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Retire in Budapest Guide

Retire in Budapest with confidence, armed with the knowledge from our extensive guide. It covers critical considerations for retirees, from the cost of living and climate to housing, healthcare, and residency choices in Budapest. We also delve into the social and cultural scene, volunteering options, public transportation facilities, and the city's walkability, helping you make an informed decision.
|-Retire in Budapest Guide

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a city that has been attracting international retirees for years. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture, it’s no wonder why so many choose to spend their golden years here. However, like any city, Budapest has its own unique set of challenges and benefits for retirees.

Cost of Living

One of the biggest draws for retirees in Budapest is the cost of living. Compared to many Western European cities, Budapest is significantly more affordable. Rent, groceries, and dining out are all cheaper, allowing retirees to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank. However, it’s important to note that while the cost of living is lower, so are the average wages, which can make hiring help or services more expensive.


Budapest experiences a temperate seasonal climate, with warm summers and cold winters. The city is known for its beautiful spring and autumn seasons, which offer mild temperatures and stunning natural beauty. However, winters can be quite cold, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. This can be a challenge for those who are not used to such cold climates.


Healthcare in Budapest is of a high standard, with many excellent hospitals and doctors available. However, the public healthcare system can be difficult to navigate for foreigners, and many choose to opt for private healthcare instead. This can be more expensive, but often offers a higher level of service and convenience.

Residency Options

There are several options for residency in Hungary, including retirement visas and permanent residency. However, the process can be complex and requires a lot of paperwork. It’s recommended to seek legal advice before attempting to apply for residency.

Parks and Recreational Activities

Budapest is home to many beautiful parks and recreational areas, including the famous City Park and Margaret Island. These offer a range of activities, from walking and cycling to boating and swimming. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and theaters to explore.


Budapest is known for its culinary scene, with a range of restaurants offering both local and international cuisine. Some popular choices include Menza, a modern Hungarian restaurant, and Borkonyha, a Michelin-starred wine kitchen. For those on a budget, the city also has a range of affordable eateries and street food options.

Learning the Language

While many people in Budapest speak English, learning Hungarian can greatly enhance your experience. There are several language schools in the city, such as the Balassi Institute, which offer courses for all levels.

Local Culture

The locals in Budapest are known for their hospitality and friendliness. However, they also appreciate when foreigners make an effort to learn about their culture and language. Participating in local events and festivals is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and meet new people.


Most retirees in Budapest choose to live in apartments, which are plentiful and affordable. The city is divided into districts, each with its own unique character. The 5th district is popular for its central location and historic buildings, while the 13th district is known for its modern apartments and vibrant nightlife.


Budapest has an excellent public transportation system, with buses, trams, and metros covering the entire city. This makes it easy to get around without a car. However, for those who prefer to drive, it’s important to note that parking can be difficult and expensive in the city center.

In conclusion, Budapest offers a unique and exciting retirement experience. With its affordable cost of living, rich culture, and beautiful surroundings, it’s no wonder why so many international retirees choose to call this city home. However, like any city, it also has its challenges, and it’s important to do your research and plan accordingly.

Retirees Talk about Retiring in Budapest

“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 an expat living in Budapest.

“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,” said one expat living in Budapest.

“Just slowing down, enjoying very simply a cafĂ© 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 an expat living in Budapest.

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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