Budapest is the capital of Hungary, with nearly 2,000,000 inhabitants. Not only it is the centre of administration but also that of industry, trade, transport and traffic, education, culture, arts and sports.
Most tourists visiting Hungary come to Budapest first, although the Lake Balaton, in Western Hungary, is also a very popular destination.
Budapest has a temperate continental climate. Seasons are usually well defined, with July and August the hottest months (28-30° C, 82-86° F) and December and January the coldest, when temperatures may fall under -15° C or just +5° F. Average sunshine from April to September is more than eight hours a day.
Time in Budapest
Budapest is in the Central European Time Zone. In the winter months this means clocks are set at GMT + 1 hour, and in the summer (March to the end of October) GMT + 2 hours.
Buda, which is mostly residential, comprises one-third of the city's total area, with over 20 hills on the right bank of the Danube.
Pest, on the left bank, is almost entirely flat, and has most of the government and commerce and the industry.
The three major national holidays are:
- 15th March (Freedom Fight and Revolution of 1848)
- 20th August (St. Stephen's Day)
- 23rd October (1956 Revolution)
Hungarians, too celebrate Labor Day on the 1st of May, and the main religious festivals and holidays are observed (New Year's Day, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, Whitsunday and Whit Monday, All Saints' Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day).
Food shops are open from 7 am-6 pm
Clothes shops between 10 am-6 pm Monday to Saturday
Most of the shopping malls are open between 10 am-9 pm from Monday to Saturday and on Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.
Office hours: generally from 8 am-4 pm Monday to Friday
Post offices: Monday-Friday: 8 am-6 pm, Satuday: 8 am-1 pm
Banks: Monday-Thursday: 8 am-3 pm, Friday: 8 am-1 pm
Electric voltage in Hungary is 230 volts, and plugs are of the two-pin continental type.
The international telephone prefix for Hungary is 36, and the area code for Budapest is 1. To call a number within Hungary, first dial 06, followed by the area code and the telephone number. Budapest telephone numbers have seven digits, all other areas' have six digits (excluding the area code in both cases). To make an international call from Hungary, first dial 00, then the country code followed by the area code and the subscriber's telephone number.
Public telephones accept either coins (20, 50, and 100 forints) or telephone cards (available from tobacconists, newsagents, post offices, and petrol stations). Off-peak rate runs at night and on public holidays. To call a (Hungarian) cellular telephone, first dial 06, followed by the subscriber's nine-digit number (starting with either 20-, 30- or 70-, depending on which of the 3 mobile providers have issued the number.