Hungary: the treasure of Eastern Europe
Hungary is considered one of the most attractive countries of Eastern Europe. It is thanks to its rich culture, scenic landscapes, excellent cuisine, and affordable prices. This destination is perfect both for a winter trip and a summer stay. Even though travellers won't experience sweltering heat during their holidays in Hungary, there are plenty of sunny days in the summer time.
One of the options for exploring Hungary is renting a vehicle. Not only will it allow you to plan all of the routes on your own, but also experience great adventure and dive into the Hungarian culture. You can hire almost all types of vehicles, starting with luxury vehicles and finishing with more affordable ones. However, it's worth familiarising yourself with the rules implemented by particular car hire companies (age, driving experience, required documents) and plan everything well in advance if you'd like to save some money.
What should you take into consideration before starting your trip? What's worth seeing and what should you avoid? The answer to these questions can be found in the text below.
Discover Road Trips in Hungary
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What to see in Hungary?
Many tourists coming to Hungary limit their exploration of the country to Budapest. Even though there's no doubt that the city is a true jewel among the European capitals, the country can boast so many other highlights that it would be a shame to miss them. One of the examples here can be Eger, which impresses with its monuments and numerous vineyards, or Miskolc, famous for interesting museums and old churches.
There are plenty of interesting places on the Hungarian map. In the northern part of the country, you will find Győr, with its stunning Baroque architecture, and Szentendre, characterised by extremely narrow streets and multiple cafés and restaurants. Only 40 minutes away, you'll find the equally interesting Visegrád that can boast a very rich archaeological site.
While travelling around Hungary, you'll come across exciting monuments at every corner. These are the testimony of the country's colourful past. If you want to go several hundred years back in time, you should definitely pay a visit at Pécs, Székesfehérvár, or Kecskemét, where you'll find various religious buildings, historic squares, monumental palaces, or even fragments of fortified city walls. Two other interesting places to visit are Szeged, enjoying the status of country's most sunny city, and Veszprém, located approximately 15 km from Lake Balaton.
Speaking of Lake Balaton... it is not the only popular place among the visiting tourists. Holidaymakers and local residents pay eager visits at a spa town, Hévíz, where you'll find a medicinal thermal lake. Interestingly, the temperature of the water in the lake reaches up to 36°C!
Traffic rules in Hungary - general information
Drinking and driving is one of the most severely penalised traffic offences in Hungary. A breathalyser test shouldn't find even trace amounts of alcohol in your breath. You can talk on the phone only with the use a hands-free set. Otherwise, you'll have to face a penalty payment. Dipped headlights have to be on around the clock - but only outside the built-up areas. A motorist driving in a built-up area is obliged to use them only at night or in adverse weather conditions.
The necessary documents that you should carry in Hungary are: driver's licence, registration document, vehicle technical inspection certificate, liability insurance, and your ID or passport. The obligatory car equipment includes a first aid kit, a warning triangle, a reflective vest, and a towline. It's also worth carrying a fire extinguisher and a set of spare bulbs.
Speed limits on Hungarian roads
The speed limit for all vehicles driving in built-up areas is 50 km/h. In rural areas, the speed limit that has to be observed is, of course, higher - 90 km/h. On expressways and motorways, you can drive at a maximum speed of 110 km/h and 130 km/h respectively; thus, you've got a little greater leeway. Each motorist is obliged to reduce the speed when approaching pedestrian crossings - you mustn't drive faster than 30 km/h in cities and faster than 40 km/h in rural areas.
Toll roads in Hungary
Motorways and expressways in Hungary are all toll roads. However, you won't come across regular toll gates - the toll is paid with the use of special electronic vignettes that can be purchased at all petrol stations and customs checkpoints. Vignettes differ in validity period. There exist three options: weekly (valid for 10 days), monthly, and annual. After the payment, you'll receive a special coupon that you are required to show during a road check.
Road checks in Hungary
Routine road checks on Hungarian roads are rather infrequent, but it doesn't mean that you can break the traffic rules as you please. Even though police officers are very patient with foreigners, they tend to be relentless when it comes to some of the traffic offences. From May to October, you can expect increased sobriety control in the near vicinity of Lake Balaton. If you happen to experience such a routine check, you don't have to leave the car unless the police officers ask you to do it. How to recognise a Hungarian police car? Mostly by rendőrség written on the vehicle and by the white or silver and blue bodywork.