From global scooter sharing giant Lime to small rental businesses, here’s all the info you need on riding scooters in Budapest.
For years, electric scooters have been gaining more and more popularity as means of urban transportation worldwide, and Hungary’s no exception either. Thanks to the slow but steady improvement on Budapest’s bike lane network, the number of scooter riders started increasing unnoticeably until they were suddenly everywhere. Today, scooters on the streets of Budapest are as common as bicycles, and with the appearance of global scooter giant Lime in the city, these convenient little 2-wheelers will presumably remain a frequent sight.
Lime, the popular electric scooter sharing company added Budapest (as well as the Balaton region) to its list of locations in May 2019, and apart from a few-week break due to the COVID-19 situation, it’s been a massive success among locals and visitors in the Hungarian capital. Although many had opted for Lime as a mode of transportation early on just because it was fun and convenient, the pandemic certainly had a favorable effect on the number of people using the service in Budapest. As more and more people started feeling uncomfortable using crowded public transportation, Lime scooters started to gradually look better and eventually have become a popular and favored alternative.
Let’s get to the mechanics. Finding and riding Lime scooters is as easy as 1-2-3. First, if you don’t have the app installed on your phone, you’ll need to download it from Google Play or the iOS App Store, sign up, and add your credit or debit card (be sure to do this before unlocking a scooter, otherwise the time you’ll spend doing this will be added to the total time of your ride). You’ll only need to do this once – at least if you save your card details.
Then, you have two options to pick up a Lime: you can casually scan the QR code placed on the handle of any scooter you come across (tap “Szkenneld be az utazáshoz” at the bottom of the screen).
Be warned, though, that it’s only after you unlocked the scooter that you find out how much juice its battery has. If you’re not planning to go a long distance, you should be fine, but if you’re looking for a ride for several kilometers, you might want to do it the other way: check out the map within the app, and look for a scooter in your vicinity that has at least 3 out of 4 bars, that should do it.
When you find a scooter that’s close to you and has enough battery power, check the last 3 letters or digits in the top right corner of the screen – that’s what’ll help you identify your scooter on the street. Also, helping you find your chosen scooter is another great feature built in the app: you can ring your Lime by tapping on the ‘Megcsörgetés’ button.
Alt tag: To locate your chosen scooter easier, ring it by tapping ‘Megcsörgetés’
Don’t be alarmed if you can’t find the scooter precisely where it’s located on the map. It can be a few meters off sometimes (or, in extreme cases, even on the other side of a road), which can be frustrating, but there’s no rainbow without the rain, right? When you’ve located it, all you need to do is scan the QR code on the handle and you’re good to go.
What’s great about Lime is when you’ve reached your destination, you don’t have to go looking for docking stations to lock it, you can just leave it conveniently on the street (as long as you’re not in any of the red zones – which we’ll write about in more detail in a minute). But remember: no one likes maneuvering around carelessly abandoned scooters in the middle of the sidewalk, so be nice and park them in a way that doesn’t interfere with pedestrian traffic. When you’ve found a good spot to leave it, just flip down the stand located on the left side on the scooter’s front and tap on “Lezárás” (lock) in the app. Then, you’ll need to take a photo of the parked scooter, and you’re good to go. The cost of your ride will be deducted from your account in a few seconds automatically.
In Budapest, like everywhere else, the cost of using Lime consists of the unlocking fee (250 HUF) and the total duration of your ride which is calculated at 50 HUF per minute. Just to give you an idea, 5 minutes will cost you 500 HUF, 15 minutes will come out at 1000 HUF, 20 minutes will set you back 1250 HUF and so on. In addition, Lime also has passes for those that like to plan ahead. As the passes are periodically changed, removed, and updated, we can’t give you a definitive list, but there’s usually one that gets you unlimited unlocks (it’s currently priced at 1995 HUF) and one that lets you unlock and ride as much as you want for 24 hours (which costs 3000 HUF as we speak), as long as none of your rides are longer than 30 minutes. To check out the passes, open the menu panel on the left-hand side within the app, and tap Lime pass (or Lime-bérlet).
Unfortunately, there are a couple of areas in Budapest where you’re not allowed to park or lock your Lime. Of the central and close-to-central districts, I, V, VI, XIII and most of II and III have decided to ban Lime scooters, which means that although you can ride in them, you can’t end your journey in them. Keep this in mind and check where your destination is on the Lime map before you unlock your scooter – banned areas are marked in red. The outer districts are also no-go zones with Lime, but it’s unlikely you’d want to go so far out by scooter anyway.
