An Executive Guide to Living and Working in Budapest
The beautiful, historic centre and the reasonable cost of living are just some of the reasons why you should begin your adventure in the Hungarian capital. Budapest is situated in Northern Hungary and is the country’s economic centre and home to many international companies. The capital has a population of 10 million and is built by the Danube River, which divides Budapest into the hilly left-bank Buda and the plain right-bank Pest, lending the city its name.
You will have no problem getting places. Budapest has an extensive public transport system which ranges from bus, train, tram to a boat and covers the entirety of the capital. Hungary also has a very well-developed healthcare system.
When you arrive in Hungary, you will notice some cultural differences compared to back home. The first and most obvious being the language. The official language of Hungary is Hungarian, however English and German are widely spoken, especially in the city centre of Budapest. There are also some business cultures that will vary from what you are used to. For example, invitations to dinners and cultural events are just as important as actual meetings in Hungary and an invite should be taken seriously.
Days off in the Hungarian Capital
Budapest is a beautiful, historic city which offers plenty to do on your day off! You can visit the neo-gothic structured parliament building or St. Stephen's Basilica, a large parish church which accommodates 8,500 people and features a magnificent 300ft neo-Renaissance dome. Take a cruise down the Danube river and appreciate the many sights of your new home, hopping off at the 19th century Fisherman’s Bastion which offers beautiful views of the river and the city. If you’re looking for an elegant night out, the Hungarian Opera House is the place to visit with both ballet and opera on offer. Budapest also has no shortage of unique museums for a fun family day out with the Chocolate Museum, a miniature exhibition museum Miniversum and the Hospital in the Rock which is a thrilling nuclear bunker museum. Alternatively, take time out from the world of tax and enjoy one of Budapest’s thermal springs which are said to have healing effects.
Cost of Living
There is plenty of competitively priced accommodation. In fact, the cost of living compared with New York City is 52.2% lower.
Rent: $499.23 for a one-bedroom in the city centre
Commuter pass: $35.56
Domestic beer: $1.68
Finding Your New Home
Choosing a place to live in Budapest is a matter of personal preference: bustling, urban and exotic Pest or stately, comfortable and considerably quieter Buda. Most expats tend to live on the Buda side due to it being more peaceful, residential and offering many green spaces. Compared to other European cities, the rental costs in Budapest are relatively cheap. There are ten districts in Budapest with the first, second, fifth and twelfth districts being the most expensive. Once you have an idea of where you would like to settle down, you can begin looking for an apartment. There are numerous websites to aid in your property search:
There is also a Facebook group “Budapest Rentals” where you can get advice on which areas are best to live and see rentals from private landlords as soon as they post.
Family Life in Budapest
If you are relocating with children, there are numerous high-quality international schools within Budapest. Due to the growing number of expats in Budapest, the schools can be selective and spaces can sometimes fill up fast. Therefore, it is recommended to ensure schooling is a top priority for your relocation. Popular schools include the American International School of Budapest, the British International School of Budapest and the International School of Budapest.
What is there to do with young children in Budapest? There are plenty of activities for a fun day out with the kids, ranging from the Budapest Zoo to Aquaworld, a large indoor water park with its own 'Kid's World', complete with slides and a playhouse. The capital also boasts a large number of children’s playgrounds and green areas, a popular one being Millenáris Park. As with many other cities across Europe, there are also plenty extra-curricular activities city-wide both inside and outside the school playground. The Facebook page Expat Moms and Dads Budapest is a useful way to gain valuable information from other expat parents in the area, where common questions regarding schools and activities are addressed.
Expat communities are well-established in Hungary, especially within Budapest. Florian is an Austrian native who has lived in Budapest for 6 months. From his experience in the Hungarian capital, the city has a very good public transport system which means there is no need for a car, high standards of living and great value for money. He confirms big expat scene making it extremely easy to get in contact with other expats either via meetups and Facebook.
There are numerous Facebook groups where you can begin making new friends and get answers to frequently asked questions.
- Work in Budapest
- English speaking Expats living in Budapest
- Budapest Expats
- Expat Info - Budapest
- Foreigners in Budapest
When asked what his one piece of advice was for expats moving to Budapest, Florian recommend that it is always good to leave the expat bubble sometimes to mingle with the locals and Budapest is more than just its inner districts with more to offer than what meets the eye! To get an insight on life in Budapest and some Hungarian language tips Catch Budapest is Florian’s expat blog.
If you are interested in a move to Budapest or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about international tax opportunities, please contact a member of the leadership team. Alternatively, please browse our current international tax vacancies.