Looking for important travel information while backpacking in Hungary? Here you will find information on working in Hungary, entry visas, Hungary hostels, and much more.
Table of Contents
- Facts About Hungary
- Things to do in Hungary
- Entry Visa Requirements for Hungary
- Foreigner Work Permits and Backpacker Jobs in Hungary
- Hungary Hostels
Facts About Hungary
Not a huge country with 10 million inhabitants and disparaged because of its eastern block reputation Hungary is often overlooked by travellers. Nothing could be further from the truth! The lakeside resorts, picturesque architecture and good food and wine make Hungary an attractive country to visit on your travels.
This country makes quite a good gentle introduction to travelling into Eastern Europe. Hungary has in recent years expanded its tourist-related infrastructure so you will find more in the way of tourist accommodation and more people able to speak English than in other areas of Eastern Europe.
- Currency: Hungarian Forint (HUF) = 100 fill r
- Time Zone: GMT + 1
- Language: Hungarian (Magyar), German
- Telephone Services: Country code +36, International access code 00
- Emergency Numbers: 107 Police, 104 Ambulance, 105 Fire
Climate in Hungary
When deciding the best time to visit Hungary, weather plays a role. From June to August the weather is typically very warm, the spring and autumn are generally quite mild whilst winters are very cold. Hungary is quite a rainy country and it is likely to rain all year round.
Things to do in Hungary
Budapest is the key attraction in Hungary, the capital is often nicknamed as the Paris of Eastern Europe, but Budapest has a much stronger early 1900s feel to it. The Castle District is normally the first thing to attract visitors and contains the Fishermen’s Bastion with it’s seven forbidding turrets.
Travellers wanting to experience something a little more out of the tourist track could investigate Obuda, the part of Budapest which contains several Roman ruins and the Kiscelli Museum. Most tourists couldn’t possibly leave Budapest without taking a boat ride on the Danube.
Eger is a very highly recommended site, the town is a beautifully preserved collection of Baroque architecture including the Eger Cathedral with its 40m tall minaret. The town is home to the famous Bull’s Blood Wine and no traveller should really leave Eger without trying it.
The centre of this city is closed to traffic and boasts over 170 protected or historical buildings. This makes Eger good for exploring on foot, this really is the best way to discover all the towns hidden gems.
Lake Batalan is an oblong Lake just a couple of hours drive from Budapest. The lake is one of the largest in Europe and is often referred to as “the natives’ playground”. The south shore of this lake is a plethora of high-rise hotels and beach resorts.
If however, you tire of the club 18-30 lifestyle you can always venture to the north coast where you will find much more refined resorts like Balantonfured, less glitz and better wine.
Unique Activities in Hungary
Since popular places in Hungary can get crowded during tourist season, it is wise to reserve tickets and activities ahead of time. GetYourGuide sells entrance tickets to museums and landmarks at face value so you can avoid the lines and save that precious time for more exploring.
Viator is another popular travel website that helps you book things to do in Hungary. They work directly with local tour operators in Hungary, so you won’t have to scour the internet or roam around town trying to find the best deal.
If you know your schedule ahead of time, a great insider tip is to buy tickets for major tourist attractions ahead of time. Tiqets has entrance tickets and skip-the-line passes for major attractions in Budapest and other hotspots, which can be a worthwhile cost during peak tourist season.
How to Get Cheap Flights to Hungary
If you’re flying to Hungary or plan to take short flights within the country, we recommend using a few different flight comparison search engines. Kiwi is a new favourite among travellers. On average, we have found the cheapest flights to Hungary with them compared to the other websites out there.
Of course, it is always worth checking Skyscanner to guarantee you’re getting the best deal. Both websites offer great flexible search options, allowing you to search the whole country of Hungary to find the cheapest airport to fly into, and also see prices for a full month if you’re flexible on travel dates.
How to Travel Around Hungary on a Budget
Train and long-distance bus are the standard modes of transport for how to get around Hungary. Buses are the more economical option, nevertheless, they are well-equipped with the usual modern conveniences that expect when travelling in Europe. Train travel, on the other hand, is the fastest way between two cities in Hungary, and the train stations are conveniently located right in the center of town.
