Hitchhiking from Budapest to Ljubljana.
Hitchhiking in Hungary is not very difficult and I began hitchhiking from Budapest to Ljubljana at a petrol station in the capital of Budapest. It’s an OMV station located beside a Mc’Donalds so it see’s plenty of traffic. Not just local traffic but also Vienna, Lake Balaton, Croatia and Slovenia. I actually used it again on a separate occasion to go in the Vienna direction.
To get there take a bus (8 I believe) from Astoria in Pest (in the city center, tickets can be bought from the ticket dispenser machines for about one euro) and get off at Sasadi ut. Keep walking in the direction of the bus for a minute or two to get to the station. Located on the map by the red marker at Garibaldi Utca.
I never encountered any issues from the petrol station staff the two times I used this spot (although I have heard they can be less than friendly to hitch-hikers).
The best idea is to stand at the exit onto the main road so as to catch the driving traffic aswell as the Mcdonalds and petrol station traffic. You can expect to not be the only one hitch-hiking here so to get an upper hand try asking any of the people in the car park where they are heading. A smile and a sign will give you an advantage especially when there is various traffic here.
When I was hitchhiking to Slovenia I stood at the exit (alone) with a small sign saying M7, this was my first time hitchhiking so it took just over an hour (I was shy and never approached people walking around the car park).
Twice I got asked questions questions by local traffic in Hungarian, I guess I can be mistaken for a local easily enough. Eventually a man around forty years of age stopped in a SUV, no English but he took me past Lake Balaton.
A friendly Hungarian who had long hair suggesting he was once a bit of a hippy. Any people heading for Croatia or Slovenia should take any lifts that bring them along the M7 further and ask to be let off at petrol stations (say Benzien). This provides a better chance of catching truck drivers etc. once outside of Budapest’s suburbs.
Overall Rating : Good, Sign Recommended and also approaching
Waiting Time : 1 hour (Balaton)
My next spot on the way to Ljubljana was a petrol station the Hungarian man dropped me off at as he was leaving the motorway. I only waited maybe 10 minutes here because I ran around quickly asking every person where they were going.
One Polish van driver offered me a lift to Ljubijana when he realised I was hitchhiking from Budapest to Ljubljana. He was a skinhead who listened to Polish rap music for the whole journey. Unfortunately he got a call to take a nap and wait for orders the following morning so I ended up at another petrol station (the second red marker) and the last before the Slovenia border I was told (don’t quote me).
I found a lift to Ljubljana quickly enough when a Romanian guy I smoked a cigarette with went and convinced a group of Moldovans driving a van to Italy to take me. They agreed and dropped me off on the outskirts of Ljubijana. They spoke Russian the whole way and generally didn’t talk to me (language barrier) but seemed like decent guys even if they looked dodgy. Don’t know if this route would of been as good for going directly to Croatia as most traffic seemed to be Slovenia bound. Slovenia has no border control with Hungary.
Overall Rating : Good in both instances but the ability to approach strangers is necessary since the hitch-hiking is done at petrol stations and not on the motorway. A second language would be useful, Italian especially since Slovenia is on the road from Eastern Europe to Italy for travelling workers. A lot of the traffic might not speak Hungarian.
Waiting Time : Under a half-hour in both instances
After : Ljubljana to Zagreb
Hitchhiking in Hungary Tips
Hitchhiking in Slovenia Tips