Opening times during Easter 2013

Easter opening times in BudapestMy husband and I would like to visit your city-Budapest end of this month (March 29-31) for sighteeing. Are museums and shops open in those dates? What about the restaurants? We are worried about this matter because that is holy week.

Thank you for the question! During Easter all shops are open on Palm Sunday and throughout the entire week. On Easter Sunday (which in 2013 happens to be on March 31st) all shops are closed, but most museums remain open and so also for restaurants. On Easter Monday most Budapest museums are closed, while restaurants remain open. Shops are closed.

These are the basics concerning opening times in Budapest during Easter. It can be useful to know that the thermal baths, among them the most famous of the all, the Szechenyi thermal bath, will be open throughout the entire Easter.

Ask your Budapest question!

What museums are open in Budapest during Christmas?

I am going to Budapest from December 22nd – December 28th. I wonder what museums can be visited during this period?

Museums during Christmas in BudapestWe do not have a full list of museums open in this period, but here you can find some general information which will hopefully help you. What we can tell is this general information:

General museum information
Most museums are open on December 22nd and 23rd.
Most museums are closed on December 24th and 25th.
Most museums reopen on December 26th, though some with only temporary exhibitions available.

Some museums who follow this pattern:
Museum of Fine Arts
Hungarian National Museum
National Gallery

Just for your information:
Most museums are closed on December 31st, but most of them are open on January 1st again.

Is a European Idendity card enough to enter into Hungary?

European Identity Card and HungaryThe short answer is yes. If you come from a nation member of the European Union and have a European Identity card that is enough. In most situations you will not even need to show your passport/ID card as you enter into Hungary arriving with card, bus, train or arriving with flight to Budapest Airport. But in case you need to show it, that is enough.

Where are the best places to change Euros to Florints in Budapest. Or, can I just use Euros?

Thank you for the question and we hope you will find our answer satisfying. There are several articles dealing with this matter on the web, and in our own Budapest Guide you can also read about this in the following article. The first question is where it is best to change Euro to Forint (not Florint) in Budapest. Probably the best way to change money is by using an ATM. Thus you get the best exchange rate, which is the actual rate, and the only fee added is the fee of withdrawing money from your account using your card abroad. There are lots of ATMs in Budapest, so that should not be so hard to find. If you still need to change money, what to do then?

There are quite a lot of exchange offices around downtown Budapest, and our advice would be to check out 3 such offices before changing money for the first time. Compare the exchange rates, and pick the one that is best. There are some offices known in Budapest to be very good places to change money, and one of these are located just opposite the New York hotel (on the other side of the Grand boulevard), near Blaha Lujza square in Budapest. That would be our recommendation. A good sign of quality and great exchange rates is that if you change Euro to Forint the sale and buy price has very little difference. For example you can buy Euro for 286 Forint and sell Euro for 283 Forint. If you see such small difference, that is a good sign. In the very city center you will probably not find such good rates, but if the difference is 4-6 Forint between buy and sell, that is still quite good.

Can I pay with Euro in Budapest?

Yes, in many situations you can, but let us say that one Euro is currently worth 285 Forint. When you walk into a shop to pay with Euro they have normally a set Euro value, meaning that you get somewhere between 250-275 Forint per Euro, far less than what it is actually worth. It doesn’t mean to so much if you are only eating a meal in McDonalds, but if you use Euro in a lot of places you will in fact lose a good amount of money in the end. Therefore it is much better to grab hold of some local Forints instead of running around paying with Euro everywhere.

Hope this answer will help you. You can find more info about the Hungarian currency in this article as well.

Ask your Budapest question!

How much time does it take for a postcard to get from Budapest to Rome?

Post card to Rome from BudapestThank you for the question! If you buy a postcard in Budapest and send it as air mail (Priority) a postcard should reach its destination in Rome within 2-3 working days. This is at least the normal version. Sometimes we have experienced delays, but in general it always reaches it goal within 3 working days. We have not sent that many postcards to Italy, but at least to other nations in Europe this is our general experience.

