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Moving to Hungary? A Guide to Hungarian Living, An Expat’s Guide

Why Move to Hungary?

Located in the middle of Europe, Hungary is a very convenient place to live and allows residents and visitors alike free passage to the rest of the continent. Bordered by Ukraine, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Austria, Hungary is surrounded by culture, heritage, and history, which makes it a popular destination for people who want to learn more about Europe. Even if you don’t intend to travel much, Hungary is still a wonderful place to call home The largest city in Hungary is Budapest, which boasts more than 3.3 million residents. Contrary to what most people think, Budapest was once two separate cities, Buda and Pest, divided by the Danube River. Today, however, Budapest is one cohesive city, although it remains divided by the river. Regardless of whether you live in the bustling hub of Budapest or in the suburbs of the major city, you’re bound to find many things to love about Hungary. The country boasts some of the world’s best wine, thousands of unique and desirable cafes, and hundreds of world-class restaurants serving up the best in Hungarian food. If the social and food scene weren’t enough to lure you in, there’s also the stable economy, welcoming society, and beautiful seasons to love. Balanced, beautiful, and friendly, Hungary is a wonderful place to set up a new life.

Moving to Hungary: Getting Your Paperwork in Order

Moving to Hungary will require a residence permit, known as a tartózkodási engedély. This is true for all non-Schengen residents. Residents of Schengen member states, though, will have to go through a slightly different process. Because Hungary is a Schengen member, all residence permits issued in other Schengen member states are also valid in Hungary.  Keep in mind, though, that these permits are only valid for 90 days, and that stays exceeding this will be required to comply with Hungary-specific documentation. 
While Hungary is an easier country than many to immigrate to, it’s wise to check the Hungarian Embassy’s website before you start planning your move. In addition to providing you with up-to-date information on what you need to move to the country, this website will also help you understand Hungary’s unique customs and immigration laws. 

Finding Housing in Hungary

As if there weren’t already enough to love about Hungary, finding housing in this beautiful country is simple, just so long as you have a good internet connection. Unlike many other places in Europe, a new resident can easily find a home or flat by searching Hungary-specific rental websites like http://www.budapestdreams.com/, or http://www.renthungary.hu/. These websites offer an overwhelming selection of rentals ranging from rooms, newly built homes, and traditional rental flats. If searching on your own makes you uncomfortable, you can hire a housing agency or a real estate agent. These professionals can be helpful for expats who are concerned about paying a fair rental price in Hungary, or want to locate a property in a high-demand area, like Budapest proper. 

The 5 Best Places to Live in Hungary

1. Budapest
The capital city of Hungary, Budapest is much more than just the seat of the country’s commerce and financial opportunity. Known around the world for its wide selection of architecture (specifically Art Nouveau buildings), Budapest offers some truly unique attractions. Art lovers can check out any of the city’s numerous galleries, museums, or displays, romantics can enjoy a sunset walk along the bridges, and those interested in a little bit of natural healing can take a soak in the city’s many natural hot springs – which has been a cure for what ails you since the Romans roamed the area. 
If hot springs aren’t your idea of fun, Budapest is the perfect place to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime meal. Known throughout Europe as a must-visit food destination, Budapest boasts a thriving wine scene and several Michelin-starred restaurants to enjoy. 
Whatever you come to Budapest to see, be it natural beauty or architectural achievement, it’s sure that this city will not disappoint. Reasonably priced, exciting, and boasting a high quality of life, Budapest is one place that expats will surely love.

2. Balaton
Set back about 130 kilometers from Budapest, Balaton is home to the single biggest lake in all of Central Europe, which makes it a popular hometown for outdoor-minded expats. Ideal for anyone who wants to explore vineyards, get out for a scenic hike, or enjoy the banks of the Hungarian Sea, Balaton is a verdant, rural community that offers a quiet pace of life and ample jobs in industries ranging from wine-making to tourism. Don’t let the quiet façade fool you, though, Balaton is far from boring. The city offers a vibrant nightlife and plenty of romantic attractions.

3. Szeged
One of the largest cities in Hungary, Szeged is a sunny (the area gets the most sunshine in all of Hungary, which makes it popular among dark-adverse expats) and exciting city. About 170 kilometers south of the capital of Budapest, Szeeged is marked by colorful buildings, ornate brick streets, and the River Tisza, which makes the entire city feel romantic and sleepy. 
Often compared to Budapest, Szeged offers an ample art, history, and cultural scene which promises to keep virtually anyone busy. In addition to its various jobs and bustling industries, Szeged also offers good schools, readily available rentals, and plenty of places to find something good to eat and stay busy with friends.

4. Pécs
Hungary’s fifth-largest city, Pécs is a distinctly Mediterranean place that has long since been known as the play place of Hungary’s elite. Named a UNESCO City of Peace in 1998, Pécs is more than just a pretty face – it’s also a beautiful, historic city that offers a diverse, friendly, and welcoming population that loves nothing more than living the good life.
The city offers dozens of colorful, historic buildings and expats here can easily find jobs in industries ranging from tourism to finance. Ideal for anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of Budapest’s industry without the bustle of Budapest itself, Pécs is a beautiful place to settle down.

5. Győr
A short 120 kilometers west of the hub of Budapest, Győr is nestled near the borders of Austria and Slovakia. Boasting some of the most incredible Baroque architecture in all of Hungary, Győr is a beautiful, scenic city that offers attractions ranging from a Basilica constructed in the eleventh-century to traditional thermal baths open for residents and visitors alike. Ideal for anyone who wants a city that offers a quiet, yet enjoyable pace of life, Győr has more than its fair share of natural beauty and social, cultural, and historic opportunities.

What’s the Weather Like in Hungary?

For expats not used to seasons, Hungary’s weather patterns may be shocking. The country offers four very distinct seasons and each is incredible in its own way.
The summers in Hungary are warm, beautiful, and mild, with plenty of outdoor attractions to be had. Residents can swim in the lakes or the sea, hike in the mountains, enjoy bike rides and horseback rides, or simply dine al fresco in any of the country’s gorgeous outdoor cafes.
When fall comes around, the weather cools slightly but is still very hospitable. It’s warm enough to enjoy time outside, and the nights have a chill to them.
In the winter, the temperatures drop significantly. The Danube freezes over completely, and snow is common virtually all across the country.
When spring shows its face, the ground thaws and the area experiences plenty of wet weather leading back into the warm, mild summer.

The Pros and Cons of Living in Hungary

While Hungary scores high on the quality of life card, there are still drawbacks would-be expats need to know about. By being informed about all of Hungary’s various pros and cons, it’s easy to go into the move informed, and to make the best decision possible about whether to choose to live in this beautiful area: 

Pros

Cons

Hungary: An Expat’s Dream Destination

Hungary offers some of the most beautiful cities, most charming attractions, and most gorgeous sights of all of Europe, so it’s no wonder that so many expats find themselves flocking to this beautiful place. Ideal for anyone who wants to live or work better, Hungary is a welcoming and dynamic country with plenty to do. One of the main food and wine capitols of Europe, Hungary appeals to everyone from the financial professional to the sommelier. Built to impress at virtually every turn, Hungary is a land of mystique, beauty, intrigue, and opportunity. From Budapest to the small rural cities and beyond, it’s simple to find a place to fit in Hungary. Regardless of where you’re coming from or what you’re seeking, Hungary offers beautiful accommodations that promise to please even the most discerning expat. The perfect mixture between Eastern and Western Europe, Hungary is truly a sight to behold.