If you are going on Erasmus to Budapest, this is a mesmerising post for you. In this article, we share the information you need to make your experience as an Erasmus student unforgettable. This is the guide for Erasmus in Budapest. Let's dig in!
Student Accommodation in Budapest
One of the first tasks you will have to do is find accommodation. In this section, we explain the main accommodation options and, on the other hand, which are the best areas to live in Budapest.
Student flat or residence?
In Budapest, sharing a flat is usually the most chosen option by international students. In fact, in Budapest, there are hardly any residences. Depending on the location or the state of the flat, you can find spare rooms in shared flats starting at €200 per month.
Best areas to live in Budapest
First of all, you have to know that the city is divided into two parts, separated by the Danube river. On one hand, Buda, where there are the most residential and quiet areas. However, Pest is the busiest area, where there is often more life and, therefore, it is the place chosen by students to live.
Furthermore, Budapest is divided into 23 kerület, or districts. Normally, Erasmus students tend to live in the most central districts, which are: districts V, VI, VII, and VIII. Similarly, the main universities of Budapest are located in the centre.
Gastronomy in Budapest
Gastronomy is another issue that can not be missing from our guide for students in Budapest. In this city, you can enjoy the incredible Hungarian gastronomy, which is usually spicy and somewhat greasy. For example, some of the typical dishes that we recommend you to try are:
- Goulash. It is probably one of the most typical dishes of Hungarian cuisine. It is a spicy stew, with chunks of beef, vegetables, served with bread and lots and lots of paprika.
- Langos. It is the street dish par excellence. It consists of fried bread eaten hot, and usually accompanied by different ingredients.
- Csirkepaprikás. It is chicken stewed with paprika and sour cream, although it is also often accompanied by onion, green peppers and tomatoes.
- Palacsinta. Known as Hungarian crêpes, these pancakes can be sweet or savoury. It is very common to find fast food stalls in Budapest where they sell them.
- Kürtőskalács or Chimney cake. It is a thin ribbon of dough with hints of cinnamon, although you can also add sugar, cocoa, chocolate chips or even chocolate or nut fillings. You can find it in bakeries or street stalls.
Some places that we recommend you go to during your stay in Budapest are: the Karavan market (there you will find food trucks) and the central market of Budapest.
However, in Budapest you can find all kinds of restaurants and meals. Some restaurants that students who have been to Budapest recommend are: Frici Papa (Hungarian food at affordable prices), Hummusbar (falafel and hummus), Fatal (Hungarian food) and Börze (for breakfast), among many others. There is everything in Budapest. Well, if you fancy a McDonald's you can eat it, but our advice is to immerse yourself in Hungarian gastronomy and culture.
Leisure and party in Budapest
If you like to party in Budapest you will not get bored. Some essential places are:
- Szimpla Kert. It is probably the most famous ruin pub in the whole city. It has two floors and there are always a lot of people. If you are going to do your Erasmus in Budapest, the szimpla kert will be one of your obligatory stops.
- Morrisons 2. It is one of the best places to party, especially among Spanish students. Mondays are the day they play reggaeton, and on many occasions, admission is free with student association cards.
- Instant. In this club there are several different rooms, so you will find different musical styles in each of them. But if you like techno, you will love this club.
- Ötkert. It is one of the mythical nightclubs in the city, and is located very close to Saint Stephen's Basilica.
Cost of living in Budapest
As for the cost of living, we have very good news: life in Budapest is affordable. As you already know, Hungary is part of the EU, but this country has its currency. The currency in Hungary is the Hungarian forint (abbreviated as Ft. or HUF.). Specifically, one euro corresponds approximately to about 400 HUF.
To withdraw cash, you can use cards like Revolut, since you can withdraw up to 200 euros per month without any commission (except on weekends). You will also find banks like OTP throughout the city, where you can also withdraw money, but pay attention to the commissions.
Regarding transportation in Budapest, there are monthly and semester passes for students. Season tickets are priced at around 3,500 and 16,000 HUF, respectively.
