I’ve had received today some inquiries about how the new recommendations issued by the European Union might affect travels from the US to Hungary. The US is one of the five countries that have been removed from the EU safe travel list.

What is important is that this is a guidance and each EU countries decide individually about travel restrictions. As for Hungary, you can enter Hungary if you come from the US with a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours – no PCR test is needed when you get to Hungary by road, rail or waterway.

What is even more important is that Budapest is as beautiful as always, it’s not overcrowded with tourists, so it’s still a great time to come and see. Let me know if you have questions, or book a tour! Also, don’t forget that a private tour is safer than being in large tour groups, myself and the drivers I work with are fully vaccinated and can’t wait to meet you!

Beautiful Budapest - Fiseherman's Bastion
Beautiful Budapest – Fiseherman’s Bastion

Finally, the moment has come, as of the 7th of August, travellers from outside the EU can enter Hungary by air. The rules are:

“persons who are able to present an English or Hungarian language document containing the results of a molecular biological test (SARS_CoV-2 PCR test) not older than 72 hours, conducted in conformity with professional medical regulations in one of the following countries:
a Member State of the European Union or in a candidate state of the European Union,
a member state of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development,
a member state of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation,”

It means that all you need is to have a negative PCR test (not older than 72 hours). We’ve been waiting for this for such a long time, it’s such a great news and I really hope that many visitors will want to visit my Beautiful Budapest these coming weeks.

I get a lot of inquiries about travel restrictions related to COVID, it’s actually still not easy to find out who can enter Hungary.

The basic rules:

  • The citizens of the EU who have the EU green card (EU Digital Covid Certificate) are free to enter Hungary by plane, by car, by train or by boat.
  • Travellers coming from outside the EU are free to enter Hungary by car, by train or by boat.
  • There are no local restrictions so you can go to any museum, restaurant, café, bar, hotel or bathhouse without any proof of vaccination and wearing a mask is no longer obligatory.

Hopefully very soon the same restrictions will apply to travellers coming from the EU and from outside the EU, it’s basically a political decision and there is nothing we can do to help visitors.

The good news, is that if you are in Vienna or Bratislava, you’re very close to Budapest and can easily plan a daytrip to visit my beautiful city. The train connections between Vienna and Budapest and between Bratislava and Budapest are great and it’s easy to book tickets. I can also help you to arrange for private transportation if needed.

I’m happy to customise any of my walking or driving tours so that you can have the perfect Budapest experience. I can pick you up at the train station or meet you in the city centre of Budapest and you’ll see all the main attractions and the most beautiful parts of the city in a couple of hours. Please let me know if you need more details or have further questions.

 

I was surprised to see that two cruise ships are currently docked in Budapest and I also met real tourists in the Buda Castle District and the City Park.

I’ve just checked the official website of the Hungarian Police. It says: “Except in the case of entry by civil aircraft, entry into Hungary from Croatia, Austria, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia, regardless of nationality or protection against the coronavirus, is possible without epidemiological restrictions, but providing other general conditions of entry (eg valid travel document) is necessary.”

I’d think it means that travellers can enter the country without restriction except in case of entry by civil aircraft. However, I read the entire article and found this: “Foreign citizens arriving from abroad in passenger traffic – unless otherwise specified by law or government decree – shall not enter Hungary.” 

It’s hard to tell which rules apply to those who would like to get into the country by car. By the 1st of July the all travel restrictions will be lifted for those who have the EU COVID-19 Passport (when travelling, every Digital Green Certificate holder will have the same rights as citizens of the visited Member State who have been vaccinated, tested or recovered). I’m really looking forward to it and to welcoming travellers in my Beautiful Budapest.

Great news from Budapest: from the 14th of May the fascinating building of the Parliament of Hungary can be visited again, there are tours every day between 9.00 AM and 3.00 PM. What’s more important is that the ticket prices have been reduced by 50%:

EU citizens: HUF 1600 / person

non-EU citizens: HUF 3200 / person

I think it’s a great opportunity to visit the Parliament now, I often tell that this really is one of the most spectacular buildings of Beautiful Budapest and definitely is a must-see when you visit my city.