To sum up, as long as your destination is in districts VII, VIII, IX, XI, XIV, you’re fine, and you’re also free to go to some parts of II and III. In addition, you can ride in districts V, VI, and XIII as well, but you won’t be able to lock your scooter there. As for the rest of the districts, we suggest you use Budapest’s public transport or take a taxi.
If you‘ve found a Lime you like, but you need some walking to do, you also have the option to reserve it (Lefoglalás) so no one else can pick it up before you get to it. However, reserving a scooter is charged at the same rate as riding it, so use your judgement to decide whether or not you want to exploit this feature.
A great added bonus in the app is the so-called group ride option (Csoportos út), where you can unlock multiple scooters with one phone. It comes in really handy when you’re with friends who’ve never used Lime before, and you want to let them try it. Be careful, though, you’ll have to unlock and lock each scooter separately during group ride mode, and you’ll be paying for all the rides.
There’s also an option to top up your Lime wallet in advance and use that as you go, in case you’re interested, but your card details can just as easily be saved, so unless you’re trying to make sure your bank doesn’t charge you too much for small transactions, or you’re really reluctant to save your card details in an app, we honestly don’t really see the point.
Although Lime is arguably the most convenient solution when it comes to scooter renting, choosing a local rental business does have its benefits as well, such as better maintenance, hygiene, or that you won’t need to worry about which district you ride into – you’ll need to drop it off where you picked it up after all. Read on to learn about some of the best options in Budapest.
If you want to hire a scooter from a local business, E-Magine might just be your best option. One of the biggest benefits of renting from E-Magine is the outstanding condition of their fleet. All their electric vehicles are checked after each rental and maintained continuously so their customers have the best riding experience and, as stated on their website, they take hygiene very seriously – which is a great selling point in today’s world. So, if you want to make sure your scooter was properly cleaned and checked before handed to you, E-Magine will not let you down.
Another great advantage of E-Magine is that they don’t just do scooters but e-bikes (which happen to be their flagship vehicles) and segways as well, so if your heart is not fully set on riding a scooter, and you prefer multiple options to choose from, again, you can’t go wrong with E-Magine.
E-Magine has a progressive pricing model, meaning the more hours you hire a vehicle for, the less you pay per hour. Check out their prices below:
- 3 hours (pick-up from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.): €19.90
- 6 hours: €23.90 (same-day return – pick-up from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
- Up to 10 hours: €29.90 (same-day return – pick-up at 10 a.m. drop off until 8 p.m.)
- 24 hours: €39.90 (includes charger)
- 1 hour: €23.90
- 2 hours: €34.90
- 3 hours: €48.90
E-Magine also gives you helmets and lights with every rental at no extra charge.
Apart from vehicle rentals, E-Magine also provides multiple guided tours in Budapest, including a Castle District tour to discover the best views of the city, a Fairy Garden tour on Margaret Island, a mesmerizing night tour to gawk at the illuminated landmarks after sundown, and more.
Prices for the guided tours range from €29.90 to €64.90 per person.
Address: 16 Várkert rakpart, Budapest 1013, Hungary
Find more information on their website: https://www.emaginetours.com/
Scooter Budapest is a rental shop in the inner city, which means it’s easily accessible from just about anywhere, making it a great choice for tourists wanting to check out downtown Budapest. Like E-Magine, they also rent out bikes and electric bikes as well, so you have multiple options to choose from apart from electric scooters. While we’re at bikes, if you’re interested, check out our article on the best bicycle routes in Budapest.
A great selling point of Scooter Budapest is their delivery service, which lets you book your vehicles in advance and have it delivered to you rather you having to go to their location to pick it up. However, customers are only eligible for this convenient service if they rent at least two scooters for a minimum of three hours, and the booking also needs to be made 24 hours in advance.
- Electric scooter for 1 hour: €12
- Bike for 1 day: €15
- Special offer: get 30 minutes for free on the scooter after 2 hours
- Special discount for 3 vehicles and above
Address: 1051, Budapest, Erzsébet tér 1.
For more information, check out their website: http://scooterbudapest.hu/en/
Alternatively, you can also get on a hop-on hop-off bus and explore this magnificent city from the comfort of a seat.
- Can you ride scooters in Budapest?
- Yes, scooters are popular means of urban transportation in Budapest. Thanks to recent improvements in the city’s bike lane network, more and more people have been getting around the city on scooters.
- Can you rent scooters in Budapest?
- Yes, the most popular choice is Lime, but there are also local businesses in the city that rent out scooters.
- Does Budapest have Lime?
- Yes, Lime was launched in Budapest in the spring of 2019 and has become a popular means of transportation in the city.