The average cost of a student will be around 500 euros per month, but all of this will depend on four variables: accommodation, shopping cart, transport and leisure.
Places you can't miss
Budapest is an amazing city. Its culture and historical past have given it the reputation of being one of the most beautiful cities on the continent, so we could make a single post talking about the places you should visit during your Erasmus in Budapest.
There are many points in the city where you must stop. Some of the places we recommend you visit are:
- Széchenyi Thermal Bath and Gellert Thermal Bath. The Széchenyi Thermal Bath is one of the largest thermal baths in Europe.
- Saint Stephen’s Basilica. It is the highest basilica in Budapest, 96 metres. You can also go up the towers, from where you can see the whole city.
- Budapest Parliament. It is the most representative monument of Budapest, and is located on the banks of the Danube River. We recommend that you visit the parliament inside. It has a guided tour and the entrance has an approximate price of 1600 HUF. If you want to get the best possible view of the parliament, don't miss an evening cruise on the Danube River.
- Jewish Quarter and the Great Synagogue. The synagogue, as its name suggests, is one of the largest synagogues in the world. Without a doubt, it is a mandatory visit during your stay.
- Buda Castle. It was the residence of the kings of Hungary. Today, it houses the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum and the Széchenyi Library.
- The Hungarian State Opera House. The Hungarian Opera House is one of the most elegant venues in the entire city, based on the Renaissance influence.
- Fisherman's Bastion. It is one of the best viewpoints in the city. From there you will have incredible views of the Parliament and the entire city. In addition, Mattias Church is right next to it.
Trips from Budapest
One of the best parts of Erasmus is the possibility it offers to travel and see other places in Europe.
Budapest is located in the centre of Europe, so you can easily move to other cities. One of the best options to travel to other European cities is through Flixbus, a bus company that operates practically throughout the continent and with very cheap prices. For example, you can find routes from Budapest to Kraków for less than 20 euros. In addition, through student associations, you can get discounts on the price.
In addition to this, in Budapest, there is also the Budapest Ferenc Liszt Airport. Flights depart from there to more than 100 different destinations and low-cost companies operate, so it is also a good option to travel quickly and cheaply from Budapest. To reach Budapest airport, we recommend that you take the bus line 100E. The ticket can be bought directly there for about 900 HUF, and it will take you to the centre of the city, being cheaper than taking a taxi.
For this reason, in this guide for Erasmus students in Budapest, we have also included nearby trips, to get to know other places and cities with great tourist attractions. For example:
- Szentendre. It is a small town that mixes the charm of mediaeval towns with the Hungarian tradition. In addition, it is very close to Budapest, about 30 minutes by train.
- Pécs. About 2 hours and a half from Budapest, there is the city of Pécs, a city with a very good university atmosphere, so you will surely party there too. Of course, we also recommend that you walk through its streets since it has monuments that are World Heritage Sites.
- Bratislava. The capital of Slovakia is just 2.5 hours away by bus.
- Kraków. Although getting to this Polish city will take you a few hours by bus, it is one of the getaways that we recommend you do during your Erasmus in Budapest.
Tips for students in Budapest
Finally, some tips that we give you for your Erasmus in Budapest are:
- Become a member of the student associations that are in Budapest since you can benefit from discounts in many places. In addition, the associations themselves organise events, parties and even trips with international students, so it will also be a perfect opportunity to meet other students. The main student associations in Budapest are: Erasmus Student Network (ESN) and Erasmus Life Budapest (ELB).
- Since Euro is not used in Hungary, we recommend you open an account with banks like Revolut or N26. It is completely free, and you can cancel your account whenever you want. An account in any of these banks will help you to withdraw money, make transfers, etc., all without commissions.
- Apply for the European Health Insurance Card (TSE) enough in advance.
- The supermarkets that you most frequently will find in Budapest and the cheapest are: ALDI, Lidl, Spar and TESCO. Most supermarkets open until 22:00.
So far this is our guide for Erasmus in Budapest. We hope that this series of tips will help you to enjoy your Erasmus+ scholarship experience in Budapest, one of the best destinations to do Erasmus.