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 🙂

I know that life is getting more and more difficult for all of us around the world. Now that there are more than 50 million people around the world who’ve had the virus and over a million people died, I can’t tell how grateful I am that my family and friends are safe and healthy.

In Hungary the figures have been terrible for 2 months now (as of today there is a total of 114 778 registered COVID-19 cases and 2493 people died), still, it took ages for the government to introduce new restrictions. Finally, the Parliament will decide tomorrow about the introduction of the measures below as of the 11th of November:

  • General curfew is to be instated between 8.00 PM and 5.00 AM, all forms of assembly will be forbidden.
  • Shops and services must close by 7.00 PM, restaurants must close, food delivery will remain possible. Recreational facilities, including gyms, indoor swimming pools, museums and theatres must close, too.
  • There will be a general ban on all events. All sporting events must take place behind closed doors, without spectators. Family gatherings and private events may only be attended by a maximum of 10 people.
  • Only kindergartens, nurseries and primary schools will stay open for children under 14, higher education is to be continued online.

As a reminder, these are the rules about entering Hungary (from the 1st of September until further notice):

  • only Hungarian citizens and foreign citizens who have a permanent Hungarian residence permit can enter Hungary in passenger traffic and they are subject to home quarantine for 10 days,
  • foreign citizens are not allowed to enter Hungary,  (entry into Hungary from the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia is regulated separately), the exceptions:
    • foreign citizens who arrive to Hungary for international sports or cultural events can enter Hungary without restriction (they must have a negative PCR test result performed within 3 days prior to entry and an authentic ticket for the sports or cultural event),
    • foreign citizens studying in Hungary or participating in family events might be exempted from the prohibition,
    • foreign citizens who arrive to Hungary to perform some business or economic activity are also exempted from the prohibition.

The beautiful city of Budapest is getting close to another lockdown, so the best thing to do is to enjoy a virtual tour from the comfort of your armchair, take a walk with me in the Old Town of Buda, Downtown Pest, Heroes Square and City Park or the Jewish Quarter.

I’m aware that some of you were planning to visit Budapest in November and December and decided to cancel or postpone your visit, although it’s hard to see what we can expect the next weeks and months and the government’s actions are also hard to anticipate.

Yes, we’ve been experiencing the resurgence of the COVID-19 virus since the middle of August after successfully slowing the outbreaks earlier in the year. The last time I shared information about the numbers was in June, four months ago there were 3892 confirmed cases and 527 people died. As of today, there are 31480 confirmed cases (+ 700%) and 833 people died (+60%). Because of the limited testing capacities we are not sure about the accuracy of these numbers but they are worrying nevertheless. Because of the increasing numbers many countries around the world advise their nationals against all but essential international travel to Hungary.

Lockdowns and other strict measures to protect public health were imposed quickly in spring and that led to record low number of registered cases and deaths. This is a very different situation now, as the government refuses to re-impose strict health measures and at the same time to offer financial help to businesses badly affected by COVID-19. A personal note: self employed tour guides can’t expect any help from the government, financial or other.

So, here are the rules:

  • physical distancing of 1,5 meters is to be kept,
  • face masks (medical or textile masks that cover the nose and mouth) are mandatory in shops, in taxis, on public transport and at public transport stations, in theatres, cinemas and shopping malls,
  • restaurants, cafés and bars are to close at 11.00 PM.

And here are the rules about entering Hungary (from the 1st of September until further notice):

  • only Hungarian citizens and foreign citizens who have a permanent Hungarian residence permit can enter Hungary in passenger traffic and they are subject to home quarantine for 10 days,
  • foreign citizens are not allowed to enter Hungary,  (entry into Hungary from the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia is regulated separately), the exceptions:
    • foreign citizens who arrive to Hungary for international sports or cultural events can enter Hungary without restriction (they must have a negative PCR test result performed within 3 days prior to entry and an authentic ticket for the sports or cultural event),
    • foreign citizens studying in Hungary or participating in family events might be exempted from the prohibition,
    • foreign citizens who arrive to Hungary to perform some business or economic activity are also exempted from the prohibition.

So, if you’re coming to Budapest for either sports, cultural or business reasons, don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss the options of a 100% safe Social Distancing tour, believe me, Budapest is so beautiful, it’s safe and most of the sights and attractions are entirely deserted.

