pharmacies & medical care


The Hungarian word for drugstore is even more unpronounceable than most Hungarian words:  "Gyogyszertar." I personally would prefer to take up homeopathy before asking someone on the street where I could find a "Gyogyszertar."

Three things to remember through the phlegm when you are sick while traveling and searching for an open pharmacy in Budapest:

1.  The Hungarian word for drugstore is even more unpronounceable than most Hungarian words:  Gyogyszertar.  I personally wouldn’t even dream of asking someone on the street where I could find a Gyogyszertar.

2.  Drugstores (pharmacies) are serious places that sell medications and pseudo-medical potions.  And some stuff is regulated in Hungary as though it were a medicine (like contact lens solution, which cannot be obtained anywhere else; I know it’s got to be sterile, but it’s water for God’s sake). They do not sell candy or tissues or magazines or Pop-Tarts or perfume or makeup or snacks.  There are separate stores for that, many of them, and they look a lot like their counterparts around the world.  But pharmacies tend to look older, more serious; the pharmacists seldom speak English (though other customers often do), and their hours are often comparatively short.  They have green crosses in their signage.

3.  There are emergency drugstores, roughly one in every district, though it seems as though they keep changing or moving around or something.  The Budapest Sun publishes a list each week.

Every drugstore has a sign (in Hungarian) in its window telling you where the nearest emergency drugstore is.  It’s never nearby.  And they never speak English.  And their idea of being open 24 hours a day does not include being open during breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time or break time.  And at odd hours they generally look as though they are shut tight as a drum, but there’s a secret buzzer that you ring and someone comes out and, if they can communicate with you at all (other than to tell you that they are out of what you are looking for) they are sizing you up to determine if you are really sick enough to merit their time on this holiday.

We have never had to use a physician or dentist in Budapest, but a friend who knows what he is talking about recommends:

Emergencies, cardiologist: Dr. Peter Horanyi    06 20 9220 155

Rheumatologist: Dr Peter Vertes   06 30 2783 055

Pediatrist: Dr. Gyula Foldes   06 30 2489 541

Neurologist: Dr Andras Farago  06 30 2122 891

Gynecologist: Dr Ferenc Tallian 06 20 391

Pulmonologist: Dr. Eva Kanitz 06 03  4709 520

All of these physicians speak English, all numbers are for mobiles; you may want to say that George Kárpáti recommended them to you.

He also recommends the following dentist (whose English is not very good; if you need dental work done, we’ll find a way to make the communication work):

Dr. Tamas Elek  (0630 9143 123)

I have gone to a very good Ear/Nose/Throat specialist (who speaks excellent English, charged $30 for two visits, and has somewhat dreary, if not Kafkaesque, examining venues).  Also a George Karpati recommendation.  Dr, Miklos Alpar, (0620 985 6083).

One guest had an eye problem and went to the Eye Clinic at 25 Maria utca; she waited a long while to see a physician but received excellent care.

A guest who consulted a Buda pediatrician felt quite good about the person and the advice (in English): Dr. Boros: 0630 999 9894.

Two guests came for extensive dental work and both went to the same dentist, whom they both found to be first rate: Dr Gyulai-Gaal Szabolcs, 1068 Budapest, Felsoerdosor u 12-14 fszt 8, Phone 321-4912 (a professor of dentistry at the medical university, with a range of publications if you Google him, he is not one of the dentists who maintain websites and cater to the cheap-dentist-tourist trade. 

There is also an English-speaking clinic (actually, I believe there are several): American Clinics International +06 1 224 9520 or is one; another is:; and yet another:


The US Embassy maintains a list of medical resources in Budapest:

and downloadable lists of doctors/dentists, hospitals, and veterinarians.

It’s Worse than That; I Need a Hospital

We have, thankfully, no direct and very little indirect experience here.  I will try to gather some information from knowledgeable friends.  A guest fell while walking and was taken to a hospital by the police, and had a very positive experience (though the facilities characteristically suffered from deferred maintenance).  Other friends have had good things to say about the various private English-speaking clinics.  For myself, I’d try to start out with a Hungarian facility, but likely would wind up trolling the US Embassy list.