Budapest – a great city to live in when it comes to location, infrastructure & architecture, fun activities to do in your free time and affordable prices. It is truly a heaven for students, trust us. The capital of Hungary has some great advantages, however, finding a place to stay at for a semester (or perhaps 6) is a bummer. Actually, the same goes for most of the bigger cities around the world, but Budapest has truly intense apartment rental market, especially if your finances are quite limited or if you have some specific requirements (like bringing a pet with yourself or wanting same-gender-only roommates).
So, what are the best tips regarding finding the perfect “new home” for the next few months or years as a student? What sort of things shall you consider before moving in? Which districts are truly optimal for your stay?
So, you’ve decided to move to Budapest. Now what?
You got your acceptance letter, good job! However, that is just the first step and there is a long way to go – taking care of your documents, planning your budget, buying plane tickets etc. A huge step after deciding to study abroad is actually moving abroad, especially if you’ve never visited the place before. Questions like:
“Will I even like the city?”
“Do people speak English over there?”
“How do I even get to understand which are the good and the bad districts?”
are quite normal. No one likes being unaware of what’s up next in scenarios like moving somewhere for the first time with having little to no knowledge at all on the topic. That’s when conducting a research has to be done. Start small – check out the most popular tourist spots, try exploring the map of Budapest and read some basic information like number of districts, means of transportation available and other essential insights. Forums and blogs are also a great source of info, together with YouTube videos.
Fixate an idea of your basic needs: location, space, utilities, roommates
Now that you know more about your (yes, your!) beautiful new home and you have seen the map of the city, it is time to ask something quite important – where is Corvinus? It’s easy to find the address, so isn’t that a bit of a useless question? Absolutely not! Just imagine it: you will travel every single weekday of your next few months/years to this university. Every. Single. Weekday. Being aware of the location of Corvinus (not just knowing the address as a matter of fact) is essential when considering where to live. You don’t want to travel 1 hour to university every morning, do you? Using the public transport in the morning hours (between 7:00 and 9:30) is a torture as everyone is trying to be on time, so the less time you spend on travelling, the better.
The location of your university: Corvinus sits on the edge of district 5 and district 9 (that’s the Pest side) at Fővám tér 8, which can be considered a part of downtown Budapest (usual traffic, lots of tourists, overall lively). The most popular sites around Corvinus are the Liberty Bridge (Szabadság híd) right in front of it and the Central Market Hall (Nagy Vásárcsarnok) behind it.
What kind of transportation stops around?
Direct (minimal walking to university):
Bus: 83, 15, 115 (night buses 979 and 979A)
Metro: Metro line 4 (newest one, from Kelenföld vasútállomás located in Buda to Keleti pályaudvar in Pest)
Tram: 2, 47, 47B, 48, 49
Within 5 to 10 minutes of walking (to Corvinus from Kálvin tér, Pest side):
Bus: 72, 9, 100E (night buses 909, 914, 914A, 950, 950A)
Metro: Metro line 3 (from Újpest-központ to Kőbánya-Kispest, but there is an ongoing reconstruction)
Tram: 2, 47, 47B, 48, 49
Within 5 to 10 minutes of walking (to Corvinus from Szent Gellért tér - Műegyetem M, Buda side):
Bus: 133E, 7 (night buses 907 and 973)
Tram: 19, 41, 47, 47B, 48, 49, 56, 56A
Tip: download the app BKK FUTÁR - it shows accurate timetables and maps of the Budapest transportation network.
So now that you know where the university is and what transport stops around, you can easily choose the area where you’d be the closest to the university. Keep in mind that the apartment you choose must be a place from which you can reach Corvinus within 30 minutes, as it will make your daily life way easier. Also, please do not consider district 8 and 9, as they aren't the calmest.
Don’t forget that it’s great to have a supermarket near that place (we all need food, right?), as well as a small park. If you like going to the gym you can play a bit with Google maps to find out if the area has one.
Space, utilities and roommates
Usually, there are around 1 to 4 bedrooms in a flat, which means that you can have 0 to several roommates. Having roommates is great because you can find new friends immediately and you also share the price of the rent and the utilities – water, gas and electricity, which vary between 15.000 HUF and 30.000 HUF, depending on the amount of residents, the consumption and the season.
The downside of having more people in the flat is the need to share almost all spaces in the apartment. In some cases, the kitchen is a war zone around dinnertime and you might struggle with the time each person spends in the bathroom in the morning, which could be frustrating, so be prepared. Your only personal space from now on might be your room.
Be aware of your financial limits
So, you’ve decided that you could potentially live with 1-2 more people in a shared flat. If you have limited finances, you will have to find something smaller, which could mean even sharing a bedroom with someone. A single room in Budapest before the coronavirus crisis costed roughly between 50.000 HUF per person up to 140.000 HUF (no utilities included). It all depends on the area, the building, the quality of the interior, if the apartment is tiny or spacious, if it has a view and more. When you add the utilities cost you can come up with a final budget for rent.
Hungarian websites for property rental are troublesome
When you type “rent flat in Budapest” in English, the first websites to pop up are some serious, but pretty pricey ones. The apartments look great, but the cost is just a bit too much for a student’s pocket. Websites in Hungarian aren’t amazing, either – you find something, you like it but:
You can’t even speak to the owner most of the time because of the language barrier.
The place seems good on pictures but you actually get scammed because in reality the apartment is looking way worse than presented.
The owner wants you to sign a one-year contract, however, you do not plan to live in Budapest in the summer which is just a simple waste of money.
What should you do then?
Facebook groups actually help in many cases
There are tons of Facebook groups where people of all ages share information about shared flats, offering relatively reasonable prices. Most students find their flat this way because they can research enough, there is a big variety and they can always check the owner’s Facebook profile to make sure it’s an actual person. Make sure to join at least the 3 biggest groups for apartments for rent in Budapest, that will help a lot in your search!
Are university dormitories an option?
Generally speaking – no, they aren’t. The places in the dormitory next to university are very limited so you probably will not get one. There are private dormitories like Milestone, however, which are very nice and could easily fit your needs.
The conclusion: search for an apartment as close to the university as possible, without more than 2-3 roommates, which offers a private room. Costs preferably under 100.000 HUF per month (rent + utilities). Keep in mind that a supermarket nearby is a great plus.