- We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Hungary. Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travelling conditions.
- There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
- There has been a significant influx of asylum seekers into Hungary. International trains from Budapest were suspended in early September and could be disrupted again at short notice. Hungary’s borders are also coming under tighter restrictions, particularly with Serbia and Croatia. Travellers may experience lengthy delays. Avoid large groups in these areas and follow the advice of local authorities. See Local travel.
- You should avoid protests and demonstrations as they may turn violent.
- Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Hungary. The Canadian Embassy in Budapest, provides consular assistance to Australians in Hungary. This service includes the issuance of Provisional Travel Documents. The Australian Embassy in Austria can also assist Australians in Hungary.
- See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
- organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
- register your travel and contact details, so we can contact you in an emergency
- subscribe to this travel advice to receive email updates each time it's reissued.
- follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Entry and exit
Hungary is a party to the Schengen Convention, along with 25 other European countries, which allows Australians to enter Hungary without a visa in some circumstances. See our Schengen Convention bulletin for more information.
Entry into Hungary can be refused if you have failed to pay a previous fine levied in Hungary. You should contact the Embassy or Consulate of Hungary for guidance on paying any outstanding fines.
People travelling directly to or from a country outside the European Union (EU) who are carrying 10,000 Euros or more (or the equivalent amount in another currency) are required to declare the cash at the place of their arrival or departure from the EU. Under the legislation, the term "cash" includes cheques, travellers' cheques and money orders. Travellers failing to declare the cash or providing incomplete or incorrect information will incur a fine. There is no requirement to declare cash for people travelling to or from another EU country.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia.
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Hungary for the most up-to-date information.
Delays at borders
Hungary's borders are coming under tighter restrictions, particularly with Serbia and Croatia. Travellers may experience lengthy delays. Avoid large groups in these areas and follow the advice of local authorities.
Safety and security
Petty crime occurs in Hungary, in particular on public transport and in railway stations, markets and other places frequented by tourists. When travelling by overnight train, you should secure your compartment from the inside. Do not leave luggage unattended at any time.
Car thefts and highway robberies also occur. Drivers should be cautious when stopping at petrol stations and highway parking areas, especially after dark. Thieves have been reported to stage roadside emergencies to persuade drivers to pull over. Thieves then steal items from the distracted driver’s car.
Some clubs and restaurants do not list prices. You should check the cost before ordering as certain bars, clubs and restaurants (mainly in the business district of central Pest) charge exorbitant prices. Disputes about overcharging have been known to lead to violence. Security guards may compel you to pay. Be wary of seemingly helpful taxi drivers, who may receive commissions for taking tourists to such establishments, and of other unsolicited invitations to socialise.
Social attitudes to homosexuality are not as liberal as in Australia. There have been instances of harassment and violence directed at homosexuals. See our LGBTI travellers page.
The Hungarian National Tourist Office has a 24-hour helpline (telephone (1) 438-8080) to assist tourists who are victims of crime. A local police website provides general safety tips for travellers to Hungary.
Civil unrest/Political tension
You should avoid protests and demonstrations as they may turn violent.
Extremist groups have used national holidays, such as 15 March (date of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution), 20 August (St. Stephen's Day) and 23 October (Republic Day) to stage demonstrations during commemorative events.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin.
Money and valuables
Most banks in Hungary have ATMs which accept major international cards. Take care when receiving bank notes as some notes that are no longer valid may still be in circulation. Do not use street money changers.
While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
There has been a significant influx of asylum seekers into Hungary. Police have been deployed to prevent asylum seekers from entering Budapest's main rail station, Keleti station. As a result, international trains from Budapest were suspended in early September and could be disrupted again at short notice.
You should monitor the local media and check with your carrier or tour operator for up to date information. If travelling by train, arrive in plenty of time, remain vigilant and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Hungary's borders are also coming under tighter restrictions, particularly with Serbia and Croatia. Travellers may experience lengthy delays, whether travelling by road or rail. Further protests and violence is possible. Avoid large groups in these areas and follow the advice of local authorities. Have contingency plans in place for any disruptions to travel plans.