It is though very important to send it with air mail as a priority postcard. If not, it can take several weeks before your post card reaches in destination in beautiful Rome with all its magnificent attractions and sights, and you will for sure get back home long time before you postcard gets to its destination.

Ask your Budapest question!

Ps: If you visit Oslo or Belfast, you can send online postcards instead from our partner sites at WorldCityGuides. These are free and reach the inbox of your friend or enemy within seconds after you send them!

Is Budapest an expensive city?

How much money should I expect to bring with me if I am travelling to Budapest from the UK for 4 days on a holiday? Is it expensive?

Is Budapest an expensive city?First of all thank you for your question. Considering the fact that you will arrive from the UK Budapest will seem quite a lot cheaper than what you are used to, but not at all super cheap. One of the big differences is the hotel prices, as you in Budapest can get a room in a five star hotel for around 100 Euro per night, much, much cheaper than in large UK cities such as London, Dublin (ops… not in UK, but in Ireland) and so on. If you go for a hotel with three or four stars you can get even prices around 50-70 Euro per night.

For a service such as an airport transfer you should plan to spend around 25-30 Euro for a normal taxi from the airport to the city center. Taxi in the central parts of Budapest is also cheap, just make sure to order the taxi from your hotel or restaurant, not just jump into one in the city.

Restaurants in Budapest are fairly cheap, and you can find daily menus in quite a lot of Budapest restaurants costing around 1200 HUF (about 4 Euro). A menu in McDonalds cost 1300 HUF (4,5 Euro) and the same prices are valid for Burger King. If you plan on eating in nicer Budapest restaurants you should estimate spending 20-30 Euro per person, that price including 1-2 courses and some drinks. You will of course find cheaper places as well, and also more expensive, but that is a quite average price for a kind of nicer restaurant.

When you visit museums in Budapest several of them have a permanent exhibition free to citizens in the European Union, but if you want to visit the temporary exhibitions you need to pay for that. These entrance fees normally vary between 1000-3000 HUF.

The public transportation in Budapest is also fairly cheap and if you plan on using it quite a lot you should buy a one week pass costing 4600 (Hetijegy is the name in Hungarian). For those planning to shop a lot Budapest has quite international prices, so shopping in Zara or H&M in Budapest costs just as much as it would cost to buy clothes in the same stores in the UK. If you want to buy quality wine that is though cheaper here, at least if you buy the local wine produced in Hungary. A fine bottle of Hungarian wine can cost 10-15 Euro in a winestore.

All in all Budapest is a fairly cheap European capital, but you can spend a lot of money if you would like to. It is hard to answer and tell you exactly how much money is worth bringing, but hopefully this answer will help you calculate yourself how much you would like to bring!

Comments? Agree or disagree? Write it in the comment field!

Ask your Budapest question!

Is everything closed during Christmas in Budapest?

We are wondering about the opening-hours for museums, different attractions, shopping and restaurants etc. Is everything closed during Christmas?

Christmas Opening Times BudapestThank you for the question. We have our page dealing with Christmas in Budapest where you can find a fairly good answer to your question. We also try to keep that page up to date with information about open restaurants and so on. The page about Christmas Markets in Budapest can also be interesting dealing with the subject.

In general the answer to your question is as follows! All shops are open until 12.00, 13.00 or 14.00 on December 24th, but then they close and reopen on December 27th, meaning there are few shopping opportunities on these days. If you would like to go to the cinema instead they normally have a break on December 24th, but from December 25th or 26th you can find the cinemas open again and you can enjoy the good films coming for Christmas. Budapest has quite a lot of attractions 100% free, such as a visit to the Gellert Hill, the Heroes Square and so on. Most museums have opening times similar to the shops, though some of them might close from December 23rd and not open at all on December 24th. The museums, when they are open, are normally open from 9.00 or 10.00 in the morning until 18.00 in the evening, though this also very from museum to museum.

