With magnificent architecture, beautiful scenery, and amazing views of the Danube river, Hungary definitely has a lot to offer. Not only that but, thanks to its rich cultural life and warm people, you’ll surely be entertained for months on end.
But, can you work remotely from Hungary, and is the country digital nomad ready? To help answer these questions and more, I’ve done a deep dive, and gotten to the bottom of all of the important things a DN should know before moving here. So, by the end of this article, you hopefully won’t be asking yourself how is Hungary for digital nomads.
Hungary for Digital Nomads at a Glance
- Impressive internet speeds and coverage.
- Great DN infrastructure.
- Low costs of living.
- Not a lot of English speakers.
An Introduction to Hungary
Hungary is a country in Central Europe, with access to the Danube river. The capital and most populous city is Budapest, which is known for the Chain Bridge that connects the two main districts — Buda and Pest.
Hungary is also one of the cheapest European countries and offers a great connection to the rest of the continent. The only slight downside is that, as Hungarians aim to protect their language and culture, they tend to avoid speaking (and even hearing) English. Moreover, the country goes so far as to dub all major English movies, TV shows, etc into Hungarian!
Still, if you stick to larger cities, you’ll likely have access to a great network of digital nomads, and will be able to find your way.
Connectivity in Hungary
Because of its 13th century architecture, Hungary may seem like it’s stuck in time — but it’s actually quite the opposite. Overall, the internet connection is stable in all parts of the country, and there’s an abundance of free WiFi hotspots.
WiFi in Hungary
According to speedtest.net, with download speeds of 199.47 Mbps, and upload speeds of 94.38 Mbps, Hungary ranks 12th in the world for the fastest broadband internet. So, there’s not a lot to say about Hungary’s WiFi, other than that it’s highly reliable and relatively inexpensive.
Moreover, plenty of accommodations, restaurants, and cafes offer a free connection to all of their patrons. There are even over 14,000 public hotspots across the country’s parks, museums, etc.
Pro Tip: If you need fast, reliable internet to work remotely from Hungary, you can look into renting out a pocket WiFi device, which costs $6.90 (€5.90) a day.
4G and Mobile in Hungary
As of July 2021, Hungary saw average internet speeds of 57.13 Mbps and 14.60 Mbps for download and upload respectively. Thus, it ranked 39th for the fastest mobile internet speed in the whole world.
Telekom Mobile, Telenor, and Vodafone are the most popular providers, and all of them offer a 5G connection as well. While the network is mostly only available in Budapest, these providers offer it in some smaller cities as well. You can check out the 4G/5G connection map here.
To get access to a SIM card (and a mobile network), you’ll need to register with one of the providers and show either your ID or passport.
Visas and Documentation for Hungary
The one thing that may complicate your visit to Hungary is the visa process. Namely, as a member of the European Union, the country is part of the Schengen Area. So, while members of the EU can travel without restrictions, others face a somewhat complex application process when applying for a visa.
The Tourist Visa
If you plan to work remotely from Hungary and stay for up to 90 days, you can apply for a tourist visa. To enter the country after your visa expires, you’ll have to wait 180 days to reapply. The entire process can last as little as 10-15 days, but be prepared to wait for up to three months.
The Long-Stay Visa
The long-stay visa is granted to people who can prove that they have a legitimate reason for staying in Hungary for more than three months. You can cite education, medical reasons, family reunification, or business, and the visa requirements will vary.
As a digital nomad, you could consider applying for a business visa, but note that these are somewhat notoriously difficult to obtain. Some of the documentation you’ll have to provide is a work permit, contract of employment, proof of how you’ll sustain yourself before your first salary, etc.
For more information, you can read through Hungary’s long-stay visa policy document.
Overall, unless you have your heart set on staying in Hungary for 3+ months — I’d recommend applying for a tourist visa, as it’s the cheapest and easiest to get.
Pro Tip: Residents from certain countries fall into the “visa exempt status” for various periods of time. You can check out the full list here.
