Navigating Local Customs in Budapest: Enhance Your Travel Experience

The Power of Courtesy

When traveling, understanding a destination’s local customs ensures a smoother journey and a richer, more authentic experience. With its rich tapestry of history and culture, Budapest is no different. Immersing yourself in local traditions and etiquette can take your Hungarian adventure to the next level.

Tipping Etiquette

Tipping is a customary practice in Hungary and reflects your appreciation for services rendered. Here’s a brief guide to ensure you’re gracious with your gratuity:

  • Restaurants: It’s customary to leave a tip of 10-15% of the total bill, depending on the service quality. Ensure you hand the tip directly to the waiter or mention the total amount you wish to pay, including the tip, when paying the bill.
  • Bars: If you’ve received table service, leaving some small change or around 10% is standard.
  • Taxis: Rounding up to the nearest 500 Forints or giving a 10% tip is standard practice.
  • Hotels: Tip porters around 300-500 Forints per bag. Cleaning staff will appreciate a small daily tip left in a prominent place.

A Few Phrases Go a Long Way

While many Hungarians, especially in Budapest, speak English, learning and using a few basic Hungarian phrases can endear you to the locals and enhance your experience:

  • Hello/Goodbye: “Szia” (pronounced: SEE-ya) – a casual greeting that works for both.
  • Thank you: “Köszönöm” (pronounced: KÖ-sö-nöm)
  • Yes: “Igen” (pronounced: EE-gen)
  • No: “Nem” (pronounced: NEM)
  • Please: “Kérem” (pronounced: KAY-rem)
  • Excuse me: “Elnézést” (pronounced: EL-nay-zesht)

Using these phrases, even with an accent, often brings forth smiles and nods of appreciation. It shows that you respect and value the local culture.


Traveling is more than just seeing new places; it’s about connecting with local cultures and understanding their traditions. In Budapest, a city that thrives on its rich past and dynamic present, embracing local customs and etiquette is the key to unlocking a truly memorable Hungarian experience.