PRIOR TO traveling on Hungarian motorways and toll sections you need to buy a Matrica (motorway and toll ticket), that you keep as a 'Licence Plate' receipt.
A toll ticket can be valid for 10 Days, 1 Month or 1 Year and can be bought at petrol stations.
To park in Szeged City Centre you need to buy a parking ticket from a ticket machine.
The machine is easy-to-use, is in English and accepts cash or card payment. It costs 120 HUF (32p) per 15 Minutes.
If you need to hire a car whilst in Hungary, I can recommend Olcsó car hire in Ferihegy, Budapest.
We paid 84,200 HUF (£240) for 13 Days car hire, with Child Seat, Sat-Nav and 13 Days Motorway Toll cover.
This road sign means you are entering a village, town or city. In this case a village called Szeged-Szőreg.
And this road sign means you are leaving a village, town or city. In this case the village called Szeged-Szőreg.
In Hungary this sign means a cyclist can ride down a no-entry street - NO ENTRY except for cyclists.
Other bicycle signs permit a cyclist to travel down, in the opposite direction, of a one-way street.
The Várjon (Wait) crossings keep cyclists safe across dual, triple and multi-lane roads.....
.....especially in the late, heavy traffic, evenings and nights.
Below you will find information relating to 'Driving In Budapest' and Hungary in general in terms of M.O.T, Car Insurance and Car Tax, Driving Lesson Prices, Speed Limits in Hungary, Tyre Regulations and more.
Prices shown below are taken from Hungarian friends who have been driving in Hungary for decades as well as Hungarian friends who have recently passed their driving test and bought a car. A big THANK YOU to Tünde for all her help and tips including internet searching, interpretations and translations.
If you live in a main city such as Budapest or Szeged you do not really need a car simply because public transport is excellent in those cities. You only really need a car if you make multiple trips to the supermarket, d.i.y shops, other towns/villages and so on every week or month whereby you save money doing so.
Hungarians find the car "too expensive" to buy, maintain and operate - Petrol Prices (400 HUF per litre), Car Insurance (between 40,000 HUF and 62,000 HUF), M.O.T (between 19,000 HUF and 25,000 HUF) and Car Tax (140-300 HUF per Kilowatt - Example: 11,000 HUF) mean the average Hungarian will not use a car for luxury trips; such as trips to leisure centres.
Car Insurance prices vary depending on your age, number of driving years, security and age of your vehicle and other details; just like in the UK.
If a Hungarian has a car they will use it as efficiently as possible. For a monthly shopping trip to the big supermarket, to and from work, for school runs, carrying heavy/bulky d.i.y shop items and so on; but not to visit cinemas, taxi friends around and so on.
MOL Petrol Stations vary in fuel prices depending on where you are in Hungary
NOTE WELL - All vehicles MUST have a basic, but mandatory, insurance policy that covers an accident for example; just like in the UK. Furthermore: You can buy an optional comprehensive (i.e. third party, fire and theft) car insurance policy, from companies equivalent to the RAC or AA in the UK, that may or may not cover 'breakdown recovery' options and/or 'EU Country' insurance policies.
With M.O.T you may decide to have a 'check for damages' and 'legal car parts/log book' service (a fee of around 18,000 HUF) before your official M.O.T test. And with the car tax, which is based on the weight of your car, its Kilowatt (weight) capacity details can be found on your M.O.T certificate and in your Log Book.
Driving lessons in Szeged can be found at 3,300 HUF (£8.08) per hour (based on 30 Hours or less) and 3,500 HUF (£9.33) per hour (based on 31+ Hours). In Budapest driving lessons are around 4,500 HUF (£12) per hour.
NOTE - Unllike in the UK, in Hungary there is no provisional (learner) licence issued. Meaning, you can NOT be a provisional driver who drives a car within Hungary; even with a full driving licence holder (professional) at your side (in the passenger seat). You must pass your theory and first aid tests first and then take driving lessons with a qualified driving instructor only whereby when you feel ready, you can take as many driving tests as you like. Driving at any other time as a provisional driver is illegal.
NOTE - If you fail after the initial five driving tests you must visit Budapest for a mental ability test before you can continue with a sixth driving test and driving tests thereafter.
NOTE - You must have had an address card for at least 6 months before you will be issued a full (professional) driving licence; assuming you pass your driving test of course.
NOTE - A Full (Professional) Driving Licence in Hungary is valid for periods of 10 years only. So if you pass your driving test at 20 years old, your driving licence will only be valid until your 30th birthday whereby you then need to take an assessment medical test. If you pass that medical test, you pay for another 10 years on your driving licence; so it is then valid until your 40th birthday. In other words, you need to renew your driving licence every 10 years.
When driving in Hungary the following ORIGINAL (NOT Photocopied) documents and accessories should be onboard at all times, if you do not want a penalty.
NOTE: Motorcycle riders and their passengers MUST all wear a crash helmet.
The only driving kit you will need for European countries
Halfords, and the AA directly, sell a good European Travel Kit PLUSEuropean Travel Kit for £40 (AA Shops sell it cheaper, but are usually only found in Ferry terminals).
You must use dipped headlights when driving outside built-up areas (when driving between cities, towns or villages and when using a motorway). And when driving in the night you must NEVER use full-beam headlights (it is illegal to do so). Sadly, some drivers do not follow these rules. I have encountered, as a night time cyclist, cars coming from the opposite direction with full-beam (blinding) headlights on as they pass me.