Certain routes are better suited to one mode of transport than the other. To compare your options for journeys from A to B, you can try Omio. They compare trains, buses (and even flights) so you can decide for yourself the tradeoff between cost and travel time.
Train Travel in Hungary
The trains in Hungary are generally comfortable, efficient and reliable. The network is somewhat radial so you may have to use Budapest or another larger city as a hub when travelling between some towns. In general, prices are quite cheap although you do need to pay a supplement to travel on inter-city trains (IC).
You should always buy your ticket ahead of time since buying a ticket on the train attracts a hefty price increase. A station should also be able to give you a seat reservation for a small supplement. On some trains such as Express trains (EX) this reservation is compulsory. If a reservation is compulsory it will be indicated on the timetable by means of a red R.
Hungary is a part of the Eurail network, which is a good choice if you plan to take multiple train journeys in a short period of time. If you plan on doing lots of train travel in a short amount of time, a Rail Pass from Eurail might be the right choice for you.
Bus travel in Hungary
Trains are a good option to get around but if you want to go a little more out of the way you may need to use buses. Buses are generally cheap and reliable and tickets are normally purchased from the driver when boarding the bus. Local buses that operate within a town leave from the v rosi aut busz aut buszp lyaudvar which is Hungarian for local bus-station. Intercity and international buses run from the t vols gi aut buszp lyaudvar or long distance bus station.
Renting a car in Hungary
You may also want the flexibility to stop in smaller towns between the major cities. If you decide you want to rent a car, you can use DiscoverCars to compare offers from the major car rental agencies in the region.
If you want the flexibility to have a car available on-demand, you can sign up for ShareNow, which is the car-sharing app in Europe. Using their app, you can unlock cars within Budapest whether you need to rent a car for 2 minutes or 2 weeks. To sign up you’ll need to download the app, and have a valid driver’s license, so it’s best to sign up before your trip.
Backpacking Tours in Hungary
Though part of the fun of backpacking Hungary is exploring on your own, there are situations, especially when venturing off the tourist trail, when it does make sense to go with a guide or a small group.
The most popular option for a social travel experience is Contiki tours. Contiki trips offer more than just transportation, they are organized social group travel for travelers aged 18-35. Whether you’re traveling by yourself or going with a group of friends, Contiki tours are perfect for people looking to have a blast, meet new friends, and form lifelong memories. They offer tours that travel primarily in Hungary or longer tours that cover other nearby places.
G Adventures is another great option for organized travel, but with a smaller group. It’s a great choice for anyone backpacking Hungary alone who would like to meet up with like-minded travellers. It’s also a practical option for exploring places where you need an experienced guide, like a long hiking adventure or visiting a place well off the beaten path. You can choose from different styles of small group tours like active, wellness, hiking trips, 18-30somethings, and more. Their most popular trips in Hungary are their 9-day Rome to Budapest on a Shoestring tour and their 14-day Best of Eastern Europe tour.
Health and Safety in Hungary
The NHS has a bilateral agreement with the Hungarian health service so British Nationals are entitled to emergency healthcare free of charge. Any other treatment, however, must be paid for so be sure you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy.
As with travel to all other countries abroad, it is vital that you get travel insurance before you leave. Even for short trips, our go-to travel insurance provider is World Nomads, which is also recommended by Lonely Planet, HostelWorld, and other major travel companies.
There are no known health problems although if you intend to spend time in forested areas during the summer you are advised to discuss tick-born encephalitis immunisations. The tap water is considered safe to drink and normal everyday precautions should be taken with food.
Entry visa requirements for Hungary
British nationals require a valid passport and may visit Hungary for up to six months without a visa. To stay any longer or if you intend to work in Hungary you should seek information from the Hungarian Embassy.
Foreigner work permits and backpacker jobs in Hungary
Before going to Hungary to seek employment, you should apply for a working visa from the Hungarian Embassy or Consulate. To be eligible for a working visa you must already have a labour permit, which is obtained by your employer in Hungary from the labour office.
Au Pair in Hungary
Hungarian wages for au pairs are very low. In fact, a lot of families will find it too expensive to employ an au pair and so it may be particularly difficult to find this type of work in the first place. Furthermore, because of the cost, funding medical insurance will be left to you; most families will be unwilling to pay.