Public transport in Budapest
Foreign visitors are often caught out by the ticket system in Budapest and subsequently fined by inspectors. Follow passenger information notices, which are usually printed in English. Validate your ticket before starting your journey (before you get to the platform if travelling by Metro and immediately after boarding buses, trams and trolley buses). Keep your ticket until the end of your journey and show it to inspectors on request. New tickets must be purchased and validated each time you change lines.
Fines for travelling on public transport without a valid ticket are expensive.
More information on ticket conditions and prices can be found at the Budapest Transport Authority.
Driving in Hungary
While highways in Hungary are generally in good condition, driving in rural areas can be hazardous due to poor road maintenance and insufficient street lighting. The use of headlights is compulsory outside towns, including during daytime. The use of snow tyres is recommended if driving during winter. For further advice, see our road travel page.
Motorists must buy a vignette (toll card), available from petrol stations and post offices, to use the Hungarian motorways M1, M3, M5 and M7.
Drivers should be aware that police do not issue on-the-spot fines for traffic offences. Instead, they issue a ticket indicating the amount of the fine, which can be paid at any post office. Police may retain the passport of a driver who disputes a fine or offence. They will then issue a receipt and a letter requesting that the driver report to a police station. The passport will be returned once the dispute is settled.
Danube river cruises are becoming increasingly popular with tourists. We strongly recommend you review the General health advice to Australian travellers for further information on being safe and prepared abroad.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Hungary.
Please refer to our air travel page for information about aviation safety and security.
You are subject to the local laws of Hungary, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you’re arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
Penalties for drug offences in Hungary are severe and may include lengthy prison sentences. See our Drugs page.
Smoking is banned at all public transport stops in Budapest, within five metres of the entrances to public buildings, and in restaurants, bars and cafes. Heavy fines apply in case of infringement.
Driving with a blood alcohol level greater than zero is an offence. Police have the right to take driving licences from drunk drivers. There are heavy fines for minor driving infringements. Penalties for serious driving offences can include imprisonment.
Local authorities can request to see identification at any time. You must carry your passport with you at all times. A photocopy is not acceptable.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Information for dual nationals
While there is no general conscription for military service in Hungary, dual national males between the ages of 18 and 40 may be conscripted into the armed forces in exceptional circumstances such as a state of emergency.
Prior to travel, Australian/Hungarian dual nationals should seek advice from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Hungary.
Our Dual nationals page provides further information.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
The standard of public medical facilities in Hungary's large cities is reasonable. Some doctors speak English, but it is not widely spoken by other hospital staff. In rural and border regions facilities can be limited. Private medical facilities are well equipped and meet international accreditation standards but are very expensive. Private hospitals often insist on confirmation of insurance cover or guarantee of payment before admitting patients. Doctors and public hospitals usually expect immediate cash payment for services.
Emergency medical assistance can be obtained by calling 112 and asking for an ambulance.
Travel in forested areas brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks are very common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn.
Where to get help
Depending on your enquiry, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24 hour emergency number.
For criminal issues, contact the local police. The national emergency number is 112. You should also obtain a police report when reporting a crime.
Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Hungary. By agreement between the Canadian and Australian governments, the Canadian Embassy in Budapest provides consular assistance to Australians in Hungary. This service includes the issuance of Provisional Travel Documents.
Canadian Embassy, Budapest
You can also obtain consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in Austria:
Australian Embassy, Vienna
See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you are travelling to Hungary, we recommend you Register your travel. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Floods and snowstorms occur in Hungary and may have widespread impacts. Every year, flooding occurs in the northeast region of Hungary, along the watershed of the upper Tisza River, causing severe damage to housing and displacing families. Hungary experienced severe flooding along the Danube River in early June 2013.
During snowstorms, parts of the country may close down and be isolated for days.
In the event of severe weather, you should monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.