The central European city of Hungary is more than just its capital, Budapest. From Lake Balaton in the west to the vineyards of Tokay in the east, there’s a lot to explore. Find out what it’s like to travel in Hungary based on my personal experience, from entering the country to dining out and pet-friendly accommodation.
Travelling to Hungary with a Dog
The standard EU rules apply to travelling to Hungary with your dog, whether from another EU country or outside of Europe. Essentially, your dog will require a microchip, valid rabies vaccine and EU pet passport or EU health certificate.
If you are travelling to Hungary with your dog from Ukraine or Serbia, the rules are similar to those for travelling from outside of Europe, with a pet health certificate or “Annex IV” required if you don’t have a pet passport from the EU or a related country.
Your dog will also require a rabies titre test for these two countries. This needs to be done three months in advance, or before leaving the EU with your dog, if you are initially from an EU country. (Note that special exceptions may be made for pets from the Ukraine.)
If entering from Serbia or Ukraine will also need to enter Hungary at a valid “Travellers’ points of entry”, where your dog’s paperwork can be checked. To view the possible entry points to Hungary, download the list here. Each of these entry points are generally open 24 hours.
Dining Out in Hungary with a Dog
We had mixed experiences dining out in Hungary with our dog. Some restaurants were quite relaxed and allowed our dog to join us inside, while there were other restaurants that didn’t allow dogs inside. This applied both in the countryside and in Budapest.
In Budapest, we noticed that some places had stickers outside them showing they were dog-friendly – look out for the sticker shown below. We probably found the Pest side more dog-friendly than the Buda side in the city.
We probably actually had more luck with restaurants in the rest of the country, outside of Budapest. I’m not sure if that was luck, or just the more rustic style of restaurants more common in the countryside!
We probably had the most success when visiting wine bars. As well as temptingly cheap prices for the excellent local wines, our dog was always let inside to join us.
Taking a Dog on Public Transport in Hungary
Dogs are allowed on long distance trains within Hungary, although the rules are different for domestic and international trains, plus on local transport in Budapest.
Dogs on Domestic Trains in Hungary
On domestic trains, passengers can be accompanied by up to two pet dogs each, in second class carriages only. For dogs, you need to pay a live animal fare, regardless of whether the dog is or isn’t in a carrier bag. Dogs not in a carrier bag need to be leashed and muzzled.
If travelling in a compartment, you require the permission of everyone in the compartment. Large dogs weighing over 20kg need to travel at the end of the carriage, or in the multi-functional area on multiple unit trains. Additionally, you should carry your dog’s vaccination certificate.
Dogs on International Trains in Hungary
On international trains, small dogs in lockable pet carriers travel for free, while larger dogs on a leash and wearing a muzzle need to have a half-price Europa Flex ticket. Depending on the country, pets may be excluded from the 1st class and night carriages, plus the number of pets may be limited.
I had previously read that dogs aren’t allowed in trains and cars requiring a seat reservation, which would rule out sleeper carriages such as the Hungarian operated overnight trains to Romania, but I can no longer see this listed.
Dogs on Local Transport in Budapest
Dogs of all sizes are allowed on public transport in Budapest, including the metro, tram, trolleybus, suburban railway and bus network. Small pets can be transported in a carrier bag or cage, while larger dogs need to be leashed and wear a muzzle. You need to carry their vaccination certificate.
For larger dogs not in a carrier, a full-price ticket or pass is required. Refer to this article to find out the full details of the various ticket options. Sometimes special dogs tickets are available.
Only one dog is permitted per passenger. Plus usually the total number of dogs is limited to the number of doors on the vehicle, except there is a limit of only one leashed dog on the blue Volánbusz services.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Hungary
We stayed in a variety of accommodation Hungary, from hotels to Airbnbs, both in the city and in the countryside.
Many hotels in Hungary allow pets. When I last surveyed hotels in Europe, 45% of hotels in Budapest allowed pets, with a mixture of budget and high-end hotels. We found it to be the same throughout the country.
Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in Hungary
When visiting Hungary with your dog, tick off some of these dog-friendly sightseeing ideas…
1. Explore Buda and Pest
Its a must to visit Budapest during your trip to Hungary. One of my favourite cities in Europe, I love the rich history and culture of the city, plus its affordable prices.
Go for a walk around the city with your dog. Some of the top spots to visit include Fisherman’s Bastion on the Buda side, with its views of the city and the colourful rooftop tiles of Matthias Church, walking across the historic Széchenyi Chain Bridge that links Buda and Pest, and viewing the exterior of the vast Parliament House.
A more sombre spot is the Shoes on the Danube Bank sculptures, a memorial to the Jews killed in Budapest during WWII, not far from the Parliament House building.
2. Visit the Village of Hollókő
Its about an 80 minute drive from Budapest to the village of Hollókő in northern Hungary. This village has been UNESCO World Heritage listed due to being a great example of a well-preserved traditional settlement, pre-dating the agricultural revolution.
It’s a charming spot to wander around for an hour or two. There are multiple houses open to the public, some with souvenirs to purchase, while others contain restaurants. Check whether your dog is welcome before entering inside anywhere and enjoy a traditional Hungarian meal before returning to Budapest.
3. Relax at Lake Balaton
During my visit to Hungary we visited Lake Neusiedl, on the border between Austria and Hungary. However, a far more popular destination and larger lake that I plan to visit on my next visit to Hungary is Lake Balaton.
With 197km of shoreline, there’s plenty of resort towns, hotels and beaches lining the lake. It’s particularly popular during the summer months in the land-locked country – often its called the “Hungarian Sea”!
Naturally, there’s plenty of dog-friendly accommodation options available. I’m sure there’s also quiet stretches of beach where dogs aren’t prohibited.
4. Taste Some Tokay Wine
The most famous Hungarian wine is Tokaji or Tokay wine. Tokay wine is a sweet white wine, made from grapes effected with noble rot, made in the Tokaj wine region in eastern Hungary, plus just across the nearby border in Slovakia.
We spent a couple of nights in the town of Tokaj, exploring the nearby countryside and vineyards, plus visiting the historic Rákóczi Cellar in the centre of town.
The Rákóczi Cellar is home to the largest underground knight’s hall in the region, previously the centre of the Tokaj wine trade in the 16th and 17th centuries. We took a tour of the hall, with Schnitzel allowed to join us on our visit on a quiet Fall day. Plus of course we tasted a range of local wine, both sweet and dry.
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About the Author
Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.