As one of Europe’s most affordable and beautiful capital cities, Budapest has a thriving digital nomad scene.
Budapest is Hungary’s capital and its largest city, being among the top 10 most populous in Europe. It’s also increasingly becoming a magnet for tourists, as the 15th most visited city on Earth. Visitors are increasingly choosing it over the likes of London, Paris, Rome, and Berlin as a more beautiful and far cheaper vacation destination. In particular, it’s digital nomads who are taking advantage of a low cost of living among gorgeous, charming, and historic surroundings. The city was officially founded in 1873 when the three separate cities of Buda, Pest, and Óbuda combined to become one. Since then, it’s emerged as a truly global city, renowned for its tech, fashion, entertainment, and finance industries. The city center that lines the impressive Danube River is a UNESCO Heritage Site, meaning its character and beauty will be preserved. Budapest is proud of its history, having been a crucial part of the Roman, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian empires. Digital nomads can take advantage of this perfect fusion of the ancient and ultra-modern that Budapest has to offer.
Where to live in Budapest
Budapest is divided into two regions which are, somewhat satisfyingly, called Buda and Pest. The latter is the larger and more populous region while the former sits just across the river and up the hill. Much of the city is dominated by 19th-century architecture lining wide boulevards. Within the Old Town, you can experience more charmingly old buildings, some of which have stood since the 13th Century. With low rental prices, you can be picky about living in the finer areas of town.
Best Neighborhoods in Budapest
Budapest’s best neighborhoods are closer to the inner city, with central riverside locations being the most desirable. These areas do tend to be quite touristy though, meaning you may have to put up with crowds. For some, that offers energy and excitement. For others, it may quickly become tiresome. The latter group may wish to move slightly further out, which can generally be done safely. Some neighborhoods, such as District 8, have a historical reputation for being dangerous, but this is no longer the case and you should feel safe in all areas of Budapest.
Quick Facts About BudapestBefore you head to Budapest, why not study the city a little more closely? This can help you to avoid misconceptions about the region and start to understand a little more about what it will be like to live there. It may also help you decide whether this is the kind of place where you’d feel at home. To help you learn more about Budapest, here are a few quick facts.
Budapest is Hungary’s largest cityYou’ll struggle to feel lonely in Budapest. It’s home to more than 1.7 million people, making it one of Europe’s larger cities.
Budapest regards its Jewish history highlyLike many European cities, Budapest is keen to remember the plight of its Jewish population. This may explain why it’s home to Europe’s biggest synagogue.
Budapest has an old transport systemExcluding the UK, Budapest’s metro system is the oldest in Europe. Its famous funicular is pretty old, as well, opening in 1870 and still operating today.
Budapest has a secret network of tunnelsOkay, it’s not that secret anymore, but the city is sitting upon a labyrinth of tunnels connecting around 200 caverns. These have provided shelter for prehistoric settlers, prisoners, war-wounded hospital patients, and anyone fearing a nuclear attack.
Budapest has an enterprising historyErnő Rubik, inventor of the Rubik’s cube, and László Bíró, inventor of the biro pen, both lived in Budapest. These are just two examples of the innovative and enterprising attitudes of local people.
Budapest is divided cleanly by a riverThe River Danube is the second-longest in Europe. It neatly divides one side of Budapest from the other.
Budapest is a paradise of thermal bathsLooking at photos of Budapest, you’ll probably notice many thermal baths. In fact, it has more of them than any other capital city in the world.
Building heights are limitedYou won’t find any skyscrapers in Budapest. In fact, the tallest buildings are capped at 96 meters, referencing the year 896, when Hungary was founded. This helps the city maintain a historic charm.
Work in Budapest
As the powerhouse of Hungary’s economy, there are plenty of employment opportunities in Budapest. If you don’t speak Hungarian, however, then your options may be limited. With a large population of tourists and ex-pats, your best option may be to pursue jobs in the tourism industry. For more traditional employment, Budapest is home to some top tech employers including Vodafone, Nokia, and Ericsson. If you have the necessary skills and experience, then you may be able to land a stable job with one of these companies.
How good is Budapest for Digital Nomads or Remote Work
Remote work is changing how the global workspace operates. In a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down, remote work is rapidly on the increase all around the world—especially in a place like Budapest. And about 25% of remote workers describe themselves as digital nomads—those who like to travel or stay in cities around the world while they work. So, how good is Budapest for both of these growing movements?
Average Internet SpeedHungary has the 10th best fixed broadband speed in the world so you shouldn’t struggle to find a connection in its capital. Budapest’s download speeds average 42.77 Mbps.
