Essential Tips For A Digital Nomad In Budapest

Essential Tips For A Digital Nomad In Budapest

In today’s edition of the Digital Nomad Series, I will teach you how to become a Digital Nomad in Budapest and take you to the capital of Hungary. 

A shorter or a longer stay, on a budget, or with some serious dough, just starting or a seasoned digital nomad, Budapest will cater to you.

So, here is your ultimate guide to making the best of your living in Budapest aka the Pearl of the Danube.

Get your pens and notebooks (yeah, I’m that kind of an old-fashioned gal) and start taking notes, because we have a lot to cover!

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Why become a digital nomad in Budapest
  • Cost of living
  • Weather
  • Visas
  • Top destinations for digital nomads in Budapest
  • Cool coworking spaces
  • Best places to stay (including a Budapest districts guide)
  • Best food to try (and where)
  • How to get around (bonus tip on how to reach the city from the airport)
  • Loads of practical advice and unique tips for before and after you get to Budapest

DISCLOSURE

Some of the links on here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.

digital nomad budapest

Related Digital Nomad Posts: 

Why Become A Digital Nomad In Budapest?

Budapest might not seem like an obvious choice for digital nomads, but trust me, there’s not a single person who has visited the city and hasn’t been enchanted by its genuine charm.

The Danube River flows throughout the city and separates its two most distinctive parts, hilly, aristocratic, green, and quiet Buda on the West and flat, popular, urban, and lively Pest on the East.

With affordable prices, a high level of safety, reliable and fast internet, cool cafés, and coworking spaces, Budapest offers everything a digital nomad needs and beyond.

Still not persuaded to become a Digital Nomad in Budapest? I have few more aces up my sleeve, that is, a few more…

Reasons Why You Should Become A Digital Nomad In Budapest

Fun Anytime

Budapest boasts historic sights, artistic architecture, delicious cuisine, vibrant nightlife, hiking and adventure opportunities, and an unmatched amount of thermal baths that you can enjoy all year round.

In The Heart Of Everything

Situated in the heart of Europe, Hungary and its capital have taken the best of both worlds and offer a unique mixture of Western politeness and Eastern friendliness.

Furthermore, this lucrative location also means you’re just a few hours away from any part of Europe. A 2.5-hour train ride will take you to Bratislava and a 3-hour one to Vienna.

Best Value For Money

Not to sound salesy, but…

The local currency is Hungarian Forint (HUF) and not Euro, which significantly lowers your expenses.

In other words, you can enjoy classic European culture without breaking the bank.

Do you know who has done this for years?

The movie industry.

The city has been repeatedly presented as Berlin, Paris, Moscow under your nose.

For example, in Red Sparrow, Jennifer Lawrence’s character does go to Budapest, but something you may not be aware of is that what is presented for the outside of and the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow is actually, the Palace of Art and Hungarian State Opera

Similarly, the lavish Moscow hotel interior is New York Café in Budapest.

You see what I mean, now? 🙂 If movies do it, why don’t you?

Before we continue, I have a confession to make:

DISCLAIMER

  1. Please, note that the article was written in February 2021 with numerous restrictions still in place. I have described Budapest considering normal circumstances. Before your trip, please refer to the websites of mentioned places (all provided) for the most up-to-date information regarding opening hours, entrance fees, or other expenses.
  2. All prices were converted into US dollars according to the exchange rate at the time of writing the article. Fluctuation is possible.

Now that I got this off my shoulders, we’re good to go! Where were we? Ah, yes!

digital nomad budpest

Cost Of Living In Budapest

As we already clarified, living as a Digital Nomad in Budapest is worth it financially, but how much does it cost exactly?

While it will highly depend on what you do and want to do, here are some basic indicators and their average prices:

Food

  • A meal out will cost you around HUF 1500-2000 ($5-7)
  • A loaf of white bread (500g) HUF 300 ($1)
  • Beef round (1kg) HUF 2700 ($9)
  • Local cheese (1kg) HUF 2200 ($7.40)
  • A regular cappuccino HUF 330 ($1.11)
  • A beer HUF 378-550 ($1-2), depending on whether you get it at a restaurant or on the market
  • Water (1.5l) HUF 120 (0.40)

Rent (Monthly)

  • One-bedroom apartment in the city center HUF 155 000 ($522)
  • One-bedroom apartment outside the city center HUF 118 000 ($397)

Utilities (Monthly)

  • Basic (electricity, heating, cooling, water, waste) for an 85m² apartment HUF 50 000 ($168)
  • 1 min of prepaid local mobile tariff (without discounts or a plan) HUF 28 ($0.09)
  • Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL) HUF 4500 ($15)

Transportation

  • Single ticket (public transport) HUF 350 ($1.2)
  • Taxi initial fare (normal tariff) HUF 700 ($2.36)
  • Taxi 1km (normal tariff) HUF 300 ($1)
  • Gasoline (1l) HUF 380 ($1.3)

More detailed information and tips regarding accommodation and transportation below, so keep n.

And here, you can find average prices for more products and services.

Weather 

Another great asset of living in Budapest is the mild climate and weather.

And although the borders between the different seasons have become more blurred in recent years, there are still four of them.

Let’s have a look at what to expect from each, as well as all the pros and cons.

