If you are driving in Hungary by car, whether it’s a rental or your own, this article is for you. It’s a treasure trove of useful information: everything about parking, traffic regulations, fines, and toll roads in Hungary. Here you’ll find my personal experience, advice, recommendations, and even insights you might not have considered but could encounter on Hungarian roads.

Parking in Hungary and Budapest

In Hungary, paid parking zones exist in all cities, not just Budapest, and in the city centers, it’s practically citywide. You might find some free parking areas closer to the outskirts and residential neighborhoods, but they are in the minority.


If you’re traveling around the country by car, pay attention to whether your accommodation offers free parking for guests when making reservations. For insights into Hungarian accommodations and other booking considerations, read more in the provided link.

Here are the key points you need to know about parking in Hungary:

  • In every city, there are multiple parking zones with varying prices. All the information is on the parking signs, so be sure to read them carefully.
  • The average parking cost across the country ranges from 350 to 600 Hungarian forints, which is approximately 0.9 to 1.6 euros per hour. However, some zones can be more expensive.
  • Payment is made through parking meters in 95% of cases, and you can find them at every corner.
  • Typically, paid parking hours are from 8 AM to 6 PM on weekdays. Saturdays and Sundays are usually free. However, there are zones, such as Budapest city center or highly popular Hungarian attractions, where parking is paid 7 days a week, even at night or until midnight.
  • If you need to leave your car for more than 3-4 hours, it’s more cost-effective to purchase a daily pass. Prices vary, but on average, it would cost around 5-7 euros. However, once again, look at the signs as this option isn’t available everywhere. Many places only offer hourly payment, and you can’t leave your car for more than 2-3 hours, such as in the center of Budapest.
driving in hungary
Here’s an example of a parking sign: “munkanap” means weekdays. Parking is paid on weekdays from 8 AM to 10 PM for a maximum of 3 hours, and the rate is 600 Hungarian forints (1.6 euros) per hour. You can pay via SMS or at the parking meter. The icon of “scales” in the bottom left corner denotes the parking meter. It’s also important to note that if you don’t pay, a wheel clamp will be placed on your car, so it’s better to pay for parking.
parking in hungary
Here’s another example of a sign, and important information is highlighted in red: parking is paid on weekdays from 8 AM to 5 PM at a rate of 300 Hungarian forints (0.8 euros) per hour. The fine is 12,300 Hungarian forints (35 euros), but if paid within the first 15 days, it’s only 10 euros or 3,600 Hungarian forints. Fortunately, this sign includes information in English, but usually, it’s in Hungarian only.


If you’re driving a rental car with Hungarian plates, you should always pay for parking. The fines are substantial, and they are discussed below. If you’re coming to Hungary from another country, you should also pay; otherwise, your car may be towed or clamped.

Regarding payment:

  • Parking meters are ubiquitous.
  • How to use them: May luck be with you. There are a dozen or so different types in use today. Some are old and only accept coins, while others are new and accept cards and banknotes. Some require you to enter your car’s number, and some don’t. For some, you drop coins into the meter, and it displays the paid time, while others require you to select the duration first and then pay the appropriate amount.
  • In general, it’s intuitive, but the menus are often in Hungarian. When possible, switch to English.
  • You print a ticket at the end and place it under your windshield.
  • In Budapest city center, there are police cars with cameras that automatically scan license plates and issue fines to those who haven’t paid. In some areas, there are parking attendants who manually check and issue fines.
    • You can check and pay parking fines using the Simple and iCsekk apps.
  • Sometimes, you can only pay for parking with a Hungarian phone number. The cost of an SMS is equivalent to one hour of parking. Everything about sim cards and the Internet in Hungary for tourists.
how to pay road fines in hungary
This is a typical parking ticket printed by a parking meter. In this case, the time until which parking is paid is indicated. Since this was a new parking meter, you also had to enter your car’s number, which is shown on the receipt, but not all parking meters work this way.

