- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Budapest Guide (PDF)
Budapest is a beautiful and inspiring city fast regaining its status as a creative hub in the heart of Europe. With incredible architecture and a rich cultural heritage, Hungary’s capital deserves its reputation as the 'Paris of Central Europe'. The picturesque setting on both sides of the Danube, the nine connecting bridges and the villas and public buildings all make Budapest easily one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Shopping in Budapest
For the shopaholic who wants a bit of everything, the malls in Budapest have a lot to offer. Some of the most popular include the WestEnd City Center, Corvin Plaza and the Mammut Shopping and Entertainment Centre, where a combination of familiar international brands and local shops can be found.
While there are many international brands in Budapest, young Hungarian designers offer an exciting shopping alternative. Király Street is known as Budapest's 'Design Street'. Here, expats can visit local fashion boutiques and browse the numerous home design shops full of locally made furniture.
Nightlife in Budapest
Hungarian wine is highly underrated and, aside from the well-known Tokaji, the country boasts a number of great wines. Expats can head to the city’s numerous wine bars to sample various wines in beautiful surroundings, such as the area around the famous St Stephen's Basilica.
Expats in Budapest should be sure to try out the city’s infamous 'ruin' bars. Built in abandoned buildings in Budapest's old Jewish Quarter, these bars have taken a largely minimalist approach to decor and setting and have become a defining symbol of Budapest culture. Each bar has its own distinct personality, with an eclectic mix of art and design, and diverse music and decor.
Eating out in Budapest
Expats looking to eat out in Budapest should banish all images of grey and unappetising goulash, as the city has an amazing array of restaurants catering to both local and international tastes. Downtown offers the most variety, where expats can find almost anything.
Those looking for global flavours will be spoilt for choice, as the city offers a variety of international restaurants, including Mexican, Italian, Chinese and American. Those looking for something local can sample authentic Hungarian cuisine, which is famed for its stews and pastries.
Drinking coffee is a serious business in Budapest and, as such, there are many great coffee houses where expats can watch the world go by while savouring the finest blends. Downtown Budapest houses many coffee shops and cafés that are always full of locals, students and entrepreneurs, and can be a perfect place to sit and enjoy some coffee.
►For information on how best to get around the city, see Getting Around in Budapest
"I pretty much live a hassle-free lifestyle in Hungary. I have no need for a car, as public transport is so good. Everything I want and need is here. I could not live in the US on my pension, but in Hungary, I live very well, travel all over the world and eat out several times a week. For me, the quality of life in Budapest is far superior to that in the US – at least these days!"
Read more about American expat Gary's experiences in Budapest.
Are you an expat living in Budapest?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Budapest. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.