Hungary is perhaps an underdog in terms of status and maybe even popularity when it comes to other European countries. Even more so when it comes to backpackers, expats, and of course, digital nomads. But did you know that Hungary or specifically its capital of Budapest is oftentimes named as one of the best places to be for digital nomads? Yep, that’s right!
> Read more: Our guide to Hungary for digital nomads.
That could be due to its affordability compared to said other European nations, beautiful architecture, rich culture, and reliable infrastructure. But Hungary is not without a few downsides so to better prepare for what’s in store for you should you decide to visit this low-profiled country, let’s dive into this cost of living guide and explore it further. Read on!
Accommodation and Bills
The official currency of Hungary is the Hungarian Forint and in general, we assure you that the overall cost of living in this country is a lot less than most European countries. It’s not exactly Southeast Asia but if you’re frugal enough and know where to look for the best deals then you’ll save a lot of cash for sure.
As of writing, 1 Hungarian Forint is equivalent to 0.0034 USD. Your accommodation will take up a lot of your budget and if you’d look at almost all websites and guides, you’ll see and verify that the standard cost of living for digital nomads in Hungary (Budapest) would be around $1500 which in comparison is more than half of what it will cost to live in the UK (for a digital nomad). And so, accommodation would probably be around $400 to $800 a month or a third of that budget. As mentioned, you can maybe get better deals but spending say $500 on your rent should be pretty comfortable, actually, anything more than that can be considered luxurious living. You’ll probably be able to rent out a nice apartment for $600+.
All right, let’s break it down further.
Average expenses across all sorts of accommodation should be around $700. For $400-$650, you’ll get a decent apartment that you may be comfortable living in even for a long time. What about tow bedroom apartments? If you need more space, maybe you are traveling with your family then get one for upwards of $800. That should already be in a lovely area in the city.
These are pretty much your best choices as compared to planning to live in hotels as you live there which can, of course, get really pricey. The monthly median payment for a hotel should be at $600 while renting out an Airbnb is the priciest option in Budapest at $1000+.
If you hang out, and you probably will, in coworking spaces then you need to shell out around $150 per month to avail of their amenities. There are, of course, a lot of coworking spaces in Hungary and most especially in Budapest.
With the 23 districts of Budapest, which ones are worth checking out to live in? Well, maybe try the Belváros-Lipótváros area which runs along the Danube and the so-called downtown area of the city. If you live here then you can be sure that you’ll be right at the hustle and bustle part of Budapest.
You may also check out Erzsébetváros. This part of the city boasts an active nightlife or should we call it party-scene. You may also try Újlipót or Várkerület.
What about utility bills? Well, everything including electricity, water, heating, cooling, and waste management in an 80m2 apartment should cost around $150 to $200.
Hungary does have 4 seasons throughout its year. And TripAdvisor and Booking.com are still your best bet of finding the best deals for your accommodations. You may also try Airbnb, Hostelworld, and Roommates Budapest although the latter only helps out with short-term accommodations. If you want to explore more cities in this landlocked country then go for Pecs, Debrecen, Szeged, and Sopron. They have coworking spaces that can accommodate your needs as a digital nomad too.
If you’re looking for health insurance then there are a few health insurance companies that offer deals for expats that may also apply to you as a digital nomad since you are staying for a while in the country. You can go for Cigna Global or Aetna which are both established in a lot of countries worldwide. You can get a free quote from both their websites.
It’s also worth noting that Hungary’s healthcare is pretty good. As a matter of fact, Hungary has been a medical tourism destination in Europe. The medical practice in the country is famous for its cosmetic and rehabilitation practices. Their public healthcare also provides support to everyone at an affordable rate.
Healthcare is generally free for those under 16, students, pensioners, parents w/ babies, and those with low income. From that, you can tell that you’d get a good deal too when it comes to your healthcare and at the same time, you’d get good medical attention once you are there and you either have a medical emergency or health issue.
In Budapest, the average medical expenses cost should be around $100. About a third of that in the US.
Hungary also has a lot of facilities to cater to your wellness. Gyms, places to hike, bike, swim, and run on with superb sceneries are always there for you to keep you in shape. They also have daycares if you’ve brought a child with you. There a lot of places to relax in and your mental and emotional health would always be kept in check.
You can be sure to experience delicious Hungarian food once you get there. For you to do so then you must know some of their famous local dishes. You may try the Goulash, Chicken Paprikash, Jokai Bean Soup, and Turos Csusza. How much is a typical meal in Hungary? Most likely around $4 to $5.
