Hungary
Jan 2022
2 months

Budapest

Europe's best value capital city?

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[Description}

The capital of Hungary emerged from the remnants of two ancient cities, Roman Aquincum and Ottoman Buda.

Today, it embodies a distinctive blend of historical significance and architectural grandeur, making it one of the standout cities in Central Europe.

Verdict:
Highly recommended

A fantastic city to visit in both winter and summer. Wouldn't hesitate to book for a month of work or for a weekend city break.

🌎
Verdict:
Highly recommended

A fantastic city to visit in both winter and summer. Wouldn't hesitate to book for a month of work or for a weekend city break.

Verdict:
Highly recommended

A fantastic city to visit in both winter and summer. Wouldn't hesitate to book for a month of work or for a weekend city break.

👎
Verdict:
Highly recommended

A fantastic city to visit in both winter and summer. Wouldn't hesitate to book for a month of work or for a weekend city break.

🛫
Hungarian Forint (HUF)
1.7 Million
💰 Great value
🏝️ Great for a holiday

Summary

Having had a highly memorable trip to Budapest in the summer of 2013 , I was keen to return for a longer stint and see what it was like over the winter months for a two month stint.

Accommodation
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Unsurprisingly given it's status as a tourist hotspot, there is no shortage of great accommodation options in Budapest and if booking in advance for out of the peak summer months, you should get a great deal.

For a distinctive experience, try and find an apartment in one of the many opulent townhouses with large communal courtyards.

info
New legislation
Recent changes introduced by the Turkish government has made short-term rentals for under 100 days more restricted. Keep an eye on Reddit threads for up-to-date assessments of how the new legislation is impacting short-term rentals in practice.
Places to work
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

There's a good number of dedicated coworking spaces across the city, with the majority of them being found in the centre. Unfortunately the office I worked from has subsequently shut down, but 'KAPTÁR' is worth a look and would have been my second choice.

There is no shortage of quality coffee shops across the city that are suitable to work from. 'My Little Melbourne' has a secluded upstairs sitting area suitable for a few hours work (with great coffee).

Value
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

The city has an enormous range of very well priced options for casual lunches and dinners. There are numerous quality Thai/Vietnamese meals that can be picked up for well under €10 across all areas of the city.

info
The yen is currently at a 34-year low
While this is undoubtedly a negative for the Japanese, it makes for an exceptionally good time to visit Japan from abroad. Although this trend is unlikely to reverse significantly in the short term, it's still worth checking before visiting.
Read more
View the cost of living
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Working hours
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Hungary operates on Central European Time (CET), aligning with Western Europe.

St. Stephen's Basilica, one of the most dramatic pieces of architecture in the city centre.
St. Stephen's Basilica, one of the most dramatic pieces of architecture in the city centre.
A typical central courtyard in a block of apartments in the Jewish Quarter.
A typical central courtyard in a block of apartments in the Jewish Quarter.

Where to stay

Budapest is a big city so unless you are a keen walker I'd play close attention to where you decide to stay.

Would avoid
Recommended
Jewish Quarter
Depending on your appetite for staying in such a tourist hotspot, the city centre is an ideal base to get around.
Would avoid
Recommended
Móricz Zsigmond körtér
If i was to return to Budapest I'd consider finding a place around here. Walkable to the centre and still a great selection of bars and cafes on hand.
Would avoid
Recommended
Újlipótváros
Another area I would consider staying outside of the centre is Újlipótváros. A 20 minute walk to the centre and Margaret Island is only a few moments away.

Where to work

To the best of my knowledge, there is nowhere suitable to work here.
If you find somewhere, drop me a message! 

Remote work visa

No remote work visa
Remote work visa available
Remote work visa coming soon
If staying for a prolonged period, you may want to consider a dedicated visa for this destination.
This country is actively working on a visa support for remote workers.
Check your government website for details of how to obtain a tourist visa.

Hungary offers the White Card visa specifically designed for digital nomads who are non-EU nationals. This visa allows them to stay in Hungary for one year while working for companies outside the country. After the initial one-year period, the White Card visa can be extended for another year, enabling digital nomads to reside in Hungary for up to two consecutive years.

View full details
To the best of my knowledge this information was correct as of 27th April 2024. If you notice something has changed drop me a message and I'll update it!

Citizen Remote is a great source of up to date knowledge for everything to do with remote work visas.

