Visas: Citizens of the USA, Canada and most European countries do not require visas. German and French citizens need only show their identity cards. NZ and AUS citizens are not required to have visa if they do not stay longer than 90 days.
Public holidays: New Year’s Day; Easter Monday; Labour Day; Constitution Day (20 Aug); All Saint’s Day (1 Nov); Christmas Day; Boxing Day; Revolution of 1948-49 (15 March).
Good buys: Traditional products worth looking out for include folk art, embroidery and ceramics, wall hangings, painted wooden toys and boxes. Also look out for feather or goose down items.
Local dishes: Goulash, stuffed cabbage and fish soup top most menus in Hungary. There are also cakes and pastries to satisfy the sweetest of teeth. Wash them down with Bull’s Blood red wine, the stronger Tokaj or apricot brandy.
Funny fact: Hungarians introduce themselves by telling you their surname first and Christian name second – like James Bond.
Good reading: Two classic travelogues to take along are Patrick Leigh Fermor’s Between the Woods and the Water, which traces his 1933 walk through Hungary en route to Constantinople, and Brian Hall’s Stealing from a Deep Place, which describes the author’s tempered love affair with the still-Communist Budapest of the 1980s.