The cost of living in Hungary is much lower than in other European countries. In fact, the stunning capital, Budapest, was ranked 161st out of 227 cities in the Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2023, making it far cheaper than the likes of London and Paris, though pricier than Warsaw and Minsk.

Another plus for expats is that they tend to earn higher salaries than their Hungarian counterparts, affording them a better quality of life. However, as with anywhere, certain aspects of life can be expensive, and expats should adjust their budgets accordingly.


Cost of accommodation in Hungary

The primary expense facing expats in Hungary is accommodation. Rental costs can be particularly high for those living in urban areas, such as Budapest.

Naturally, the cost of accommodation in Hungary will largely depend on the property's location, size and condition. That said, it is not unheard of for Budapest residents to spend more than half their monthly salary on the combined cost of rent, mandatory household maintenance fees and utilities. Rental prices vary widely between the city centre and outer districts, and with enough searching, expats will find something that matches their needs and budget.


Cost of groceries in Hungary

After accommodation, the next most considerable expense for most people in Hungary is food, which accounts for approximately a quarter of the average Hungarian's monthly salary. Then again, compared to more expensive European countries, Hungary's grocery prices are a breath of fresh air.

Expats will find a delightful array of grocery shopping options that cater to all budgets. Those longing for a taste of home may find something to satiate their cravings at a Hungarian supermarket, but imported goods can be expensive.

From bustling local markets brimming with fresh produce to well-stocked supermarkets, expats can expect a gastronomic adventure. Abundant seasonal fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and locally sourced meats characterise Hungarian cuisine. To stretch their forint further, expats should consider sticking to home-grown brands and locally sourced ingredients.


Cost of eating out and entertainment in Hungary

Savouring Hungarian culinary delights is typically an experience that's easy on the pocket. Whether expats are craving a piping hot bowl of goulash at a cosy neighbourhood eatery or indulging in fine dining at an elegant restaurant, Hungary has a smorgasbord of options to suit every taste and budget. Remember that tipping is expected in Hungary and should be considered when budgeting for eating out.

Imported wine and beer are pricey, but expats fond of a drink or two will be pleased to know that Hungarian wine and beer are of excellent quality and are much friendlier on the wallet.

For those who relish cultural experiences, Hungary is home to a vibrant arts scene with theatres, concerts and galleries offering a captivating mix of traditional and contemporary works. Though ticket prices vary, there are typically affordable options for every form of entertainment.


Cost of transport in Hungary

Hungary's well-developed public transport system is convenient and highly affordable. A monthly ticket can be purchased for a reasonable price, providing access to unlimited trips on trams, buses, boats and, in Budapest, the metro.

A variety of tickets cater to diverse commuter needs, from single journeys to long-term passes. Additionally, taxis and rideshare services are readily available at competitive rates. For those considering owning a car, expenses such as fuel, insurance and maintenance are generally more reasonable than other European countries.


Cost of education in Hungary

For expats with children, the Hungarian public school system offers free education and the opportunity for youngsters to immerse themselves in the local language and culture. Although small additional expenses, such as school supplies or extracurricular activities, might be incurred, these costs are usually manageable.

On the other hand, expat parents seeking an international education for their children should brace themselves for heftier fees for a world-class education. Various international schools might offer scholarships or financial aid options to help ease the burden.


Cost of healthcare in Hungary

Healthcare should not be too expensive for expats in Hungary, as anyone employed in the country can use its free or highly subsidised healthcare services. The quality of care rivals that of Western European countries, and Hungary's medical tourism industry is a testament to its high standard. To access these services, expats must be employed within the country and meet specific eligibility requirements.

For those seeking private healthcare, it's reassuring to know that the costs remain relatively low in comparison to Western counterparts, making it an attractive option for those seeking top-notch care without the hefty price tag.


Cost of living in Hungary chart

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows the average prices for Budapest for April 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

HUF 370,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

HUF 260,000

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

HUF 200,000

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

HUF 152,000

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

HUF 1,190

Milk (1 litre)

HUF 500

Rice (1kg)

HUF 760

Loaf of white bread

HUF 530

Chicken breasts (1kg)

HUF 1,990

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

HUF 2,020

Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

HUF 17,100

Big Mac Meal

HUF 2,500

Coca-Cola (330ml)

HUF 460

Cappuccino

HUF 730

Bottle of beer (local)

HUF 360

Utilities/household

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

HUF 31

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

HUF 5,100

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

HUF 63,000

Transportation

Taxi rate/km

HUF 400

City-centre public transport fare

HUF 350

Gasoline (per litre)

HUF 650

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