Should i rent a car in Budapest?

There is no doubt using a car to travel in any city is the most comfortable way.If you are visiting Budapest and wondering should I rent a car in Budapest? What are the best Budapest car rentals? Are there car rentals in Budapest downtown? What are the cheap car rentals at Budapest Airport?Is it a good idea to rent a car in Budapest?

The short answer is no, there is no point of renting a car in Budapest because of so many reasons that we discuss in the post below. You can wander the whole city with public transport buses,trolleys,and subway. You can use BKK tickets, 1 day pass,3 day pass, a week pass, MOL BUBI bicycles,and scooties in Budapest,instead of renting a car.

We try to clarify your doubts about renting a car in Budapest Hungary,since everyone has its own priorities.

Do you need a car in Budapest?

Either you arrive to Budapest airport via plane,or using a train to Budapest train stations, or coming by Bus to Nepliget Bus station, the decision to get a car in Budapest depends upon whether you are coming as a tourist or an expat.

Once it is clear that you are a tourist or an expat, there are other factors deciding whether you need a car or not in Budapest some of which are

  • Budget
  • Family status
  • Place of residence in Budapest
  • Number of places you want to visit in Hungary
  • Duration of your stay
  • Your personality.

Budapest car rentals for a single day

If you are visiting Budapest for single day, there is absolutely no reason to rent a car. No matter you are alone,with your partner or a couple of kids, you will be doing pretty well without a car rental in Budapest.

Instead of renting a car for a day in Budapest, you can either buy a one day hop on hop off bus, or get a day pass from BKK ticket machines. Even if you are a group of friends looking to rent a car for a single day, our best advice is to use a group pass for one day from BKK ticket machines or BudapestGO app.

One reason not to rent a car in Budapest is that Budapest has so many attractions that one day is almost not enough to cover them.It will be easier for you to travel by public transport to visit the major attractions in Budapest, than renting a car and exploring the maps to plan your own journey.

Secondly,as majority of attractions are in locations where finding street parking is almost impossible.
If there is parking,it is pretty expansive and many areas near top attractions allow only 3 hour street parking.

Going by a rental car in Budapest may come with a challenge that you do not find parking near your destination.Eventually, you will still have to walk 500m to 1000m from your parking place to your destination.

Car Rental in Budapest for 3 days

There is no need to rent a car in Budapest,even if your visit is up to 3 to 4 days. To visit majority of attractions in Budapest,3-4 days may be sufficient, but a car rental is still not advised.

If you are renting a car in Budapest for 3 days,and assuming you have to park your car near these attractions during the day time, your parking fees could easily reach 40 to 50 Euros,on top of the renting and insurance fees.

On the other hand,a 3 days pass from BKK app/office/machine will cost 5500 HUF (15.5 USD) and you can visit all attractions via public transport.

Unless you plan to visit the Memento park,which is around 20 KM from Budapest city center, you will be pretty OK by exploring Budapest attractions with public transport.

In 3 days you can visit Gellert Hill,Fisherman Bastian,Chain Bridge, Budapest Parliament,Heroes Square,Budapest City Park, Ruin Bars,Margaret Island if planned properly.

Budapest car rentals for a week

If you are visiting Hungary for a week, and having visited all the top Budapest attractions in 2-3 days,want to visit other cities in Hungary, renting a car can be a good option.

Szentendre is the nearest town that people advise for the shortest one day visit from Budapest. You can also visit Szentendre with a train from Nyugati Train station and going/coming by train will be still cheaper than visiting by a rental car.

On the other hand,visiting Lake Balaton from Budapest by a rental car is also a good option as the trains are pretty crowded with every second person in Budapest traveling to Lake Balaton in summers.

One day trips from Budapest can be also made with rental cars to Visegrad Castle and Veszprem.

Renting a car in Budapest can also be a good option if you are visiting far cities like Pecs,Debreccen,or Szeged. Make sure to buy a Hungarian Vignette for highways as these cities require double time to reach if you are not taking a highway.

Reasons not to rent a car in Budapest

Although we have mentioned that during what circumstances,it is a good idea to rent a car in Budapest. Here are the detailed reasons we think renting a car to drive in Budapest is not recommended for tourists.

Good Public Transport

One of the reasons not to rent a car in Budapest is that Budapest has an excellent public transport system. You can use the public transport system to reach all the attractions in Budapest.

Even if you selected a cheaper hotel or apartment for your Budapest trip outside the city center, you will be surprised to know the accessibility of Budapest public transport. You can come to the city in 45 to 50 mins from majority of outskirts areas of Budapest.

