I spent 14 days in Budapest this October.
Here are a few notes and thoughts:
- Budapest is a lot more modern and Western than I expected. Especially the city center is very similar to Vienna.
- This also applies to the cost of living, which was not as cheap as I had hoped. Airbnb’s are quite cheap (~€30-40/night for an apartment in the city center). A good cup of coffee will cost you roughly €2.5. An average restaurant meal is about €10. Coworking spaces were surprisingly expensive, ranging from €10-18 for a day pass.
- To be fair though, most coworking spaces offer trial-days, so in theory you could probably work for free for almost a week just by visiting a different space each day. During my stay I worked from Impact Hub, KAPTÁR, LOFFICE, KUBIK and Mosaik. LOFFICE is probably the nicest space, but also the most expensive. My overall favourite was KAPTÁR: Open from 8:00 – 20:00, super nice staff + community, and they have standing desks.
- In addition to co-working spaces, you can also work from most coffee shops. People are super relaxed about you bringing a laptop and working for a while and there’s free WiFi everywhere. The Magvető Cafe was particularly nice for laptopping.
- Also: A lot of these places offer really good, third-wave-ish coffee. If I had to recommend one, it would be Espresso Embassy.
- As a flexitarian who hardly eats meat, I was a little concerned about the availability of vegetarian food in Budapest (Eastern European cuisine tends to be quite meat-heavy). To my surprise there were a lot of Jewish /Mediterranean restaurants, of which I can especially recommend DOMBRUMBA and Mazel Tov.
- Transportation: I already wrote a few words on how awesome Budapest’s metro system is. Uber has unfortunately been banned (for the usual technophobic reasons in Europe). Taxify is a pretty solid alternative though.
- As an avid swimmer, one of my metrics for quality of life is availability of swimming pools. I’ll give Budapest a 10/10 here. The Hajós Alfréd Nemzeti Sportuszoda is amazing (50m heated outdoor pool!); you should also make sure to visit one of the city’s thermal baths.