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!

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!