Information on Hungary

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Hungary (in Hungarian: Magyarország) is situated in Central Europe, and borders Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia. Its capital is Budapest.

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General Information

Hungary is a member of the European Union, NATO, OECD, Visegrad Group and is a Schengen state. It has been a parliamentary republic since 1989. The official language is Hungarian, which is part of the Finno-Ugric language family.

The currency is Forint (HUF). Hungary is one of the 15 most popular tourist destinations in the world with a capital regarded as one of the most beautiful cities.

  • Foundation of the Hungarian state: 895 AD
  • Area: 93,030 km2
  • Population: around 10 million
  • Major religion: Catholic (appr. 58%)
  • Major rivers: Duna, in English Danube (417 km) and Tisza (597 km)
  • Largest lakes: Lake Balaton, Lake Velence
  • Highest point above sea level: Kékes (1,014 m) in the Mátra Mountains
  • Climate: continental with four seasons, highs in the summer are 27 °C (80.6 °F) to 35 °C (95 °F), lows in the winter are 0 °C (32 °F) to -15 °C (5.0 °F)
  • Currency: Forint (HUF), see current exchange rates
  • Time zone: CET (UTC+1), summer: CEST (UTC+2)
  • Calling code for Hungary: +36
  • Calling code for Budapest: (+36) 1
  • Drives: on the right
  • Electricity: 230 V

Travelling to Hungary

Budapest can be easily reached by car, train, long-distance bus and air.

The airport is called Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport with Terminal 1, 2A and 2B. Terminal 2A serves all Schengen destinations, whereas 2B serves all non-Schengen destinations. The super-discount European carriers use Terminal 1, about 5km to the west.

Magyar Államvasutak, which translates as Hungarian State Railways and is universally known as MÁV, links up with the European rail network in all directions. In Budapest almost all international trains arrive and depart from Keleti station (Eastern train station; 313 6835; VIII Kerepesi út 2-6); however, some trains to certain destinations in the east (eg Romania) leave from Nyugati station (Western train station; 349-0115; VI Teréz körút 55-57), while Déli station (Southern train station; 375-6293; I Krisztina körút 37) handles trains to some destinations in the south. These are not hard and fast rules, so always make sure you check which station the train leaves from when you buy a ticket. For 24-hour information on international train services call nationwide 06-40-49 49 49 or in Budapest 461-5500.

Most international buses are run by Eurolines (219 8021;  or its Hungarian associate, Volánbusz (382 0888; In Budapest, all international buses arrive at and depart from Népliget bus station (219 8080; IX Üllői út 131; metro Népliget).

Find some Route planners here

Top attractions in Hungary

Situated in the very heart of Europe, Hungary with its rich culture and history is a treasure-trove for tourists. There is plenty to see and experience and not only in Budapest but in other regions as well.

You cannot miss the Danube Bend, Lake Balaton, the city Pécs - the European Capital of Culture in 2010 - in the south and the traditional Őrség region in the far west. Other interesting places can be found at

Hungarian specialities

Hungaricums are unique Hungarian products, specialities, works of art, foods etc that make Hungary famous.

  • Grey cow
  • Mangalica (pig)
  • Red pepper of Kalocsa
  • Rubik's cube
  • Hungarian stew
  • Goulash soup
  • Pick salami
  • Unicum
  • Pálinka (spirit)
  • Wine of Tokaj
  • Gundel pancakes
  • Csárdás dance
  • Herendi porcelain
  • Puskás Ferenc (football player)

Famous Hungarians

Prominent people of Hungarian origin who had a positive impact on the world can be found everywhere on the planet, among them 13 Nobel Prize winners.

Let us mention just a few:

  • Béla BARTÓK (composer)
  • Zoltán KODÁLY, (composer)
  • Franz LISZT (composer)
  • Albert SZENT-GYÖRGYI (scientist, vitamin C)
  • József László BIRÓ (inventor of the ballpoint pen)
  • János NEUMANN (inventor of computer)
  • János IRINYI (inventor of match)
  • Pál ERDŐS (mathematician)
  • Péter ESTERHÁZY (writer)
  • Imre KERTÉSZ (writer)
  • Attila JÓZSEF (poet)
  • Ferenc PUSKÁS (football player)
  • Ernő RUBIK (inventor of the Rubik's cube)
  • Victor VASARELY (artist)
  • Joseph PULITZER (journalist)
  • Robert CAPA (photographer)
  • Paul NEWMAN (actor)
  • Tony CURTIS (actor)
  • Andrew VAJNA (producer)
  • Lajos KOLTAI (film director)
  • István SZABÓ (film director)
  • Tamás DARNYI (swimmer, olympicon)
  • Krisztina EGERSZEGI (swimmer, olympicon)
  • László PAPP (boxer)
  • Péter LÉKÓ (chess player)
  • POLGÁR sisters (chess players)



Cost of living in Hungary

IBS estimates that the monthly budget of students requires about 150,000 HUF but of course it depends on individual spending habits.

This sum covers accommodation, utilities, city transportation, meals and personal expenses.

The following price list should give you an idea of how to plan your budget (prices are in HUF) (click here to see the actual currency exchange rate):

ProductAverage price

1 kg of bread

150 - 300

1 kg of sugar

150 - 200

1-litre milk

160 - 260

100 g cheese

200 - 350

Average restaurant main dish

700 - 1,500

Expensive restaurant main dish

2,000 - 4,500


260 - 300

Ice cream

200 - 350

Soft drink

200 - 400

Movie theatre ticket

800 - 1,500

Entry fee for clubs, discos

1,000 - 3,000

Rock concert ticket

2,000 - 15,000

Metro, bus, tram ticket


Mobile phone charges per minute

20 - 120

Squash court rental per hour

2,500 - 3,500

Swimming pool entry

700 - 1,500

1-litre petrol



Basic expressions in Hungarian

Pick up a few Hungarian phrases!

Some basic expressions:

  • Jó napot! - Good day!
  • Szia! - Hi and goodbye to a friend
  • Viszlát! - Goodbye to a stranger
  • Igen / nem - Yes / no
  • Köszönöm - Thank you.
  • Metró - Underground
  • Busz - Bus
  • Villamos - Tram
  • Utca - Street
  • Út - Road
  • Tér - Square
  • Híd - Bridge

You can listen to the pronunciation of these words and many other ones here: Online audio dictionary

Language - Will Somebody Understand Me?

At IBS both the language of instruction and communication is English, all of our staff speak English. In Hungary most young people are learning English at school, the older generation usually learnt some Russian or German. If you speak English slowly and clearly, many people will understand you and are eager to help you. However, not everybody in the health care, government administration etc speaks English so do not hesitate to ask for help at IBS.

Can I Practise My Faith?

In Hungary many people are Christians (mostly Catholic) but there are all kinds of religious communities and places of worship. We are open to all religions and respect all traditions and expect international students to act in the same manner. IBS respects all religions, however, we cannot take into consideration all the different religious practices. Places of religion Christian churches Mosques in Budapest Orthodox churches in Budapest Buddhism Synagogues