Around 52% of the populations in Hungary are of the Roman Catholic denomination. The remaining 48% are made up of Greek Catholic, Reformed (Calvinist) Protestant, Evangelical (Lutheran) Protestant, Orthodox and Jewish.
Hungarian (Magyar) is the official language; it is very distantly related to Finnish and Estonian. Some French is also spoken, mainly in western Hungary. Few people speak English outside hotels, big restaurants and tourist offices. A knowledge of German is very useful.
Area (sq. km):
93,030 square meters
Hungary is 1 hour ahead of GMT. It is +2 hour from the last weekend in March to the last weekend in October.
Hungary has a temperate continental climate, with July and August being the warmest months (the average daily temperature is +22 ºC). . The coldest month is January (the average daily temperature is -1ºC). The average annual number of sunshine hours is 1,785.
May, June and September are considered to be some of the best times to visit Hungary, however June is often the wettest month of the year. July and August can get up to temperatures of almost 30ºC in the cities, the countryside is more pleasant at this time of year.
Budapest Ferihegy Airport is located 24 kilometres (15 miles) southeast of Budapest. Taxis are available from the airport at the taxi stand, but their fares can be unregulated; passengers should make sure that the taxi-metre is on or, if there is no meter, negotiate a fare before leaving the airport. Budapest Airport also operates a ‘shuttle service’ called as ‘Airport Minibus’. Passengers are taken to the previously requested address by microbuses with eight to eleven seats – the Airport Minibus desk in the Arrivals hall sells tickets and takes reservations. Tickets are around 210HUF. A pre-pay local express bus number 93 runs between the underground metro terminus, Köbánya-Kispest, and the airport terminals; passengers may wish to alight at Deák tér where the three underground lines converge.
The public phones work with 10, 20, 50 and 100 HUF coins or with phone-cards available at hotels, post offices, petrol stations, newsagents, kiosks and street vendors. The minimum charge for a call is 20 HUF. The international country code for Hungary is 36.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are used.
The traditional Hungarian kitchen was characterised by spicy dishes rich in calories and carbohydrates. Most dishes were made with lard and weren’t lacking in the rightly famous Hungarian onions and paprika. Outstanding representatives of Hungarian gastronomy are now working to make the cuisine more modern, lower in calories but still rich in vitamins, fibre and the traditional flavours of the Hungarian kitchen. Whilst in Hungary make sure you try stuffed cabbage, paprika chicken, roast pig, roast duck, and Hungarian letcho (a pepper and salami stew) at least once, and don’t miss the sour-cherry strudel, the delicious sweet appetiser, 'vargabéles' (varga strudel cake), cabbage ravioli or pasta with soft cheese and cracklings. Paprika from Kalocsa or Szeged, onion from Makó, the most delicious sweet pepper, Liptauer, Hungarian salami, pancakes (palacsinta), smoked ham and goose livers (libamaj) are all unique Hungarian products. Finally, don’t forget those liquid 'Hungaricums' - the excellent apricot brandy and many delicious wines, including the 'wine of kings, king of wines' - Tokaj, also try Bull’s Blood (strong red wine). Palinka is a strong bandy distilled from a variety of fruits.
Look out for special purchases such as embroideries, Herend and Zsolnay porcelain and national dolls in folk dress, goose liver pate, embroidered tablecloths, salami and paprika in novel bags. In Budapest, plenty of shops line Vaci utca selling these Hungarian souvenirs.
Visa: Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, USA and British citizens, do not require a visa to visit Hungary for a maximum stay of 90 days. Other nationalities should check with the Hungarian Embassy or Consulate in their country for up to date visa information.
Living in Hungary – Jean-Luc Soule & Alain Fleischer The Hungarians: A Thousand Years of Victory in Defeat – Paul Lendvai A Concise History of Hungary – Miklos Molnar The Siege of Budapest: One Hundred Days in World War II – Krizstian Ungvary Culture Shock! Hungary: A Guide to Customs & Etiquette – Zsuzsanna Ardo