Dinner in a mid-range restaurant should cost around $6 to $8. Here’s a little bit of breakdown of some of the necessities:
Beer should cost around $1.5 and a cup of coffee on a mid-range café should be around $1.75. In general, if you mix it up when it comes to your dining i.e. buy groceries for home-cooked meals, eat out at mid-range restaurants once a week, and splurge on high-end restaurants too at least 4 times a month, you’ll probably spend around $400 on food for yourself.
If you do so, then you’d already be eating comfortably in Hungary and for sure won’t go hungry. You add another $100 for nightlife and entertainment once in a while then you’ll be pretty relaxed in this culturally rich town.
Once you get there, don’t forget to check out these top restaurants: Alexandra Book Café, costs Restaurant, and Gundel. You’ll have a gastronomical experience like no other for sure.
While we’re at it, let’s talk about other personal care items that you’d need, just shell out about another $100 for them monthly and you should be good to go.
Getting around Hungary ain’t a problem either. The city has a robust network of transportation that will get you around with no problems at all. Budapest, for example, is a large city but if you’re so inclined and your dwellings and usual go-to places are near each other then you may walk if the weather is nice enough.
Take note that all modes of transportation in Budapest at least are managed by a company called BKK. That means all metro, buses, trolleybuses, trams, and the Buda Castle Funicular are all under the BKK Company.
Taking a taxi in the busiest cities of the country may not be ideal as it can get expensive. And, you probably won’t need to so unless you are really in a hurry. Taxi meter starts at $2.4 for normal tariff and would increase by $1 per kilometer. If you have a private car then gasoline should be around $1 per liter.
You can save a lot when it comes to transportation if you for public transport for they sell individual and also blocks of tickets too. You can buy a monthly transportation pass for about $30 over there.
A single ticket will cost you $1.19 as of writing and if you have to transfer to a different line a transfer ticket will cost $1.8. If you travel a lot, then why not buy a block of ten tickets for only $10 or get a 24 hour ($5.6), 72 hours ($14), or 7-day travel card ($16.8) to get discounts.
Generally, all of these modes of transports operate from 4 AM to 11 PM but don’t worry, there are night buses all over cities too. Hungary is a relatively easy country to travel domestically and you should not have issues at all moving around. The modes of transportations are usually comfortable and secure.
Mobile and Internet Expenses
Hungary boasts a great infrastructure when it comes to the internet connection. That’s why you may be a digital nomad even outside of the capital city of Budapest and be just fine. The internet connection in the country is not only super-fast but very reliable at the same time. And, you’d be surprised with how affordable it is.
Just exactly how affordable? How about enjoying a high-speed internet connection for only $13 to $15 a month? Not bad, right? And just how fast is the internet connection in Hungary is on average? As a digital nomad who most likely will transfer from one place to another from time to time and connect to different hubs, you’ll probably enjoy an average speed of 39mbps.
That should be enough for remote workers and all their broadband needs for surfing, streaming, online meetings, and everything else. If that’s not impressive enough, take note that Hungary’s internet speed is just one spot below that of the US at number 12.
Hungarians enjoy a fixed broadband speed of 128mbps download and 65mbps upload. Mobile data speeds also won’t let you down if you’ll use it over there at 42mbps download and 16 Mbps upload speeds. Pretty impressive, huh?
Mobile phone calls charge around $0.09 per minute with a one-year unlimited plan with Vodafone at $36. Overall, Hungary has been listed on the best cities for digital nomads list due to their great internet connection, mobile services, and generally affordable cost of living. You throw in the historic architecture and great medical care services into the mix and that’s one great formula for attracting tourists and digital nomads alike.
Let’s talk a little about the different coworking spaces you’ll most likely be in when you go to Hungary. You may work in Impact Hub which as we all know has a lot of branches worldwide and is a veteran on the coworking spaces scene. As mentioned, it’s going to cost you $150 a month and this facility offers an inspiring and modern design to their spaces.
You can also try and visit Loffice, Mosaik, and Kaptar. They all offer subtle differences when it comes to their spaces so choose whichever may fit your needs and lifestyle. There are also a lot of Wi-Fi cafes around the city of Budapest so you may try them out too.
Also, don’t forget that Hungary is a country filled with some of the best and beautiful libraries in the world. So if you’re looking for some peace and quiet (and a free) place to work in, then libraries are your best bets.
Hungary is considered a second world country and sometimes being stuck in the middle leaves you out of the limelight and so, this territory is definitely still unexplored for many. Hungary is a beautiful country with all its architecture and history.
It’s quite vibrant too so don’t think that you’d get bored in it fast. And most of all, the country is fit for accommodating digital nomads like you and me.