Spring (March-May)

Pros

  • Shoulder season
  • Blooming nature
  • Mild temperatures starting from March average lowest 2°C (36°F) to May average highest 21°C ( 70°F)

Cons

  • Unstable and changing weather, especially in March (windy, rainy, snowy, sunny weather can all be experienced in one day); showers are common in May

Main Event/s

  • Budapest Spring Festival (Budapesti Tavaszi Fesztivál) – huge local festival celebrating various forms of traditional arts all over the city
digital nomad budapest

Weather in Budapest

Summer (June-August)

Pros

  • Summer nights (nothing more magical)

Cons

  • Peak tourist season
  • Higher accommodation prices
  • Hot weather with daily temperatures sometimes exceeding 30°C (86°F)

Main Event/s

Fall (September-November)

Pros

  • Shoulder season
  • Indian Summer in September till sometimes mid-October
  • Colorful leaves
  • Mild temperatures with September average lowest 12°C (54°F) to November average highest 8°C (46°F)

Cons

  • Sometimes it could get dark and gloomy and if your mood is weather sensitive, you might feel a bit down

Main Event/s

Winter (December-February)

Pros

  • Christmas decoration
  • Christmas light tram
  • Snow (whether this is a pro or a con might be subjective, but it doesn’t happen often and it definitely adds to the charm of the city, so I put it here)

Cons

  • Crowded with tourists and higher accommodation prices in December
  • Cold weather with daily temperatures varying between -5°C (23°F) and 0°C (32°F)

Main Event/s

  • Christmas fairs on main squares all over the city (from the end of November till the beginning of January)
  • Mangalica Festival in February – gastro festival to celebrate the Hungarian breed of domestic pig Mangalica – expect animal exhibitions, crafts stalls, as well as loads of Mangalica products and other food.
digital nomad budapest

Digital Nomad Visas In Budapest

While Hungary doesn’t have a specific digital nomad visa, there are plenty of opportunities to visit the country, and depending on where you come from and for how long you’re going to stay, you might not need a visa at all. 

Let’s take a deeper dive into all the visa matters, shall we?

European Union (EU) And European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals

If you’re a national of an EU or EEA member state, you need only a valid ID card or passport to enter Hungary.

Note: If you decide to stay for more than 90 days, you’ll need to register with the immigration office in Budapest and receive a resident card.

Nationals Of Special Agreement Countries

Hungary has signed special agreements with numerous countries whose nationals are exempt from a visa provided that their stay doesn’t exceed 90 days and they don’t intend to get employed.

Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Switzerland, USA are some of these countries.

Check the full list here, but make sure to read the small letters, so to say, as there are certain limitations and/ or requirements for the different countries.

All Other Nationals

If your country isn’t on any of the above-mentioned lists, you’ll need a visa to go to Hungary, respectively, Budapest, but hey, don’t get disheartened, there’s always a silver lining!

It’s the fact that Hungary is part of the Schengen Area (SA) – a zone of 26 European countries that have agreed to disregard their internal borders to facilitate the free movement of people between each other.

How’s this helpful?

If your stay doesn’t exceed 90 days and you have a visa from an SA member state, then you won’t need another visa for Hungary.

Alternatively, if you receive a visa for Hungary, you’ll be able to travel with it to all the other Schengen countries.

How cool is that? Pretty cool if you ask me!

Now, let’s see how you can get such a cool visa.

Schengen visa for short-term stays, that is, up to 90 days, is subdivided into Airport Transit Visa (A) and Short Stay Uniform Visa (C), and costs EUR 80 ($98).

Short Stay Uniform Visa (C) can be acquired for multiple purposes such as a tourist visit, educational and/ or scientific, friend or relative visit, business, medical treatment, cultural activities, conference attendance, and so on.

Each purpose must be certified with relevant supporting documents on top of the basic ones.

I’ll elaborate on the tourist one as the most popular among digital nomads.

Basic documents

  • Filled-in visa application form; downloadable here and submitted no longer than 6 months before the intended visit
  • Valid travel document
  • Travel medical insurance (with minimum coverage EUR 30 000 ($36 300))
  • Financial expenses coverage evidence

Additional documents

  • Travel agency certificate or if an individual traveler, the prepaid reservation of accommodation

Schengen visa for long-term stays (more than 90 days) is also available and requires an application for a residence permit. It costs EUR 60 ($72).

Here you can find detailed information regarding the application process and all the requirements for both short- and long-term Schengen visas.

Cheeky tip: The rumor on the street is that many people with Schengen visas travel to other non-Schengen countries (scroll to the bottom) in the region and in a way “prolong” their stay.

The 90 days that a Schengen visa is valid for could be spent uninterruptedly, or be interrupted (with visits to non-Schengen countries) and counted altogether within 180 days starting from the date of the first entry.

But you haven’t heard it from me 😉

IMPORTANT: Diplomatic relations and visas are dynamic matters. 

Make sure you check with your local diplomatic representative of Hungary and/ or the Consular Services website of the Hungarian Government for the most detailed and up-to-date information regarding visa requirements and application processes.

digital nomad budapest

Cool Co Working Places For Digital Nomads In Budapest 

Coffee shops are great, but if you need that more professional look and feel of an office while working as a Digital Nomad in Budapest, I have selected for you some of the coolest co working spaces Budapest has to offer.

They are all with great location and great reviews – the choice is yours:

In PEST

1.Impact Hub Budapest (District V)

Part of the eponymous worldwide chain of coworking spaces, Impact Hub Budapest is strategically located at one of the city’s transportation and meeting hotspots, Ferenciek Square.

Besides all you need to get your work done, Impact Hub Budapest gives its members the opportunity to meet and network with the local entrepreneurial community at numerous events it organizes.

A daily pass costs HUF 4900 ($17) and coworking membership prices start from HUF 15 000 ($51) for 20 hours per month.

There’s also an option for connect membership – a virtual membership to get in touch with like-minded people, including but not limited to entrepreneurs, activists, investors, creatives, freelancers, and mentors.

