Corrected: River cruise lines continue to operate in Hungary

River cruise lines may continue to call in Budapest as a port, due to an exemption that allows visitors to arrive by waterway from countries within the Schengen Zone. Photo Credit: Crystal Cruises

CORRECTION: A previous version of this report erroneously said that Hungary had banned air travel for most U.S. citizens and that a 24-hour transit restriction applied to river cruise lines.

U.S. citizens traveling to Budapest to board a river cruise will be able to do so with proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of their arrival at a European airport, according to the latest guidance.

A slew of recent updates about Hungary's tightening entry requirements have caused confusion regarding who is welcome and for how long. A previously reported transit period of 24 hours does not apply to U.S. citizens who can provide proof of vaccination and/or a negative Covid-19 test result with results written in English or Hungarian.

Visitors who provide proof that they recovered from Covid-19 within six months prior to border crossing are also allowed.

T0621EUROPEMAP_SS_HR [Credit: Janis Abolins/]
Europe travel

Travel Weekly is tracking the changing Covid-related entry requirements across the Continent.

"The ability to fly in with a negative PCR test changed in mid-August. Avalon Waterways has been operating with guests arriving into Hungary since then," said an Avalon spokesperson.

River cruise lines may also continue to call in Budapest as a port, due to an exemption that allows visitors to arrive by waterway from countries within the Schengen Zone, without restriction. 

Entry restrictions do not apply to travelers entering Hungary by road, rail, and waterway from Austria, Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.

The allowance is "without any epidemiological restrictions, regardless of nationality and coronavirus immunity," according to a Hungarian government website, which also states that "non-Hungarian nationals arriving from abroad by road, railway or water passenger transit travel may enter the territory of Hungary, so long as they agree to a medical examination upon entry and such examination does not determine a suspicion of infection."

If the river cruise includes a Budapest port call but does not start or end in the Hungarian city, the sailing likely started or ended in Vienna or Bratislava, Slovakia. This scenario is allowed under Hungary's exemption.

The EU's Aug. 30 advisory to remove U.S. citizens from the safe-travel list spurred many EU countries to alter entry requirements, including the Netherlands.

Travel Weekly will continue to cover entry changes and restrictions as they develop.


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