Hungary is an attractive destination among tourists for different reasons. Some visitors like it for Budapest’s beauty, some for the cheap and adventurous nightlife, maybe for festivals or for the spas.
But what if you are planning to see the whole country by car, not just one city or town? Well, this can be as fun and joyful as a ‘normal’ Budapest trip, so, tips and ideas are gathered here on how to make a Hungary-trip by car. We will give you ideas, including Budapest car trip and parking tips, two possible trips that you can take by car, traffic rules and speed limits and how to rent a car in Hungary to start your exciting journey.
If you are up for some sightseeing in Budapest, we recommend you to park your car somewhere and use public transportation afterwards. It is cheaper and easier to commute. Here is how to park in Budapest and what to avoid.
On weekdays, traffic jams at peak hours can be tricky, so try to avoid sightseeing by car in these hours: Monday – Friday, 7 am – 9 am in the morning and 4 pm – 6 pm count as peak hours in Budapest and the suburbs.
On weekdays, parking tickets must be purchased on the streets. You have several options.
You must purchase tickets when parking on Budapest streets in the period between 8 am – 6 pm or 8 am – 8 pm in the very centre. Find this interactive map to learn more about parking fees and areas.
To pay your parking fee, find your closest parking metre or use the Parkl mobile application. For more information about Parkl, read our previous article here.
At the weekend, parking on the streets is free, but there are exceptions:
- Shopping mall parking garages
- Hotel parking
- P+R (Park and Ride – these are near-metro station places to park)
- Franz Liszt Airport
Now that you know everything about Budapest’s parking system, let us see what to know about motorways and countryside cad trips.
COUNTRYSIDE DESTINATION TIPS FOR DRIVERS
Hungary is considered to be a relatively small country by size, but this makes a car trip journey more pleasant since you do not need to drive for entire days, only a couple of hours per day. Not only the size of the country but also its surface is convenient for a car ride. Hungary does not have huge mountains or crazy valleys, lowlands and low hills are more characteristic.
BUDAPEST – LAKE VELENCE – SZÉKESFEHÉRVÁR – LAKE BALATON TRIP
Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe and is one of the favourite destinations of the summer. The two lakes provide nice beaches, good opportunities to swim, sunbathe and ride a bike, or even four big festivals. While Székesfehérvár is a city with historical sights and a cosy city centre, Bory-Castle, Vörösmarty Theatre in the old town and the Town Hall Square are highly recommended to see.
To get to Lake Balaton from Budapest, you should drive on motorway M7 which starts directly from Budapest, runs alongside the South side of Lake Balaton, to Nagykanizsa, all the way to the Hungarian-Croatian border.
During this trip, the following Balaton-side towns are recommended to see: Siófok, Zamárdi and Keszthely. Or, you can go by ferry to the opposite shore to see Tihany or Balatonfüred. Any other town in between is also nice, cheap and refreshing.
BUDAPEST – SZENTENDRE – VISEGRÁD – PILIS – ESZTERGOM TRIP
This trip runs from Budapest to the North, driving on road #11. Szentendre has quite an atmosphere with its old town. There are a lot of museums, exhibitions, like
marzipan, wine, an open-air village museum and nice pedestrian streets with Hungarian Lángos buffets, for instance.
Visegrád is the way to go to see a picturesque panorama of Hungary with the Visegrád Castle.
If you are up for some exercise and hiking, then make a little switch to the Pilis Mountains and their nice, fresh views.
Having seen these Hungarian towns and lands, you can now drive to Esztergom and see amazing historical buildings and sights: St. Stephen’s Square, Esztergom Basilica and the Castle Museum.
There are a lot of advantages to going around Hungary by car. We have less heavy traffic jams because highway and motorway systems have a good infrastructure and Hungary has no metropolises or crazily high population, meaning fewer cars are on the road.
SPEED LIMITS AND VIGNETTES
The speed limit in Hungary for cars is similar to European standards, and it is strictly obligatory to abide by the traffic rules.
A highway sticker is needed when on the Hungarian motorways. It is recommended to buy them at a petrol station before entering the motorway or at the very first petrol station stop because traffic cameras are observing each license plate numbers on the road. Ten-day stickers are for 13 EUR while one-month stickers are for 17.7 EUR. You can purchase vignettes online, too, by giving your car’s license plate number and the starting point of validity.
When driving on the motorway, the maximum speed is 130 km/h (80mph). In towns, the speed limit is 50 km/h (30 mph); outside of towns, it is 90 km/h (55 mph).
One can rent a car in Hungary with quite a low budget. The lowest price in car rentals for a four-seat car is around 15 Euros/day. Many salons’ services are between 40 – 70 Euros a day with cosy and good-performance cars, while the price of high-performance cars for a day can go much higher than 100 Euros per day.
Most countries in Europe including Hungary use manual-gear cars the most, so if you are only familiar with automatic gears, we recommend you to take automatic cars to rent.
Even if it’s an exciting kind of adventure to explore Hungary by car, it is always better to plan your trip in advance. So when is your next vacation and where are you headed to? 🙂