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There is a new governmental rule in Hungary: from 15th march 2015, many shops in Hungary are no longer allowed to open on Sundays.

Closed on sundays
Closed on sundays

 

What's closed on Sundays in Hungary

New laws in Hungary require that from March 15, 2015 all shops that are larger than 200 square metres (with some limited exceptions) will no longer be allowed to open on Sundays.

Even if most of the Hungarians don't agree with this change, the government aims of the Sunday trading changes are to ensure that workers are not forced to work on Sundays.

What's open on Sundays

However most of the shops are closed on Sundays, there are some exceptions to the new rule, and tweaks to what is exempt are still being made; Shops that are smaller than 200 square metres can open but only if it's just the owner or one of the owner's family members that is working.

Shops that are, at this stage, free to remain open on Sundays regardless of size include: convenience stores, news stands and shops, pharmacies, shops at Liszt Ferenc International Airport, shops at train and bus depots, shops at hospitals, markets, petrol stations, restaurants and hotels, museums, baths and cigarette shops.

On Sundays before Christmas, during the Advent period all shops can open if they wish.

Shopping malls and tourist spots

Shopping malls in Hungary (such as the WestEnd City Centre) may remain open, however, the stores within them will be closed on Sundays unless they fall under one of the aforementioned exemptions.

The famous shopping and pedestrian street called Váci utca and shops at tourist hotspots in downtown areas will also be closed on Sundays unless they meet the criteria for exemption.

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A couple of attractive young women (they’re not difficult to spot) will approach you, get talking and, without wasting any time, "invite" you to a bar of their choice. A few drinks later, you will find yourself presented with a bill somewhat much bigger than you bargained for and be strongarmed into paying up.

Parts of Budapest, especially, Váci utca in the city center, are notorious for "consume girls", who target solo male foreigners.

Tourist scams with consume girls
Tourist scams with consume girls

 

A couple of attractive young women (they’re not difficult to spot) will approach you, get talking and, without wasting any time, "invite" you to a bar of their choice. A few drinks later, you will find yourself presented with a bill somewhat much bigger than you bargained for and be strongarmed into paying up.

The bars, and the waiters who work in them, are an integral part of the scam, so bids for escape or complaint are futile, but if ever you do find yourself caught up in such a situation then report it to the police. Even if you disregard pick-ups and avoid places offering the "companionship of lovely ladies", there’s a risk of gross overcharging at restaurants or bars which don’t list their prices.

Be careful, and always check how much things cost in the bar or restaurant before ordering. If you get stung, try insisting that you’ll only pay in the presence of the police.

The U.S. government as well as others cautions travelers against patronizing certain bars and clubs. You can view the list here: http://hungary.usembassy.gov/tourist_advisory.html

If you’re doing a lot of sightseeing in the Hungarian capital, you might be tempted to buy a Budapest Card to save money. Read for more info...

If you’re doing a lot of sightseeing in the Hungarian capital, you might be tempted to buy a Budapest Card to save money.

Budapest card
Budapest card

 

For 7500Ft (48hr - 24.5 EUR) or 8900Ft (72hr - 29.2 EUR), it covers travel in most of the city, entry to over sixty museums, and affords discounts of up to 50% in some shops and restaurants as well as on some sightseeing programmes and cultural and folklore events.

The Budapest card is available from most of the tourist offices, hotels, central metro stations and at the airport, and comes with a booklet explaining where it can be used.

Note that it’s not valid for the Airport Shuttle minibus, the funicular that goes up to the castle or for tours of Parliament, but as most museums in Budapest now charge admission, it can represent good value.

Have a look at www.budapestinfo.hu for more information.

With no doubt, Budapest is safe and a child-friendly city. There are plenty places to entertain young ones...
Travelling to Budapest with children
Travelling to Budapest with children

 

With no doubt, Budapest is safe and a child-friendly city. There are plenty places to entertain young ones. Hungarians tend to be welcoming to kids without making them the centre of attention as you might experience it in Italy.

Facilities are a bit patchy, though; while the network of playgrounds is marvellous, nappy-changing facilities (pelenkázó in Hungarian) are hard to find (but we find more & more in last years) – they’re mostly concentrated in big shopping malls. Buildings with their huge gates don’t tend to be very accessible if you’re pushing a buggy, but help is usually quickly forthcoming when for example you’re trying to negotiate stairs.

On public transport people will readily give up seats to pregnant women and to parents with babies. You will also find signs at speacial seats for parents with babies on buses and trams.

Shopping for babies has become much easier in recent years – the big malls are the best bet for nappies, baby toiletries and clothes. Many malls also have indoor play areas for children.

Restaurants usually have high chairs and some even put on activities for children, and although there isn’t a culture of whole families dining out in the evening. In many restaurants you can ask for small child’s portions – called "kisadag" in Hungarian.

 

Cycling is finally catching on in Budapest – cyclist numbers have risen sharply and cycle lanes are more or less fast, but appearing. There are also good routes out of town, such as along the Buda bank of the Danube to Szentendre and on up towards Slovakia.

Cycling is finally catching on in Budapest – cyclist numbers have risen sharply and cycle lanes are more or less fast, but appearing. It isn’t easy riding: car drivers are only beginning to be aware of cyclists and you also have to contend with sunken tram-lines and bumpy cobbles and bad air pollution.

Bikes are banned from the major thoroughfares and the cycle routes are still patchy – they don’t link up to form a network yet. However, there are also good routes out of town, such as along the Buda bank of the Danube to Szentendre and on up towards Slovakia.

Tourinform has free cycling maps of Budapest. Bicycles can be carried on HÉV trains and the Cogwheel Railway for the price of a single ticket, but not on buses or trams.

MOL BUBI

Budapest’s public bicycle system was launched on the 8th of September 2014, following the example of London, Barcelona, New York and other large cities around the world. The municipal council made the decision to build the system in 2008: the deadline for the handover was missed again and again, but the results justified the long wait. In the first month following the launch over 120 thousand bikes were checked out, thousands bought passes at one of the 76 bike stations. Currently 1100 bicycles are available to locals and tourists to reach the districts further from downtown.

MOL BUBI
MOL BUBI