The Hungarian Guide - Investing and retiring in Hungary

  • A stunning capital with unique setting A stunning capital with unique setting
  • walking and birdwatching paradise walking and birdwatching paradise
  • undisturbed nature rich in rare species undisturbed nature rich in rare species
  • enjoy the 144 mile lakeside cycle track enjoy the 144 mile lakeside cycle track
  • Teeming with History Teeming with History
  • over 300 Thermal Health Spas and warm lakes over 300 Thermal Health Spas and warm lakes
  • picturesque lakes with Carp weighing over 100 lb picturesque lakes with Carp weighing over 100 lb
  • Feast on delicious sunripened local fruit Feast on delicious sunripened local fruit
  • Lake Balaton gets as warm as the Caribbean in the summer Lake Balaton gets as warm as the Caribbean in the summer
  • Tranquil Lake Balaton Tranquil Lake Balaton
  • Lush rolling hills of western Hungary Lush rolling hills of western Hungary
  • buy a thatched cottage for under £30 000.. buy a thatched cottage for under £30 000..
  • horsemen and nature lovers paradise horsemen and nature lovers paradise
  • Europe's second largest freshwater lake Europe's second largest freshwater lake
  • A paradise for watersport enthusiasts A paradise for watersport enthusiasts
  • Tihany peninsula- a pearl of history and nature Tihany peninsula- a pearl of history and nature

Shopping tips

Visitors to Hungary always have a pleasant surprise as to how inexpensive it is to dine out and use the various health and beauty services. When people start to investigate what items are of particular good value the question is often raised as to what should I bring home from my trip to Hungary and what services should I take advantage of ?

hungarian wines

Food and drinks: Generally speaking whatever is made in Hungary tends to be a lot cheaper. This mainly includes items such as food, wines, drinks and spices. You can buy fine Hungarian wines (many award winning ones!) in wine shops, supermarkets and of course direct at the vineyards. Quality wines start around 1000 HUF up to 10 000. (£3-£30). The same goes for Hungarian brandy (Pálinka), herb bitter (Unicum) and other drinks. Hungarian honey is excellent quality and you can buy a big jar, which is 1 kg, for 1800 HUFS (£5). There is also an amazing variety of honey: acacia, lime blossom, rape, lavender, chestnut just to name a few.  You can buy these at traditional markets or some specialist shops.

Cigarettes: although prices are steadily rising they are still far cheaper in Hungary than most other EU countries. Look out for the sign „Nemzeti Dohánybolt” (Tobacconist). Under new rules introduced in 2013 general shops, supermarkets and petrol stations no longer sell tobacco products.

There are two duty free shops at Budapest airport – one before passport control and one after.

Popular British cigarette brands such as Lambert & Butler, Benson & Hedges, Marlboro Lite plus rolling tobacco Golden Virginia can be bought at prices approx. 50% off UK retail prices.

The duty free shops are managed by Heinemann and items can be pre ordered for collection on leaving Hungary   https://www.heinemann-dutyfree.com/budapest_en/

For the latest duty free limits please check http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/customs/arriving/arrivingeu.htm#1

Hobby and Craft items: since Hungarians have less buying power many imported goods are still priced lower in Hungary than in the UK- even though VAT is actually higher in Hungary. To give you two examples I found the same high quality German wool for crocheting was 15% cheaper in Hungary than in the UK. So now I pop in to my favourite yarn shop whenever I am in Hungary. A few months ago I was looking for a new pair of hiking boots, and I found a shop online here in the UK that had the brand I was looking for at £150. Luckily they didn’t have my size and I kept looking and found the same boots in a Hungarian outdoors shop for just £110, which I collected during my recent visit. I have the advantage of speaking Hungarian, but you to can easily search for products online with the help of Google Translate. You can write the brand of the desired product in the search field, and adjust the Google advanced search setting to search only in Hungarian, or in Hungary.

Dental and health care: not exactly a souvenir, but you can still take it home with you, and it does make perfect financial sense. Dentistry in Hungary seem to be more advanced than in the UK, the treatments and the equipment are cutting edge and the dentists are highly qualified and often speak fluent English. An implant costs from £500 depending on the material (titanium or zirconium) and the dentist. A simple white filling is around £30-50. Most dentist offer a free half an hour consultation with a panoramic x-ray, and they give a quote with the recommended work. There are dentists who specialise on implants, others on safe amalgam removal. There are many dentists catering for visitors,  in Budapest, at Lake Balaton or at the Austrian border, even offering airport pick up, hotels and a complete all around service. If you are able to travel to London we have contacts of a Hungarian dentist with facilities in both the UK and Budapest. Free consultations are available at the London practice – contact me for details.

Similar savings can be achieved for people requiring cosmetic surgery. A wide range of surgery options are available – high quality at a low price. Contact me for details.

Beauty and spa treatments: just like the dental services, beauty & spa treatments in Hungary are available at unbelievably low prices and are fantastic value for money. For example a 2 hour facial treatment with massage is £30-50. You can get all sorts of rejuvenating treatments, relaxing massages, beauty treatments or treat yourself to a lovely haircut at a fraction of the price you would pay back in the UK.