Hungarian Tourist Guide Association

10 Things To Know About MIE - Hungarian Tourist Guide Association

1. What year was the Hungarian Tourist Guides’ Association (MIE) established, and where is the headquarters?

This is how the Hungarian Tourist Guides’ Association, Magyar Idegenvezetők Egyesülete (MIE) was born. In 2016, a handful of Tourist Guides got together as they were concerned with the negative impact uncontrolled coach entries to Budapest’s Castle District (old town) would have on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The memorandum of association was signed on 10 November and we voted for the presidency. Then on 6 December 2016, as a gift from Santa Claus, we did not receive the traditional chocolates nor flowers in our boots, but – we were finally founded officially.

Our headquarters are at: 1065 Budapest, Révay utca 10.

Mie-Tourist Guide with some colleagues and guests on the International Tourist Day, February 2020
Walking-Tour at the Buda Hills with the Queen Elisabeth’s View Tower in the background

2. What is the primary mission/goal of the Hungarian Tourist Guides’ Association (Mie)?

Our primary mission is the representation of the professional and legal interests of Hungarian Tourist Guides.

To achieve our mission we promote the education and training of trainee tourist guides by providing paid and free CPD courses to our members; we are cooperating with the Hungarian government and other national tourism stakeholders; we engage in building relationships with international professional organizations. The Association is a member of both the European Federation of Tourist Guide Associations and the World Federations of Tourist Guide Associations, as we believe that it is important to follow and be informed of international trends and changes.

The Association is actively protecting its members by offering financial and legal advice; is promoting them by giving employment opportunities and advertising the members’ tours and services, and is campaigning for guiding fees to be according to the cost of living.

Finally, we advocate consumer protection by requesting the elimination of non-trained practitioners. We believe that illegal guides do not have the knowledge, training and expertise that is needed to represent our country and heritage.

3. How does someone become a qualified tourist guide in Hungary?

To become a qualified Tourist Guide in Hungary, candidates must complete tourism and guiding-related educational courses. These courses last between 8 months or 2 years, and the attendance can be either in either half-day (part-time) or whole day segments (full-time). On completion of the training there are examinations covering practical aspects of guiding such as “on the coach”, museum and site visits and walks. There are also written exams, based on 16 different subjects and requiring knowledge of the whole of the country.

4. After becoming qualified, what are some of the professional development classes that guides typically take in Hungary to enhance their knowledge and skills?

The Association offers educational tours and professional development classes to members in the form of mostly free programmes. These Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes include visits to the main museums, art collection and galleries, well-known and important religious centres such as synagogues and churches. In addition, we organise visits to various small historic towns and the natural heritage sites and parks. Finally, MIE offers advanced level training for languages.

5. Is there an official badge that qualified tourist guides in Hungary wear?

Following qualification each Tourist Guide receives an official licence and a badge. Please see the pictures below. (There are two in use: an old one and the new.)

6. How many qualified tourist guides are members of the Hungarian Tourist Guides’ Association, and what are their diverse backgrounds? Also, how many languages do they guide in, and do they specialize in themed tours?

MIE has over 200 qualified guides.

Most of our members are university level educated and they all must have at least degrees of intermediate level language as this is one of the conditions in order to obtain the tourist guide licence. Many of our members exceed this and are holders of the highest-level language degrees.

Our members cover a wide range of languages including English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Finnish, Greek, Slovakian, Croatian, Czech, Polish, Romanian, Danish, Swedish, Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew and many more.

MIE organises many further training sessions and this helps our members to get specialisation in themed tours. Jewish tours, Ancient Rome and the Pannonian region, Food and Wine Tastings are some of the themed tours our members offer, but there are many more in a variety of subjects and topics.

Mie-Study tour at “Saint Well”/Bakonybél

7. What are some of the top reasons for using a qualified tourist guide in Hungary?

No one can introduce the country’s beauties, culture, heritage and traditions, history and mentality like a local qualified tourist guide can. What visitors need is someone who “lives and breathes with the Hungarian streams”, as we say in Hungary. And nobody can do that better than a trained, qualified tourist guide who has experience and knowledge and can speak the visitors’ language.

Nothing else can compete with this kind of experience if one really wants to get an in-depth understanding of the visited country.

Mie-Tourist Guides and guests at Aquincum, Budapest Roman Town guiding at the International Tourist Guide Day, February 2019

8. What are some of the popular places to visit in Hungary?

Hungary as a country offers a large variety of experiences, cultural and natural, to the visitor.

Being in the heart of Europe, Hungary spreads from Ukraine and Romania in the east to Austria in the west. It is exactly this central position, the heart of the continent and the fact that the country was the crossroads of various cultures and civilisations, that give the Hungarians their unique self-identity. From the distinctive Magyar language to the exceptional cuisine, and from the traditional folk music and dress to the unique fairy tales, Hungary is a complex country and society that needs to be visited and experienced to be properly appreciated.

There are 7 cultural and 3 natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Hungary. Each of them requires special attention and attracts visitors for an exciting experience.

  • Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue
  • Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs (Sopianae)
  • Lake Fertö / Cultural Landscape
  • Hortobágy National Park - the Puszta
  • Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural Environment
  • Old Village of Hollókő and its Surroundings
  • Tokaj Wine Region Historic Cultural Landscape
  • Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst

Hungary is not only about World Heritage Sites, there are a lot of other attractions too:

  • The Danubebend in North Hungary
  • The Lake Balaton, the so-called Hungarian sea.
  • Szeged, a lovely art nouveau old town, on the banks of the Tisza, second longest river, in South Hungary
  • Debrecen, in East Hungary. The second largest town in the country after the capital close to the Hortobágy National Park,
  • The “Puszta”, the great steppe with its unique animals and ecosystem.

Our Tourist Guides are a guarantee. With their knowledge, experience and skills, they can create tailor-made tours and programmes to suit different types of groups, incentive tours, any other kind of visitor and individuals.

The “Nine Holed bridge” (Kilenclyukú-híd) at the great plain of Hortobágy

Debrecen (East-Hungary) the second greatest town

9. What are some general tips you would give to potential visitors planning a vacation to Hungary?

For a short visit Budapest is a must see!

During the day the visitor can explore the double city: Buda the “older brother”, as we call it, with its Castle District and Royal Palace and Pest, the “younger sister” the more modern part with its vibrant life. The visitor is spoiled for choice and can go time-travelling from the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and its grand architecture to the 21st century street art.

What else can you do? There is excellent traditional food and wines to be had in restaurants but also at the Great Market Hall. Shopping and relaxing on the banks of the Danube, the most famous river in Europe. You can’t leave the city without visiting one of the famous thermal baths, only make sure you have plenty of time because you will not want to leave.

In the evening: do not miss Budapest by night by boat, go to one of the music concerts and evening performances and finish the night at a Ruin bar. Built in Budapest’s old Jewish quarter neighbourhood, these bars are in the ruins of abandoned buildings and super trendy!

For longer stays there are so many options and places to explore that it is worth heading to the countryside. Lake Balaton with its natural beauty and cultural offers, our famous desert called Puszta, in the bend of the Danube, a visit to any of the charming towns of Debrecen, Szeged, Pécs, Győr, Sopron. And don’t forget to go to the famous Tokaj wine region and taste Tokaj, the King of Wines, the wine created for the kings!

10. Where can potential visitors to Hungary find out more information about the Hungarian Tourist Guides’ Association and find a qualified tourist guide?

The best way to reach our qualified Guides would be through our website “Tourist Guide Search”. On our web page you can find all the necessary information about our Association, including the Guides’ contacts.