundary for the empire. With the Hungarian conquest before 1000 AD and the founding of the state, Buda Castle soon became the residence of the Hungarian kings. The city survived the attacks and invasions of the Mongols in the 12th century, the occupation by the Turks and the bombings during World War II.

By the late 19th and early 20th centuries the growing metropolis gained its present image. The charming hills of Buda with its old and elegant residential districts, the beautiful waterfronts of the majestic Danube together with the flat side, Pest, the dynamic administrative and business centre lend an unsurpassable location to the “Pearl of the Danube”. Being at the cross-roads of East and West, the city has gained in importance with the collapse of the communist regime. Cultural events (Spring Festival, the opera and concert season) compete with attractive shopping (china, crystal, embroideries, art objects, refined food and spirits).

The twin cities of Buda and Pest, divided by the Danube, contain homogenous parts of different building periods such as vestiges of the Roman occupation, the prestigious Castle District preserved in Romanesque and Gothic style, the rigour of the Habsburg Citadel, the eclecticism of the turn-of-the-century buildings boasting the richness of the new citizens. Budapest’s up there among the world’s most romantic, entertaining capitals. Not nicknamed the “Paris of the East” for nothing, it boasts broad boulevards and green parks, grand Art-Nouveau mansions and vibrantly painted churches, lively cafés and world-class music venues. The city is divided into two parts by the meandering Danube, iconically spanned by several stunning bridges.

Travel to Budapest

Budapest has an extensive infrastructure. The city can easily and rapidly be reached from all European countries either by road, rail or air.

BY AIR

Liszt Ferenc International Airport is 16 km South-East of the city centre. It is directly reachable from all European capitals; flight time is less than 2 hours. Airport Terminal 2 is divided between Terminal 2A and Terminal 2B hosting all traditional carriers’ flights, charter flights and low-cost airlines. The SkyCourt, opened in 2011 connects Terminal 2A and 2B and offers for passengers 15 retail units with world famous brands, 13 restaurants and 2 VIP lounges on 400 sq meters.

The city center can be easily reached by taxi, minibus, public transportation and of course by car. The main car hire firms have offices in the arrivals halls. For those not driving taxis or the Airport Minibus will carry passengers to and from any part of Budapest. The Hungarian capital airport handled a total of 11, 5 Million departing and arriving passengers in 2016. The airport’s central telephone number for information is +36 1 296 9696; flight information is available on +36 1 296 7000.  Web: www.bud.hu

MINIBUS

The door-to-door transfer operates as a shared-ride service, which means that passengers traveling to/from the same/closely situated address are transported in the same vehicle. Every vehicle is equipped with dual-air conditioning systems and Wi-Fi hotspots for free internet access, further increasing passenger comfort during the journey. The service is provided with buses for 8 to 10 and 30 to 50 passengers.

All minibuses arrive to and depart from the main entrances of the terminals. Bookings can be made in person at the AirportShuttle-Minibus Desks or 24 hours before your flight departure via an online reservation system, through travel agencies or by calling the call center. www.airportshuttle.hu

TAXI

Főtaxi, the taxi company with the longest traditions in Hungary will transport passengers between the terminals and Budapest. Főtaxi’s several hundred cars, trained and experienced colleagues ensure a safe basis to satisfy passengers’ needs at a high standard. Taxi drivers speaking at least one foreign language are in service with ‘A’ category big-size cars younger than five years.

All cars are equipped with a POS terminal, therefore credit cards are also accepted. Reservations can be made in person at the Főtaxi booths located at the exits at Terminals 2A and 2B. At the taxi rank in front of the stands, taxis are parking continuously waiting for passengers.

BY COACH

International services terminate and depart from Népliget Coach Station, which is also the terminus for a number of domestic routes. Information: +36 1 382-0888. International ticket sales: +36 1 219-8063,
www.volanbusz.hu

BY CAR

All Hungary’s motorways and most of the main roads radiate from the capital. The M1, M3, M5, M6 and M7 are toll motorways. Road signs conform to continental standards. 24-hour emergency roadside assistance is available from the Magyar Autóklub by dialling 188. www.motorway.hu

BY RAIL

More than 30 trains a day provide direct links between Budapest and no fewer than 25 other European cities. Railjets to Vienna run every 1-2 hours. There is also a popular network of inter-city trains linking Budapest with the main Hungarian cities.  International trains operate from the three largest stations: Keleti (Eastern), Nyugati (Western), Déli (Southern). MÁV Direct: +36 1 444 4499 (from abroad); +36 40 49 49 49 (from Hungary) Web: www.mav-start.hu

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

By train: A regular train service operates between Budapest Nyugati Railway Station and the former Budapest Airport Terminal 1, from where passengers can take bus 200E to Terminal 2A and 2B. Nearly 100 trains provide easy access to the airport and back, for approx. 1.000 HUF (approx. 3,5 EUR).

By bus: Passengers are transported by a direct bus service from Terminal 2A and 2B, called the bus 200E, to the Kőbánya-Kispest subway terminal. This service is adjusted to passenger traffic at the airport. A one-way ticket costs 350 HUF (450 HUF when buying on the bus from the driver). Further information: www.bkk.hu

Public transport in Budapest is one of the most modern and efficient system in the world.

The network of the Centre for Budapest Transport (BKK) consists of: 4 underground lines, 5 suburban railway lines, 15 trolley bus lines, 31 tram lines
178 bus routes.

Compared to Budapest’s population of 1.73 million, the utilization rate of the public transport network is fairly high, with 4.8 million passengers using the services every day. The public transport capacity of Budapest is sufficient for carrying 1.9 million passengers per day by bus, 1.4 million passengers by tram, 1 million passengers by underground, and 260,000 passengers by trolley bus. Every 3-5 minutes.

Waiting time is acceptable. At peak times underground trains run every 3 minutes, trolley buses, trams and buses run every 3-5 minutes.