- We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Hungary.
- Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
- You should monitor the media for potential risks to your safety and security.
- There is an ongoing risk of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
- You should avoid protests and demonstrations as they may turn violent.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
- organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
- register your travel and contact details , so we can contact you in an emergency
- subscribe to this travel advice to receive free email updates each time it's reissued.
Entry and exit
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Hungary for the most up-to-date information.
Hungary is a party to the Schengen Convention, along with 25 other European countries, which allows Australians to enter Hungary without a visa in some circumstances. See our travel bulletin on the Schengen Convention for more information.
Entry into Hungary can be refused if you have failed to pay a previous fine levied in Hungary. You should contact the Embassy or Consulate of Hungary for guidance on paying any outstanding fines.
People travelling directly to or from a country outside the European Union (EU) who are carrying 10,000 euros or more (or the equivalent amount in another currency) are required to declare the cash at the place of their arrival or departure from the EU. Under the legislation, the term "cash" includes cheques, travellers' cheques and money orders. Travellers failing to declare the cash or providing incomplete or incorrect information will incur a fine. There is no requirement to declare cash for people travelling to or from another EU country.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Safety and security
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers.
There is an ongoing risk of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
Civil unrest/Political tension
You should avoid protests and demonstrations as they may turn violent.
Petty crime occurs in Hungary, in particular on public transport and in railway stations, markets and other places frequented by tourists. When travelling by overnight train, you should secure your compartment from the inside. Do not leave luggage unattended at any time.
Some clubs and restaurants do not list prices. You should check the cost before ordering as certain bars, clubs and restaurants (mainly in the business district of central Pest) charge exorbitant prices. Disputes about overcharging have been known to lead to violence. Security guards may compel you to pay. Be wary of seemingly helpful taxi drivers, who may receive commissions for taking tourists to such establishments, and of other unsolicited invitations to socialise.
Social attitudes to homosexuality are not as liberal as in Australia. There have been instances of harassment and violence directed at homosexuals.
The Hungarian National Tourist Office has a 24-hour helpline (telephone (1) 438-8080) to assist tourists who are victims of crime. Local police have created a website with general safety tips for travellers to Hungary: www.safetyinhungary.info
Money and valuables
Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work in Hungary. Most banks in Hungary have ATMs which accept major international cards.
Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home or in a way which is accessible electronically.
While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.
In October 2010, a major spill of toxic material occurred near the town of Ajka in Western Hungary, about 160 km from Budapest. The spill contained heavy metals and has a very high alkalinity level. While the immediate health and environmental issues associated with the spill have reportedly been addressed, longer term environmental issues may remain. We recommend Australians visiting the area closely follow the instructions of local authorities.
While highways in Hungary are generally in good condition, driving in rural areas can be hazardous due to poor road maintenance and insufficient street lighting. The use of headlights is compulsory outside towns, including during daytime. Use of snow tyres is recommended if driving during winter. For further advice, see our road travel page.
Motorists must buy a vignette (toll card), available from petrol stations and post offices, to use the Hungarian motorways M1, M3, M5 and M7.
Please refer to our air travel page for information about aviation safety and security.
When you are in Hungary, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.
Penalties for drug offences in Hungary are severe and may include lengthy prison sentences.
Smoking is banned at all public transport stops in Budapest, within five metres of the entrances to public buildings, and in restaurants, bars and cafes. Heavy fines apply in case of infringement.
Driving with a blood alcohol level greater than zero is an offence. Police have the right to take driving licences from drunk drivers. There are heavy fines for minor driving infringements. Penalties for serious driving offences can include imprisonment.
Local authorities can request to see identification at any time. You must carry your passport with you at all times. A photocopy is not acceptable.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money, laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australian overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
Information for dual nationals
While there is no general conscription for military service in Hungary, dual national males between the ages of 18 and 40 may be conscripted into the armed forces in exceptional circumstances such as a state of emergency.
Prior to travel, Australian/Hungarian dual nationals should seek advice from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Hungary.
Our Dual Nationals brochure provides further information for dual nationals.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations (including booster doses of childhood vaccinations) and disease outbreaks overseas. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our 'Travelling Well' brochure also provides useful tips for travelling with medicines and staying healthy while overseas.
The standard of public medical facilities in Hungary's large cities is reasonable. In rural and border regions, however, facilities can be limited. Private medical facilities are well equipped and meet international accreditation standards but are very expensive. Private hospitals often insist on confirmation of insurance cover or guarantee of payment before admitting patients. Doctors and public hospitals usually expect immediate cash payment for services.
Travel in forested areas brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks are very common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed cases of avian influenza in birds in a number of countries throughout the world. For a list of these countries, visit the OIE website. For information on our advice to Australians on how to reduce the risk of infection and on Australian Government precautions see our travel bulletin on avian influenza.
Where to get help
In Hungary, you can obtain consular assistance from the:
If you are travelling to Hungary, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.
Australians are advised to respect wildlife laws and to maintain a safe and legal distance when observing wildlife. You should only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators and closely follow park regulations and wardens' advice.
If you are planning on placing your children in schools or childcare facilities overseas we encourage you to research the standards of security, care and staff training within those establishments. You should exercise the same precautions you would take before placing children into schools or childcare facilities in Australia.
Ideas on how to select childcare providers are available from the Smartraveller Children's Issues page.