Nevertheless, if you are determined to pursue this type of employment in Hungary it is worth contacting Au Pair Hungary who may be able to find you a suitable placement.
GAP Years in Hungary
GAP Activity Projects Ltd organises gap year schemes across the world. Projects last from four to eleven months and can include conservational work, farming, education, and teaching English, but will mostly be work in schools in Hungary.
You must be over 17 to apply for a GAP project. You will be provided with free food and accommodation, as well as pocket money. GAP has projects around Hungary, including those in Felsopeteny, Tokay, and Sarbogard. The average project duration is six months, either from August until February, or January until June.
Volunteering in Hungary
As well as volunteer opportunities available on agricultural projects, a number of organisations arrange social work projects.
The International Voluntary Service sets up workcamps for volunteers who participate in community schemes, including working with children, adults with special needs, and conservational issues. Again, food and accommodation are part of the package, but you will need to pay HUF 15 membership and fund your own travel. In Hungary IVS can place you working in an orphanage in Tiszadob, workcamps in Mezokovacshaza, Szeged, and Kisnyalkamajor, amongst others. The IVS website lists current vacancies available and gives more information about the nature of work.
- National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs
- The International Farm Experience Programme
- YFC Centre
- National Agricultural Centre
- Stoneleigh Park
- Warwickshire CV8 2LG
Useful Links to find jobs and volunteer positions in Hungary
- Au Pair Hungary hires au pairs from abroad.
- Sci-ivs provides information about the International Voluntary Service.
Hungary Hostels and Budget Accommodation
You will find service in all classes of lodgings in Hungary to be hospitable and friendly. As well as the usual hotels, Hungary also provides tourist hostels which are normally 4 person rooms with basic facilities.
We have had good experiences finding hostels on HostelWorld. They have the largest inventory of hostels worldwide, and with over 10 million reviews and ratings from other travellers you know exactly what to expect.
Another good way to find accommodation in Hungary is by checking booking.com. On their site, you’ll find hotels, homestays, hostels, and other unique accommodation. They have the most reviews and advanced filtering of any accommodation-booking site, so you’ll be sure to find a great place in your budget. We have discovered some great finds and have appreciated the ability to book ahead. Many of the places on booking.com also offer free cancellation, which takes the pressure off the planning phase of your trip to Hungary.
If you are backpacking with another travel companion, we highly recommend booking a rental via VRBO. With a vacation rental, you’ll have more space, your own kitchen, and you’ll get a better feel for how the locals live. Plus, the cost of a vacation rental can be split among your group, oftentimes making it cheaper than doing individual hotel rooms.
And lastly, CouchSurfing is a great community that connects travellers with local hosts. You can stay for free with verified hosts, who will usually show you around the locals spots.
Useful links for Backpacking in Hungary
- GAdventures – guided small group tours in Hungary, great for solo travellers or for those interested in a more adventurous trip which would require a guide
- Omio – Train, bus, and flight search for Hungary and all of Europe. Offers online booking and mobile tickets
- Eurail – Rail Passes for travellers who plan on doing lots of train travel in a short period of time. Single-Country passes for Hungary as well as Multi-Country passes available
- DiscoverCars – The world’s leading rental car search engines to rent a car in Hungary
- Kiwi and Skyscanner – Flight comparison search engines to find the cheapest flights to Hungary and within the country
- GetYourGuide and Viator – a collection of local tours and activities in Hungary. Also offers Skip the Line tickets for crowded attractions
- Tiqets – Website selling entrance tickets and skip the line tickets for major tourist attractions in Hungary
- HostelWorld – #1 hostel search website to find accommodation while backpacking Hungary. Thousands of hostels and millions of reviews from fellow travellers
- Booking.com – commonly used booking site for accommodation in Hungary. Find hostels, hotels, and other unique accommodation in Hungary with advanced filtering and millions of reviews
- World Nomads Travel Insurance – Comprehensive travel insurance for long and short trips when backpacking Hungary
There you have it, the ultimate Hungary backpacking guide. We hope you have found all the information you need for backpacking around Hungary.
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