Connect membership can be paid monthly HUF 2500 ($8.45) or yearly HUF 30 000 ($102).

But probably the coolest perk is that you can use your global coworking passport and get three days for free. Perfect coworking space for a Digital Nomad in Budapest.

2.Kaptár (District VI)

Snuggled between St. Stephen’s Basilica and Andrássy Avenue, Kaptár is one of the first of its kind on the co working Budapest scene.

Used and favored by both local freelancers and digital nomads, it offers a wide range of services (meeting and workshop rooms, events, seats, short- and long-term coworking) and packages to cater to any taste and need.

All this combined with fast wi-fi, a self-service area for coffee, tea, and other beverages, and a carefully thought and designed interior.

A basic monthly membership package is EUR 18,90 + VAT* ($23 + VAT), while a short-term coworking full-day ticket will cost you EUR 15 + VAT ($18 + VAT).

*Standard VAT in Hungary is 27%

3.Muse (District XIII)

Find your coworking Muse (pun intended) in an office space like no other located on the Grand Boulevard.

Cast iron staircase and lavish chandelier will unleash your creativity, while the fast wi-fi and comfortable chairs will make sure all your work is done and saved.

Sad to leave your four-legged best friend behind?

Here you can bring him/ her so that you both enjoy the most exclusive coworking Budapest experience.

A daily pass costs HUF 3500 ($12), while a monthly one (20 hours), HUF 60 000 ($203).

In BUDA

Baobab Coworking Oasis (District XI)

True to its name, Baobab Coworking Oasis could possibly be the coolest co working office Budapest has to offer which caters for a Digital Nomad in Budapest.

Situated in the quieter and greener Buda, yet close to the city center and just a few meters away from the Gellért Hotel and Thermal Bath, it has combined the best of both worlds.   

Besides all the necessary office amenities, it also has a garden and welcomes furry companions.

A daily pass will cost you HUF 4300 ($15) and monthly membership, HUF 43 000 (145).

digital nomad budapest

Best Places To Stay In Budapest

I know you could hardly wait to start your digital nomad Budapest adventure, but hey, aren’t you forgetting something?

That’s right! You’ll need a place to call “home”.

To make an informed decision and find your best match, here’s the promised Budapest Districts Guide (and not only).

The Districts

Budapest is divided into 23 districts, unwinding clockwise, each with a number and name, as well as its own character and charm, positives, and negatives.

You didn’t become a digital nomad to continue commuting, so the best districts for you will be the ones including the city center and the neighboring peripheries of those around it.

All detailed below.

Another important thing to decide on is Buda or Pest?

As you already know Buda is the greener, quieter, and more aristocratic one, while Pest is the more urban, busier, and more popular one.

But don’t be intimidated if it’s said that a certain district is more at the higher price end or is noisy, cause with persistence, curiosity, good planning and timing, you can find your ideal haven in any part of the city.

1.Varkerület aka Castle District (District I)

Location:

Buda; encompassing Castle Hill, Tabán, Krisztinaváros, and parts of Gellért Hill

What to expect:

Vibe:

Historic, romantic, green

Best area/s to consider:

Around Batthyány Square for top transportation; around Buda Castle and the Gellért Hill part for maximum historic and/ or green and relaxing experience

Prices:

On the higher end

Who is it for:

People who prefer quieter and more old-townish surroundings

2.Belváros-Lipótváros (District V)

Location:

Pest; stretching on the Danube bank between Margaret and Liberty Bridges

What to expect

Vibe:

True downtown

Best area/s to consider:

The aforementioned cute, quiet side streets – to get the best of both worlds; for example, Váci Street’s side streets

Prices:

On the higher end

Who is it for:

People who like to be at the center of life and action and the busyness of a downtown area

digital nomad budapest

3.Terézváros (District VI)

Location:

Pest; between Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Road and Heroes’ Square

What to expect:

A combination of culture and shopping:

Vibe:

Artistic, classic, cultural

Best area/s to consider:

Around Kodály körönd

Prices:

Higher on the part of Andrássy Avenue around the opera, but good deals past Oktogon in direction of Heroes’ Square.

Who is it for:

Culture lovers

4.Erzébetváros (District VII)

Location:

Pest; enclosed between Király Street, Erzsébet körút, Dohány Street, and Károly körút

What to expect:

  • Former Jewish Quarter now turned party district with all the infamous ruin pubs
  • Street food, beer gardens, specialty cafés
  • Dohány Street Synagogue – the biggest synagogue in Europe
  • New York Café aka “the most beautiful café in the world”

Vibe:

Hipsterish and lively

Best area/s to consider:

This is the smallest district, so no particular area to concentrate on

Prices:

Affordable

Who is it for:

Young and young-spirited people that want to be close to a vibrant nightlife

5.Ferencváros (District IX)

Location:

Pest; large area on the South of the city center divided into three smaller sections 

What to expect

Vibe:

Lively, urban, industrial

Best area/s to consider:

Around Kálvin Square, the Central Market Hall, Ráday Street, or Boráros Square

Prices:

Relatively cheap

Who is it for:

People who want to get a glimpse of locals’ every-day life yet stay close to the city center

digital nomad budapest

6.Újbuda (District XI)

Location:

Buda; a huge district that stretches from parts of Gellért Hill to residential areas with socialist apartment buildings; the part bordering with District I is one of the best neighborhoods Budapest has

What to expect:

Vibe:

Hipsterish, green, and artistic in the parts closer to the city center, residential in the other areas

Best area/s to consider:

Around Móricz Zsigmond Körtér and Gellért Hill

Prices:

Rather high

Who is it for:

People who prefer more chilled and green surroundings yet are one step away from the city center

7.Újlipotváros (District XIII)

Location:

Pest; this is actually the inner part of District XIII starting from Margaret bridge and running on the Danube bank parallel to about half of Margaret Island

What to expect:

Interesting modernist architecture and plenty of hipster cafés

Vibe:

Calm, trendy, family-friendly, well-off residential area

Best area/s to consider:

Around Pozsonyi Avenue

Prices:

Relatively high

Who is it for:

People who want to be close enough to the heart of the action yet far away from the noisier central locations. Perfect for a Digital Nomad in Budapest that want a bit of peace and quiet.

digital nomad budapest

The Accommodation In Budapest

Now that you have found your Budapest best district to live in, it’s time to decide on the type of accommodation while living as a Digital Nomad in Budapest.