Where Digital Nomads Live & Work in Hungary
While Hungary is making moves to attract digital nomads, and keep them coming, not all cities want to be part of this process. Moreover, some smaller places have chosen to remain small, by not offering any of the DN essentials.
As a result, digital nomads mostly tend to live in the following cities (which I’d also recommend to any DN looking to move to Hungary).
Budapest is split by the Danube River into two distinctive parts. Buda, is the quiet, mostly wooded ancient capital of the city, while Pest is the urban, lively area where most DNs reside.
The city offers the best of both worlds. The costs of living are low and there are plenty of cafes, restaurants, and accommodations with great WiF. Additionally, it gives you easy access to amazing architecture, scenery and provides the full tourist experience.
Living in Budapest
If you want to reside in the quiet, green Buda, you ought to check out the Budapest Garden Hostel & Co-living. The accommodations offer both private and shared bedrooms, and you can pay as little as $184 (with bills included) to stay here. The co-living space also features an amazing outdoor area, organized events, and fast WiFi.
On the other hand, if you prefer being closer to Pest’s hustle and bustle, consider staying in the Loft Hostel. The co-living space is situated right in the center of the area and gives you access to the best stores and restaurants in the city. The accommodations cost around $15 for a shared room and $40 for the entire private suite.
Working from Budapest
If you’re looking for a quiet, inexpensive place to work from while in Buda, I recommend checking out the UP center. You can get a daily pass for $10, enjoy the comfy chairs, free coffee, and even bring your four-legged friends along! The coworking space even offers workshops and an incubation program where you can receive free training.
For my Pest-bound DNs, Impact Hub Budapest is a great place in the heart of the city to work from. The space is bright, airy, and you can rent out a desk for $16 a day.
Some of the amenities include free tea and coffee, access to the community bistro, and a self-service kitchen — with free wine! Not to mention, Impact Hub is a global company, and you can get a pass that gets you into any of their 101 hubs all over the world.
Debrecen is Hungary’s second-largest city and offers most of the amenities that Budapest does. However, the population is much smaller, and the costs of living are lower.
The city is also known for its lively art scene, historic architecture, and youthful population. Here, you’ll be able to take part in plenty of historic tours, fun outdoor activities, art fairs, and an overall exciting atmosphere.
Living in Debrecen
Unfortunately, there aren’t any co-living spaces in Debrecen yet. So, Airbnb’s, hotels, and hostels are your best bet, especially if you’re looking for a short-term rental.
As far as hostels go, I think the Stop Pension (Stop Panzio) is a pretty good option. It’s in a central location, offers a wide range of amenities, such as breakfast, AC, and WiFi. However, you could also rent out a full-on townhouse on Airbnb for $34 a night.
Working from Debrecen
Luckily, the lack of co-living spaces in Debrecen is somewhat excused by the city’s offer of co-working ones.
One of my favorites, the Xponential Coworking Office aims to create a space that brings locals and travelers alike together. It’s a great spot for digital nomads who want to feel like they’re a part of the community while having access to fast internet and free coffee.
Not to mention, the memberships are quite affordable and flexible, and you can get a daily pass for only $9.
On the other hand, ProWorking is another great space that you can rent out for as little as $5 a day. The office is mostly occupied by friendly developers who enjoy brainstorming and sharing new ideas.
There’s also free coffee, a meeting room available for rent. Finally, ProWorking is close to public transport and the main street where you can enjoy all that Debrecen has to offer.
How is Hungary for Digital Nomads — My Final Thoughts
Hopefully, you now have a decent understanding of whether and how you can work remotely from Hungary as a digital nomad.
In my personal opinion, Hungary is definitely one of the top 10 countries for all DNs. The internet is stable, there are plenty of amazing sites, and a big variety of accommodations to choose from. Suffice it to say, there’s not a lot more that I can wish for from a country as a digital nomad.