When you arrive in a new country, the first thing you want to do is definitely visit as many places as possible. In many of the countries I have been to, getting around by train or public transport has never been a big deal, and I was sure that Hungary would not be an exception either.
Only by living here did I discover that this country has a very different and particular history and that for this reason traveling inside it is not as simple and immediate as one might think. Historically speaking, Hungary once had a very efficient public transport system, connecting every part of the country, forming a functional network of tracks and roads. After the war, however, due to divisions of the internal territory and divisions between the various conquerors, most of these roads were modified or interrupted, thus making the connections between the various cities much less direct. And this is why, to date, the distance Budapest-Debrecen (the two largest and most populous cities in the country) of 195 kilometers takes almost three hours by train. It is therefore not difficult that moving from one city to another, even if relatively close, takes several hours if you decide to opt for public transport, however cheap and practical for those who do not want - or cannot - move with a car.
From a certain point of view it becomes difficult to move easily between the smaller villages and the larger cities, and it takes a long time to reach even relatively close places. It is certainly possible to enjoy the vast Hungarian plains along the way, which contribute to making you feel projected into a different era.
The cost of public transport is reduced, in any case, with the possibility of having access to different types of discounts, and you get to spend about 2500HUF for the Debrecen-Budapest route, two of the largest cities in the entire country. Within the individual cities, especially the most populated ones, transport is frequent and functioning: the city of Debrecen, second in size only to Budapest, has an efficient and well-organized tram and bus line, which allows you to get around inside. of the city without major problems.
The connections with the smaller villages are guaranteed but due to their slowness it is advisable to rent a car if you want to visit the hinterland. Renting a car is possible for anyone with a valid driving license, as long as they are at least 21 years old and have had a driving license for at least one year.
For anyone who decides to take the road trip route, Hungary proves to be an ideal territory: not too big, with extensive plains and practicable roads, it is possible to reach wonderful places without having to travel too long. The cost of car hire is not too high, especially for the European average, and it is not difficult to organize a breathtaking trip without too many problems.
Among the best places to visit by car, but also reachable by other means, certainly stand out Lake Balaton, the "Hungarian sea", a summer destination par excellence; Szeged, the village of witches, with its traditions and legends; Tokaj, for wine lovers but not only and Egèr, where you can breathe the air of the classic Hungarian village.
At the moment, July 2021, it is again possible to return to Hungary as a tourist, but it is advisable to keep an eye on the latest news in case of restrictions. Today it is possible to rent a car even without a Hungarian residence permit, but it is not possible to leave the territory with the rented vehicle.