Planning your trip
Budapest makes a great base for exploring Hungary or you can opt for a river cruise along the Danube to explore at a leisurely pace. Your specialist can help you make the most of your time there, drawing on their first-hand experience to advise you on the practical elements of your trip. They’ll arrange everything from walking tours to transport to finding the right hotel for you. We work closely with local partners to keep up to date with developments in Hungary, and we visit regularly ourselves.
Hungary’s official language is Hungarian, but you may also encounter pockets of German, Russian, and Romanian. Many of those working in the hospitality business speak English, as do many of the younger people.
Food & drink
Hungarian dishes are practically synonymous with paprika, but there’s more to this sophisticated cuisine than just goulash. In fact, though many consider it Hungary’s signature dish, goulash can be hard to find outside of areas visited by tourists.
That said, you’ll find plenty of other stews, and a country-wide emphasis on meats, cheeses, and seasonal vegetables. These dishes are a great way to try the Hungarian spice palette, which is complicated, bold, and nuanced. Fermented dairy like quark and kefir are also common.
During the height of the Austro-Hungarian empire, cakes and pastries were elevated to a high art form and there’s still a sweet tradition of luscious baked goods, especially in coffee houses.
Hungary’s wine industry is thriving — look for Tokaji, a sweet white dessert wine, or egri bikavér, a rich, tannic red with a name that translates to bull’s blood. For after-dinner drinks, you’ll most commonly find an herbal liqueur named Unicum and pálinka, a traditional fruit brandy.
Festivals & public holidays
The list of official Hungarian holidays reflects the country’s strong Catholic tradition, though you’ll also find political holidays including two different Memorial Days that mark both the 1848 and the 1956 Revolutions.
The country’s strong national identity is reflected in the wealth of festivals, including the Budapest Festival of Folk and the Paprika Festival, which celebrates the national pepper.
New Year's Day: 1st January
Memorial Day of 1848 Revolution: 15th March
Easter: March or April
Labour Day: 1st May
Pentecost: 23rd May
Whit Monday: 24th May
State Foundation Day: 20th August
1956 Revolution Memorial Day: 23rd October
All Saints’ Day: 1st November
Christmas Day: 25th December
The forint (HUF) is the official currency of Hungary. Credit cards are accepted at most businesses. However, we suggest you carry cash for tipping and for small shop and cafes — you’ll find ATMs throughout the country.
Tipping is normal in restaurants, cafes, and bars. Adding 10% on the bill is the standard, though flexible based on the service you receive. Some places will add a service charge to the bill, in which case you do not need to give an additional tip.
The international country code for Hungary is 36. To dial a number within your own area of Hungary, simply dial the phone number. If calling Budapest from outside the city, you’ll need to add (061) before the seven digit number.
There are three mobile operators: Telenor Hungary, T-Mobile, and Vodafone. You can purchase SIM cards in country or ask your home provider about roaming and data plans.
Wi-Fi is common throughout the country and often available for free within restaurants, cafes, and some public parks, courtesy of the local government.
Our certified country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the Canadian Government Travel & Tourism website.
When to go to Hungary
You'll find temperature and rainfall information, together with a month-by-month guide on visiting, on our guide for when to go to Hungary.
10 hours 30 minutes (Toronto to Budapest)