Prostitution is big business in Hungary. According to official statistics, Hungarian men spent a total of Ft 125 billion (a lot of money) on prostitution last year. That’s Ft 32,000 (€130) for every one of the country’s 3.9 million gentlemen over the age of 15, and an average of just over 3 million (€12,000) for each of the 40,000 sexual service providers meeting their needs, many of them from the Roma minority and/or from outside Hungary.
It is also a legal business, if one even more tightly regulated than the rest of Hungary’s notoriously red-tape-bound economy. Trading sex for money is limited to certain areas, and those doing the trading have to carry a health certificate, which can cost as much as Ft 66,000 (€270). An official income tax category has even been assigned to the professions, though the authorities have (unsurprisingly) had little luck coaxing industry professionals onto the tax rolls. Advertising prostitution, however, is illegal, although you will see plenty of ads for “escorts” in a wide variety of “reputable” publications, including the Budapest Sun. Under Hungarian law it is also illegal to publish a list of prostitutes, as this is considered pimping.
Because of these and other legal limits on relevant information, it’s often hard to know where to look, what to pay and what to expect when purchasing sex “services” in Hungary. (And hard for us to be too specific about it.) According to a recent story in daily newspaper Népszabadság, half an hour’s action will set you back between Ft 10,000 and Ft 15,000 – figures that conform to our data – but you get a better deal for a full hour. However, this is just the average figure charged to Hungarians, and you should probably expect to pay a lot more if you are first-timer. Meanwhile, according to the same report, a small number of “luxury prostitutes” can stash up to €1,000 in their bras for a single visit.
Thanks to the Internet, mobile phone, and other technological advances, the days of the utcalány (“street girl”) are largely over in Budapest. However, if you like to do things the old fashioned way, you can still find hookers plying their trade outdoors, including the very scenic riverside promenade (Dunakorzó, right) running between the Hotel Inter-Continental Budapest and the Budapest Marriott Hotel, as well as on and around Váci utca, the main pedestrian shopping drag in Pest. The prices charged by such ladies will vary depending on what you are looking for, and what you look like you can pay, but are likely to start at around Ft 20,000, not including what the concierge at your hotel charges you for allowing her to go up to your room (budget an extra Ft 5,000). Meanwhile, note that the touristy parts of Budapest remain infested with so-called konzumlány (“consumption girls”) who pretend not to be prostitutes, because they are actually much worse.
A similarly old-school approach in Budapest involves the girls who hang out in the lobbies of certain hotels, as well as the small number of dedicated “knocking shops” dotted around the capital’s nagykörút (main ring road). Expect to fork out between Ft 15,000 and Ft 50,000 for a shag of standard duration and method. Unfortunately, we can’t steer you towards any specific addresses at the moment, as they seem to be constantly changing – and we don’t want to be hauled in for “pimping.”
Peep and Pay
It is also possible to pick up, for a price, girls you see at strip clubs. In Budapest, an hour of the girl’s time is worth at least Ft 25,000 (€100), plus Ft 5,000 for the hotel room and another Ft 5,000 for the taxi which will stay parked outside during your rendezvous. You can also gather up your loose change and visit a peep show. If you have trouble mumbling through the glass, the staff may be able to offer some information.
As we said above, even some “family” publications carry ads for escorts, most of whom are willing to be more than just a pleasant companion for dinner or the opera. While some of these escort services (see our Sex Directories for a listing) provide only a phone number and a picture of a generically pretty girl, there are also a number of escort “catalogue” websites, such as redzone.hu, that apparently feel free to ignore all of the previously-mentioned rules regarding publishing lists of prostitutes. The girls’ photos and phone numbers are published on the sites; all you have to do is pick one you like, call them up, hope their English is good and make arrangements. Prices are negotiable depending on the type of sex required, with most girls saying igen (“yes”) to anal. A package of oral, vaginal/anal sex, plus some extras can be had for Ft 15,000, compared to a reported Ft 30,000 to Ft 50,000 for some of the more traditional “escort” services advertised in places like the Budapest Sun. And in case you are still not convinced about the superiority of the Internet, some catalogue sites like beszamolok.hu even have comments enabled for punters to compare notes on each girl’s technique, looks and general demeanor (generally in Hungarian only).
The scene out of Budapest is broadly similar, though with a few notable differences. Some major tourist areas, such as Lake Balaton, have thriving sexual services industries, with strip clubs in larger cities like Keszthely and Siófok, and prices near or even above what they are in the capital. And while the streetwalkers have largely disappeared from Budapest’s streets, hookers can commonly be seen selling their wares on the shoulders of the country’s rural roads. Mostly drawn from Hungary’s Roma minority, they are rarely soft on the eyes, and generally serve the needs of desperate truckers, who usually have to spend no more than Ft 5,000 for a full road-side tune-up.