Driving Tips - Hungary
Hungary is a small country but manages to have a diverse landscape; therefore driving there can be a bit of a challenge. A lot of the roads are expressways and there are many different aspects of the driving experience in Hungary to be aware of. Read on to find a simple driving guide full of useful tips and laws before you go venturing off into the unknown.
- A valid driving licence with photo (or IDP) which has been held for at least one year
- Vehicle insurance certificate
- Passport or ID card
- Vehicle insurance documents if you are renting a car
- The minimum driving age in Hungary is 18 (eighteen)
- Children under 12 (twelve) or 1.5m are not allowed to travel in the front
- Children under the age of 3 (three) must be placed and fitted in an appropriate car seat.
Police can stop any vehicle at any time to check they are not in violation of any of these laws.
Driving Rules, Laws and Regulations
- Driving is done on the right hand side of the road
- At intersections, you must give way to traffic on the right
- At roundabouts, you must give way to traffic on the left hand side
- Headlights must be used at all times on roads outside of town
- Public transport and pedestrians always have right of way
- Driving on expressways requires drivers to have bought a tax sticker that are available at post offices and most petrol stations
- It is forbidden to park in disabled spaces
- Mobile phones are forbidden unless they have headsets
Speed Limits and Fines
Speed limits in Hungary can change depending where exactly you are but keep these figures in mind as a general average and you shouldn’t go wrong:
- 130 km/hour (80mph) on freeways
- 110km/hour (68mph) on dual carriages
- 50km/hour (31mph) in towns and villages
- 30km/hour (18mph) in some residential areas
Be well aware of signposting to keep right in terms of speed limits. On-the-spot fines will be given to those who fail to adhere to the limits. These can be paid at post offices or by bank transfer and never in cash. Each offence will have a fixed fine attached.
Failure to accept an on-the-spot fine will result in the amount being doubled.
Vehicles may be impounded and withheld from drivers until the amount is paid in full.
Hungary operates a zero-tolerance policy on drink driving. This means that no amount of alcohol should be consumed before getting behind the wheel.
If a driver is found to have 0.5mg/l or more in their system the consequences could be a driving ban and/or time in prison.
A fine is automatically given to those found with lower levels in their system.
There are a lot of free zones for parking in Hungary’s tourist areas. However, you should expect it to be very busy, especially in Budapest and other city centres.
Paid parking in Budapest, and most other city centres, is between 08:00 and 18:00 Monday to Friday, 24 hours in some places, 08:00 - 12:00 on Saturdays and free on Sundays. Charges will be signposted where tickets must be purchased straight away and displayed clearly behind the windscreen.
Parking is permitted on the right hand side of a one-way street.
Parking fines are issued in a blue envelope containing a yellow bill. This must be paid at a post office or the car company office.
Illegal parking will result in a wheel clamp and a fine for it to be released.
Hungary Driving Guide
Situated in Europe, Hungary is surrounded by seven other European countries and is an excellent gateway to explore the central part of the continent.
Hungary is a beautiful country offering many diverse landscapes mountains, rivers, lakes and vast plains. It is also home to Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe. In terms of tourism, Hungary is the 15th most visited country in the world, with Budapest often considered to be the most beautiful city on earth!
Hungary has much to offer the intrepid tourist and Budapest is the perfect base to explore the Hungarian countryside by rental car.
Budapest to Lake Balaton
1 hour 26 mins (135 km) (84 miles) via M7
Lake Balaton is one of the more popular tourist destinations in the country and not found too far from Budapest.
Known as the “Hungarian Sea” to locals, the lake offers varied attractions. Of course, many of these are linked to the water itself and include a number of watersports, sailing and swimming.
The lake is also famous for its beaches. The more popular included Zamárdi, Balatonfüred and Balatonakali. Small resort towns are found around the lake and offer varied accommodation including hotels, bed and breakfast establishments, self-catering cottages and guest houses.
Scenic Drive — Kékestető
(12 km ) (7 miles) — Kékestető Mountain Pass
Situated near the town of Gyöngyös, the Kékestető mountain pass is roughly a 1000m above sea-level. It is found in the Matra mountain range. The pass itself moves through an incredibly beautiful part of the mountains and other than their obvious beauty, the road winds through lush green forested areas.
Once at the top, discover the massive 176m high TV tower as well as an excellent restaurant. Lastly, don’t forget to spend some time on the observation deck to see some incredible views over the region.
Budapest to Szentendre
30 mins (22km) (13 miles) via Route 11
Located a mere 30 mins from central Budapest, the small town of Szentendre should be first on your list of day trips outside the capital. This quaint town is filled with beautiful cobblestone streets, restaurants, art galleries and the Skanzen open air museum. This museum is extremely popular as it gives a fascinating insight into the traditional Hungarian way of life including traditional dress. It also details other aspects of the country, including its beautiful architecture.
Make sure you visit various lookout points situated in the town that look over the famous Danube River and try some lángos, a traditional fried dough.
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