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Tips for Expats Driving in Budapest

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Budapest.
|-Tips for Expats Driving in Budapest

1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in Budapest can be a bit challenging for newcomers due to the heavy traffic, especially during peak hours. Hungarian drivers are known for their aggressive driving style, so it’s important to stay alert and cautious. Also, be aware that the city is full of one-way streets, which can be confusing for newcomers.

2. Car Recommendation

Compact cars are recommended for driving in Budapest due to the narrow streets and limited parking spaces. Smaller cars are easier to maneuver and park. However, if you plan to travel outside the city frequently, a larger car might be more comfortable.

3. Parking in Budapest

Finding a parking spot in Budapest can be difficult, especially in the city center. Most parking spaces are metered, and the cost can add up quickly. It’s advisable to use public transportation or walk when possible. If you do need to park, consider using a parking garage or lot, which can be less expensive than street parking.

4. Driving License Requirements

Foreigners can drive in Hungary using an international driving permit along with their valid national driving license for up to one year. After that, you will need to obtain a Hungarian driving license. To do this, you will need to pass a theory test and a practical driving test. The tests are available in English and other languages.

5. Understanding Road Signs and Rules

Before you start driving in Budapest, familiarize yourself with the local road signs and rules. Hungary uses international road signs, but there may be some that are unique to the country. Also, remember that Hungary has a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol.

6. Use of GPS and Maps

Using a GPS or a map can be very helpful when driving in Budapest, especially if you are not familiar with the city. However, be aware that some older parts of the city may not be accurately represented on GPS or maps, so always stay alert and watch for road signs.

7. Regular Vehicle Maintenance

Regular vehicle maintenance is important, especially in the winter. The roads can be slippery and visibility can be poor due to snow and fog. Make sure your car is in good condition and equipped with the necessary safety equipment.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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