Exercise normal safety precautions in Hungary. Use common sense. Look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor the news and other sources for changes to local conditions.
- International transport, including trains, buses and river cruises, may be subject to security and passport controls. See
Entry and Exit.
Terrorism is a threat in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities in recent years. See
Safety and security.
- Avoid protests and demonstrations as they could turn violent. See
Safety and security.
- Pickpocketing, bag snatching and other petty crimes occur, particularly in Budapest and other large cities. Remain alert in tourist areas, on public transport and near ATMs. See
Safety and security.
- Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Hungary. The
Canadian Embassy in Budapest provides consular assistance and limited services to Australians in Hungary. The
Australian Embassy in Vienna can also assist. See
Where to get help.
Entry and exit
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination's entry or exit requirements.
Hungary is part of the
Schengen area, along with a number of other European countries. This allows you to enter Hungary without a visa in some circumstances.
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest
Consulate of Hungary for up-to-date information.
Hungary has strengthened controls at its borders, particularly those with Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia. You may experience lengthy delays. Carry your passport when crossing borders, even within the Schengen area. Keep up-to-date on border conditions by checking local news sources and asking transport providers directly.
Ensure you get a legible entry stamp in your passport when you enter the Schengen area (including Hungary) for the first time.
You'll be refused entry if you have failed to pay a previous fine issued in Hungary. Contact the Embassy or Consulate of Hungary for guidance on paying any outstanding fines before you travel.
Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia.
Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Keep it in a safe place.
Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.
If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.
The currency of Hungary is the Forint. Only change money at banks or other authorised dealers. Don't use street money changers.
Declare cash of 10,000 Euros or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if travelling between Hungary and any non-European Union (EU) country. This includes notes and coins, money orders, cheques and travellers cheques. If you fail to declare your cash or give incorrect information on entry to, or exit from, Hungary, you'll be fined. You don't need to declare cash if you are travelling to or from another EU country.
Most banks have ATMs that accept major international cards. Take care when receiving bank notes as some notes that are no longer valid may still be in circulation.
Safety and security
Petty crime, especially on public transport and tourist areas occurs. Theft from vehicles and highway robberies also occur.
Some clubs and restaurants charge more than you might expect (mostly in the business district of Pest). Disputes about overcharging can lead to violence. Security guards may force you to pay. Taxi drivers and others may receive commissions for taking tourists to such places.
There have been reported instances of drink spiking in Budapest.
- Pay close attention to your personal belongings, particularly on public transport and in tourist areas.
- Carry only what you need for the day. Keep your passport and other identity documents separate from each other. Leave valuables in a secure location.
- Stick with people you trust in bars and nightclubs. Always check the price of food and drinks before ordering.
- Don't accept food or drinks from strangers or leave items unattended.
- Be wary of unsolicited invitations to socialise and offers of assistance from taxi drivers.
- When travelling by overnight train, secure your compartment from the inside. Don't leave luggage unattended at any time.
- Avoid leaving luggage or valuables in your car. Use secure parking facilities where available.
- Look out for possible threats when stopping at petrol stations and at highway parking areas, especially after dark.
- Keep an eye on local sources for information about possible new safety or security risks.
Homosexuality is legal in Hungary. Legislation forbids and punishes sexual discrimination, but the official government website for human rights notes general homophobia in Hungarian society. There have been instances of harassment and violence directed at homosexuals.
Civil unrest and political tension
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.
- Monitor the news and other sources for information about possible demonstrations.
- Avoid crowds, protests and demonstrations, as they could turn violent.
- Follow the advice of local authorities.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world, including in Europe. In recent years, terrorists have staged attacks in a number of European cities. Recent attacks have targeted airports, public transport including train stations, places of worship, sporting venues and other areas that attract large groups of people, including places popular with foreigners. European security services have also prevented a number of planned attacks.
- Be alert to possible threats, especially in public places.
- Monitor the news for any new or emerging threats.
- Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
- Take official warnings seriously and follow the instructions of local authorities.
- If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so.
Highways are usually in good condition, but driving in rural areas can be hazardous due to poor road maintenance and insufficient street lighting. Snow tyres are not mandatory in winter but check with your insurer.
