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General Information

Visa
An entry visa for Hungary is not usually required for many nationalities however please consult the Hungarian Embassy or Consulate nearest to you for specific details relating to visas.

Alternatively you can visit the website of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for information:

http://www.mfa.gov.hu/kulkepviselet/KR/en/en_Konzuliinfo/en_konzuliinfo_vizum.htm

Please note that visa applications can take 30-60 days.

Climate
Budapest enjoys a continental climate. In August nice warm weather can usually be expected with a max. temperature of 23-28 °C, while the lowest temperature during the night ranging between 15-17 °C. Rain is not usual in this season.

Insurance
The registration fees do not include provision for the insurance of participants against personal accidents, illness, cancellation, theft, property loss or damage. Participants are advised to take adequate personal travel insurance.

Currency
The Forint (HUF), the official national currency, is convertible. There are coins of 5, 10, 20, 50 100 and 200 forint. Notes come in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10 000 and 20 000 forint. The 10,000 and 20,000 Forint notes are difficult to get changed especially by taxi drivers or in small shops. Foreign currency may only be exchanged at places with official permission. The exchange rates applied in Budapest banks, official exchange offices and hotels may vary.

Commercial banks are usually open Monday to Thursday 8.00 – 15.00, Fridays 9.00 – 13.00. All banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Numerous money change offices are open at the weekends in the Inner Town of Pest (5th District) and in the Castle District (1st District). Currency can be exchanged at hotel receptions, night and day. Outside business opening hours, you can also use automatic cash machines (ATMs) located throughout the city.

Current exchange rates (Exchange rates as of March, 2012 - subject to change).
1 EUR = 290 HUF
1 USD = 220 HUF
1 GBP = 350 HUF

See: www.XE.com

Cheques, credit cards and deposit books
Most currency exchange bureaux will cash foreign currency travellers cheques, eurocheques and bank cheques in currencies officially registered by the Hungarian National Bank. A passport or other personal identification is required in order to have cheques cashed.

All the major credit cards - VISA, EC/MC and American Express - are accepted in Hungary in most restaurants, cafés, shops and petrol stations displaying the emblem at the entrance.


Stores and Shopping
The opening hours of Budapest stores are generally 10.00-18.00 on weekdays and 10.00-13.00 on Saturday. The shopping centres are open from 10.00-21.00 from Monday to Saturday and from 10.00-18.00 on Sunday.

Good buys include antiques, jewellery, furs, leather, classical music, books, crystal and Herend porcelain.

Typical Hungarian items include: Herend porcelain, AJKA Crystal, paprika, apricot brandy, Tokai wines and Salami.

Typical Handicrafts include: embroidery, woodcarvings, painted eggs and ceramics.

Eating out
The many types of Hungarian cuisine across the country are worth discovering, from cafés to luxury restaurants and from fast food outlets to “csárda” (country inns). Menus are generally written in English and German as well, offering international as well as Hungarian dishes. Virtually all kinds of international food can be found in restaurants in Budapest.

Electricity
The voltage in Hungary is 230V, 50 Hz AC. Plugs are the regulation two-pin continental-type.

Water:
Tap water is clean and of high quality, safe to drink.

Time Zone:
Budapest is on Central European time (CET). GMT + 1 hour, Summer time (March to the middle of October): GMT + 2 hours.

Hungarian language
The Hungarian language belongs to the Finno-Ugric language family and is fundamentally different from other European languages. Many people do however speak some English.

Emergency numbers
Ambulance: 104
Police: 107
Fire station: 105
Directory Information: 198 (domestic), 199 (international)

Telephone
Hungary’s country code is “36”, Budapest’s area code is “1”.
For long-distance calls in Hungary: dial “06” first.
For international calls from Hungary, first dial “00”, followed by the country and area codes and then the number.
Public telephones operate either with coins or a telephone card. For coin-operated telephones, 20, 50 and 100 forint coins are used. Telephone cards in message units of 50 and 100 can be bought at post offices, newsagents, tobacconists or in the hotel.

Safety
The practical advice for visitors to Hungary is the same as for any other country: keep all travel documents (passports, driving license, etc.) and money in the safe of your hotel. On public transport (especially on crowded trams, metros) keep cameras or video cameras in sight, not in a backpack or bag at your side. Do not exchange money on the street. Before taking a taxi, verify rates with the driver.

Tourist Information
The information services and activities of the Hungarian National Tourist Office are provided by the network of TOURINFORM offices across the country.

For more information please visit www.hungary.com or www.tourinform.hu