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FAQ – frequently asked questions

What do I have to know on Hungary?

As a first step, you can have a look at the general information pages of the Hungarian Tourism Ltd.

You can find abundant information e.g. on Wikipedia (in several languages), in the CIA World Factbook etc.

What travel documents do I need?

Generally, only a passport is needed, visa usually not. No visa is required, among others, for citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, USA.

However, for some countries’ citizens a visa is required (more information you can find on the website of the Consular Service of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

For citizens of the European Economic Area (EEC) countries (i.e. the 28 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein & Norway) a valid ID card is enough, no passport is needed.

Hungary is a member of the Schengen Area. This means that, coming from another Schengen country, there is no border control.

If you come from an EEC country, we recommend you to consult the Your Europe website’s travel section that informs you on the various aspects of travel in Europe in 24 languages.

How is the health situation & health care in Hungary?

Hungary can be considered safe, like most Western countries. No immunisation is needed, there are no infectious diseases.

The country is universally covered by the health care provision; there is a dense network of hospitals (maximum 40-50 km from the most remote villages). An ambulance can get everywhere in about 15 minutes.

For EU citizens it is recommended to claim a European Health Insurance Card. It is free and useful. Moreover, you can consult the Your Europe portal’s Health section.

Which currency is used in Hungary?

The national currency is the Hungarian Forint (HUF). Its exchange rate does not varies much, in April 2016:

  • 1 € ~ 310 HUF
  • 1 $ ~ 275 HUF
  • 1 £ ~ 400 HUF

Euro is often accepted as cash in larger shops and cities, however at an inconvenient exchange rate and you can get only Forint back.

International credit and debit cards (Mastercard, Visa, etc.) are usually accepted except in remote, non-touristic areas (which we will cover).

Can I drink water in Hungary?

Yes, you can drink running water everywhere in the country. It is of high quality (often better than bottled water) and meets high international and EU standards. You can drink also from springs in the mountains but not from lakes and streams.

If somewhere water is not drinkable, it is always explicitly indicated by a symbol or by text (“nem ivóvíz”).

Is Hungary secure?

Yes, it is. Crime is not a major problem, at least not more than in any other Western European country. Violent crime is rare. The most prevalent form of crime is theft; therefore, it is recommended to take due care of your belonging.

Our pilgrimages are situated mostly in remote, rural areas and small villages where crime is often almost unknown.

Are pilgrimage routes safe?

Pilgrimage routes are usually paths in the forest with no pavement or construction. Since they are mostly flat or at least not very steep, they are not dangerous. Steep, rocky and similar routes are rare, because Hungarian mountains are rather hills, always lower than 1000 m / 3300 feet above sea level.

Are wild animals dangerous?

No, they are not. Like in the most parts of Europe, there are no big carnivorous animals, just deers, roe deers, foxes etc.

An exception is the northernmost part of the country (the scene of Saint Elizabeth’s Way) where some dozen wolves and lynxes, crossing the border from Slovakia, found habitats again, after centuries of absence. They are afraid of people, therefore virtually invisible. There are no reports on incidents involving humans and wild animals.

This part of the country is also the habitat of a venomous snake species, the common adder. It is rare that you can see them. If, unfortunately, you are bitten by one, a special infection is needed which is available everywhere in the region. However, the snake’s bite is not lethal for an average adult even without any medical treatment.

The most dangerous insects are ticks. The best method against them is to remove them as soon as possible so it is recommended to check your body each evening.

How are weather conditions in Hungary?

Hungary’s climate is continental i.e. summer is hot and dry. If it rains, it is usually a shower or a rainstorm, which are intense but short occasions.

September may be warm and pleasant, later in the autumn temperature decreases and the probability of rain increases.

The hottest months are July and August. The highest temperature in the day is usually above 30 °C / 86 °F. In recent year, with climate warming, it is not exceptional to have a temperature above 38 °C / 100 °F. In the mountains and forests, where our pilgrimages are organised, it is slightly cooler.

More information of the current weather and climate conditions can be found on the website of the Hungarian Meteorological Service (in English).

How old are Hungarian pilgrimage routes?

Many Hungarians made pilgrimages already in the Middle Ages to famous pilgrimage sites (Rome, Jerusalem, Aachen, Santiago de Compostela). The Kingdom of Hungary provided protection in its territory to those making pilgrimage from Western Europe to the Holy Land. However, in the 16th-17th century, during the Turkish Occupation and the Protestant Reformation they were forgotten and replaced by local pilgrimages leading to neighbouring places of indulgence. Some of them go back to several centuries but most originate in the 17th-18th century.

The current pilgrimage routes are, however, very young, created in the last decade.

Which are the most well known pilgrimage routes in Hungary?