Work-friendly Coffee ShopsBudapest bustles with quaint cafes that make for cozy and relaxing workspaces. If you’re looking to work remotely while in Budapest, then here are some of the best coffee shops for working: Massolit: If you feel comfortable working in a library-style setting, then Massolit is ideal. Combining a bookshop with a cafe, you’ll be surrounded by inspiring literature. Kelet: Located on the Buda side away from most of the coworking spaces and work-friendly coffee shops, Kelet makes for a quieter environment. Its walls are lined with books, offering a peaceful and intellectual atmosphere. Csendes Etterem: This beautiful and unique space is a joy to work in during the day, before transforming into a lively bar in the evening.
Coworking SpacesMany digital nomads call Budapest their home and this means that there are facilities in the city to help you focus and get more work done. Top-rated coworking spaces include: KAPTÁR: Conveniently located in the city center, KAPTÁR is one of Budapest’s most thriving and popular coworking spaces. It’s reasonably priced and offers high-quality equipment in a bright and airy space. Kubik: Located on the river, surrounded by bars and restaurants, Kubik is another conveniently-located workspace. There’s a good mix of comfortable chairs and work desks to cater to all needs. Loffice: With a youthful, energetic vibe, Loffice has been designed as a fun place to work. It’s just a stone’s throw from the inner city, as well. Budapest has plenty of coworking spaces, concentrated in and around the city center, on the Pest side of the river. They’re a great option if you need a greater level of concentration or want to meet other digital nomads in Budapest.
Suitable Level for Digital NomadsBudapest is one of the world’s most ideal cities for digital nomads. There’s already a large and established remote worker community and you’ll find it easy to get by as a foreigner. The city has been described as extremely liveable because of its low living costs and high level of safety. As a Budapest-based nomad, you’ll have access to top-class amenities as well as a friendly, welcoming vibe and the potential for a lively social life. You’ll also benefit from Budapest’s central European location, at the heart of a free travel area that spans 26 countries.
Visa RequirementsHungary became an EU member in 2004 and remains a member of the Schengen free-travel zone. This means that if you have the right to reside anywhere in the EU, then you also have the right to travel to and live in Budapest. Any time spent here will count towards your 90-day EU limit that is placed on citizens from the US, the UK, and elsewhere in the world. If you’re already in Europe, then you can normally travel to Budapest without even showing your passport. For stays of longer than 90 days, you’ll need a residence permit. This costs €60 (just over $70) to apply for and may be granted for the purposes of studying, working, or establishing a business.
Food and Drink in Budapest
In this lively tourist city, you’re never too far from delicious and reasonably priced food. Budapest is famous for its vegetable goulash, making this a fantastic destination for vegans and vegetarians. You can find it served in Vagon, a restaurant housed within an old train carriage. For an indulgent dessert, have a taste of Somlói Galuska. A combination of sponge cake, chocolate sauce, cream, raisins, and nuts, this is a perfect treat for a special occasion. It was actually invented in a Budapest restaurant called Gundel, where you can still eat today, as both the Pope and the Queen of England have done. If you’re looking for an alcoholic drink to enjoy one of Budapest’s famous nights out, then you have to sample some Pálinka. This is a strong spirit made from fermented plums, pears, or sloe berries. It’s usually served just after a meal but you can also order some at a bar. Top bars in Budapest include Szimpla Kert, Tuk Tuk, and Boutiq. These quaint old pubs have much of the same charm as the city’s coffee shops. Another popular drink is fröccs, which is a combination of soda water and wine to offer refreshment on a hot, sunny day.
Top 6 Things To Do in Budapest
Budapest is a tourist hotspot with plenty of attractions to keep you occupied during your free time. At some point, you’re bound to spend some time unwinding in the Széchenyi thermal baths, which can be accompanied by a massage and spa treatment. In terms of sightseeing, visit the Hungarian Parliament (the largest building in the country), the Opera House, the Fisherman’s Bastion, and Saint Stephen’s Basilica. For something a little different, check out the House of Terror, the Invisible Exhibition, and ride the world-renowned funicular up Buda Castle Hill. If you’re looking for day trips, then head out to Lake Balaton for a swim in the peaceful Hungarian countryside.
Budapest, Kazinczy u. 14
Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden
Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 6-12
Hungarian National Museum
Budapest, Múzeum krt. 14-16
Budapest, Balatoni út - Szabadkai utca sarok
Gellért Thermal Bath
Budapest, Kelenhegyi út 4