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  • Hungarian Phrases to Know Before You Go: Communicate Like a Local in Budapest

    Hungarian Phrases to Know Before You Go

    Communicate Like a Local in Budapest

Budapest, with its sweeping panoramas of the Danube, iconic thermal baths, and historic landmarks, offers travelers a glimpse into the heart and soul of Hungary. While English is widely spoken in tourist hotspots, a little Hungarian can go a long way. Speaking the local language, even if it’s just a phrase or two, not only bridges cultural divides but also immerses you more deeply in the Hungarian experience.

Hungarian, or magyar as locals call it, stands out as unique. Unlike most European languages, it doesn’t belong to the Indo-European language family. That means it can be challenging to pick up but all the more rewarding.

This article will guide you through essential Hungarian phrases to enhance your Budapest experience. Ready to beszél (speak) like a local?

Basic Hungarian Phrases

  • Hello/Good dayJó napot! (YO NAH-pot)
  • GoodbyeViszontlátásra! (VEE-shont-LAH-tahsh-rah) or simply Viszlát! (VEEZ-lat)
  • Thank youKöszönöm! (KUH-suh-nuhm)
  • YesIgen (EE-gen)
  • NoNem (NEM)
  • Excuse me / I’m sorryElnézést! (EL-nay-ZAYsht)
  • PleaseKérem (KAY-rem)

Getting Around Budapest

  • Where is…?Hol van…? (HOL van)
  • Train stationPályaudvar (PAH-yowd-var)
  • Bus stopBuszmegálló (BOOZ-meg-AH-lo)
  • TicketJegy (YEDJ)
  • How much does it cost?Mennyibe kerül? (MEN-yi-be KE-ruhl)

Dining Out

Budapest is renowned for its rich culinary scene. From traditional goulash to chimney cake, there’s a dish for every palate. Here are some phrases to use at restaurants:

  • MenuÉtlap (AYT-lahp)
  • WaterVíz (VEEZ)
  • WineBor (BOR)
  • BeerSör (SHUHR)
  • Bill, pleaseA számlát, kérem. (AH SAH-m-laat, KAY-rem)
  • It was delicious!Finom volt! (FEE-nom vohlt)

Shopping and Bargaining

Budapest’s markets, like the famous Central Market Hall, offer an array of handicrafts, traditional products, and souvenirs.

  • How much is this?Mennyi ez? (MEN-yee ez)
  • I’d like to buy…Szeretnék vásárolni… (SE-RE-tenk VAA-sha-rol-nee)
  • Is there a discount?Van kedvezmény? (van KED-vez-may-ny)


  • Help!Segítség! (SHE-git-shayg)
  • Call the police!Hívja a rendőrséget! (HEEV-ya a REN-dur-shay-get)
  • I’m lostEltévedtem (EL-teh-VEH-dem)

Cultural Etiquette

Hungarians take pride in their customs and traditions. When interacting with locals, it’s polite to:

  • Address with titles: If you know someone’s profession, it’s courteous to address them with it, like Doktor Úr (Doctor Sir) or Tanár Nő (Teacher Madam).
  • Gift-giving: If invited to a Hungarian’s home, a bottle of wine or flowers (an odd number, but not 13) makes for a lovely gift.

A little Hungarian can profoundly influence your Budapest experience. Whether you’re haggling in markets, seeking directions, or simply expressing gratitude, your efforts to communicate in the local tongue will undoubtedly earn respect and admiration.

Budapest isn’t just about historic baths, grandiose bridges, or even the delectable chimney cake. It’s about its people, their warmth, and the stories they share. And with these phrases at your fingertips, you’re one step closer to being part of that magical narrative.

Tipp (Tip): Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get the pronunciation perfect initially. Hungarians appreciate any effort made by tourists to speak their language. So, sok szerencsét (good luck) and enjoy your trip!

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