Public Transport Cheaper than renting a car

Another reason to avoid car rentals in Budapest is that public transport is way cheaper than renting a car. Although car rentals are expansive everywhere in the world,but Budapest public transport is definitely way cheaper than other countries as a day pass is 8 USD,and a 3 day pass is 15 USD.

Parking is very expansive

Renting a car comes with additional challenges of expansive parking. There is not a single attraction in Budapest,where you will find cheaper parking,as after the introduction of new parking zones, the parking rates are around 1.8 USD per hour near the top attractions.

On the other hand,if you plan to park your rental car in a parking plaza, that will be even more expansive.

Parking is hard to find

Expansive parking is one of the reasons not to rent a car in Budapest. Another aspect is the fact that Budapest is a congested city for driving cars.You have to be very careful when driving as streets are pretty small not only for driving but parking also.

You will spend more time in finding a valid parking place on streets and roads. Once you find the parking place,it will be so far from your destination,that you will have to walk for 5 to 8 minutes from your car parking place.

Parking boards with Hungarian sign boards

Majority of parking boards have Hungarian language written on them. You may be wondering that I can use a translator app to understand what is written,but keep in mind Hungarian language is not well understood by many translating softwares.

Many cars get clamped in Budapest because foreigners parked their cars at wrong place or wrong time.

Speed limits are ridiculous

If you are thinking to rent a car in Budapest just because you feel you can reach your destination faster, you should drop the idea for renting a car. In smaller streets of Budapest, you can hardly drive over 30 km/hr, while in some seemingly bigger two lane roads, you cannot cross over 50 km/hr. There is this fact when driving in Budapest that whenever you want to move from 2nd gear to 3rd gear, there is a red sign waiting for your to stop.

Other means of transport

Budapest has so many ways that can act as an alternate to car rentals. If you are not willing to have hop on hop off tours, you can use public transport+walking to be the best combination to explore Budapest.

In some case, you can also get rental bike from MOL BUBI and scooties from MOL LIMO or Birdie app, to quickly move instead of walking.

No picturesque views near Budapest

According to some travelers, renting a car makes sense if you are going through landscapes and picturesque views on your journey. You will hardly find any such landscapes or mountains where you would like to go with a rental car. Hence, there is no point in renting a car in Budapest.

What do you need to rent a car in Budapest?

Despite all the warnings mentioned above, if you still think there is a need for car rentals, you would be wondering what is needed to rent a car in Budapest.


In order to rent a car in Budapest, there are two basic documents required. The most important requirement is to have a personal ID,which is passport for non-EU nationals,while ID card for EU,UK nationals. The other important requirement to rent a car is to have an international driving license which has been active for 1 year.

When you are going to pick your car, you have to show both your id card as well as the international driving license.


You have to be at least 21 years of age to rent a car in Hungary. However many companies have their own set of policies that what age a person can rent a car from them.

Car Rentals in Budapest

Considering the fact that renting a car is expansive way of traveling, you must understand that Budapest is also one of the top visited destinations. Majority of Budapest car rentals are allowing a car to be booked for a minimum of 24 hours. You may get a better price if your booking is for more than 3 days or so.

Majority of car rental companies have started to offer online bookings but it may happen that when you are signing the contract,they may offer some additional features that can increase the price of rentals.

Keep in mind that liability insurance and VAT are mandatory part of the pricing due to Hungarian law. You need to pay additional fees if you plan to buy CASCO insurance which will cover the risks of crash and theft. Also make sure that there is no mileage limit applied on your rental car.

If you are traveling with kids, it is better to reserve a child seat in advance. Similarly, if you are going out of Budapest with the Highway,make sure to reserve the vignette through the car rentals.

Although car rentals will make sure that they are using summer or winter tyres, you need to ask for a snow chain if you plan to visit snowy mountains.

It is also good to check the fuel tank refueling policy of the car rental company in Budapest,i.e. whether they provide a full tank and do you need to return the tank with full volume.

Car rentals in Budapest

If you have decided to rent a car in Budapest, it is good to know that there are some car rental companies which offer to pick up the car from airport as well as around the city center.

Budapest airport car rentals

If you want to rent a car in Budapest once you arrive to the Liszt Ferenc Airport, you will have many options. Following list of car rental companies offer the visitors to pick up car from the airport.

  • Hertz
  • DiscoverCars
  • GetRentACar
  • RentalCars
  • Avis
  • EuropCar
  • Fox Autorent
  • Budget

Car rental Budapest downtown

If you are looking to get a car rental in Budapest downtown, you can check the websites of the following companies.

  • Hertz
  • Avis
  • EuropeCar
  • Fox Autorent
  • Budget