After careful deliberation (meaning: some half drunk conversations with friends, browsing through Wikipedia and Google Images, reading the occasional blog post, and in the end just going with my gut feeling) I settled on Budapest as my new home. I’ll fly there in the first week of May, and intend to stay for at least five months. I’m quite excited!
For my first month I already managed to secure a great apartment. I used my favourite service for short-term rental, Airbnb, and it didn’t let me down. I found a spacious flat on the ‘Buda’ side of the city, with lots of light and a view of the Danube river.
Five Reasons to move to Budapest
So why move to Budapest? I think there are some excellent reasons to move to Budapest. The five main ones are:
1. Cost of livingFor a European city, the cost of living is extremely low. It is 10% cheaper to live in Budapest than in Prague (another cool city in Central Europe). But the real difference is in the rental prices. The average apartment in Budapest costs half that of a similar place in Prague, and only a third of what you would pay in Vienna (source: Numbeo).
As an entrepreneur, I consider both the revenue and the cost of doing business. Working from Budapest, I make the same as I would from Amsterdam, but the cost is significantly lower. That leaves me with more profit, either to invest in my business or to spend on doing cool things.
2. Beautiful nature
Despite being home to over 1.7 million people, Budapest has some great natural scenery to offer. First of all there are the Buda Hills, a large area of forested hills, great for hiking and other outdoor sports.
Second, Budapest has many parks, which give the city a spacious and green feel. The largest are the City Park, Margaret Island, and the Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden. The parks are an excellent place to go running, to have a picnic in summer, or to simply enjoy a stroll. It makes Budapest all the more attractive as a city.
3. Rich history
The history of Budapest dates back to Roman times, although for most of the centuries since then the city existed as an insignificant provincial town. That is until the formation of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1867. Austria-Hungary was one of the great powers of Europe during the nineteenth century and lasted until the end of World War I. With the dominance of the dual monarchy Budapest also became a major centre of power.
At the beginning of the twentieth century Budapest had become a beautiful metropolis with stately buildings, monuments, broad avenues, and cafés frequented by artists and bohemians. Even though WWI ended its prominence and the city was in decline until two decades ago, much of its splendor is still visible today. Walking around in Budapest instils a feeling of grandeur.
4. Excellent nightlife
Budapest definitely comes to life at night. Whether it’s drinking cheap beers in the ruin pubs or dancing in the trendy clubs, you won’t be bored at night. The stunningly beautiful Hungarian women add to the attraction. Just type in ‘budapest nightlife’ on Google Images and you’ll immediately see what this city has going for it.
Is this really a reason to move to Budapest? Personally I’m not that much into clubbing. But I’m a night person, and I like to be surrounded by a good vibe when I go out at night. Budapest has it.
5. Large expat community
It turns out that Budapest has quite a large community of expatriates living and working there. They are, of course, attracted by the four reasons to live in Budapest mentioned above. At the time of writing Budapest had 6770 Internations members, 98 Meetup.com communities, and 22,557 CouchSurfing members. (Granted, not all of those are expats, but these communities are reasonable indicators of the international-mindedness of a city.)
While I am not afraid to interact with the locals, a sizeable expat community is a great thing to get started in a new city. These are people who know what it’s like to move there as a foreigner, and they can help you navigate the, sometimes murky, waters. The presence of foreigners also tends to attract certain useful stores and services that the natives don’t care for. Finally, since Hungarian is one of the most difficult languages to learn, it will be nice to find a lot of people who speak English.
Other cool things about Budapest
The five reasons above convinced me to move to Budapest. Here are some of the things that I’m looking forward to:
- Exploring the nature on Buda hill.
- Going for runs on Margaret Island.
- Enjoying cheap pints of beer in ruin pubs.
- Meeting the many gorgeous Hungarian women.
- Tasting the little known but supposedly good Hungarian wine.
- Getting massages in the city’s famous thermal baths.
- Eating goulash soup and stuffed peppers.
- Not paying a small fortune in rent each month.
Did I miss something? Are there more reasons to move to Budapest? Share them in the comments below!