NOTE - Cars from the UK (right-hand drive) must have special stickers (headlamp beam deflectors/adaptors) covering their beam headlights when travelling through Europe. This is because of the way UK car beam headlights distract/blind European drivers who have steering on their left-side. You can buy the special stickers as part of an 'AA Europen Car Kit' or separately in Halfords (UK) for example.
Hungarians do not tolerate drink driving at all, hence their zero 'drink limit' policy. If you are caught with less than 80 Milligrams of alcohol (per 100 Millilitres of blood) in your system, you will be fined. And if you are caught with 80+ Milligrams (per 100 Millilitres of blood) in your system, you will face legal action.
It is also illegal for you to allow a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs to drive. If the police suspect a driver (and even a cyclist or pedestrian) of being under the influence of drugs, they can take them to a medical centre for blood and urine tests.
NOTE WELL: Even the ambulance service and hospital do not like drinkers, even if you get drunk at a party/festival and pass-out. Yes, they will take you to the hospital and treat you, but at the same time they will see you as some sort of criminal.
All passengers in a vehicle, including children, must wear a seat belt unless they will be using a child-restraint chair.
A child under 3 years old can be seated in the front or back of the vehicle, in a child-restraint chair at all times, whereby if they sit in the front, the child-restraint chair must be facing the rear of the vehicle with the vehicle's airbag system deactivated.
A child aged between 3 and 12 years old can only sit at the back. If they are below 1.35 CMs, they must be in a child-restraint chair at all times. And if they are 1.3 CMs or taller, they need to wear a seat belt instead. However, when they reach 1.50 CMs they can sit in the front using only a seat belt.
NOTE: On some websites you may see a safety height of 1.50 CMs, as opposed to 1.35 CMs. This is because cars were originally fitted with a seat belt that had no adjustable height to it, making 1.50 CMs the standard safety height.
However, in today's age all new cars are fitted with a seat belt that can be height adjusted; hence the 1.35 CMs safety height. This means if you have an old, classic, car for example the safety height should be 1.50 CMs; otherwise 1.35 CMs can be applied for a newer car.
The speed limits in Hungary are as follows:
Watch your speed, and look out for speed limit road signs, especially when approaching train level crossings and when driving between towns and villages. When you travel from village to village for example you get 'dead zones' whereby the gap between them (the dead zone) has a 55 Mph (90 Km/h) speed limit.
In Hungary there is an obligation (common sense law, but not a legal requirement) that all vehicle owners fit their vehicle with the correct type of tyres according to the season they are in; winter or summer. For tyres, the winter season normally begins around 1st November and lasts until around 31st March.
As a general rule: When you see ice, snow, frost, etc begin to appear on a daily basis, especially when the temperature falls to zero or less, you should use common sense and change ALL of your vehicle's tyres; just in case you come to a section of road that makes it compulsory to have winter tyres, and maybe snow chains, fitted (i.e. when coming towards extremely snowy mountain roads). As a vehicle owner, you would be wise to have snow chains onboard and ready to fit just in case winter driving conditions become extreme. And when you fit them, you must NOT drive faster than 31 Mph (50 Km/h).
Also: When arriving at a border checkpoint make sure you have satisfactory snow chains, otherwise your vehicle might be refused entry into Hungary if extreme winter weather conditions are present whereby your snow chains are 'not fit for purpose'. Snow chains must be carried and used in Austria for example when road signs state extreme snow conditions. If you are spot checked on the Austria/Hungarian border in those circumstances, the Austrians might turn you back for not carrying/using suitable snow chains; therefore no entry into Hungary.
If you have a serious accident (where it is your fault) for not having the correct tyres fitted for example, not only will your insurance company not pay out, I think the police would also fine you heavily as your vehicle was 'not fit for the road conditions it was driving on'.
Another tyre rule, which is regulation, is that tyres on the same axle must be of the same type (i.e. have the same tread pattern). Different tread patterns on the same axle will mean an instant MOT fail. Spare wheels are ignored for this regulation.
Driving from London (UK) to Szeged (Hungary) will take roughly 24 Hours, on a direct route, and up to 36 hours if you criss-cross through many Europen countries; which include petrol stops, meal stops, toilet stops and the inability to drive at maximum road speeds due to traffic jams/accidents/etc. Read about Our journey from London (UK) to Hungary, and back.Our Journey - UK<>Hungary.
Prior to traveling on Hungarian motorways and toll sections you need to buy a Toll Ticket WebsiteMatrica (Toll ticket), which can be bought in petrol stations. There is a 10 Day, 1 Month and 1 Year ticket available.
The easiest way to travel through France to Austria, motorway all the way, is via the A3 Motorway Wiki PageA3 and A4 Motorway Wiki PageA4 motorways. Remember, before you leave, to check each countries Driving Rules & Regulations relating to driving equipment, road tax, toll fee and border control.
More information can be found within the following websites / web pages:
The AA GuideThe AA Guide -
The RAC GuideThe RAC Guide -
Car Tax Prices Web PageCar Tax Prices -
Driving License GOV WebsiteDriving License -
Driving In France Web PageDriving In France -
Driving In Austria Web PageDriving In Austria.