Budapest Travel Tips
Budapest is a place that always has something new to offer to its visitors, by fulfilling their broad interests at any time of the year. With several budget airlines started in the last few years and with the big national carriers slashing prices to compete, there's never been a better time to get to Budapest quickly and affordably.
Many people say that Budapest is the Paris of the East, and while its broad 19th-century boulevards go a long way towards that, the Hungarian capital is more than a Parisian knock-off: depending on where you are in town, your surroundings just as easily evoke Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Moscow, and even Buenos Aires.
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Currency in Budapest
Although Hungary is now a full member of the EU, the Hungarian forint (HUF, or Ft) will remain the local currency until 2014 or later. Hungarian banknotes come in denominations of 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, and 20,000 forint.
Traveling with foreign currency to Budapest we can assure you that you will have no trouble finding a place to exchange them, but we strongly recommend that you just bring your bank card and obtain cash through a cash machine. You'll get the best exchange rate from any of the cash machines that are everywhere in Budapest. (We recommend avoiding the money changers that loiter in touristy areas and train stations!) To note that cash is still the main payment method in Hungary; credit cards aren't as widespread as is in the Western part of Europe. Outside of Budapest on a non touristy location your credit card will be of little use.
With the exception of designer clothing, electronics, and other imported goods, Hungary remains very cheap compared with other western European countries.
Eating & Drinking with the Hungarians
Budapest seethes with bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants that open and close seemingly with the seasons, and as part of our job at Budapest Dental Solutions during your stay is to make sure you end up at the best of them.
Hungary is traditionally a wine drinking nation. The quality of wines ranges from poor to incredibly good, and prices of course vary. One famous Hungarian vintage is Tokaji, from northeastern Hungary. French King Louis XIV liked it so much he called it "the king of wines, the wine of kings."
The national firewater is called pálinka, and it's a sort of brandy made out of whatever rotting fruit is available. Common varieties are distilled from plums, apricots, and pears. Another celebrated Hungarian elixir is Unicum, which is syrupy and black and tastes kind of like Jaegermeister, except much worse.
The Hungarian climate is continental temperate. Springtime is glorious, the summer is warm, sunny and unusually long, but the resorts are crowded in late July and August. Autumn is beautiful, particularly in the hills around Budapest and in the Northern Uplands. Winter, meantime, is cold. Anytime is a good time to visit Budapest: there is always something to do all year-round, from the outdoor cafes, restaurants in the warm months to the cellar bars that are packed clear through wintertime.
Most anything of interest in Budapest can be found within 3km of the city centre. Budapest's public transit system is excellent for navigating this radial sprawl, and using it is very cheap. An extensive system of metro lines, trams, trolleybuses and buses provides frequent service throughout the city; however, if you're moving about in groups of three or more, taxicabs are fast and affordable options. When you book with Budapest Dental Solutions we will provide you with a local mobile phone and a list of reputable, English-German speaking taxi companies that will reliably take you where you want to go.
The Hungarian language
Hungarian (Magyarul) bears no relation at all to the Slavic and Germanic tongues spoken in neighboring countries, and finds its closest cousins in the national languages of faraway Finland and Estonia. The alphabet contains such logical innovations as eight variations on the letters O and U, all of which are unpronounceable, as well as compound letters like "Dzs", which sounds like the English letter J. With some patience, though, you'll be fine speaking English - especially amongst younger Hungarians.
Hauling out the phrasebooks for anything beyond everyday pleasantries isn't for the faint of heart: to the Magyar ear, even slightly mispronounced Hungarian sounds like gibberish. Should you wish to give this bizarre Finno-Ugric language a whirl, here are the essentials. Just remember that the emphasis is always placed on the first syllable of every word.