If you want to grab a good bite of food for Christmas in Budapest at some restaurant you better check out opening times before. In our page about Christmas in Budapest you will find information on some restaurants open on December 24th, 25th and 26th. Except from those dates most restaurants are open all the time, but in general other restaurants stay closed on those three days. Some restaurants are only closed on December 24th, but then stay open from December 25th. Since there is no general rule it is important to find out what’s up with the restaurant you are interested in. If you want to do a booking of a table for a restaurant on December 24th, you better hurry up, because restaurants get packed up and fully booked very quick for that day, as most restaurants are closed, and therefore everyone try to get a free table in those restaurants who decide to stay open.

The Szechenyi Furdo, the most popular thermal bath in Budapest and Hungary, is open every day throughout Christmas, but it closes earlier on December 24th.

Ask your Budapest question!

How to watch Hungarian TV from abroad?

I live outside Hungary and would like to see the Olympic broadcasts from Hungary, but I am not allowed to see, or the broadcast simply does not work. What can I do? The same thing was a problem during the European Championship in soccer earlier this year.

This is a general problem and often the broadcasts are closed down for people living outside Hungary. When nothing special is going on the normal live broadcasts on the net do work, but for special happenings such as summer Olympics, world championships and European championships it does not work anymore. The solution is thus to somehow arrange with something that will make the webpage of the Hungarian television to believe that you watch from inside Hungary, meaning that you need an Hungarian IP address. A good solution for this is HideMyAss. It costs a bit money, but if you get a subscription you can watch as much as you’d like, not only in Hungary but also TV shows and events locked in other parts of the world. Just make sure to get a valid IP address in the selected country. It works easily and fine, and we have tried it ourselves.

If you want to try some free options, you should of course try M1 and M2 live feeds, or for larger events you might be lucky if you vision Eurovisionsports.

Links connected to this text:

M1 live feed
M2 live feed

Here you can also see a clip taken from abroad watching Hungarian television (M1 – MTV) during the Summer Olympics in 2012.
Hungarian Television Live from Abroad

If you have other comments or feedback on any of this, feel free to write a comment on your own to come with further advices, experiences and help on the matter of watching the Hungarian TV channels from abroad. We know that it general everything is open and free to watch, but as mentioned earlier, during larger sports events and so on a lock is often put on the broadcasts making them unavailable to people watching from outside the Hungarian borders.

Ask your Budapest question!

Is it safe to walk in the centre of Budapest by night?

We are coming to Budapest in December for the Christmas markets. We will be staying in the centre of Budapest? What is the crime rate, will we be safe to wander around at night?

Our answer is not scientific, but rather based on the experiences we have from other tourists we know and also as locals who have been hanging out in the city for a long time. In general there is not much crime taking place in the centre of Budapest, neither during daytime or by night. The crime taking place is not violent crime, but rather pick pockets and women tricking you into night clubs where you later get high bills and similar. The American Embassy writes:

“Crime in Budapest is a concern. Be careful during your visit, and exercise the same caution you would in any big city or tourist area at home. Do not walk alone at night; keep your belongings secure at all times. Passports, cash, and credit cards are favorite targets of thieves. Keep items that you do not store in your hotel safe or residence in a safe place, but be aware that pockets, purses, and backpacks are especially vulnerable, even if they close with a zipper. We recommend you use a travel money belt that keeps your cash and passport under your outer clothing and well out of view. Be sure to secure these items when you get back to your hotel or residence. “

If you are a girl or a lady it is especially important not to walk alone, but always have someone to walk with in the evenings. In most situations, 99.9%, there will be no problem if you walk alone, but still sometimes you can hear of situations where things have happened to people walking alone. BUT, that is very seldom, and you do not really need to be afraid… just be careful, and do not be stupid!

As a tourist you will mostly avoid those areas recognized as dangerous in Budapest, so we recommend that you stay in the city centre, enjoy life there and just common sense!

If you have any feedback, response or maybe disagree with our text, just write a comment!