Please sign in to post.

Visiting the Hungarian Parliament using a non-English guided tour

I will be in Budapest next week and carelessly have neglected to pre-purchase a ticket for a guided tour in English. There are no free spots on any of the days I will be in Budapest. I have a grasp of basic German and French of which there arefree spots on a couple of the days that suit me. That way I would get to see the interiors that visitors see but would miss the finer points offered in an English tour. Would it still be worthwhile doing it this way? I would prefer not to pay an exorbitant price for a package tour.

Posted by
10899 posts

Sure, and I think the Eyewitness Guide for Budapest has a lot of detailed explanation, drawings, etc. if you wanted to read as you looked. You can get it on Amazon.

Posted by
448 posts

We showed up at the Parliament building last year without pre-purchased tickets and signed up for a French tour. The building interiors are magnificent and well worth seeing. It would have been nicer to understand what was being said, however -- even my daughter, who has studied French, couldn't really keep up. A lot of the discussion of architecture and politics doesn't lend itself to the most common words in any given language!

It just so happened that the French tour we chose and an English tour were happening at the same time. Not wanting to be rule breakers (especially in this venue) once we got through security we went ahead and picked up the French headsets and followed the French tour. What we discovered -- too late -- was that the French and English tours were only a couple of minutes apart....one entering a room as the other finished up or sometimes in the same room at the same time. Had we known this, we probably would have requested English headsets and just tagged along on the English tour that was taking place at the same time as our tour. I don't think anyone would have cared.

Posted by
802 posts

I was on an english tour last year but my wife was taking pictures everywhere and we end up fell behind so much that our receivers can't hear what the guide was saying for about half of the tour. Still allowed us many cool photos, but a history buff might be disappointed.

Posted by
90 posts

Thanks everyone. I will join the French group so at least I get to see the interior of the building.

Posted by
12091 posts

I have yet to go to the parliament building in BP, only saw it from across the river. Their tours must be given in 6-7 languages, presumably, Hungarian (obviously), English, French, German, Russian, Spanish. I'll take the German tour.

Tours in the State Opera in Vienna are given in 6 languages...Russian, English, Japanese, German (obviously), French and Spanish.

Posted by
22 posts

Echoing what Ruth said above, I think you could definitely get away with grabbing the other language group's headsets and it seems that nobody would be the wiser if you accidentally ended up with the other group. We did this tour last month (in English, thankfully), but I watched people from the German tour that was parallel to ours grab the English headset and hung back so that they could eventually mingle with the English group behind them. I'd definitely try to get into the building though. It was nice to be inside something I've always admired so much from the outside.

Posted by
10899 posts

Yes! Excellent idea. You could definitely get away with that. After all, the group sizes are arbitrary and without any rhyme or reason. If you did get caught, tell them you are an American and I bet they apologize to you for the inconvenience they put you through.

Posted by
417 posts

Just took the English tour a week ago and I would say that you need to see the interior.....get in to see that even if you don’t get English......they will allow you to take pictures in every room but the room that houses the royal crown, scepter and orb......they want the “lighting” to not be harmed so this is why.......but the actual explanations you might even pick up on a Rick Steves podcast if he has one. I thought it was informative but it did not last that long and you might be able to get some Google info on some explanations of its interior.......

Posted by
12091 posts

Reading all this pertaining to the Parliament building, I see this is now elevated to the "must-see" ie, top priority category and I will be taking the German tour.

Posted by
10899 posts

Fred, read where the royal crown was hidden for decades. It's interesting.

Posted by
90 posts

Thanks for the great advice. Officially I am booked for the French tour. Unofficially I will merge with the English group.

Posted by
12091 posts

@ James...What Hungarians prize the most , like we Americans view the US Constitution, is the Crown of St Stephen, which was obviously in danger in 1945...don't know the exact history on that without first consulting the books.

Posted by
12091 posts

@ James...Thanks very much for that link. It helped to pug the gap in my history knowledge on the Crown relative to 1945 and how the US came into possession of it.

Posted by
10899 posts

I heard one story that we had forgotten that we had it, and it wasn't until an inventory was done at Ft Knox in the late 60's that it was "re discovered"