Driving advice for every country in Europe

Find up-to-date driving laws and advice for any country in Europe before you visit, including any accessories you may need to purchase. Don't forget the RAC provides European breakdown cover while you're driving in Europe.

Driving in Hungary

Hungary
Population: 9.9m
Area: 93,000 square kilometres
Currency: Hungarian Forint - HUF

Coronavirus update

Please be aware that driving in Europe may be restricted at the moment.

Check the Foreign travel advice section of the GOV.UK website for up to date advice on all European countries.

Boasting the mighty Danube River, sprawling vineyards, the beautiful Lake Balaton and dazzling capital Budapest, Hungary has a wealth of memorable sights to explore at your leisure.

Driving is one of the best ways to discover this diverse country, but if you’re planning a road trip to Hungary, it’s essential you’re fully prepared ahead of time as driving there has many differences to the UK. 

To make your trip to central Europe as safe and effortless as possible, we’ve put together a guide to everything you need to know before you go, from required documents to rules of the road.  

Driving a rented vehicle? Jump to the advice for driving a hire car in Hungary section

RAC European Breakdown Cover (Basic, Comprehensive and Single Trip) provides a wide range of benefits should you breakdown in Hungary to ensure you stay safe. 

To supplement this, RAC also offers travel insurance. Cover will include medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings, among many other benefits.

European Breakdown Cover

Get covered when driving in Europe from just £7. Plus, get a full refund if Covid-19 restrictions prevent travel.†

Things to take when driving in Hungary

driving-abroad-in-hungary-advice

Documents for driving in Hungary

  • A valid, full UK driving licence (you must also be 18 or over)
  • A GB sticker (unless your car is equipped with EU number plates showing the country code in a circle of 12 gold stars on a blue background) 
  • Your motor insurance certificate
  • The V5 registration document for your own car or the hire car paperwork for a rental

Driving in Hungary packing checklist

Aside from the documents above, there are some legally-required items you must bring with you to drive in Hungary.

Unless your headlights can be adjusted, it's a legal requirement to carry headlamp converters (stickers for your headlights when driving on the right, so your lights don't dazzle motorists coming the other way).

A warning triangle is also compulsory to carry in vehicles in case of a breakdown.

It's also recommended to have:

  • Spare bulbs for your car's external lights
  • A fire extinguisher 
  • A first-aid kit
  • A reflective jacket
  • A Green Card (this is no longer a requirement, but it could be useful to back-up your insurance documents and show you've got the minimum legal level of cover. To find out more, contact your insurance company)

You can pick up all the car kit you need from RAC Shop.

Rules of the road in Hungary

  • Wear a crash helmet if you're riding a motorcycle
  • Use dipped headlights during the day outside built-up areas, even when travelling on motorways 
  • In Hungary, you drive on the right and overtake on the left. Vehicles from the right, public transport and emergency vehicles have priority
  • You’re not allowed to use your horn in built-up areas, except in cases of immediate danger. You can use it outside urban areas when necessary
  • If you’re involved in an accident with a Hungarian citizen, you must report the incident to the Association of Hungarian Insurance Companies
  • Some sections of Hungary’s motorway system are toll-free, but for most you will need to purchase an e-vignette
  • If you're caught committing a motoring offence while driving through Hungary, you could be given an on-the-spot fine of up to 300,000 HUF (around £740)
  • The driver and all passengers must wear seat belts when travelling on public roads
  • Children measuring less than 150cm in height must use a child restraint appropriate for their weight. Children under the age of 3 can travel on the front seat if the child restraint system is rear-facing and the airbag is deactivated
  • In Hungary, there is a zero-tolerance policy on drink-driving, with the limit set at 0.00%. If you consume any alcoholic drink before getting behind the wheel, you risk a fine, suspension or prison sentence. It’s also illegal to allow someone to drive if they’ve been drinking 
  • You must not use full-beam headlights at night in built-up areas

Hungarian speed limits

The speed limit is 50km/h in built-up areas, although a 30km/h limit is increasingly common in city centres. On open roads, the maximum speed allowed is 90-110km/h, while on motorways it’s 130km/h.

You must not use any radar equipment that interferes with specific radio frequencies to jam police signals.

Other things you should know when driving in Hungary

driving-in-hungary-tips

  • Parking can be limited in built-up areas, with restricted zones signposted. Wheel clamps are used in Budapest, and if you park illegally or cause an obstruction your vehicle can be towed away
  • Certain types of vehicle can be restricted from entering Budapest and other major Hungarian cities when smog reaches a particular level 
  • Unleaded petrol and diesel are readily available, as is LPG. Payment is generally made in cash, although some filling stations will accept credit cards
  • You’ll find small snack bars and restaurants near the main petrol stations. Motels are not commonplace in Hungary – you’re more likely to find accommodation in the towns and villages off the main roads

In an emergency

112 - Here's a really important bit of knowledge; you can dial 112 from anywhere in Europe and an operator will connect you to an emergency service in the country you're visiting.

