16 Pros And Cons of Living in Hungary

Updated On October 9, 2023

Hungary is not a common destination for immigrants.

The country has a small population, and most people don’t see it as a good place to move.

However, there are many benefits to living in this beautiful Eastern European country, including a low cost of living, lovely scenery, and welcoming culture.

If you are thinking about moving to Hungary, here is everything you need to know before you book your flight.


Pros of Living in Hungary

There are many benefits to living in Hungary, making it an attractive prospect for many ex-pats.

Here are a few of the biggest pros of moving there, whether you’re heading to Budapest or somewhere more rural.

1. Cost Of Living Is Low

The cost of living in Hungary is shockingly low, especially in comparison with many other countries in Europe.

This makes it an appealing location for many people.

Both housing costs and food costs are highly affordable — you can find a two-bedroom apartment for roughly €400 a month.

Meanwhile, fruits and vegetables will run you under €1 per kilo, and you can even find meat for €4 or thereabouts. 

2. Public Transportation Is Excellent

Like many countries in Europe, Hungary has excellent public transportation.

Depending on where you live, you might not even find it necessary to own a car.

Instead, you can rely on dependable buses, trains, and trams.

However, if you do decide to drive, you also won’t find it too expensive — gasoline is highly affordable in Hungary.

In cities such as Budapest, you can rely on public transportation, with fares running about €38 a month.

3. Job Opportunities Are Abundant

It might not come as a surprise in a country with a population of under 10 million, but Hungary has many job opportunities.

You also won’t find the same barriers to finding work as a non-EU citizen.

The reason for this is simple: Hungary is a less popular destination than many western European countries, so the government wants more workers to have access to jobs.

4. Healthcare Is Affordable

Public healthcare in Hungary isn’t completely free of cost, but it is highly affordable.

However, it is free to many Hungarian nationals, particularly children, parents of young children, the disabled, and other population subsets.

Even if you don’t qualify for totally free healthcare services, you can expect to pay no more than €25 for a basic visit, on average.

Recent widespread updates have significantly improved the quality of medical care in Hungary.

5. The Community Is Welcoming

Unlike some other countries that might feel more reserved and closed-off, Hungarian society tends to be warm and welcoming.

This often helps ex-pats assimilate more easily and avoid feeling isolated or out of place.

Particularly in larger urban centers like Budapest, many immigrants find themselves welcomed to community events and strongly supported as they find their place in their new homes.

6. There Are Many Schooling Options

Public education in Hungary is free, both for primary schoolers and university students.

However, there are also many international schools that offer multilingual or specialized education.

While these tend to be more expensive, they offer more options for ex-pats and their children, particularly if you want your family to study in both English and Hungarian.

This also offers the chance for you to advance your degree while living abroad. 

7. It’s Easy To Travel

Hungary is uniquely situated in Europe, making it the perfect jumping-off point for exploring the rest of the continent.

The country is completely landlocked, which means you can easily reach the border in a matter of hours to explore another culture.

Hungary borders Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Austria, Serbia, Slovenia, and Croatia, making it the perfect gateway between eastern and western Europe.

8. The Food Is Delicious

Hungarian food might not have the international reputation of French or Italian cuisine, but foodies will love living here.

Hungarian cuisine is varied and delicious, presenting plenty of opportunities for ex-pats to try new dishes that they’ve never had before.

As mentioned above, food is surprisingly cheap, which means you’ll get to try Hungarian specialties without straining your wallet.

In addition to delicious food, Hungarian wines are world-renowned.


Cons of Living in Hungary

There are also challenges to living in Hungary.

Here are a few things you should know before deciding to move to this country. 

1. Utilities Are Expensive

It is great to have low housing and grocery costs in Hungary, but don’t expect to skip out on utility costs.

In fact, utilities such as heating, electricity, and water are notoriously expensive in Hungary, particularly in larger cities such as Budapest.

According to some estimates, you can expect to pay, on average, about €150 every month in utilities, even if you are living in an apartment.

2. Learning Hungarian Is a Challenge

Hungarian is one of the most difficult languages in the world for non-native speakers, placing just after Chinese and Arabic in terms of difficulty.

It bears almost no similarities to English, grammatically or in terms of vocabulary.

The grammar rules are intricate and irregular, leaving many Hungarian students in despair.

Don’t expect everyone in Hungary to speak English, either — some estimates say only about 20 percent of the population is proficient in the language.

3. Salaries Are Low

While the cost of living in Hungary is low, salaries are unfortunately low as well.

Even professionals such as doctors have low wages, earning about 1.5 times the average salary rate.

The average worker in Hungary earns about 488,798 HUF per month — the equivalent of about €1221.

This is shockingly low in comparison to most countries, particularly in Europe.

Some people, however, find the more modest lifestyle manageable thanks to lower costs.

4. Taxes For Expats Are Complex

If you plan on living in Hungary as a non-resident, you can plan on filing a lot of complicated paperwork.

Taxes in Hungary are high as a rule, particularly when it comes to food; VAT is roughly 27 percent, higher than anywhere else in the EU.