Hostels

Suitable for short-term budget stays:

Or, choose for yourself on the Hostelworld website where you can search for the best hostel deals in the city. Private and communal dormitory rooms are also available.

Short-term Apartments

If you’re not a hostel person and prefer to live in closer to every-day life conditions, consider checking Booking.com Apartments.

It doesn’t allow for bookings longer than 30 nights and prices for a one-month stay in April 2021 start from around $600.

Too pricey for you? 

Why not look for a room in a shared apartment on the Roommates Budapest website.

Long-term Apartments

Bear in mind that it’s highly probable that you sign a contract for half a year. Although the majority of landlords prefer it to be for a year.

Find your perfect match on any of the following websites:

AirBnB

This might be your best option to consider as you can rent an apartment for shorter than half a year and also get a discount for it.

There are plenty of fully-equipped apartments at every corner of the city and depending on when you go, you can catch a pretty good deal.

For reference, this amazing flat with a perfect location at the heart of District VII yet in a quiet area could be yours for around $500 per month (Note: provided price checked in February 2021 for a stay from March 1st to May 31st for one person).

Cheeky tip: Don’t ask me where I get these ideas from (you haven’t heard it from me ;)), but consider booking on the official website for a certain amount of time and then negotiate the remaining with the owner splitting the gain, so to say – what a great deal for both of you!

Coliving

If you prefer to live together with other people and be one big family, check Coliving Budapest or Loft Hostel and Co-Living Budapest.

Both specifically cater for Digital Nomads in Budapest.

Hungarian food

Best Food To Try In Budapest

Part of the excitement to be a Digital Nomad in Budapest is the opportunity to try different and/ or local specialties.

Your Budapest digital nomad experience won’t be complete without devouring at least one of the following Hungarian culinary masterpieces:

Local Specialties

Meet, Paprika, And Not Only

  • Goulash – the national dish of Hungary is a spicy soup that consists of largely chopped beef, potatoes, carrots, and paprika
  • Marha pörkölt – paprika beef stew served with various side dishes; most often with dumplings  
  • Csirkepaprikas – chicken stew in paprika sauce also usually served with dumplings
  • Főzelék – a vegetable stew for the vegetarians
  • Lángos – the star of the local street food, although you won’t really find it in the streets (except Christmas markets and other festivals and fairs). It’s a big deep-fried flatbread topped with garlic, sour cream, and grated cheese.
Hungarian dessert

For The Sweet Tooth-s

  • Somlói galuska – a trifle dessert with layers of sponge cake and custard cream, topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce
  • Dobos cake –  alternating layers of sponge cake and chocolate buttercream topped with a signature triangular piece of hardened caramel 
  • Eszterházy cake – layers of cognac or vanilla-spiced buttercream and walnut meringue dough, glazed with fondant with a spider-web-like chocolate pattern
  • Kürtőskalács (Chimney cake) – a spit cake covered with sugar and a wide variety of toppings such as cinnamon, chopped walnuts, coconut shreds, or cocoa powder

Where To Eat Them

A budget option will be to check the food courts at local market halls. Perfect place for a Digital Nomad in Budapest on budget.

The Central Market Hall might be the biggest and most famous one, the truth is, however, there are market halls in every district.

The website is in Hungarian, but use the map or the drop-down menu to localize the one closest to you.

If you prefer a more restaurant-like atmosphere, head to Frici Papa at Király Street or the more mid-range priced Getto Gulyas close to Szimpla.

For a classic sweet experience, try artist Café (Művész Kávéház) on Andrássy Avenue, Gerbeaud and Szamos Gourmet House on Vörösmarty Square, or Ruszwurm in the Castle District.

And the best chimney cake you’ll find at Molnár’s Kürtőskalács on Vaci Street.

Anything Else?

Well, yes! Budapest could be easily called a culinary haven and new and interesting places pop up constantly while others keep traditions alive.

Below are few options to consider when choosing where to spend your hard-earned money when it comes to filling up your tummy.

On A Budget

As in any other city, street food is the cheapest option and the leading actor on the Hungarian culinary stage is the gyros (prices varying between HUF 600-1000 ($2-3.30)).

You can find it literally everywhere, but one of the best are those at Istanbul Kebab on Móricz Zsigmond Körtér or at Szeráj Turkish Restaurant on the Grand Boulevard.

Another wallet-friendly option is Chinese restaurants with big portions gravitating around HUF 1000 ($3.30).

Try Madárfészek in District XI or Hang Zhou in District VII.

