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Hungary - Country Profile

Summary

Hungary is situated in the geographic and spiritual centre of Europe. Independent since leaving the Soviet Union in 1991, Hungary had joined the EU and is moving towards closer integration with the rest of Europe.

The Danube flows through the country, providing a region rich with ancient castles and baroque villages. To the south is the Great Plain, a vast area of cowboys and cattle. Over a thousand lakes pepper the countryside, of which the largest is Lake Balaton - a very popular holiday destination.

Budapest is the heart of the country, standing astride the Danube at the geographical centre of Hungary. The former Imperial capital is somewhat faded since the glory days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire but this just adds to the charm.

Highlights

Weather and times to visit

Hungary has a continental climate with cold winters and hot summers. Summer can be very busy, especially in the tourist resorts along Lake Balaton but the main season lasts from May to October.

Language

The Hungarian language (Magyar) isn't related to the surrounding Slavic or Germanic languages - it's closest relatives are Finnish or Estonian. English and German are widely spoken in tourist locations, especially in Budapest.

Currency and money matters

Hungary uses the Forint, with around 350Ft to the pound. ATMs are common in the big cities. Credit cards are widely accepted at bigger shops and businesses.

Business Hours

Banking hours are 8am to 4pm weekdays with early closing on a Friday. Shop sin tourists open earlier and close later - some supermarkets can convenience stores are open 24 hours.

Visas

Visas not required for most visitors for stays of up to 90 days. Visas are issued on border crossings and at Ferihegy Airport, but check first.

General Campsite Conditions

Campsites are generally good - the touring parks alongside Lake Balaton are some of the best in the region with well establishwed entertainment programmes.

Destinations