Last Updated: 16th Feb 2011
Currency: Forient (official) Euro (unofficial)
Language: Hungarian (Magyar)
Visas: Travel Visa Information
Hungary is most well known for its visually stunning capital of Budapest. Easily one of the most progressive and developed of all the former Communist Eastern Bloc States, the capital is a showcase of buildings and architecture that are just one of the aspects that are distinctly Hungarian, distinctly ‘Magyar’.
While other European cultures often borrow from each other, the Hungarians have remained unique and steadfast in that their language, culture and way of life with very little influence from the sea of Germanic, Slavic and Russian influence that surrounds them.
The Hungarians were at the forefront of European opposition to Soviet Communist control and several uprisings against the communist regime were brutally repressed by Soviet troops. These revolts and the subsequent reprisals are still very fresh in the minds of the population. Throughout history the Hungarians have been used as pawns and been on the loosing end of many wars and struggles, yet their culture, language and people still thrive. This is a great source of pride
Manners and Customs
- Hungarians are fiercely proud of their country, heritage, language and culture
- Publicly displaying the Communist red star and hammer and sickle symbol, (also the Nazi swastika, SS symbol, and Hungarian fascist cross) is prohibited by law. You may have picked up a few souvenirs displaying these symbols from other Eastern European countries or Russia and is best to leave them packed away while in Hungary
- Tipping is common almost everywhere and anywhere that you receive service
Food and Drink
Hungarians are famous for their use of paprika in a lot of their cooking with perhaps the most famous dish of all being authentic Hungarian goulash soup. Hungary has also gained quite a reputation as producing some of the best white wines in Europe. High quality meats and cheeses are also famous while the more traditional foodies lean towards a leg or liver of goose.
Places Contiki Visits in Hungary
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Hungarians are quite proud of their cuisine (Magyar konyha), and most of the time not without a reason. Food are usually spicy (but not hot by general standards), and it’s tasty rather than healthy — many dishes are prepared with lard or deep-fried. The national spice is paprika, made from ground sweet bell peppers and which actually has some flavor when fresh. The national dish is, of course, goulash.