Budapest Basic Information
Budapest is divided into 23 districts that are referred to by Roman numerals, and colloquially into the areas of Buda and Pest, which are separated by the Danube River. Locals will also call some districts by their historical name, so don’t be surprised to hear the VII District also called Erzsébetváros (Elizabeth Town) or the VI District referred to as Terézváros (Theresa Town). For more need-to-know info before you go to Budapest, here’s our top tips.
As Hungary is one of the Schengen Convention countries, Australian passport holders going to Hungary on holiday for less than a total of 90 days within a 180-day period do not need a visa to enter the country. Make sure your passport has at least six months’ validity from your planned date of return to Australia. Please be aware that this information is only a guideline. For up-to-the-minute visa information, contact your local Embassy or Consulate of Hungary.
Hungary uses the Forint as currency. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and the Hungarian Forint changes constantly so keep an eye on the exchange rate and purchase Forints when the rate is at its best. For safe spending while overseas, consider using a credit or debit card.
Traditional Hungarian or Magyar cuisine is characterised by meat dishes seasoned with sweet or hot paprika. Some of the local specialities include gulyás (goulash soup), pörkölt (what you would know as ‘goulash’ - a meat stew with onions and paprika), fözelek (a uniquely Hungarian vegetable soup-stew hybrid), stuffed cabbage and lángos – garlicky fried bread topped with grated cheese and sour cream. Kávéház (coffeehouses) are a traditional local institution and a must-visit where you’ll find exquisite torta (cakes or pastries) and coffee at landmark venues. Other cuisines on offer in Budapest include European favourites like Italian, Turkish and Greek as well as Asian food such as Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese and Chinese. Kebabs and burgers are also popular meals on the go.
In such an attractive and atmospheric city, the after-hours scene is similarly thematic. The Budapest VII district on the Pest side contains Kazinczy utca, one of the busiest party streets in downtown Budapest that’s also known as the city’s ‘drinking district. Here you’ll find all-night venues, open-air bars, urban garden pubs, rooftop hotspots and underground lairs. ‘Ruin pubs’ or romkocsma are a popular local after-hours option with hipster-style mismatched furniture, eclectic op-shop décor and live music and DJs in former abandoned buildings. In summer, outdoor venues with garden stages and alfresco dancefloors are all the rage – some even have roofs for the winter months. Nagymezö utca, also known as Pest’s Broadway district, also has a party hearty vibe.