Pros and Cons of Living in Budapest

Pros

Cost of living
The best restaurants cost a fraction of what you would pay in DC. You can have lunch at a Michelin-star restaurant for under $20. Fruits and vegetables cost much less than in the U.S., for example apples are 60 cents a kilo, oranges $1/kg. A kilo of pork is about $4. A maid costs less than $7/hour and she does more than vacuuming and dusting. She cleans windows, irons, cooks, etc.  Gas looks expensive but you get all the taxes back so it costs no more than in the U.S.

Endless travel opportunities
Hungary is so small you can reach most cities in two hours, perfect for a day trip or a weekend. Seven countries are neighbors (Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia) and four more don’t have common borders but are very close: Czech Republic, Poland, Bosnia, Moldova. There are endless possibility for weekends or three-day trips. Wizzair has also many connections from Budapest so you may fly to Italy or Spain for $50!

Food & Wine
Being foodies we are so happy to be posted here where food is delicious and abundant. Hungarian specialties are tasty (Goulash, grey cow, Mangalica pork, paprika, foie gras, beef cheeks, lecso, etc.). Hungarian wines can easily compete with French or California wines. Hungarians are also the best at making freshly squeezed lemonade, simple or with ginger, etc.

Public transportation
Being able to go everywhere by foot, sometimes with the help of a tram, bus or metro is bliss. No more car to park. We use our car only to travel outside the city. Public transportation is plentiful, regular, very safe, and decently priced – about $40/month. Budapest is bliss for teenagers who can go see their friends without needing their parents to taxi them around.

People & culture
From festivals in Mohacs (end of February) to Easter in Hollokö to many beer & wine festivals to music festivals (Sziget, Sopron), occasions are endless to share the Hungarian culture and meet friendly people. They also love dogs – you can take them to restaurants (they also have a ‘cat’ bar for cat owners).

Good  Schools
One American school, two British, 2 Christian, 1 French schools are used by the community at present but there are more international schools available. They are all very good.

Cons
It is hard for me to find real cons particular to Budapest.

Embassy community
Not as tight as what you get in Africa because there is so much to do here that people are constantly out of the city or the country.

Language
One of the hardest to learn after Chinese and Arabic. Extremely few cognates and rules that exist just to be broken on your next sentence. Illogical rules like using the singular when you use a number or ‘lots of’ in front of a name – obviously in English the name and the verb would be in plural form. Imagine that instead of saying ‘These five books are old’  you need to say  ‘This five book is old’.

VAT
The highest in Europe at 27%. Even food gets taxed that high. Few items like bread are taxed at ‘only’ 15%. By doing lengthy paperwork we are able to recuperate it in most cases though – so the con becomes a pro!

Weather forecast
While in most cities you can trust the forecast about one week in advance, in Budapest, even two days in advance it will not be accurate. Weather changes all the time. Yet we have more sunny days than in Barcelona so that is great.

Tons of work
Coming from Pakistan where it was common to work 50 to 70 hours a week we could not believe our colleagues when they said that Budapest was overly busy. Yet after two years we can attest to a level of work that is simply insane compared to other places. It is a small 10-million inhabitant’s country, yet it is in NATO between the West and Russia so it has more share of mind than its size might suggest. Also if you have a regional function and no direct flights to go to your destination due to historical Balkan reasons, travel time adds up.  I wish we could have time to produce better quality instead of always feeling we are running behind.

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Living in Budapest

  1. Pingback: Pros and Cons of Budapest | Unaccompanied Baggage

  2. im a lahori, looking to make budapest a second home.
    i cant tell u how nice it was to come across ur blog. gave me an insight into the many many questions i have about the place.
    i wanted to ask u weather ur a pakisani expat and what the pakistani community in budapest is like (if there even is one?)
    would love to read more about ur experiences in bp
    cheers

    Like

      • hy am pakistani student got study visa for budapest university of technology and economics . i need some experiance person advise me about hotels flats transportations

        Like

    • Hi Basit,

      Not sure I answered you! I’m not a Pakistani (still feel very sorry for what happened in Quetta) and therefore do not know if there is a community. There should be because there is at least one Pakistani restaurant. Will try to post more about BP and its neighbors. Many travel opportunities here. A wonderful place.

      Like

  3. hy am pakistani student got study visa for budapest university of technology and economics . i need some experiance person advise me about hotels flats transportations

    Like

    • I use Booking.com and Trip Advisor to find places. As a student, the university should have a list of lodgings specific for students. Transportation is extremely easy in Budapest, just buy a month pass.

      Like

  4. Hi Usman,

    Transportation is very easy in Budapest, check the BKK.hu website (and the tips on this blog). The easiest is to buy a monthly pass. The annual pass is not cheaper and if you loose it, you loose everything. For hotels, I usually use Booking.com which gives you all categories at all prices. As a student, your university might have a housing help office.

    Like

  5. hello, I am a student living in Budapest and can I get a part-time/full-time job opportunity there? Kindly let me know.

    Like

    • Hello,

      You would have to consult the consulate of your country of origin to know your rights in Hungary regarding employment. I am not qualified to give you an answer.

      Good luck.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s