Budapest in detail

Planning Tips

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Check the validity of your passport
  • Make any necessary bookings (for sights, accommodation and/or travel)
  • Check your airline's baggage restrictions
  • Inform your credit/debit card company you're going abroad
  • Arrange travel insurance
  • Check to see if you can use your mobile (cell) phone away from home

What to Take

  • Phrasebook
  • Money belt
  • Adaptor plug
  • Hat/cap and sunscreen for sun
  • Swimsuit and towel
  • Thongs/flip-flops
  • Umbrella
  • Torch (flashlight)
  • Small pair of binoculars
  • Sturdy walking shoes

What to Wear

In general, Hungarian dress is casual; many younger people attend classical-music concerts and even the opera in jeans. Men needn't bother bringing a tie, as it will be seldom – if ever – used. There are no items of clothing to remember, apart from bringing an umbrella in late spring and autumn, and a warm hat (everyone wears them) in winter. A swimsuit for use in the mixed-sex thermal spas and pools is important as are plastic sandals or thongs (flip-flops). The summer fashions and beachwear can be daringly brief, even by Western standards.

Advance Planning

Two months before If travelling in high season or during big festivals, book your accommodation; reserve a table at a top restaurant.

One month before Check listings in the Budapest Events Guide (www.budapesteventsguide.com) and Budapest Times (www.budapesttimes.hu); book popular events.

One week before Call your bank/credit-card company to tell them you're travelling and ask about 'contactless payment’. It’s very common here.

Resources

  • Budapest Info (www.budapestinfo.hu/budapest) One of the better overall tourist websites.
  • Budapest Times Online (www.budapesttimes.hu) Popular English-language site, with local news, interviews, reviews and opinion pieces.
  • Budapest by Locals (www.budapestbylocals.com) Excellent and very useful expat-driven site full of both glaringly obvious information and bits and pieces that impress even us.
  • Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/budapest) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.
  • We Love Budapest.com (www.welovebudapest.com/en) English and Hungarian portal about the city.

Top Tips

  • Bring good walking shoes and be prepared to hoof it – this is a city best seen from ground level.
  • If you are using public transport a lot, make life easier (and safer) and buy a pass. It saves fiddling for a new ticket each time, keeps you safe from inspectors and usually works out cheaper.
  • Eat your main meal at lunchtime; set meals at lunch at most restaurants – including high-end ones – cost much less than they do at dinnertime.
  • When tipping in a restaurant, never leave money on the table. Instead, tell waiters how much you intend to leave, and they will give the change accordingly.