Mid-range

The choices are close to infinity but consider the following:

Zeller bistro – a homey bistro close to St. Stephen’s Basilica with a cheerful and friendly atmosphere devoted to preparing its dishes with ingredients from local producers

Café Vian – diverse menu with both local and international cuisine specialties, relaxed atmosphere, and superb service right at the heart of Liszt Ferenc Square

Mazel Tov – delicious Mediterranean food in a unique garden atmosphere in District VII

For Those Special Occasions

When you feel lucky and want to spend some cash, or simply spoil yourself, try the below:

Costes – Budapest’s first Michelin-star restaurant located at the gastronomic Ráday Street

Párisi Udvar – the café and brasserie of the eponymous luxury hotel, former headquarters of the Downtown bank at Ferenciek Square

Gundel – one of the most famous and emblematic Hungarian restaurants located in the City Park (Városliget) with history dating since the 1910s

What About The Vegans?

Fear not, dear vegans! I got you too!

Try Napfényes Restaurant and Confectionery and Vegacity on the Pest side and the best vegan burgers and not only at Vegan Love, two locations on both Pest and Buda sides.

digital nomad budapest

How To Get Around 

Budapest is a city you can explore in literally, any possible way. It is a really good way to immerse yourself in the culture while living as a Digital Nomad in Budapest, to try different transport options.

Walk, walk, walk

Hungary’s capital is very walkable and you’ll see that you can get pretty much anywhere on foot.

If you’re tired or need to get somewhere faster, however, you can use any of the below options.

Scooter

Gaining popularity in recent years, scooters are a great way to move around in any city.

In Budapest, you can use Lime, as well as Bolt. Fares for the first one start with an initial HUF 250 ($0.9) and then HUF 50 ($0.16) per minute.

On average, the price for one ride is HUF 1000 ($3).

Note: To rent a scooter, you’ll need a QR reader, the relevant app, a valid phone number, and an e-mail address.

Bike

There are multiple bike lanes around Budapest, so you can easily quench your two-wheel passion.

MOL BuBi and the Donkey Republic provide the most well-developed network of bike rentals.

The first one is currently being upgraded and due to restart in the Spring of 2021, so keep an eye on its website.

The second one offers both ride-only and membership options. 

Ride-only prices start at HUF 500 ($1.7) for less than 15 minutes and monthly membership prices, at EUR 15 ($18) for 1-hour rides.

You can even get your own bike for 7-day rides for EUR 35 ($42)/month.

Public Transport

Budapest boasts a well-developed and highly-effective transport system that includes buses, trams, trolleys, metro, and even ferries.

Night buses and the 24/7 tram 6 that runs on the Grand Boulevard ensure your travel at practically any hour.

Budapest Transport Center (Budapest Közlekedési Központ, or BKK) is in charge of the smooth operation of the city’s public transport.

A single ticket costs HUF 350 ($1.20) and it’s valid for all means of transportation, except ferries. 

IMPORTANT: I know you want to save money, but in Budapest, forget about free riding.

Validating your single ticket is a MUST.

Look for yellow or orange machines before getting on the metro or after you boarded a bus, tram, and trolley. 

Insert the ticket in the machines and wait for the sound and light indicator that it has been punched and/ or stamped with a date.

Trust me, no need to clash with the inspectors and the hefty on-the-spot fine of HUF 16 000 ($55) they won’t hesitate to impose on you.

You don’t have to validate your travel pass, but only show it when boarding a vehicle and if you’re asked for it.

Both tickets and travel passes are purchasable from the ticket vending machines located at every metro station and certain tram/ bus stops. 

Some travel passes and cards are also purchasable in digital form via the BKK mobile app at no additional cost.

Options to consider:

  • A compound of 10 single tickets for HUF 3000 ($10)
  • 15-day Budapest pass for HUF 6300 ($21)
  • Monthly Budapest pass for HUF 9500 ($31)

Check the BKK website for more travel details and options. 

Taxi 

Uber doesn’t operate in Budapest, but there is Bolt instead.

The company functions on the same principle as Uber, but their cars look just like a normal taxi and thus, are easier to recognize. This is by far the cheapest and safest way to travel by taxi in the city.

Other regular taxi companies, but more expensive, that you could opt for are Taxi4 and City Taxi.

IMPORTANT: By no means hail a taxi on the street or get into taxi cars with “Freelancer” written on them, cause you’ll see your hard-earned money speeding away faster than the Road Runner.

BONUS TIP

If you’re arriving by plane, there are three ways to get to the city from Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD):

  1. By Taxi

Use the only authorized taxi company at the airport, Fő Taxi, and avoid any other approaching you on the spot. 

It’s traffic dependent but the cost will be approximately HUF 8000 ($27).

  1. By Airport Transfer

A pre-booked service with prices varying according to the number of passengers. 

You can choose from these three companies with good reviews:

  1. By Public Transport

Two options here:

  • Bus 100E takes you directly to the city center and thus, you’ll need a special ticket that costs HUF 900 ($3) (one-way).
  • Bus 200E – take it to its last stop Kőbánya-Kispest M (not to be confused with an earlier stop with a similar name Kőbánya-Kispest P + R) and there, transfer to Metro 3 (Blue) line

You’ll need two regular single tickets, a total of HUF 700 ($2.5).

All tickets are purchasable from the ticket vending machines in front of the airport.

digital nomad budapest

Things To Do as a Digital Nomad In Budapest

This is when your digital nomad Budapest experience reaches stellar heights. 

Are you ready to take off?

Have A Cup Of Work

It’s not a secret that coffee shops are one of the digital nomad’s havens where they can have a cup or two of their preferred drink and finish some work too.