Operators can answer your call in their native language, English or French.

Breaking down in Hungary

RAC offers great-value, flexible RAC European breakdown cover tailored to meet your needs. We also offer comprehensive travel insurance, including cover for medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings.

Driving a hire car in Hungary

Not all of the information in the guide above will be relevant to those looking to rent a hire car in Hungary.

Though it might be a good idea to read through everything anyway, here are the most important things to know for drivers of rental vehicles:

Rental information

  • The minimum age to hire a car is 2, although a surcharge may apply to drivers under 25
  • You need a full, valid UK driving licence and usually a second proof of ID (passport)
  • Some car rental companies ask that you have held your licence for a minimum term of 1 year
  • Some companies require you to use a credit card for deposit
  • You may not be able to drive outside of Hungary unless planned in advance - check with your hire company first
  • Make sure you get car hire excess insurance before your trip to protect yourself from unexpected costs. It's almost always cheaper to do this with a separate insurer and in advance

Hire car driving tips

  • Hungarians drive on the right and overtake on the left - the opposite to the UK
  • The speed limit is 50km/h in built-up areas, although a 30km/h limit is increasingly common in city centres. On open roads, the maximum speed allowed is 90-110km/h, while on motorways it’s 130km/h
  • Dial 112 in an emergency
  • It’s compulsory to wear seat belts in the front and rear seats
  • The blood alcohol content limit for drivers of private vehicles is strictly 0.00%

Car hire excess cover

Protect yourself from unexpected excess costs when hiring a car.

Driving in Hungary FAQs

  • Can you drive in Hungary with a UK licence?

    Yes. You can legally drive in Hungary with a full and valid UK driving licence. In addition to this, International Driving Permits are also recognised but not required.

  • Do I need a green card to drive in Hungary?

    Like the UK, Hungary is a member of the Green Card System, a Europe-wide scheme that allows countries to recognise foreign vehicle insurance policies of visiting motorists.

    UK motorists are no longer required to carry a green card to drive in Hungary, but you should check that your policy will cover you in all countries you plan to visit before setting off.

  • What side of the road do they drive on in Hungary?

    As in most of mainland Europe, motorists drive on the right-hand side of the road in Hungary.

  • Do I need a GB sticker for Hungary?

    Any car temporarily brought into Hungary requires identification of the country in which it is registered.

    That means you will need to display a GB sticker on the rear of your car unless it has EU number plates with the country code in a circle of 12 stars on a blue background.

  • Can I drive my car in Hungary?

    Yes, although before driving your car to Hungary, it’s important you have all the necessary documents to stay safe and legal on the roads, including at least third-party insurance cover.

    You should also ensure you have all the required items needed for your journey in Hungary (such as a warning triangle and a first-aid kit) as well as for any other country you’re planning to drive through.

  • How do I drive to Hungary?

    Getting to Hungary by car from the UK isn’t the quickest journey in the world, but it’s certainly a European adventure. Firstly, you’ll need to take your car across the Channel to Calais on either the Eurotunnel from Folkestone or a ferry from Dover.

    Once you’ve arrived in Calais, head towards Belgium and down through Germany and Austria before crossing the border into Hungary. The drive from Calais to Budapest takes around 15 hours non-stop.

  • What age can you start driving in Hungary?

    To legally drive in Hungary, you must be 18 years or older and in possession of a full valid driving licence.

  • Does Hungary have toll roads?

    Yes, to use most motorways in Hungary, you’ll need an e-vignette valid for 10 days, one month or 13 months. This can be bought at large petrol stations, post offices, border stops or online via the e-Matrica website.
    Anyone wishing to purchase an e-vignette at the Hungarian border is advised to carry cash in Hungarian forints. You can use a credit card for online purchases.

  • Do I need snow chains in Hungary?

    In winter, you should carry snow chains with you in case driving conditions deteriorate. Snow chains may only be used on snow-covered roads, and they can be made compulsory on some roads when weather conditions dictate. The maximum speed for vehicles fitted with chains is 50km/h.
    Winter tyres are not mandatory, and you’re not allowed to use spiked tyres.

European Breakdown Cover

Get covered when driving in Europe from just £7. Plus, get a full refund if Covid-19 restrictions prevent travel.†

UK Government travel advice

See up-to-date travel advice


Information in this guide is subject to change

British Embassy Budapest

British Embassy Budapest
Harmincad Utca 6
1051
Budapest
Hungary

Telephone: (+36-1) 2662888
Fax: (+36-1) 4296360

† Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year old in Zone 1. For more information visit rac.co.uk/breakdown-cover/european-breakdown-cover

† Price for 1 day cover for up to 9 people travelling in a vehicle up to 1 year old in Zone 1. For more information visit rac.co.uk/breakdown-cover/european-breakdown-cover