ETIAS - Traveling to Hungary
U.S. citizens can travel to Hungary using an ETIAS visa waiver
Country of Hungary
- UTC+1 (CET)
Emergency Hungary Telephone Numbers
112 (112 is the equivalent to 911 in the US)
Hungary: An Overview
Hungary’s most distinctive characteristic is the vibrant blend of diverse neighboring cultures and traditions clashing and fusing over the last centuries. Nested at the crossroads of Europe, the country’s history is interlaced with tales of centuries of both conflict and peace. Most notably, Hungary’s annexation into the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century and the neighborly union into the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 19th, have left deep historical and cultural marks that are visible to this day.
Hungary has long been a peaceful inviting place and is rich in old-Europe history contrasted by a delightfully sophisticated energy. The ancient city of Budapest, the Danube River, rural country villages like Tihany and Eger, or the summer resort region surrounding Lake Balaton, Hungary has a diversity of culture that is universally appealing. This diminutive nation has a universal appeal. Visitors flock here for a plethora of wondrous experiences. Internationally, the country is well known for its delicious Hungarian Goulash, café culture, steamy thermal baths, good wines, and beautiful architecture.
Hungary joined the Schengen Agreement in 2007. A nation of just 19 million people it welcomes more than 6 million international tourists each year. The ETIAS (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), for US citizens traveling to Schengen area, is coming in 2021. With approval, the ETIAS Visa Waiver Program offers visa-free travel with a flexible 90-day limit to elegant Hungary, and the dozens of other Schengen zone countries
Primary languages: Estonian, Russian, Ukranian, Finnish, and 105 others! English is spoken in tourist areas.
Where to Go
Split by the Danube river into historical Buda and youthful Pest, Budapest is a city of exciting contrasts. The capital’s architectural styles are as diverse and as vivid as the country’s history and provide a bounty of fascinating landmarks to visit. You can easily spend days exploring and continuously discovering new exciting places in Hungary’s crown jewel.
Ancient and elegant Budapest is rightfully dubbed the “City of Baths” due to the richness and the variety of thermal spas it has to offer. From the more traditional Turkish bathhouses of the 16th century to the impressive Neo-Baroque palaces and Art-Nouveau style swimming pools, Budapest's baths not only heal but are also fascinating historical and cultural sights to visit. Powered by hundreds of natural hot springs, the baths have been an essential part of the Budapestian lifestyle for centuries. Today, in addition to therapeutic purposes, you may also join the locals for one of the increasingly popular “sparties” with live DJs, cocktails, and laser shows.
Besides the grand architecture and healing waters, Budapest prides itself on the wide selection of food options it has to offer. When visiting, make sure to sample the world-renowned goulash, one of the hundreds of kinds of local Kolbasz (sausage) and the Hungarian wine. The best places to sample the local produce are the impressive Art-Nouveau Nagycsarnok (the Central Market) and the weekly Szimpla Farmers Market famously located in an old ruin pub.
Lake Balaton is a large and remarkably clean freshwater lake often referred to as the “Hungarian Sea”. Formed by a volcanic explosion thousands of years ago, the lake and its surrounding area have a unique geological composition and exceptional wildlife. The silky bluish-green waters of this large lake are perfect for many water-based activities, including sailing, swimming, and sunning. The rolling volcanic hills invite all hiking and cycling enthusiasts. The terrain north side of the lake is gently hilly and is famous for the fertile mineral-rich soil perfect for wine growing. The most famous grape variety from the region is Szürkebarát, a relative of Pinot Gris brought to Hungary from France in the 14th century. Due to the unique combination of the region’s soil and climate, the wine has a distinctively flavorful, mineral taste. Numerous small wineries run by local families offer wine and food tasting, often accompanied by live music and beautiful views on the lake.
Eger, and enchanting village tucked off the tourist path is a hidden gem in the northern region of Hungary known for robust red wines, the charming old town of Eger and its castle. To experience the countryside here a wine tour is a wonderful way to wander. The region’s flagship blend Egri Bikavér, Bull’s Blood, is known as ‘rich’, spicy, and full-bodied, much like the appellation. Climb the cobbled path to Eger Castle perched on hill and tour its museum, meander the grounds, marvel at the 16th-19th century art in the museum gallery, and settle in for lunch at ‘1552’ the museum eatery which serves traditional Hungarian fare. The old town in Eger boasts gorgeous Baroque architecture, darling sidewalk eateries, boutiques, and produce stands where visitors can pick up provisions for a picnic in the surrounding countryside. The cathedral in town has a grand pipe organ and mid-day concerts are wonderful. Be sure to visit the thermal bath for a good, healthy soak.
Hungary shares a border with seven countries but only its north-west neighbors Slovakia, Austria, and Slovenia are also members of the Schengen zone. In the south, Hungary borders former-Yugoslavian countries of Croatia and Serbia and the country’s southeast border is with Romania and Ukraine. Although Hungary’s culture has seen much influence from its neighbors, the Hungarian language, interestingly, has its closest ties with Estonian and Finnish, thousands of miles away. Hungary as a member of the Schengen Area, will require ETIAS authorization for the Visa Waiver Program being launched by the European Union in 2021.