Traveling by car/bus
According to top-medical-schools, Hungary has a well-developed road network. Almost all main roads converge on Budapest in a star shape. The two main connecting roads from Budapest are the M1 to Hegyeshalom and the M7 to Lake Balaton. The M3 connects Budapest with the east (to Görbehaza), the M6 with the south of Hungary. Tolls: Hungarian motorways and some other roads, such as the Budapest bypass, are subject to tolls. The vignette, the so-called e-Matrica, is available at border crossings, petrol stations, from the Hungarian automobile club MAK or online from VirPay as a 10-day, monthly or annual vignette. Gas stations are available everywhere. All types of fuel commonly used in international traffic are available.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
Hungary’s roads are generally well maintained and are regularly renewed and upgraded.
The Hungarian road network consists of: – motorways (marked with an M or an E for international roads and a number) and – rural roads (marked with a number).
Cars can be hired from Ferihegy Airport, IBUSZ, the Budapest Tourist Office and larger hotels. Volánbusz rents buses.
In order to avoid unpleasant surprises, the fare should be agreed before the start of the journey. The change should also be checked, as sometimes similar-looking, outdated and therefore worthless Romanian banknotes are used by taxi drivers as change.
Bicycles and scooters can be rented in towns and tourist areas.
Volanbusz has bus lines to cities in the country and to resorts and holiday resorts. Almost all Hungarian cities can be reached by bus from Budapest. Tickets can be purchased at the Volánbusz offices or online. Ibusz offers guided bus tours with pick-up at the accommodations.
Traffic regulations: – Seat belts are compulsory. – Strict ban on alcohol at the wheel (0.0%). – Driving outside of built-up areas must also have headlights on during the day. – Drivers and occupants of motor vehicles must wear a high-visibility vest when leaving the vehicle outside of the town area. – Horns are only permitted in built-up areas if there is an imminent risk of an accident. – Telephoning is only permitted with a hands-free system. – Snow chains should always be carried in the vehicle during the winter season. Speed limits for cars and motorcycles: – in built-up areas: 50 km/h; – country roads: 90 km/h; – expressways: 110 km/h; – Motorway: 130 km/h.
Emergency telephones can be found every 2 km on the motorways. The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; for vehicle damage: Tel. +49 (89) 22 22 22, for illnesses: +49 (89) 76 76 76. The ADAC partner club is the Magyar Autóklub (MAK), Tel. +36 (1) 345 18 00, one operates a roadside assistance service that is available 24/7 nationwide by dialing 188.
The national driving license is sufficient for EU citizens. For citizens of EU and EFTA countries, the license plate number is valid as proof of insurance. Nevertheless, EU and EFTA citizens are recommended to take their international motor insurance card with them in order to be able to enjoy full insurance cover in the event of damage. Otherwise, the statutory minimum liability insurance coverage applies. In addition, the international motor insurance card can make it easier to record accidents.
Note on travel by road
Travelers who drive to Hungary by car should make sure that the TÜV stickers on their vehicles have not expired, otherwise there is a risk of serious problems with the Hungarian authorities. Caution: Traffic violations such as speeding, not wearing seat belts, driving under the influence of alcohol or running red lights can result in severe fines, which will be collected on the spot. Anyone who does not pay immediately must expect their car to be confiscated.
Traveling in the city
The larger cities have good local transport networks with trams and buses. In Budapest there are buses, trolleybuses, trams, mountain railways, suburban trains (HEV), metro lines and ferries. Tickets for trams and buses are available from machines or at the counter. Travelers can choose between single tickets, day tickets and tickets for 3, 7 or 14 days. Trams and buses run from 04.30-23.00, there are also some night lines (marked “É”). Subway service from 4.30 a.m. to 11.30 p.m. There is also a rack railway (Városmajor – Széchenyi Hill), a chair lift and a cable car.
Locally on the way by train
The star-shaped rail network running towards Budapest is operated by the Hungarian State Railways Magyar Államvasutak (MÁV), Tel. +36 (1) 349 49 49. All major cities can be easily reached by train; the connections are good. However, connections that do not go through Budapest are often time-consuming. A surcharge applies for express trains; Seat reservations are required, especially in summer. Nostalgic trains from MAV Nosztalgia, Tel. +36 (1) 269-5242, go among other places to the Danube Bend, about 30 km north of Budapest.
The Interrail One Country Pass and the Interrail Global Pass are also valid in Hungary. With the START Club card of the Hungarian State Railways, travelers receive a 50% discount on full-fare second-class domestic tickets; the card is also valid for two people on Saturdays.
Traveling by ship
Regular boat traffic on the Danube and Lake Balaton from spring to late autumn. Budapesti Közlekedési Központ (BKK) operates ferries in the city area. From April to September, MAHART offers regular boat trips from Budapest via Visegrád to Esztergom on the Danube Bend. Various boat tours for city tours can also be booked at MAHART. A car ferry from Balantoni Hajózási runs year-round on Lake Balaton between Tihanyrév on the northern shore and Szántód on the southern shore (every 40 minutes from mid-March to October, hourly from November to mid-March). In addition, a large number of small ports on Lake Balaton are connected to each other according to the timetable. Boat tours with a program on board are also offered.