Hungary has some road rules that Australian drivers may not be familiar with:
- outside towns, vehicle headlights must be on at all times, including during daylight hours
- You must display a vignette (toll card) if you are travelling on the M1, M3, M5 and M7 motorways . You can buy a vignette at petrol stations, post offices as well as online.
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 can keep 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 only be returned once the dispute is settled.
Driving with a blood alcohol level greater than zero is an offence. Police can confiscate licences from drivers under the influence of alcohol.
An Australian driver's licence is valid for one year when accompanied by a Hungarian translation or international driving permit (IDP). Arrange your IDP before your travel.
Some taxi drivers may receive a commission to recommend certain bars, clubs and restaurants to passengers.
- Never ask a taxi driver to recommend a bar, club or restaurant as they may receive a commission.
- Be cautious about offers from drivers or someone on the street with invitations to take you to clubs.
Foreign visitors are often caught out by the public transport ticket system in Budapest and fined by inspectors.
- If you travel on public transport without a valid ticket, you'll be fined.
- Follow passenger information notices, which are usually printed in English.
If you plan to join a Danube river cruise, read the
travelling by boat pages for advice on staying safe and healthy.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the
Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Hungary.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
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.
There are severe penalties for possessing or trafficking drugs. If convicted, expect a lengthy prison sentence and heavy fines.
Local authorities can request to see identification at any time. Carry your passport at all times. A photocopy is not acceptable.
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. Large fines apply.
There are heavy fines for minor driving infringements. Penalties for serious driving offences can include imprisonment.
Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you can be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:
- bribery of foreign public officials
- child pornography
- child sex tourism
- female genital mutilation
- forced marriage
- money laundering.
Hungary recognises dual citizenship.
If you are a male dual national between the ages of 18 and 40 you may be conscripted into the armed forces in exceptional circumstances (such as a state of emergency).
Contact the nearest
Consulate of Hungary before you travel for up-to-date information relevant to your personal circumstances.
Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.
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 won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.
- what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
- you are covered for the whole time you'll be away.
Physical and mental health
Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
- At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
- Get vaccinated before you travel.
Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
Take prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.
Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to.
There is a risk of tick-borne encephalitis in forested areas. Ticks are very common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn.
A number of West Nile virus (WNV) cases have been reported throughout Hungary. There is no vaccine to prevent WNV.
Protect yourself against insect-borne illnesses by:
- taking measures to avoid insect bites, including using always using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing.
- ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof
- regularly checking your body for ticks during and after visiting forested areas.
- removing any ticks from your body as soon as possible, being careful to remove the whole tick
- monitoring the tick site afterwards for any signs of infection.
Medical treatment is adequate but hospitals and other medical facilities vary in quality: many are below the standard you may find in Australia. In rural and border regions, facilities can be particularly limited.
There is no private in-patient hospital facility in Budapest. Some doctors speak English, but it is not widely spoken by other hospital staff.
Doctors and public hospitals usually expect immediate cash payment for services.
Floods and snowstorms can have widespread impacts. Flooding is common in the northeast region along the upper Tisza River and along the Danube.
During snowstorms, parts of the country may close down and be isolated for days.
If a natural disaster occurs:
Where to get help
Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer or airline. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Emergency phone numbers
- Firefighting and rescue services: 112
- Medical emergencies: 112
- Criminal issues, contact police: 112
Always get a police report when reporting a crime.
Hungarian National Tourist Office has a 24-hour helpline (telephone +36 1 438 8080) to assist tourists who are victims of crime.
Tourism services and products
For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
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 issuing of
provisional travel documents but not passport or notarial services. If your passport has been lost or stolen in Hungary, obtain a local police report and seek a letter of facilitation from the Canadian Embassy in Budapest. Carry the letter with you to the Australian Embassy in Vienna, where you can arrange a replacement passport.
Canadian Embassy, Budapest
Ganz utca 12-14,
1027 Budapest, Hungary
Phone: +36 (1) 392-3360
Fax: +36 (1) 392-3390
You can access the full range of consular services from the Australian Embassy in Austria.
Australian Embassy, Vienna
Phone: +43 1 506 740
Fax: +43 1 513 1656
Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you are unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.