But it is another beast altogether as an ex-pat, as Hungarian law has complicated rules for charging foreigners income tax, which can be a headache.

5. The Weather Can Be Changeable

The weather in many parts of Hungary, such as Budapest, is notoriously changeable.

As a rule of thumb, you can bank on the weather forecast only being accurate for about 48 hours in advance (in most places, the weather can be accurately predicted about a week in advance).

Summers are generally hot and rainy, while winters are snowy and cold.

However, the weather can change on a whim. 

6. The Cities Are Crowded

Wait, doesn’t Hungary have a lower-than-average population?

It does, but there is an exception — the major cities.

In metropolitan areas such as Budapest, Szeged, and Miskolc, you might be surprised by the huge crowds.

Hungary is uniquely situated between the East and the West, so its urban centers are hubs for diplomatic and government jobs.

In fact, Budapest alone is home to 1.8 million of the country’s 9.71 residents.

7. It Can Be Difficult To Find English-Speaking Professionals

Unlike in many other European countries, English isn’t widely spoken in Hungary.

This can be a particular barrier when you are looking for a specialist of some kind, such as a medical professional.

Most doctors in Hungary don’t speak English, making it a challenge if you are going in for an operation or find yourself in another unique situation.

This also applies to teachers and government officials.

8. Schools Aren’t Always What You’re Looking For

While there are many schooling options in Hungary, you might have a surprisingly hard time finding one that suits your or your family’s needs.

If you plan on sending your children to a free, public school, you can bank on them receiving the same Hungarian-language public education that other students do.

However, if you want a school that specializes in English-language or multilingual education, you may find yourself paying a hefty fee for private schooling.

Pros And Cons of Living in Hungary – Summary Table

Pros of Living in HungaryCons of Living in Hungary
1. Cost Of Living Is Low1. Utilities Are Expensive
2. Public Transportation Is Excellent2. Learning Hungarian Is a Challenge
3. Job Opportunities Are Abundant3. Salaries Are Low
4. Healthcare Is Affordable4. Taxes For Expats Are Complex
5. The Community Is Welcoming5. The Weather Can Be Changeable
6. There Are Many Schooling Options6. The Cities Are Crowded
7. It’s Easy To Travel7. It Can Be Difficult To Find English-Speaking Professionals
8. The Food Is Delicious 8. Schools Aren’t Always What You’re Looking For

Hungary Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Hungary Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Quality Of Life Like In Hungary? 

The quality of life in Hungary is a mixed bag. In some places such as Budapest, the quality is quite high.

However, looking at the country as a whole, there are good and bad scores.

For example, Hungary scores highly in terms of work-life balance and community.

However, it scores low — especially in comparison to other EU countries — in terms of health, education, and income.

Is Budapest a Good Place For Foreigners?

Budapest has a significant ex-pat community.

This community has come together in part because of the difficulty of assimilating into Hungarian society (largely because of the difficulty of learning the language).

In larger cities, these communities can be an excellent way to ease into Hungarian culture while still having the support of people who speak your language.

Is It Difficult To Move To Hungary? 

If you are moving to Hungary from another country in the European Union, immigrating is relatively simple.

It largely involves applying for a residence visa, which lasts for five years (though there will be more qualifications to meet if you plan to stay for longer or to become a permanent resident).

If you are moving to Hungary from a non-EU country, the process is a bit more complex and requires applying for a work permit as well as filing a lot of other paperwork.

Can You Live In Hungary Without Speaking Hungarian? 

It is extremely difficult to live in Hungary without speaking any Hungarian.

The exception might be in larger urban centers such as Budapest, which tend to have large ex-pat communities.

However, you cannot depend on the average Hungarian to speak English.

Only about 20 percent of the population speaks even conversational English, so learning Hungarian is vital.

What Is Hungary Known For? 

Hungary is well-known for its lovely architecture and cultural sites, particularly in Budapest.

It is also known for its hot springs, which make it a popular holiday destination for travelers visiting spas.

Hungary is famous for its cuisine, particularly national dishes such as goulash and paprika, and for its excellent wines.

2 Comments on 16 Pros And Cons of Living in Hungary

  1. I was happy to discover the fact that this country has so much to offer in terms of diverse experiences. It’s a land of history and tradition, with stunning architecture and charming towns that transport you back in time. Safety is generally not a big concern here, especially in the capital city, Budapest. However, the downside is the language barrier, which can make everyday life a bit challenging if you don’t speak Hungarian. The New York Café in Budapest is an amazing experience if you go there for the surroundings but the wait, the food, and the staff are downright horrendous.

  2. C
    Cristian says:

    The country’s architecture is a wonder to behold, with breathtaking castles like Buda Castle and the grandeur of Parliament in Budapest. Safety was not a significant issue in the tourist-friendly areas, though like any place, you should remain vigilant. The downside I encountered was the limited availability of English in some rural areas, making it a bit harder to communicate but you make do, they love having tourists in their country. If you haven’t visited Hungary yet I wholeheartedly suggest you do your research and book that plane ticket, you’ll love it!

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