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Budapest, Hungary

Budapest: The Heart Of Europe

As you walk through the streets of Budapest you will undoubtedly see reminders of Budapest’s rocky past, from bullet holes dotting the facades of the high arched historical buildings to the heart wrenching Shoes On The Danube monument which was created in memory of the Arrow Cross victims.  This is a city that has endured much hardship but it is a city of resilient people, proud people.  It is a city that is historically older than most and yet so new in its independence.

Budapest, now the country’s capital, located in Central Hungary with an area of about 203 square miles, was born when the three cities of Buda, Pest and Obuda came together in 1873.  Prior to this the capital of Hungary changed locations 12 times.

Budapest is divided by the Danube River into two sections, Buda and Pest.  The Buda side is hilly, quiet and primarily residential containing forests, which are environmentally protected, and the popular thermal spas.  Pest is flatter and bustling with energy and activity.  Here you will find the ruin pubs, open-air pools, opera house, shopping areas, cafes, and the Hungarian Parliament building which is notably the third largest in the world with 691 rooms and more than 12 miles of stairs.

It probably comes as no surprise that most expats living in Budapest call the Buda side home.

The very large parliament buildign by the Danube river glows in the light of the setting sun
The Hungarian Parliament is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary

The most universally recognizable feature of this grand city is its architecture.  By legislation, and in order to maintain the historic and beloved cityscape, building codes are very strict and the construction of buildings over 148 feet is quite limited.  The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and therefore all taller buildings must be kept outside the city’s core.

Gazing at the Budapest skyline is like taking a history of architecture 101 course.  There is evidence of Ancient, Gothic, Renaissance, Ottoman, Byzantine, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Art-Nouveau architecture as well as newer constructions which have been built in recent decades.

Budapest is going through a growth spurt with it’s population expected to increase by 10% in the next 13 years and is becoming a noteworthy economic hub with its strengths in commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, and education.

Budapest is the most populated city in Hungary with over 1.75 million people, it is also one of the most densely populated cities in the European Union.

Fun Facts

a black and white image of Elvis Presley doing his signature hip thrust moveElvis Presley was named an honorary citizen of Hungary for support he gave to the Hungarian people in their anti-Soviet revolution of 1956.    There is also a park named after the King of Rock and Roll  near the Margaret Bridge in Budapest.

an illustration of two water dropsBudaest has the most thermal springs in the world with over 18 million gallons of thermal water rising to the surface every day.

a yellow electric guitar

The Sziget Festival, held every August in northern Budapest, is one of the largest cultural and music festivals in all of Europe lasting one week and showcasing music from many different genres. Sziget has been voted one of the top five festivals in Europe.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Budapest, Hungary

ExpenseMonthly CostNotes
RentHUF 225,000 Unfurnished, two-bedroom apartment of 75-80 sq. meters in 5th or 6th district
GasHUF 10,000 For cooking and heating
TransportationHUF 12,000 Cost of metro ticket: HUF 400; Cost of monthly metro pass: HUF 9,500;  Cost of taxi per km: HUF 280
ElectricityHUF 20,000 A/C and heating usage.
WaterHUF 5,000
TelephoneHUF 10,000 Bundled with internet and cable
GroceriesHUF 80,000 Basic items for couple.
EntertainmentHUF 47,000Movie Tickets: HUF 1,500 per ticket; dinner and drinks for two: HUF 8,000; drinks for two: HUF 1,500
TotalHUF 409,000 US$1,496.30

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

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