Below are three of Budapest’s bests boasting delicious offerings, amazing location, and all you need to get your work done:

Magvető – unique interior, plenty of sockets, cultural programs and events; a Cappuccino costs HUF 400 ($1.35)

Flow Specialty Coffee and Bistro – breakfast and lunch also available, plenty of sockets, not the best wi-fi speed for video upload, but perfect for any other activities; a single shot of coffee is HUF 500 ($1.7)

Madal – multiple locations, all great, but the one on Alkotmány utca (utca = street) is also a vegan restaurant, has a terrace and fast wi-fi on the terrace; an Americano costs HUF 750 ($2.45)

Free “Vi-Fi” 

No, this is not a mistake, but how Hungarians pronounce wi-fi (more about this unique language below).

There will be times when you don’t want to spend money and/ or drink anything or simply need to complete some work fast and you need an internet connection to do so.

Enter Budapest free wi-fi.

You can find it in the shopping malls; probably, the most business-friendly is MOM Park on the Buda side, but you can also try West End Shopping Center, right next to Nyugati Railway Station.

Naturally, this is not the best possible connection and it’s a public network, so don’t do any information-sensitive work.

Another option is to use the internet the city provides at certain squares, trains, and libraries, or if the signal is strong enough and there is no password just get closer to a said café or restaurant without entering.

This map gives you all the free wi-fi hotspots in Budapest and whether you’ll need a password or not.

digital nomad budapest

Play The Tourist

What’s the point of living in a foreign city without exploring its sights?

And you’ll have a hard time checking all of them in Budapest, but here are some that you cannot skip and the best thing is that with few exceptions (mentioned at the end of the section), they are all free:

  • Fisherman’s Bastion (Halászbástya) –  make everyone on Instagram jealous of your perfect panoramic shot from these picturesque turrets
  • Matthias Church (Mátyás-templom)* – admire this neo-Gothic masterpiece with its colorful-tiled roof
  • Buda Castle (Budavári Palota) and Castle Garden Bazaar (Várkert Bazár) – stroll around and take more panoramic pics
  • St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István Bazilika)** – see the mummified right hand of the country’s first king and founder of the Hungarian Christian state, Stephen I
  • Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere) – meet Hungary’s “A-Team” 
  • Vajdahunyad Castle (Vajdahunyad vára)  – look for your prince or princess in its courtyard.

Rent a boat or a sea bike and row or pedal in the lake in front of the castle in the Summer or ice-skate in the Winter.

Stroll on the banks of the Danube.

*Entrance fee for the church HUF 2000 ($7), for the tower HUF 2200 ($7.50)
**
Entrance fee for the basilica’s circular lookout HUF 1000 ($3.40)

digital nomad budapest

Wash The Fatigue Away

I won’t lie to you, this is not the cheapest thing you can do in Budapest, but living in the city and not going to one of its thermal baths equals going to the Vatican and not seeing the Pope.

Széchenyi (Széchenyi fürdő) and Gellért (Gellért fürdő) Thermal Baths are the most popular ones and not surprisingly, depending on when you go, they might get overcrowded.

Weekday and weekend tickets for the first are HUF 3500 ($12) and HUF 3900 ($13), respectively.

While the latter is slightly more expensive – HUF 3900 ($13) and HUF 4500 ($15).

Skip the crowds and save some money by opting for the less popular, but equally amazing Lukács Thermal Bath (Lukács Fürdő), which also offers an afternoon ticket (after 5 p.m.) for HUF 2500 ($8.5) on weekdays and HUF 3000 ($10) on the weekends.

Up, Up, On The Hill

Buda Hills provide a great opportunity for hikers or for anyone that would like to have a nice walk in the forest.

In the city center, you can climb Gellért Hill and admire the whole of Budapest and its eight bridges on the Danube unfold in front of you.

A two-hour walk from the city center or a 20-min bus ride with bus 21A will take you to Normafa where you can have a picnic (grill areas also available), play outdoor games, run, slide with a toboggan in the Winter, and take a stroll through the forest to the highest point of Budapest, Elisabeth Lookout at János Hill.

Pump It Up

If you’re more of a training beast, you can keep your shape at any of the Life1 gyms with prices starting at HUF 2599 ($9) for a single visit.

digital nomad budapest

Cultured

Budapest’s cultural scene is as vibrant as its nightlife.

There are tons of cultural events and museums to explore.

Here are some more regular ones with normal full-price entrance fee in brackets:

And here are some not so regular ones:

  • House of Terror (Terror Háza) – a unique museum to commemorate the victims of the fascist and communist regimes in the country, situated in the actual building where the first were detained, tortured, and/ or killed (HUF 3000 ($10))
  • Memento Park – an open-air museum that exhibits monumental statues and sculpted plaques from the Communist period of Hungary (HUF 1500 ($5))
  • Museum of Sweet and Selfies (Combined ticket with access to both museums HUF 4990 ($17)
  • Budapest Pinball Museum (Flippermúzeum) (HUF 3500 ($12))

Saving tips:

  • Use the Budapest card that offers free entry to the majority of the city’s museums together with other discounts such as free public transport, historic sights, and tours; a 3-day card costs EUR 44 ($53)
  • Visit your chosen museums on a national holiday, March 15, October 23, or August 20, when they are free to enter
  • Take advantage of the Night of the Museums (Múzeumok Éjszakája) when museums all over Hungary stay open till late in the night and offer various programs and discounted prices; it usually takes place in June. Website currently under renovation.

For The Adventure Spirited

Here are few places where you can get your adrenaline running high:

Zoo Café – play with snakes, iguanas, chameleons, and some fluffier creatures while sipping a drink and munching a snack of your choice; a reservation is advisable.

Escape room – Budapest boasts a myriad of escape rooms. Besides turning into a pirate, spy, or another “more regular role”, you can become part of your favorite TV series and franchises: Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Hunger Games, and Marvel, to name a few.

