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
A good way to get an idea of things to do in Hungary is to scan the activities offered by Get Your Guide or Viator. They work directly with local tour operators, 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 in Hungary ahead of time. Tiqets has entrance tickets and skip the line passes for major attractions in Budapest so that you can avoid the lines and save that precious time for more exploring.
How to Travel Around 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.
Train travel in Hungary
The trains in Hungary are comparatively western and 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 at the station 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.
The country 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. Eurail offers both multi-country passes and One Country Passes. To decide whether you should buy individual tickets from A to B, or whether you should purchase a Eurail pass, read our Travelling Europe by Train guide.
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
If you want the flexibility to stop in smaller towns between the major cities, check AutoEurope or Europcar to compare offers from the major car rental agencies in the region. Before deciding, read more about what to expect of driving in Europe.
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. For these times, a popular option among backpackers is G Adventures. They hand-select local guides to ensure authenticity and quality. This is especially a good option for those travelling Hungary alone who would like to meet up with like-minded travellers. 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.
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 in Hungary 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 hotels.com and booking.com. With both sites, you’ll not only find hotels, but also homestays, hostels, and other unique accommodation. We have discovered some great finds and have appreciated the ability to book ahead. You can use their advanced filtering to narrow your results by budget, location score, overall review score, and amenities. Many of the places on booking.com also offer free cancellation, which takes the pressure off the planning phase of your trip.
Guest-houses and bed and breakfasts are common in Hungary and generally very inexpensive. This means for spending a few quid over a hostel you can get a much more comfortable room and get to know some locals.
Useful links for Backpacking in Hungary
- The Hungarian tourist board offer tourist information and travel tips for visitors to Hungary.
- Eurail – Rail Passes for travellers who plan on doing lots of train travel in a short period of time. Single-Country and Multi-Country passes available
- Omio – Train, bus, and flight search for Hungary and all of Europe. Offers online booking and mobile tickets
- Auto Europe – Europe’s leading rental car search engine to find a rental 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 things to do in Hungary. Also offers Skip the Line tickets for crowded attractions
- Tiqets – Website selling entrance tickets and skip the line tickets for major attractions in Hungary
- G Adventures – guided backpacking tours in Hungary, great for solo travellers or for those interested in a more adventurous trip which would require a guide
- HostelWorld – #1 hostel search website in Hungary. Thousands of hostels and millions of reviews from fellow travellers
- Booking.com – commonly used accommodation booking site in Hungary. Hostels, hotels, and other unique accommodation with advanced filtering and millions of reviews
- Travel Insurance – read our comprehensive overview of Travel Insurance and some recommended providers for backpacking in 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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