What you should know before hiring a car in Budapest
|Budapest city centre|
|Ferenc Liszt International (BUD): 11 mi from city centre|
Car hires in Budapest: practical information
Where to rent a car in Budapest
Are you arriving to the elegant and alternative capital of Hungary with tickets from London to Budapest? Budapest is a city of dreams, split in two by the strong currents of the Danube. With Buda on one side and Pest on the other, it's up to you to decide which one is better. Arriving via the airport? Pick up cheap car rentals from there! There are a number of car hire companies in Budapest's airport: Avis, Buchbinder Rent-a-Car, Budget, Europcar, Sixt and Hertz.
Economy car rentals are also available in the city centre too, on both the Buda and Pest sides of the river. On the Buda side: Avis, Berauto, Budget, Car Hire Budapest and FIve Starts Bt. On the Pest side of the Danube: Hertz, Eurent and City Car & Rent.
Driving in Budapest: parking and other tips
It can be a struggle to find safe parking in the city centre of Budapest. If the traffic doesn't drive you insane then the parking situation will. There are several parking zones, each with its own price bracket depending on the location, from 115 HUF - 430 HUF/hour. You must pay for parking between 8:00am and 6:00pm. Parking is free of charge on Saturdays, Sundays as well as on holidays. When paying for your parking, usually you purchase a ticket that covers you for the entire time you want to park, displaying your ticket on your dashboard. If you want to park longer than 4 hours, use a car park.
You can find car parks around the city, more often near metro stations or bus terminals. If you're caught parking illegally or without paying you can expect your cheap rent a car in Budapest to turn into an expensive one because you'll be clamped. As for hotels in Budapest with free parking, expect to find it only at major hotels with international reputations.
Road trips from Budapest: what to do, what to see
Szentendre is beautiful, period. Within easy reach of Budapest (just 19km away), the Szentendre is a charming little Hungarian town, everything you'd expect in the countryside. The most well-known sight in the town is the Hungarian Open-Air Museum featuring an entire thatched village of furnished houses you can explore. Few attendants speak English so pick up a guide book at the shop before going in.
Eger is more north than Szentendre and is known for its castles and thermal baths. Best of all, Hungary's tastiest red wines are produced here so get your palette ready for some wine tasting! While you can enjoy the city sights in about half a day, if you really want to visit some wineries you should visit for 1-2 days. From Budapest take the M3 until Füzesabony then take Route 25 north.
Hungary, unfortunately, is landlocked. But that doesn't mean that summer fun is out of the question while on holidays in Budapest. Instead of the seaside, Hungarians head to the lakeside, Lake Balaton to be precise. Which town you visit around the lake largely depends on your travel style. Siófok is party central, the most touristy and self-named "Capital of Balaton." Badacsony is for wine-lovers, Balatonfüred is for nice architecture and a relaxing stay and Hévíz for spa-goers.