In general, the initial complexity arises only the first time; after that, it’s simpler. Although all parking meters are different, the underlying logic is mostly the same. You’re not foolish; you’ll figure it out.

how much cost parking hungary
There are a dozen or so types of parking meters throughout the country. Here’s an example of what they can look like. The actions in each one are different, but the logic is consistent everywhere. It’s always better to have coins because all parking meters accept coins. However, not all of them accept cards and banknotes.

Driving in Hungary: Hungarian Police

Here’s a brief overview because there aren’t any significant challenges for tourists. Here’s the key information you should be aware of:

  • Police presence on the roads is minimal.
  • Occasionally, they set up speed traps on local roads and catch speed limit violators. They may also patrol toll roads and check for valid vignettes.
  • They don’t typically stop tourists for no reason or try to extort money from them. In general, they are helpful people who are ready to assist. The downside is that they often don’t speak English, but this is normal in Hungary.
hungarian police
On Hungarian roads, police drive vehicles like the ones pictured.

Traffic Rules and Fines in Hungary

When it comes to traffic rules, there are no significant differences from our own rules. Everything is similar to what we have, and all the road signs are either the same or intuitively understandable for any driver. Here are the main points:

  • Speed limit in residential (built-up) areas: 50 km/h
  • Outside residential areas: 90 km/h
  • On highways and toll roads: 110 or 130 km/h, depending on the signs. Further clarification can be found in the photos.
  • Always drive with low beam headlights on outside residential areas. In well-lit residential areas during daylight, you can drive without headlights. However, I personally always drive with headlights on.
  • Seat belts must be fastened by all passengers, even those in the rear seats.
  • Mobile phone use is allowed only with a hands-free device or via speakerphone.
  • If you use your fog lights when there is no fog, you’ll face a fine. Remember to turn them off.
  • Traffic in Hungary follows the right-hand driving system.
  • For car rentals, a standard driver’s license in the form of a plastic card with all fields duplicated in English is sufficient.
traffic rules hungary
For general information: primary traffic rules on Hungarian roads are similar to our own.

As for fines, that’s a whole different story, and I have some important information to share with you.

Useful to know:

Until the middle of 2023, Hungary had some of the most lenient speed limit rules in the EU. Officially, you could exceed the limit by up to +15 km/h from the set speed limit. Speed cameras would only photograph violations of +21 km/h or more. However, starting in mid-2023, a new law on fines took effect, making Hungary one of the strictest countries in the EU in this regard.

As of today, not all cameras have been recalibrated, and not all of them capture speed violations according to the new law. The transition is ongoing, and I recommend not taking chances. You’ll realize this when you’re on Hungarian roads. The locals are very calm, drive slowly, and follow traffic rules to the letter. Things are so slow that it can be a bit irritating at times!

  • Officially, even a 1 km/h speed violation is considered an offense and is captured by speed cameras.
  • The minimum fine for a 1 km/h speed violation is 90 euros.
  • For repeat violations within a year, fines can range from 200 euros to 500 euros.
  • Parking fines range from 10 euros to 100 euros. If paid within the first 2 weeks, you get a significant discount. This scheme doesn’t apply to speed violations.

My advice to everyone: just don’t violate the rules. Yes, it can be challenging to maintain a speed of exactly 50 km/h in an empty city, but 100 euros is a substantial price to pay.

As for speed cameras, there are two types: stationary cameras on the side of the road and camera frames above the road, with each lane having its own camera. Not all roads have signs indicating the presence of cameras, and these signs are usually small and easy to miss.

speed cameras hungary
Here’s the “traffic control” sign that’s typically placed on Hungarian roads before speed cameras. The only thing is, they put them very close, about 30 meters before the camera. So when you see this sign, the camera has already photographed you, and you don’t need to worry about speeding anymore. If you look closely, you can see the cameras further above the road.

