Budapest at a Glance
Living in Budapest
- People in Budapest often speak not only Hungarian but also English and German.
- The cost of living in Budapest is, on the whole, a lot lower than in many Western European countries.
- Rental prices in Budapest vary greatly depending on the area of the city you choose to live in.
- Hungary has a very well-developed healthcare system.
- There are a lot of schools in Budapest with experience in catering to expat children.
Diversity and the Local Language
Budapest is a beautiful, historic city which offers plenty of insight into Hungary’s past. Living in Budapest lets you enjoy a unique atmosphere in this European capital. However, you should make sure to come prepared. First and foremost, many people living in Budapest speak English or German which makes it easy for visitors in Budapest to get around. However, as an expat, you should make sure that you learn at least some basic Hungarian. Hungarians are very proud of their language and culture. If you visit some less touristy parts of the city, you might meet locals who completely refuse to abandon their language, even if they understand English. If you want to fully immerse yourself into the culture, learning Hungarian is essential.
Multiculturalism and a rich diversity define life in Budapest. During your expat assignment you will meet people of every race, age group, social group, etc. That being said, not every local is as excited about this fact as the many expats who live here. The Roma population in particular is often the target of severe discrimination.
The Cost of Living
Generally speaking, Hungary is a lot cheaper than many Western European countries. Expats who have previously lived in cities with a particularly high cost of living will notice the difference right away. But don’t get too excited. Budapest, being the capital of the country, is a lot more expensive than smaller towns or rural areas. Moreover, in relation to local salaries the cost of living in Budapest is rather high. Whether you will lead a comfortable life in Budapest or if you will live in a tiny room somewhere on the outskirts of the city ultimately depends on your salary and how high your living standards are.
Finding Your Space: The Apartment Search
The cost of living in Budapest is also something you need to keep in mind when organizing your apartment search there. First of all, the rental prices largely depend on the area in which you choose to live. The first, second, fifth, and twelfth districts are the most expensive ones, for instance. Have a closer look at our article on moving to Budapest for an overview of the most popular districts in the city. Once you have an idea of where you would like to settle down, you can begin looking for an apartment.
It always makes sense to start with a thorough research online. Here are some of the websites you can use for that purpose:
- Budapestdreams.com: On top of general city information, this website presents a database of hotels and apartments in the city. This site is particularly useful for expats on a short-term assignment.
- Alberlet.hu: This page offers rentals of different sizes and price ranges.
- Roommatesbudapest.com: This website contains available rooms and apartments in Budapest.
- Apartmentsofbudapest.com: This website offers a range of different apartments of varying size and price in the different districts of Budapest.
But do not rely on the internet alone. Newspapers, housing agencies, and personal contacts in Budapest are also great tools for finding an apartment. Real estate agencies can be useful if your life in Budapest starts on short notice. Many expats don’t have the time to go from door to door, check apartment ads in the paper, and contact landlords. Realtors can help you find a place for living in Budapest if you are willing to pay a fee which usually amounts to between one and three months’ rent. If you have a little more time, you can look at the private property market and save yourself the agency’s fee. However, you should bring a translator along if you choose this option or brush up on your language skills before embarking on the housing search in Hungary.
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