Safety

Off-work

Visit Margaret Island

Straddled by the Danube River either side, Margaret Island offers a shaded escape during the summer months with lush green gardens and scenic pathways. The island also features a spa and options to eat and drink.

Having subsequently visited during winter it proved to be a more bleak experience.

Learn more
Hike in Normafa Park

Beautiful panoramic views over the city. Walkable in an afternoon from the city center.

Visit Gellért Thermal Bath

If you want to avoid the crowds and instagram shots at Széchenyi, Gellért provides a sedate, calming alternative.

Go out to Szimpla Kert

The most famous of the ruin bars, a box that has to be ticked if visiting but be prepared to que on the weekends.

Hike in Normafa Park

Beautiful panoramic views over the city. Walkable in an afternoon from the city center.

Beautiful views panoramic views over the city. Wakable from the city center.
Visit Gellért Thermal Bath

If you want to avoid the crowds and instagram shots at Széchenyi, Gellért provides a sedate, calming alternative.

If you want to avoid the crowds and instagram shots at Széchenyi, Gellért provides a calming alternative.
Visit Margaret Island

Straddled by the Danube River either side, Margaret Island offers a shaded escape during the summer months with lush green gardens and scenic pathways. The island also features a spa and options to eat and drink.

Having subsequently visited during winter it proved to be a more bleak experience.

Beautiful green oasis in the middle of the Danube. Slightly bleak in winter.
Go out to Szimpla Kert

The most famous of the ruin bars, a box that has to be ticked if visiting but be prepared to que on the weekends.

The most famous of the ruin bars, a box that has to be ticked if visiting but be prepared to que on the weekends

Duration & season

After visiting Budapest during both the height of summer and the depth of winter, I would highly recommend for a summer visit when the city's plethora of outdoor pursuits can be fully enjoyed. While the winter months offer their own allure, places like Margaret Island truly come alive when in full bloom.

Food & drink

Cycle to Vac
·
Cycle
Heading north up the Danube, there are some great areas for cycling and numerous stops for coffee and snacks en route.
Lake Balaton
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Cycle
Easily accessible from Budapest by train, Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe and provides secluded cycling routes with numerous places to eat and rest.

People

Budapest is a year round draw for tourists so no matter what time of year expect there to be an international audience on the ground. There wasn't much of a remote worker community there when I visited, perhaps in part due to the end of COVID playing out but there is a year round expat community to be found.

Exercise

Cycle to Vac
Heading north up the Danube, there are some great areas for cycling and numerous stops for coffee and snacks en route.
keyboard_arrow_down
Lake Balaton
Easily accessible from Budapest by train, Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe and provides secluded cycling routes with numerous places to eat and rest.
keyboard_arrow_down
Cycle to Vac
Heading north up the Danube, there are some great areas for cycling and numerous stops for coffee and snacks en route.
Lake Balaton
Easily accessible from Budapest by train, Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe and provides secluded cycling routes with numerous places to eat and rest.

Verdict

Positives
  • Excellent variety of food and nightlife.There is no shortage of places to eat, drink and explore late into the night.
  • Compared to Western Europe it is excellent value.Day to day expenses are considerably cheaper than in other major European capitals.
  • Enough to explore over several weekends.It's a big enough city to comfortable spend a month in and not get tired of it.
  • Good transport options via train.If you want to see the rest of the country, it is well served by it's domestic rail network.
  • A cosmopolitan demographic.The city attracts holidaymakers year round, with it's universities also a popular draw for international students.
  • Opulent architecture.The parliament building, thermal baths & Buda castle are just some of the distinctive landmarks dotted across the city.
Negatives
  • Language is not the easiest to pick up.The younger generations are adept at speaking English, but it's less common among the older generation.
Tips
  • Catch a local football match.You need to be a registered fan to get into Ferencvárosi but I was able to get into an Újpest FC game for a Sunday night match. Tickets and beers are inexpensive.
  • The metro is inexpensive and moderately reliable.It is the world's second oldest and serves a good portion of the city.
  • Rent a bike.The Pest side of city is mainly flat and has moderately good provisions for cycling. Bike & Relax has a good range of touring and city bikes.
Planning a trip?
I loved everything about this trip to Japan. I've put together some thoughts on my entire stay in the country, which may come in handy if you are planning a visit soon.
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