Frequently Asked Questions about Hungary
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Will I need a car?
Hungary has a great public transportation network that connects all areas of the country. While cars are convenient when travelling outside of the larger cities they are not absolutely necessary. In larger cities like Budapest, it is best to use public transportation as the quality of the roads is not always up to the standards Western Europeans and North Americans would be used to, and there is a fair amount of traffic congestion during peak hours.
How bad is the weather in winter?
Like most of Europe, Hungary can get quite cold during winter. However, most residents and Hungarians enjoy skiing and a whole range of winter sports during the cold season. There are also a number of spas and resorts with natural hot springs that residents in Hungary can enjoy all year round.
Is it easy to buy a house in Hungary?
The property market in Hungary has taken off in recent years and many investors from Western Europe have chosen to buy property in cities like Budapest. Buying property isn’t difficult but there are a number of steps that need to be followed. Expats looking to buy property need to put in an application for a permit to purchase. This takes about two to three months to be completed. Alternatively, they can establish a local company in order to purchase property without a permit. This will also allow expats to buy additional properties at a later stage, if they wish, and allows certain tax benefits. As part of the process of purchasing a house, expats will have to hire a Hungarian legal representative.
Will I have access to English language media?
The larger cities in Hungary have a wealth of English language newspapers and magazines for expats available at news kiosks around the city. Many of the larger hotels also stock well-known weekly and monthly international newspapers, such as the International Herald Tribune, the Guardian International, the Financial Times and the European version of the Wall Street Journal. In Budapest, some of the popular English resources include the monthly Budapest Panorama and the weekly Budapest Times which will keep a person up to date on what’s happening in and around the city. Online, expats can access Hungary Around The Clock and All Hungary Media Group for local news in English.
Will I need to learn to speak Hungarian?
Although it is possible to get by without speaking the language, it's recommended that expats learn at least basic Hungarian. Not only will this make daily life easier, but it's also an important way of bonding with the locals and assimilating into their culture. Also, most of the older generation, especially outside of the big cities, speak only Hungarian or German.
Is it expensive to live in Hungary?
Hungary's cost of living is relatively low in comparison with the rest of Europe. Healthcare and public schooling is available at little or no cost. However, expats should be prepared to spend a significant proportion of their income on accommodation, especially if living in Budapest and other large cities. Food expenses can also start to add up if expats buy imported goods – purchasing food from a local market instead will bring the cost down substantially.