As for now the COVID regulations are very strict: “The House of Parliament is open for visitors with an immunity certificate or immunity certificate application as well as for minors under their supervision; after their body temperatures are taken. The use of hand sanitisers installed in the Parliament building and the Visitor Centre is mandatory. Wearing a mask covering the nose and mouth is recommended. Please observe the social distancing rule and keep a 1.5-metre distance from others. Visits are to be undertaken on the sole responsibility of the visitors.”

The only problem is that it’s impossible for individuals to book a tour in advance, tickets can only be purchased on the spot on the day of the visit. I’m an official Tour Guide partner of the Parliament Visitor Center with special permissions so if you book a Full-day tour with Parliament visit with me I can book your Parliament tickets in advance. The Parliament visit can be incorporated in other tours, too, just let me know about your preferences!

It’s hard to tell now what happens next week or next month and when and how we can start travelling again. The crazy April weather wouldn’t help either, it’s raining and cold in Budapest and it’s hard to believe that summer is only two months away.

However, I’m optimistic and I got my first COVID-19 shot yesterday, so I start planning for the bright summer months to come. I’ll continue offering virtual tours because I know this is the only option for many of you for the next couple of months so feel free to book a live tour streamed from the streets of Budapest or an authentic Hungarian cooking class.

I’ll also offer social distance friendly tours, those were very popular last summer and I think that it’s a safe option for families and groups of friends travelling together. The social distancing tours are available in English and French, as for now I have four options:

  • Buda Castle District walk
  • Downtown Pest walk
  • Jewish quarter walk
  • Szentendre tour by car

All of the tours are designed to be 100% social distance friendly. We don’t take public transport, avoid crowds and admire all buildings only from the outside. It’s not a group tour, it’s only for you, your family or friends.

Rules are the same as last year:

  • Tours are maximum 3 hours long
  • Only walking and driving tours are available, we don’t use public transportation
  • Travellers, tour guide (and driver) are required to wear a mask for the length of the tour
  • No inside visit of the monuments, attractions, museums
  • No coffee or lunch break together
  • Maximum number of travellers on the tour shouldn’t exceed 4 people

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any question or need more details.

SOCIAL DISTANCING TOURS

It all started almost exactly a year ago and we had no idea back then how COVID-19 was going to change our lives. We really hoped for better but the pandemic is still in its full force and unfortunately numbers are indicating that the situation in Hungary is very, very bad. This is the third wave with far more people in hospital and far more deceased people than before. This is just very sad.

Another lockdown starts today, all shops have to close – except grocery stores and pharmacies. People are recommended to stay at home and work from home office. All schools went digital. We’re told this is for 2 weeks but nobody knows for sure.

I continue offering virtual city tours and cooking classes and work on different other projects for after the pandemic is over. Let me know if you want to know more!

Stay safe, stay happy and book a tour!

I’ve just had a look at the collection of pictures I took on Christmas Market tours the last couple of years and they literally warmed my heart. I could almost feel the taste of Kürtöskalács (Chimney cake) and the smell of mulled wine. I thought I’d share some of the pictures with you and hopefully it’ll help you to get into Christmas celebration mood. Also, I hope we’ll explore the Christmas markets together in 2021!

Because of the time difference most of my virtual tours these days are delivered after sunset, giving a very special atmosphere to those tours. Besides enjoying the views, learning more about Budapest and its history visitors also have the chance to explore the night scene, with all the magical lights and colours.

Book a tour today to be part of an exciting fairytale!

It looks like we’ll be wearing masks for another couple of months so it was time for me to buy some new ones. A tour guide friend of mine is making these amazing masks, here is a little promotion for her and her products.

All masks are reusable and washable, made of 100% cotton. They are double or triple layered. There are several designs to choose from, my favourites are the ones with Hungarian folk art design: Kalocsa, Matyó or Blue-Dyeing patterns are all available. They come in 3 sizes: S, M and L. The price is EUR 10 or EUR 15 per mask, excluding shipping.

Let me know if you’re interested 🙂