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To rent a car or not?

Last minute trip planned... we fly into Budapest on Monday, fly out on the following Saturday afternoon therefore not a lot of time to explore. Because we are coming from Canada, this might be our only chance to visit Hungary and therefore although we know we could spend the whole time in Budapest and still not see everything, we are wondering if we should rent a car and drive somewhere for two nights. Wondering for tips / advice (apart from the usual "stay in Budapest, i've visited 20 times and still find new things to enjoy). We will be there from July 22nd-27th, and are particularly interested in any local events, festivals, or things unique to Hungary.
Thank you so much - i've really enjoyed reading through everyone's advice so far!

Posted by
1892 posts

No, you do not need a car. We were just in Budapest, a city we greatly love. There is a great network of trains which allow you to get around the area. Plus there is a metro system with 4 lines, a bus system, and a tram system within the city. I probably left something out. For what you probably want to do, some combination of the system will get you within 4 blocks of whatever.

You don't say what you will do. You have 4 full days, and 2 half days. There are plenty of first-time Budapest attractions to fill 2-3 days. There are 2 art museums. There is the Fisherman's Bastion on Castle Hill. There is the Cat Cafe. There is the Great Market. There are ruin pubs. There are 2 great churches. There is the House of Terror. There is Monument Park. There are the baths. Our recent trip included a stop in the Hungarian Agricultural Museum, which was great - it had a great focus on wine in Hungary, and also a history of agriculture which included the German settlers in Southern Austria-Hungary. We enjoyed it.

As to day trips, there is Szentendre to the North near the Danube Bent, Eger to the East, Gödöllö to the south, and several other destinations. Each is a simple day trip on the regional railroad. Szentendre in particular is fun if you are interested in art. There are 20 small museums, each quirky and different. You can get an all-museum pass for a song.

I wouldn't get a car. I'd get a 3 day transit pass. There may be 7 day transit passes, for which you must keep your passport with you.

Posted by
10662 posts

For an over night (or two nights) look at Pecs or Eger. Those are the two most popular secondary stops. Both worth two nights. Both with convenient train connection and both with walkable sights. No realy benefit from a car.

Posted by
759 posts

Hi from Wisconsin,
Eger. This is a nice compact city with good food, the Hotel Senator, wine caves, castle overlooking the city, and more. Even a minaret from the good old days.

You can get there by bus or train. I think both leave from Deli Pu. Which is a large transport hub a red subway line ride from where ever you are. The Eger train station is a walk out of the main town. The bus drops you in front of a church with the largest doors imaginable, but you are near the city center. Our first visit to Eger we bussed out and trained home.

Another person has been on here recently with a good itinerary of things to see in Budapest and the responses added to that List.

I built a map of transport used to get to the Budapest tourist destinations. I will email you a copy. Ask me for the map at wmcca@hotmail.com

Wayne iNWI

Posted by
13902 posts

I didn't get to Eger, but I loved Pecs. Train - no car needed.

Posted by
1892 posts

If you are still deciding to rent a car, it might be interesting to glance at the numerous comments which report problems with rental cars.

Posted by
1878 posts

Definitely no car, you can do day trips by train and with this amount of time I would reconsider whether an overnight someplace else makes sense. Eger is a fine if longish day trip, Pecs is too far for a day trip. I have not been to Pecs but I want to go! Sopron is a nice small town but over two hours away.

Posted by
10662 posts

1.5 hours by train is Gyor, which has an interesting old center. About 30 min further by bus or taxi is the Pannonhalma Archabbey and Vineyard. Excellent overnight trip.