Why should you move to Hungary to retire?
It is a big decision where to live when you retire. Especially when you are thinking of moving to a different country all together. In the past Spain has been one of the most popular choices for having either a holiday home or for full retirement. And although the weather might be really attractive, the cost of living there is very high. It is even so high that it makes it impossible for many people to afford moving there.
There are other options though. Why not investigate your options and check out what Hungary could mean for you.
We are trying to give you the most important pros and cons to living in Hungary. Without rose tinted glasses. Hopefully, in this way, we are able to give you a good basis to base all your decisions on. Not only the yes or no, but also the where and how.
The Balaton Lake
One of the biggest attractions in Hungary is the Balaton Lake. This is the largest lake in Europe and attracts many tourists in the Summer. The water is warm and in most shore areas undeep, which allows children to play safely. Motor boats are not allowed, so the peace and quiet is maintained. There are plenty of water sports being undertaken. With rental equipment and lessons available where necessary or required.
The summer weather is warm, sunny and dry. The gardeners would say, sometimes a little bit too dry. But for those who like to sunbathe, it can never be too dry. The winters are fresh, cool and sometimes a little wetter. But most times still sunny. The last 2 winters the Balaton Lake froze over. Which was a beautiful sight. Around 10,000 people walked to the other side on an organized event.
The Balaton Lake is not the only “watery” attraction. Hungary is also known for its many water parks and natural Thermal Spas. Hotels, health centres and restaurants have been built around most thermal spas to optimize the experience of guest, offering massages and beauty treatments as well.
Hungary is located central to many other popular holiday destinations such as:
Vienna – 120 miles / 2hrs 15min drive
Croatia – 39 miles / 40 min drive
Adriatic coast – 180 miles / 3 hr drive
Austrian alpine ski resorts 2 hrs drive
Ljubljana and Lake Bled in Slovenia – 158 miles / 2hrs 30min drive
Italian border 218 miles and Venice 314 miles / 5 hr drive
Budapest is inviting to people from all stages in life. Young people love it for the cheap beer and party atmosphere. Many people go there for hen- and stag parties. Museums and beautiful architecture draw in those who appreciate the cultural side of Budapest. Beautiful spas and health centres draw in those who would love to be pampered. There is also a wide selection of restaurants, cafes, bistros, wine bars offering both traditional Hungarian as well as international cuisine.There is something for everybody.
Cost of living
The cost of living is surprisingly low. Especially things such as Council Tax and the weekly food shopping can be far less expensive than you are used to. Hungary offers free Public Transport to everybody over 65. Going out for diner is often a lot less expensive too. Although there are some very luxurious restaurants that seem to charge higher prices than average. Insurance such as car- and house insurance are in general very affordable. Make sure you shop around though and compare prices.
Property prices in Hungary are one of the lowest in Europe. Between 1995 and 2008 most countries experienced a property price boom. In Hungary this did not happen in the same way. Prices in Budapest did indeed increase quite drastically. However, prices in rural areas only increased slightly. Since 2010 prices have sort of flat lined. At this point in time (2018) prices are expected to start rising again. This is exactly the right time to buy a new home.
Hungary is well known for its top quality and affordable Dentistry. Many people combine their dental needs with a holiday in this sunny country. With some clinics offering finance options to help with spreading the costs. When you go to a reputable clinic, all work is done professionally, guaranteed and fully insured.
Hungary is an amazing country to live in. And there will be a fitting house for everybody. Whether you prefer to live in a rural area with a piece of land or a comfortable apartment in the city centre. And anything in between. There is something for everybody.
We do find it important though to also show you some of the more challenging things to keep in mind.
Hungarian is a very challenging language to learn. With a grammar that is totally different from any other language in the world. And although it is very much appreciated by the locals when you do try to say things in the local language, people have trouble understanding what you are saying when it is not said 100% correctly. This is because they are just not used to foreign people trying to speak the language. But it is worth giving it a try. It is most like that the older generations speak or understand a little German. The younger generations are concentrating more on English. So over the next few years communicating will surely become easier. In the touristic areas German and English is much more common.
Winter closing times
Most parts of Hungary rely on tourism in the Summer months. And the hussle and bussle this brings is great. However as soon as the holiday months are over, many areas empty out completely. With many homes being locked up for the rest of the year. Especially areas around the Balaton Lake can become very empty. Even though there is a large amount of restaurants and bars that stay open all year, many other do close over the Winter and Autumn months. We have noticed that the Summer months are being extended lately, meaning that some restaurants open longer than before. So hopefully in the near future more and more venues will be able to follow suit.
Cost of luxury items
Luxury items such as cars, tv’s and white goods are the same price or more expensive as in the UK. Which sounds unfair, as the average income is significantly lower than in the UK. But this is something that we find important for you to keep in mind.
There are a few, often forgotten, things you should check when you are about to buy a house. The main 2 are:
Availability of gas for heating
Not every house will have the possibility for heating with Gas. There are areas where this is not an option. Many traditional Hungarian houses are fully heated by wood fires. This can be a little challenging and time consuming. On the other hand, running heating on electrics is a more expensive option but is very easy.
Although, in general, internet availability is very good, in some areas people have been caught out. The internet available through dongles or mobile phones is very limited. And will not sustain intensive usage such as watching tv or downloading movies. However, many areas have the availability via wifi. If you can see a telecommunication tower without any obstructions in between, it is most likely that this service is available for you too. And the quality of this service is surprisingly good.
We would strongly recommend finding out what services are available to the house you have your eye on, before making your final decision.
But make sure you keep the challenges in mind too and adapt your choices and decisions to what is important to you.