On Free and Toll Roads in Hungary

All roads in Hungary are of excellent quality, making driving a pleasure. I don’t know of any places with potholes or damaged asphalt. Even in the remote parts of the country, the roads are in good condition.

Essentially, all roads in Hungary can be divided into two types: free and toll roads. For toll roads, you need to purchase a vignette online before you access them. It’s important to remember that from the time of purchase to updating the central database, there’s a delay of 30-60 minutes, so it’s better to buy it in advance if you need one.

Here are a few points about free and toll roads in Hungary:

  • You can reach any point in the country using free roads. However, it can be a challenge because there are villages every few kilometers, and the average speed on such roads will hardly reach 60 km/h.
  • All toll roads in Hungary bypass residential areas. Speed limits on these roads are either 110 km/h or 130 km/h.
toll roads hungary
The red lines on the map indicate all the toll roads in Hungary.
  • At the moment vignettes are available for only 10 days, a month, or a year. You can’t buy them for any other duration. So if you need to cross the country in just 6 hours, you’ll still need to purchase a 10-day vignette. Learn more about driving through Hungary here.
  • The official website for checking toll rates and buying a vignette is https://toll-charge.hu/en (choose the e-vignette option, as e-toll is for trucks).

Good to know:

From March 1, 2024, there are plans to introduce 24-hour vignettes, priced at 5150 forints (around 13-15 euros).
toll roads in hungary price
Toll rates for Hungarian toll roads in 2024. For passenger cars (category D1), a 10-day vignette costs 6,400 Hungarian forints, or approximately 17 euros.
  • You can purchase a vignette starting from any date, and you specify the activation date when buying. You can’t pause it. There’s no need to stick it to your windshield; it’s electronic and registered in the database, but keep your receipt (if you bought it at a gas station or elsewhere offline).
  • There are no toll booths when you enter toll roads; there’s only a warning sign indicating that you can enter with a vignette.
  • The fines are substantial, starting from 100 euros. Speed cameras that check for vignettes are quite frequent, about every 10 kilometers.
  • Vignettes are required for all vehicles, regardless of whether they have Hungarian license plates or plates from another country.


If you rent a car from major rental companies in Hungary, many of them come with annual vignettes already paid for, so there’s no need for additional payments for toll roads. This is a significant advantage. Learn more about car rentals in Hungary, personal experiences, pitfalls, where to rent, pros, and cons.

While traveling through Hungary, having a car will enable you to explore significantly more than public transportation. Hungary is more than just Budapest; beyond the capital city, you’ll find hundreds of castles, palaces, thermal baths, lakes, and beautiful towns. Everything you need to know about traveling in Hungary and current travel trends.

In conclusion, I hope you’ve understood the main point: do not break the rules; it’s costly. And plan your parking arrangements in advance; this aspect can cause some inconveniences. Other than that, Hungary is wonderful: the roads are of excellent quality, drivers are all courteous, there are no daredevils, and compared to Barcelona, there are definitely no traffic jams. Traffic rules are similar to ours, and cars’ windows remain unbroken, and wheels stay on. Everything is calm and safe here.

IMPORTANT: Below are useful links that will help organize your trip to Hungary and Budapest:

  • Flight: Aviasales – compares prices for flights among 30+ airlines flying to Budapest.
  • Tours and excursions:
    • Viator and GetYourGuide – the best services for finding tours in Budapest and Hungary with the largest database of activities in Hungary. They offer river cruises on the Danube, tickets to baths, and 1000+ tours (available in different languages).
  • Accommodation, apartments, hotels, hostels:
    • Hotellook compares the prices among dozens of other booking services and offer the best price
    • Booking – the most popular booking platform
    • Agoda – even more accommodation options in Hungary
  • Car rental: DiscoverCars – the leading and largest car rental service in Hungary.
  • Travel Insurance: EKTA.
  • eSIMAiralo virtual SIM card in Hungary.
  • Taxi and airport transfers: Intui.Travel