Our Europe road trip started in Albania, and as we headed North, the size of the countries was manageable. That did not happen in Hungary. Hungary was not as much fun about the actual driving in this road trip, but the experiences that we shared there will remain in our minds for a very long time. So what about driving in Hungary that doesn’t make it a great place to drive. The following questions have the answers.
Are there good drivers in Hungary?
Drivers in Hungary are more familiar with European-style driving, and have good structure in the design, however this does not necessarily reflect in the way they drive. Whilst driving on motorways, I had to greatly reduce my speed because of vehicles occupying the fast lane, such as a truck slowly overtaking another truck. That said, they know they should not be driving slowly when on the fast lane because when they notice you are behind them, they move to the slow lane, sometimes too aggressively.
Is it nice to road trip Hungary?
The short answer would be no, there is not spectacular scenery on the road (or at least in the area that we covered, that is west and central). In general, the country is very flat so there are no mountains, on the West and central part. The land sometimes looks like an endless green field that fades at the horizon. What we thought would give a spectacular drive, driving next to the Balaton Lake, did not do that either. There are no roads adjacent to the river, so in reality you do get to drive next to the lake.
Do roads in Hungary hold traffic?
No. Motorways pass outside the cities, and therefore you can keep on driving uninterrupted when changing locations. Budapest, like all cities has a relatively high intensity of cars, and even though we were stuck in traffic for a while whilst driving in the city, it was due to traffic lights to orchestrate a harmony for cars coming from roads in all directions.
How good are the roads in Hungary?
Roads in Hungary are not as good as we expected; considering that the country is within the EU. Roads tend to have a lot of patches, which gives quite a bumpy ride, especially in towns. Having said that, all roads that we had to go through have been given tarmac therefore we did not have to drive through any gravel roads.
What are the speed limits in Hungary?
The quality of the surface of the roads do not make you feel very comfortable driving at high speeds, because at some points the car starts to wobble quite violently as it passes over patched surfaces. Another aspect that impacts the speed is the fact that most roads are single lane, making overtaking relatively hard.
On motor ways, there is a large amount of cameras that are mounted on signs, and pointing at the street. There is no indication of what type of camera they are possibly surveillance, or speed cameras. If it is the latter, it would be a problem for uninitiated drivers because speed limit signs are inexistent. Speed limit signs do exist in towns and cities and are reasonable.
Fuel is sold at an average of €1.25 per litre.
Resources whilst on the road
Petrol stations are not very frequent, and sometimes we had to actually wait to find one when we needed it. So make sure that you are stocked with fuel when you enter the country, and as you proceed with your journey. Also, prepare some nibbles for the road. The food from the petrol stations is not as good as you’d hope, but sometimes you get lucky and get stocked up Stations with a whole buffet.
There are a lot of campsites; especially around the Western side of the Balaton lake, so if you feel like being adventurous and driving around until you see a campsite you might strike a good deal, as the accommodation in Heviz goes for €20 per night for a private room with shared bathroom.
Like in all other cities, parking the car in Budapest is hard to find, and once you find you’ll need to pay. There is a free car park next to the Hero’s square which seems to be safe. Left my car there for 2 days straight, and nothing happened.
Something that adds some adventure to driving in Hungary is the frequency of railway tracks that pass over the roads. But only once we had the opportunity to have a red light, and have a train pass through the junction whilst we were waiting.
There are no highway tolls needed for driving in Hungary – or at least we didn’t pay any :)
The names of the towns are sometimes very long. This makes them difficult to pronounce, write and might confuse with one town with another as they might be spelled similarly.