Hungary is one of the most underrated destinations in Europe, because of which only a few choose to travel to the country. However, those who do, are instantly met with a cultural shock as the landlocked country has diverse cultures and various traditions, which are beyond the comprehension of a foreigner, let alone someone from a different continent.
In this article, leisure travel guides bring you 15 things that you must keep in mind on your Hungary vacation packages.
Hungary is one of the unique countries in Europe. Hungary is landlocked by seven countries in central Europe, namely Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, and Ukraine. Therefore the country has a diverse culture that has evolved through history and has taken a unique shape in modern times.
For someone from the US, moving to Hungary, or visiting the country through Hungary Vacations Packages, can come with several cultural changes. In addition to being surrounded by the seven countries mentioned above, Hungary also served a crucial role as a major travel destination for merchants and armies throughout history. This is reflected quite well in the culture, architecture, traditions, and cuisine in Hungary.
In order to prepare yourself for your Hungary vacation packages, here are the most interesting things about traveling to Hungary as an American that can help you on your Hungarian expeditions.
There are over 1000 natural hot springs still active under the surface in Hungary. In almost every part of the country, you will find several establishments where you can relax in a thermal spa. It is believed that the hot waters have medicinal properties that can heal many ailments related to the body and mind.
Hungarians love to smoke and drink. However, locals do not clink their glasses when they drink and expect tourists to follow this tradition as well. Its tradition came into being in 1848 when the Hungarian army was defeated by the Austrians, and many high-ranking generals and soldiers were killed in battle. The Austrian soldiers then celebrated their victory by clinking their beer glasses. Thus, the Hungarians vowed not to clink their glasses for 150 years. There was even a ban that was recently lifted. Even after 167 years, the tradition still prevails, and almost everyone in the country does not clink their glass before drinking.
In many restaurants and other establishments across Hungary, Euro is accepted, as the country is a member of the European Union. However, you are better off using the official currency of Hungary, which is Forint, as the currency exchange rates can cause you to pay higher prices. So if you’re at a place that accepts Euros, stick to paying in Forints or use your card for payments.
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Euronet ATMs are spread all across Europe, in almost every country. You will easily find them on every other corner in Hungary or any other country in Europe. However, you should avoid using Euronet ATMs as they are rigged to scam tourists from overseas. It has been reported in many cases that Euronet ATMs offer high taxes and poor conversion rates as soon as it recognizes that your card is registered outside of Europe. If you are using a local card, then the ATMs work like any other ATMs, but when using a foreign card, tourists are scammed out of hundreds of dollars for making transactions. Try to find a different ATM or go to a currency exchange to get some cash.
Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and also one of its most popular tourist attractions. Like most cities in the world, tourists can get a city card for varying prices that offers discounted prices for travel and tickets for various attractions in the city.
It is always best to buy your bus or tram tickets in advance when in Hungary because there are frequent checks on public transports and the fines are quite high. On many occasions, you can purchase a ticket onboard and may have to deboard the bus or train. There are various ticket vending machines across the city where you can buy tickets for your travel at relatively cheaper rates and save yourself the trouble of paying a hefty fine.
It is a common misconception that Hungarians are particularly angry in general. However, I did not find it to be true on my visit, as I met various people, young and old, who were quite friendly and welcoming. However, on the other hand, Hungarians don’t walk around with a smile on their faces or nodding their heads to strangers. They usually keep to themselves and refrain from sharing too much personal information. The locals are quite opinionated regarding politics, and therefore you should avoid getting in a debate with a Hungarian.
There have been multiple instances of assault and scams usually aimed at foreign tourists in local Hungary cabs. Hailing a taxi or cab from the side of the road is not advised on your Hungary vacation packages. Instead, try to use public transport or only use a taxi service from a reputed service.
People in Hungary are famous for their beer. However, there is a vast majority of locals who love drinking wine. The wine culture in Hungary is quickly picking up, with various vineyards along the country producing world-class wines. Try to visit the northern shores of Lake Balaton and explore the vineyards and try out some amazing wines.
Apart from alcohol, coffee is another popular beverage of choice for Hungarian locals. You will find many great varieties of coffees on your Hungary vacation packages. Take some time out on your vacation to visit some of the most popular coffee houses in the country, many of which are decades old and serve amazing caffeinated beverages.
Tipping is a part of the Hungarian culture, and most restaurants accept a minimum of 10% tip and above for superior service. Another thing to be noted while visiting a restaurant in Hungary is that it is considered rude to leave the tips on the table. Therefore, make sure you give the tips to the waiter while paying.
The public transport infrastructure is rock solid in Hungary and can take you to most places with ease. Getting a taxi or cab can be quite expensive, and with the added difficulty of hassling with the drivers of prices as they charge quite high and refuse to go by meter. Hungary has an amazing network of trams and metros that can take you within and outside the side with no problems at all.
There are various synagogues around the country, and one must uphold the sanctity of the place. You should be mindful of your clothing while entering a synagogue. You will be provided a traditional cap to cover your head at the entrance. Women are required to wear clothes that cover the torso and avoid short skirts. Men are required to stick to long pants and shirts.
Touting for taxis at the airport is quite common in Hungary. As soon as you step out of the airport, you will find many taxi drivers approaching you, asking you to get into their cab. However, local taxi drivers do have the best reputation in Hungary and are known to dupe tourists by charging higher prices. It is best to simply ignore them and find yourself a taxi by a reputed taxi service provider.
It is a common misconception that traveling to European countries is quite expensive. However, it may be true for most cities, like France, London, or Italy. Hungary is one country in Europe which is not particularly expensive if you know what you are in for. You will find plenty of chances to book cheaper flights to Hungary, and once you reach there, you will realize the accommodations, even some of the luxurious hotels, are quite reasonable.
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