And, don’t forget about Virtual Tours, a great live, personal experience to visit Budapest from the comfort of your armchair and to support Budapest tourism.

As always, stay safe, stay healthy and stay happy!

… and it breaks my heart. I realise it’s a very delicate situation and every country’s government is responsible for the measures they’re taking. But I’ve also seen how differently other governments are dealing with the pandemic and only few of them decided to say no to tourists, brave and enthusiastic travellers who, despite of the spreading of the virus were still considering visiting my Beautiful Budapest.

This is all over for now, indefinitely, for 1 or 2 months, we don’t know. I’ll of course continue delivering Virtual Tours for the time being but I’ll miss terribly the real tours, the real adventures and the real people I’ve had the chance to work with these last couple of months.

You’ll find below a gallery of stunning pictures taken by one of my travellers, Jessica with whom I’ve had the chance to explore Buda, Pest and the cute little town of Vác last week.

I’ve decided to share this blogpost originally from 2016 because my experience is that the Buda Castle District of Budapest is the most popular choice for the virtual tours. Most of the attractions below are to be seen during the tour and I’m happy to discuss the special architecture, culture and traditions of this beautiful neighbourhood. Feel free to contact me for further details on live or virtual tours!

The Buda Castle district is the oldest part of Buda, many of the buildings are originally from the Middle Ages. Buda became the capital of Hungary by the middle of the 13th century, the castle and the medieval town were constructed in the top of the Castle hill.

I don’t want to disappoint you but The Castle district is not a real castle. The Hungarian Medieval castle, residence of many of our great kings, constructed in Gothic and Renaissance architectures was destroyed in the 17th century. Only some parts of it are accessible in the Budapest History Museum, unfortunately the rest of the castle rest in the ground now.

You can walk up the hill along the ramparts of the Medieval Castle to get to the 18th century Baroque Palace which houses the Budapest History Museum and the National Gallery. The cobblestoned streets of the historical old town of Buda lead you to the Matthias Church, one of the oldest churches of the city originating from the 13th century. If you have some time, you really need to climb the 197 stairs to the church tower from where you can have the best view over our beautiful city.

From the top of the Fisherman’s Bastion you can enjoy the panorama over the Parliament building and the Pest side.

Continue your walk in the civilian town, admire the unique architecture of the National Archives and wonder around the old Jewish quarter. Probably the most interesting fact about the distric is that there is a 12 km long underground cave and cellar complex underneath the Castle District. There are 2 museums where you can discover this unique labyrinth. The Hospital in the Rock was a military hospital during WW2 and a nuclear bunker during the Communist era. The Labyrinth museum is all about scary fun and you might also meet Dracula, the infamous vampire count.

I’d be glad to show you the famous attractions and the hidden treasures of the neighborhood, too, book the Buda Castle walk!

Most of the inquiries I’m getting these days are about information on how one can enter Hungary in light of the spreading of COVID-19. It seems to me that the general information available online is mostly in Hungarian and it’s not exactly easy to understand for most of travellers.

So, here are the latest news and latest rules for you.

The government of Hungary has been applying a colour-based categorisation depending on how serious the spreading of the virus is in the country of origin since the 15th of July. The three colours are green, yellow and red and it determines the rules of entry to Hungary. In case of transfer passengers the country of origin is applicable.

Travellers arriving from GREEN countries are:

  • allowed to enter Hungary without restrictions,
  • if they have symptoms of the infection within 14 days after entry, then they can’t leave their actual residence, and must notify the epidemiological authority immediately.

Travellers arriving from YELLOW countries:

  • have to undergo medical examination upon entry
  • if there is a suspicion of infection, the travellers are not allowed to enter Hungary
  • if no such suspicion arises, travellers are allowed to enter, but it is mandatory for them to go to home quarantine for 14 days.
  • no quarantine is needed if travellers have 2 negative SARS COVID tests (in English or in Hungarian) that were taken consecutively within 48 hours of each other and up to 5 days prior to entering Hungary

Travellers arriving from RED countries are not allowed to enter Hungary in passenger traffic.

The good news is that the spreading of the virus in Hungary is still under control and we don’t see sudden increase in the number of infections. As of today there are 4,465 registered cases and 596 people died.

I’d say that it’s still relatively safe to visit Budapest and visit Hungary, if you do so, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me to book a private social distancing friendly tour, 100% safe, 100% fun. If you decide to stay at home, I’m still here to offer you a virtual experience.