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Liberty Bridge in Budapest

Retire in Hungary

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: Retirees share their experiences living in Hungary. What are the challenges and rewards of retiring in Hungary?

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What is it like to retire in Hungary?

"Yes there is an active expat community in Hungary. The foreigners living in Hungary is growing by the year because some people are here for work but then stay much longer until they retire because they like the living circumstances in Hungary.In re," commented one retiree living in Budapest, Hungary.

"Life here is lovely - the weather is kind too. Our demands are low so far as recreation and nightlife go and there is no active expat community close by," explained one retiree living in Nagykanizsa.

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What advice do overseas retirees have for others considering retiring abroad?

"The consulate in your country is a great place to start with information about what paper work is necessary to remain in the country of your choice. It is important to be prepared and informed. If anyone needs real estate property advise please message me , I am happy to provide the help to make it easy to make a property purchase in Budapest," explained one retiree living in Budapest.

"Do your research. Ask questions and don't raise your expectations too high then you won't be disappointed. Don't cut all ties and commit until you tried it and you sure," said another retiree in living in Budapest, Hungary.

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What are the most challenging aspects of retiring in Hungary?

"Nothing to mention which is very serious. Patience was required In Toronto at the Hungarian consulate when I was submitting my citizenship application. From the time I made the application in Toronto to the time I received the paperwork in Budapest it was a year. Mainly due to some inefficiencies in Toronto. Yes you have to have patience with the immigration office because you may have paper work, missing then have to return. Of course I did everything myself but there are great immigration lawyers in Budapest who can manage the process for you," added another person in Budapest.

"Dealing with bureaucracy, customs, some different traffic rules and a different way of thinking," remarked another retiree in Budapest.

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What are the most rewarding aspects of retiring in Hungary?

"Just slowing down, enjoying very simply a café for a coffee and cake, walking everywhere, admiring the architecture, the arts and entertainment, so many cultural activities and of course the easy travel. We sold our car in Toronto and decided not to buy one here, so we found a great rental car company whenever we want to travel outside of Budapest," commented one retiree living in Budapest, Hungary.

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What are healthcare services like in Hungary?

We asked retirees if they have access to good medical care in Hungary. They wrote:

"Yes there is many choices . Private clinics, pay as you go. No Hungarian health care necessary or the public system health card required," said a retiree who moved to Budapest, Hungary.

"There is not much in the way of quality local medical care in Hungary - medicine practiced here is fairly old-fashioned compared with Australia. The public system is fairly good but specialists there require under-the-table payment. The private practitioners are fairly expensive. The standards of specialists is on a par with Australia's standards," said another retiree in Nagykanizsa.

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How do I meet people in Hungary?

When we asked people living in Hungary about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Chamber of Commerce events, Houses of Worship gatherings. Refer to www.xpatloop.com," commented one retiree living in Budapest, Hungary.

"British Women's Association, Budapest Accueil (French), Dutch Club Hungary, Expat Hungary, International Women's Club Association of Budapest (IWCA), North American Women's Association of Budapest, Professional Women's Association of Budapest, Institut français de Budapest, Instituto Cervantes de Budapest, Xpatloop.com, Baby Blue Banana (Expat Events), Concerts and bookreadings at TreeHugger Dan's bookshop (there are many branches), Internations Expat Community (they have live meetings), Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Hungary, Buda Juniors Football (Soccer) League (for children), Bat and Ball Junior Cricket Club (for children)," explained one retiree living in Budapest.

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What is life like in Hungary?

When we asked people living in Hungary what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Budapestans work and play equally. The city offers many opportunities for and many places to socialize with like-minded people. The possibilities are diverse and endless regardless of age," said a retiree who moved to Budapest, Hungary.

"In my opinion they revolve around socializing. Hungarians seem to place a lot of focus on Holidays, meeting in cafes, traveling to the countryside to visit parents/grandparents on weekends. I say socializing and not family because individuals find it difficult to save money therefore there is a low birth rate. Back to socializing -I heard that even the Metro ticket controllers work in groups of 2 and 3 so that they have someone to eat lunch with (this could be another interesting priority--as it is lunch and not dinner that is the main, hot meal of the day here)," said another retiree in Budapest.

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Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

What do I need to know before retiring in Hungary?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Hungary, they said:

"Be patient! While not strangling, there is still bureaucracy. Hungarians are friendly though and eager to help. Ask for help and/or employ people (like Hire A Hungarian .com) to help during the transition. Life is easy after the initial transition. Also, learn some basic Hungarian words before coming and continue your learning once here. But unlike the way it was in the 1990's, enough English is spoken in Budapest for you to feel comfortable. But make no mistake, it is a difficult language," explained one retiree living in Budapest.

"Hungary is quite cheap compared to Western Europe and the United States, therefore visitors can enjoy buying food, beverages and souvenirs without feeling a pinch. That said, cost of living is high when local salaries are taken into consideration. When calculated as a percentage of salary, items like clothing, shoes, accessories, baby equipment, furniture, bedding and electronics can feel expensive. Try to bring these with you," said another retiree in living in Budapest, Hungary.

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What type of recreational activities are there in Hungary?

"The Buda hills are home to many hiking trails with beautiful lookout points. Budapest is also famous for it's many incredible thermal baths," remarked another retiree in Budapest.

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Where will I buy groceries and do other shopping in Hungary?

"The main shopping spots are located in Pest's City Center. Vaci street is perhaps the most famous of these, which actually designated as a pedestrian precinct. The Great Market Hall in Budapest is the most beautiful and largest of all Budapest market halls," explained one retiree living in Budapest.

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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.

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