Prices vary per room and number of participants, but to get an idea, you can fight for the Iron Throne or shout “Avengers Assemble!” from HUF 4950 ($17) per player for two people to HUF 2750 ($10) per player for six people. 

Caving – believe it or not, the very same waters that supply Budapest’s thermal baths have formed a vast network of caves under the city.

The caves are available for walking, touring, and more adventurous activities.

Tours should be booked two-three days in advance. The duration varies from 2.5 to 4 hours, while prices start at HUF 7000 ($24) for a walking tour.

digital nomad budapest

Drink The Night Away

Finally! I mentioned so many times Budapest’s vibrant nightlife that I probably already owe you two beers.

Here’s where you can get them (and not only):

  • Ruin Bars are without a doubt the local treat you cannot spare trying. You’ll be amazed, startled, or why not charmed by their absurd look.

Half mannequins, bikes hanging from the walls and the ceiling, bathtubs and Soviet Union cars for chairs…the list of eccentricities goes a long way.

Pay a visit to the most famous and first of its kind ruin bar Szimpla, but pop in Instant-Fogás and Csendes too.

  • 360 Bar – as the name suggests you’ll have a 360-degree view of Budapest.

Situated on the top of a building on the Hungarian Champs-Élysées, Andrássy Avenue (Andrássy út), this bar is open all year long, offering igloos in the Winter.

Make sure you have a reservation, cause with a view like this and such extras, it does get crowded.

  • Pontoon took off just a few years ago and quickly became a favorite party place for tourists and locals alike.

It’s located right at the foot of the Chain Bridge on the Pest side and offers live music together with unmatched views of the river and Buda sights on the opposite bank.

The only negative is that it operates from the end of March till the beginning of October.

  • A38 – luckily there is this former ship turned concert hall, bar, gallery, and restaurant that you can enjoy all year round.

You’ll find it at the foot of Petőfi Bridge on the Buda side.

Meet The Fellows

Being alone in a foreign city might get overwhelming sometimes, but worry not, I, or Budapest, got you covered.

Kill two (or more) birds with one stone by taking a Free Walking Tour where you can not only meet fellow adventurers but also learn more about Budapest.

Or join the Budapest Digital Nomads Facebook Group where you can get to know other like-minded people and also read about events, job, and accommodation opportunities in the city.

Other useful Facebook Groups are Hungary EXPATS 🙂 and Women of Budapest. These are private groups and have certain rules and requirements to join, so read them carefully and if you find it a match for you, go ahead.

Lastly, there is also Digital Nomad Hungary, which offers exclusive digital nomad services such as events, a digital nomad Budapest guide book (EUR 2.99 ($4)),  24/7 phone support, nomad friendly accommodation, and discounts.

Their packages start at EUR 0.49 ($0.6) per day.

digital nomad budapest

Beyond Budapest

Living in Budapest means you’re not more than a 3-hour train ride from even the farthest points of the country.

Within 40 minutes by train, you can go to the “beach” at Lake Velence and in less than two hours you can reach Lake Balaton aka the Hungarian sea.

Hop on the suburban train or HÉV to visit the Mediterranean and artistic-vibed Szentendre or head to Gödöllő to explore Queen Elisabeth’s (“Sisi”) favorite Royal Castle.

Saving tip: If you have a Budapest public transport monthly pass, you need to pay just the difference that goes beyond the city borders. Also, you can get a discounted ticket to Lake Velence.

One-day trips to Vienna or Bratislava are also more than doable.

Margaret Island (Margit sziget)

They say save the best for last.

New York may have Central Park, but Budapest has Margaret Island. 

I am writing about it separately, cause that’s truly one of the greatest places in Budapest where you can do a wide variety of activities on your own, with your new friends, or romantic partner at some to no cost at all:

Here are few ideas:

  • Make a full circle of the island – walk or run, it’s up to you
  • Contemplate and get inspired at the Japanese garden
  • Watch the Musical Fountain Show
  • Sunbathe, relax, play some outdoor games, have a picnic in the big green areas
  • See a concert at the Water Tower open-air stage
  • Go to the Palatinus open-air bath and water park (Weekdays HUF 2600 ($9), weekends HUF 3100 ($11))
  • Rent a quadricycle (HUF 4490 ($15) for one hour)

What Should I Know Before (And After) Going To Budapest?

Any travel abroad can turn into a disaster, to make sure this won’t happen to your digital nomad Hungary exploration, here are some unique tips and things to be aware of.

Stay Safe

Budapest is a safe city and it won’t take long to feel at ease there.

Still, trust your gut feeling and apply common sense, don’t walk alone in dark suspicious areas.

District VIII has always been dubbed the roughest and while this image has started to fade away in recent years, you’ll fare better if you visit it before dark.

Be respectful and understandable towards local people and other visitors alike – different people, different cultures, different ways.

Make sure you have all the important emergency numbers at hand and use them if in trouble:

112 – common emergency number (like 911 in the USA)

104 – ambulance and emergency medical services

105 – fire-brigade

107 – police

digital nomad budapest

On The Street

One of the not-so-positive things about Budapest that may startle you is that there aren’t any stray animals in the city center, but you’ll see a lot of homeless people and beggars.

The first sometimes form small communities in subways, the latter are more common in the touristy areas.

Money, money

Tipping

Tipping is not compulsory but rather a matter of courtesy in Hungary.

The advisable amount is 10-15% of your bill and it’s not limited only to restaurants, but goes as far as to taxi drivers and hairdressers. 

Cash

Always, always have cash with you. Card terminals are increasingly common and even taxi drivers have them, but small shops, eateries, or crafts stalls might not be equipped.

This leads me to another point: if you need to withdraw money, use the ATMs of respected banks. Best if it is the ATM of your bank as then you won’t be charged any additional fee.