Currently, there are 6 pilgrimage routes in Hungary:

Saint Martin’s Way and Saint James’s Way are sections of European cultural routes, Saint Mary’s Way, Saint Elizabeth’s Way and the Pearls’ Way cross the borders of Hungary. The Hungarian Pilgrim’s Way is the only one leading entirely inside Hungary.

Do we walk along the entire pilgrimage route?

We chose three of the above six pilgrimage routes, based on their rich spiritual, natural and cultural values. We do not walk along the entire routes because they are very long but we selected a characteristic section of them where you can get an impression of their nature.

How do we walk on the ways? Can I walk with my own speed?

The daily sections are covered in small groups with an accompanying guide. However, you are not obliged to go together with the group: you can walk alone. The paths are marked by well visible symbols, you can get a tourist map and also GPS coordinates which you can copy on your smartphone. The chances, that you get lost, are minimal.

The distances seem too long for me but I want to take part. What can I do?

On most days, there are meeting points during the walk where you can get into the accompanying car for the next part or for the rest of the day. There are some ways where the way leads on remote areas far from driveways: on these days, you can decide either to get into the car for the whole day’s section.

I have a special disease / I need special food. Can I participate?

We strive to take into account each individual situation. If your state does not hinder the pilgrimage and does not mean a burden for you fellow pilgrims, we encourage you to participate. Nevertheless, in any such cases indicate the issue on the online sign-up form and/or write us an e-mail.

I do not speak English or Hungarian. How can I participate?

On the pilgrimages, the accompanying pilgrim guide speaks at least English and Hungarian. Also the tour guides speak English. Some accompanying pilgrim and tour guides speak other languages as well, e.g. German, French, Italian or Spanish.

If you want to get more precise information on a given pilgrimages, please contact us.

How can I get to the departure point?

If you happen to have any difficulties we are glad to help you in moving inside Hungary or to/from a neighbouring country.

 

Saint Elizabeth Tour

Car transfer is provided from Sátoraljaújhely to Füzér.

To reach Sátoraljaújhely from…

… Budapest: by train (from Keleti Station), changing in Miskolc or Szerencs

… Debrecen: by train, changing in Szerencs

From Sárospatak to…

… Budapest: by direct train (Keleti Station)

… Debrecen: by train, changing in Szerencs

 

Saint Martin Tour

(also the cycling Pilgrimage on St Martin Way)

To Szombathely from…

…Budapest: by direct train (from Keleti station)

…Vienna: by train changing in Győr or Sopron

From Pannonhalma to…

…Budapest: by train or bus to Győr then by direct train

…Vienna: by train or bus to Győr then by direct train

 

St Mary Tour – Section I

To Bakonybél from…

…Budapest: by direct coach from Népliget station.

…Vienna: by direct train to Győr, then by bus to Zirc, there change to Bakonybél

From Székesfehárvár to…

…Budapest: by direct train (Déli Station)

…Vienna: by coach to Győr, then by direct train to Vienna

 

St Mary Tour – Section II

To Bodajk from…

…Budapest: by direct coach from Népliget station.

…Vienna: by direct train to Győr, then by bus to Csókakő changing in Kisbér (A transfer is provided from Csókakő)

To Székesfehárvár from…

…Budapest: by direct train (from Déli Station)

…Vienna: by direct train to Győr, then by coach to Székesfehárvár

From Tata to…

…Budapest: by direct train (Keleti Station)

…Vienna: by train changing in Győr

 

St Mary Tour – Section III

To Tata from…

…Budapest: by direct train (Keleti Station)

…Vienna: by train changing in Győr

From Esztergom to…

…Budapest: by direct train (Nyugati station)

…Vienna: direct train to Budapest Nyugati station, public transport to Keleti station, direct train to Vienna

 

Saint Mary Way Entire Tour

To Bakonybél from…

…Budapest: by direct coach from Népliget station.

…Vienna: by direct train to Győr, then by bus to Zirc, there change to Bakonybél

From Esztergom to…

…Budapest: direct train.

…Vienna: direct train to Budapest Nyugati station, public transport to Keleti station, direct train to Vienna

 

Mary Tour on the Balaton Uplands

Car transfer is provided from Balatonfüred / Aszófő to Tihany.

To reach Aszófő / Balatonfüred from…

…Budapest: by direct train to Aszófő or Balatonfüred (from Déli station)

…Vienna: by train to Győr, then by coach to Balatonfüred changing coach in Veszprém

From Sümeg to…

…Budapest: by train, with one change (to Déli station)

…Vienna: by train with two changes (in Celldömölk and in Győr)

 

What do I have to know on Slovakia?

Slovakia is very similar to Hungary: they share a long border and a long history (they were almost 1000 year long one country) and hundred thousands of Hungarians live in Southern Slovakia even nowadays. Thus, almost everything written on Hungary is valid also to Slovakia.

A notable difference is that Slovakia is a member of the Eurozone which means that the currency of the country is the Euro like most countries in the European Union.