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Expat Exchange - Pros and Cons of Living in Hungary
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Pros and Cons of Living in Hungary

By Betsy Burlingame

William Russell
William Russell

Summary: If you're moving to Hungary, it's important to learn about both the Pros AND Cons of living in Hungary.

Are you considering a move to the heart of Europe? Hungary, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes, has become an increasingly popular destination for expats from around the world. But like any country, living in Hungary comes with its own unique set of advantages and challenges. In this article, we'll delve into the pros and cons of making Hungary your new home.

Pros of Living in Hungary

One of the most significant advantages of living in Hungary is the cost of living. Compared to Western Europe and North America, Hungary is considerably more affordable. Rent, groceries, transportation, and entertainment are all significantly cheaper. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Budapest, the capital, can be rented for as little as $500 a month. This affordability extends to dining out as well, with a meal at a mid-range restaurant costing around $10.

Another major pro of living in Hungary is its central location in Europe. Hungary is landlocked by seven countries and is just a short flight or train ride away from many major European cities. This makes it an excellent base for those who love to travel and explore. For instance, a weekend trip to Vienna, Austria, is just a two-hour train ride away.

Healthcare in Hungary is also a significant advantage. The country has a high standard of medical care, with well-trained doctors and modern facilities. Hungary's healthcare system is universal, meaning that all residents have access to healthcare services. Many doctors and medical staff speak English, making it easier for expats to navigate the healthcare system.

Finally, Hungary's rich culture and history are a major draw for many people. From the thermal baths of Budapest to the vineyards of Eger, there's always something to see and do. The country is also home to numerous cultural festivals throughout the year, such as the Budapest Spring Festival and the Sziget Festival, one of Europe's largest music and cultural festivals.

Cons of Living in Hungary

While there are many advantages to living in Hungary, there are also some challenges that expats may face. One of the most significant is the language barrier. Hungarian is known for being one of the most difficult languages to learn in the world, and while many Hungarians speak English, particularly in Budapest, this is less common in smaller towns and rural areas.

The job market in Hungary can also be challenging for expats. While there are opportunities, particularly in sectors such as IT and engineering, competition can be fierce, and salaries are generally lower than in Western Europe and North America. For example, the average monthly salary in Hungary is around $1,000, compared to $3,000 in the United States.

Another potential downside to living in Hungary is the bureaucracy. Many expats report that dealing with government agencies can be frustrating and time-consuming, with lots of paperwork and often slow response times. For example, obtaining a residence permit can be a lengthy and complex process.

Finally, while Hungary is generally safe, like any country, it has its share of crime. Petty crime such as pickpocketing and car theft can be a problem, particularly in larger cities like Budapest. It's important to take precautions, such as not leaving valuables in your car and being aware of your surroundings, particularly in crowded tourist areas.

Despite these challenges, many expats find that the benefits of living in Hungary outweigh the downsides. The affordable cost of living, central location, high-quality healthcare, and rich culture and history make it an attractive destination for many. However, it's important to be prepared for the potential challenges, such as the language barrier, job market, bureaucracy, and crime. By doing your research and setting realistic expectations, you can make a successful move to Hungary.

Expats Talk about Pros & Cons of Living in Hungary

"Every city has its plusses and minusses. Budapest is no different. But, after living here for more than 7 years, I think that Budapest is one of the best places that I have ever lived (Phoenix, Chicago and New York City). The streets are relatively clean, overall crime is significantly lower than in many US big cities, and the the public transit is clean, frequent, efficient and very affordable. I don't own a car and really have no need for one in Budapest. I am a city person and enjoy living in the central city. It may not be as quiet as other parts of the city, but I don't mind that and I prefer the convenience of walking or taking transit everywhere I need to go. I have found that my overall cost of living is about 1/3 of what it was in New York and Chicago and about 1/2 of living in Phoenix in the US. I am so happy that I settled here in Budapest. It is a lovely city and I recommend it highly," commented one member living in Budapest, Hungary.

"I'm very happy with what I have at the place I am. I would like to be 20-30 years younger to enjoy it longer," mentioned one expat living in Hungary.

"We have been living in Budapest Hungary for nearly 5 years and we love it. I was a real estate agent in Toronto Canada but now I am much happier working for foreign investors interested in investing in Hungary. My husband and daughter do not speak Hungarian only English and it is not a problem, Hungarians under the age of 60 do speak English, especially 35 year old's and under. The arts and entertainment is great. There are many farm fresh food markets, many spas and sports activities for relaxation. The lakes and mountains around the country are clean with many cultural, sporting and entertainment activities. There is affordable accommodation for students and seniors. It is affordable and easy to purchase property for those who would like to retire in Hungary. Budapest city is safe with excellent public transportation. It is a very comfortable city to live in, a car is not necessary," said an expat in Hungary.

"The location is SAFE !! Very safe. I never felt this safe in UK. People very friendly and polite. You could walk home alone in the middle of the night without fear," remarked one expat in Hungary.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


William Russell
William Russell

William Russell
William Russell

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