By all means, AVOID the blue-yellow ATMs in the streets, cause their transaction fees are as steep as Mount Everest.

Hungarian Forint vs Euro

As you already know, Hungary is part of the European Union, but the country hasn’t yet accepted the Euro as its official currency.

Still, you’ll notice that at certain places you’ll be able to pay in Euros – DON’T.

The exchange rate isn’t unified and more often than not, is not in your favor. 

Always pay in Hungarian Forints.

Discounts

If you happen to be a student with a valid student ID, bring it along, cause you’ll have a chance to get loads of discounts at a wide variety of places, including but not limited to museums, restaurants, and cinemas.

Speaking about the latter, even if you’re not a student, both large cinema chains and small art cinemas have a discounted day for all their customers. 

For the first, it used to be Wednesday, while for the latter it varied per cinema.

Check the websites for the most up-to-date information.

digital nomad budapest

BudapeSHt

Ah, the time has come to get a glimpse of the unique Hungarian language or Magyar, as promised.

It’s one of the most difficult languages in the world and even words that sound alike in many other languages, such as “police”, “hotel”, and “piano”, are completely unrecognizable in Hungarian.

Learn the first below and check the other two for yourself.

Now don’t get scared, you’ll be just fine with English.

But when you are living as a Digital Nomad in Budapest, you can warm the locals’ heart and have yet another achievement to show off with by speaking the local lingo.

I have prepared some useful and vital words and phrases for you.

For a start, bear in mind that “s” is pronounced like “sh” and “sz” is pronounced like normal “s”.

EnglishHungarianPronunciation
Hello!/ Good afternoon!Jó napot (kívánok)!Yoo napot (kiivaanok)!
Hi! (plural and singular)Sziasztok!/ Szia! Siastok!/ Sia!
Do you speak English?Beszél angolul?Besiil angolul?
I don’t speak Hungarian.Nem beszélek magyarul.Nem besiilek madyarul.
Only English, (please).(Kérem), csak angolul.(Kiirem), chok angolul.
Thank you! (long/ short)Köszönöm!/ Köszi!Kyosyonyom!/ Kyosi!
Excuse me!Elnészést!Elniisiisht!
Cheers!Egészségedre!Egiisshiigedre!
PoliceRendőrségRendyoorshiig
I’ll call the police!Hívom a rendőrséget!Hiivom a rendyoorsiiget!
Help!Segítség!Shegiitshiig!
Goodbye! (long/ short)Viszontlátásra!/ Viszlát!Visontlaataashra!/ Vislat!

Funny note: Don’t jump out of your seat when you hear “pu**y, pu**y” – Hungarians say it all the time. 

And while the language is abundant with swear words, this is not the case here. 

They’re simply sending each other kisses like in “hugs and kisses”, which in Hungarian is “puszi, puszi” and now you know how to read it correctly.

Connectivity

Internet Reliability

Speedtest Global Index ranks Hungary at number 10 among 175 countries in 2021. 

The country’s average upload (88.27 Mbps) and download (185.92 Mbps) speed in terms of fixed broadband are way above the world average, namely 51.28 Mbps and 96.98 Mbps, respectively.

The average mobile internet speed (upload 15.15 Mbps and download 46.62) is close to the world’s average but shows a growing tendency.

SIM Cards And Phones

There are three major telecommunications providers in Hungary: Telekom, Telenor, and Vodafone.

If you don’t have a European SIM card, make sure you get one here, especially if you intend to travel to other European Union countries.

Why?

There’s an agreement between the member states to abolish connectivity borders and as a result, even when you’re abroad, you’re charged as per your local plan.

Note: SIM cards are available at mobile provider shops, which in their turn can be found in the shopping malls.

Make sure you bring your ID card or passport, as well as the address you reside at, because you’ll need them to fill in the required papers.

Local Quirkies

The Sirens

While it’s understandable that ambulances are in a hurry and loud, Hungarian ambulances’ sirens are like no other.

Be ready to cover your ears if one happens to pass by you.

Pink And Blue (And Green)

In the supermarkets, if you want still mineral water, then you must buy one that has a pink cap.

Sparkling water comes with blue caps and then there’s something in-between still and sparkling that is with green caps.

digital nomad budapest

The Metric System

It’s a known fact that Europe and English-speaking countries use different metric systems, but then there’s Hungary that also separates itself when it comes to measures, more precisely that of capacity and mass.

At a restaurant, you’ll order 3 deci of say, lemonade (pronounced “detsi” and short for deciliter), which equals 300 ml.

Furthermore, quite often the prices for beverages are listed for 1 deci and not for a bottle or a glass, so if you order 3 deci, be prepared to pay triple the price on the menu.

At the supermarket or the market, buying cheese or meat or anything else loose, you’ll ask for 20 deka (pronounced as written and short for dekagram), which equals 200 grams.

Crazy, right?

“At Your Service”

It might be due to its rough past, I could only guess, but there is still a lot to desire from the service in Hungary.

If you’re coming from an English-speaking country, you may find the service at certain places in Budapest utterly rude.

Don’t take it personally and simply look for other places (and there are more and more of them) where you’ll feel welcome.

Conclusion

And there you have it, all you need to know to become a digital nomad Budapest edition. 

The Hungarian capital might not be as exotic and cheap as some more popular digital nomads destinations in say, Southeast Asia, but its multifaceted nature has a lot to offer and it’s a great value for money.

A rare gem that is worth being part of your nomadic travel collection.

So, are you going to add the Pearl of the Danube to it, or yes?

Essential Tips For A Digital Nomad In Budapest

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