If you travel around Hungary, you’ll find that Budapest feels different than the rest of the country. Its complicated history—having been ruled by the Huns, Magyars, Ottomans, Hapsburgs, Nazis, and Communists—is always close by. Museums, monuments, and historical buildings testify to it, and some say that while Hungary as a whole still struggles with its future direction, Budapest has come into its own. With a sizable expat community and many universities drawing international students, attitudes in the city tend to be much less conservative.
These days, Budapest hosts visitors and new residents from all over the world, offering all varieties of food and drink, activities, and entertainment for digital nomads. It’s also home to a wide selection of remote working spaces and coffee bars serving up great coffee and dependable WiFi. The city is divided into 23 districts sitting on both sides of the Danube River. The Buda side of the river is hilly and, though there’s everything you’ll need within walking distance, it’s more peaceful and tends to house more expats and families. The Pest side is flatter and grittier with a never ending supply of clubs, restaurants, bars, and shops.
During my nearly five years here, I’ve lived in various districts in both Buda and Pest and am truly a Pest person. The closer you get to the river, the more central your location. Still, even if you’re further off, it’s a very walkable city with a great (and inexpensive) metro system and buses.
District 7: Erzsébetváros
While the official name of District 7 may be Erzsébetváros, it’s more commonly known as the Jewish Quarter or the Party District. It’s a good choice for digital nomads who want to stay close to the fun, but there’s also a deeper history to this area. You can start with a tour at the famous Dohany Street Synagogue, one of many historic synagogues in this area that was once the hub of Budapest’s former Jewish community and the site of the former ghetto during the Nazi occupation.
Living up to its party-district nickname, the neighborhood is home to multiple ruin bars. Popping up at the beginning of the 2000s, these bars in formerly-derelict factories and buildings are the place to party away the night after a tough workday. Szimpla kert, the original ruin pub, also hosts a Sunday market that’s worth a visit. Other ruin bars to visit include Csendes and UdvarRom. Be sure to stop at nearby Kisüzem or Gettó Gulyás for a hearty meal.
While District 7 is very central and there are several smaller coworking spaces, one of the largest and best is Szikra Coworking. The colorful tables with multiple seats allow for collaboration while meeting rooms, for as few as two and as many as 10, offer more privacy. Biking there is no problem as they offer bike storage, showers, and lockers.
District 6: Terézváros
Just a few minutes north, you’ll find yourself in the slightly more upscale District 6. After a long day at work, head out with your new community for tapas at Pata Negra Tapas Bar or some yummy Mexican at Tereza, which has an especially spacious patio and great margaritas. Or, try out Menza for a nice dinner that has something for everyone, including vegan options.
For a great coworking space, head to Kaptár which offers anything from your own dedicated desk to 24/7 access, private offices, and community membership. Another great spot is, well, The Spot. From full-on offices, to brightly-colored coworking spaces, to an event hall, The Spot offers anything a remote worker could require for a productive work day or longer-term office option. With a variety of plans that include 24/7 access and even access to chill out and gaming zone to decompress during much-needed breaks, this place has a good community feel.
In this area, you’ll also find the recently reopened Hungarian State Opera House. After a nearly five-year closure for renovations, the building opened its doors in 2022 with freshly-cleaned mosaics and blindingly bright 24-carat gold adornments. Tours can be purchased online or at the box office as can tickets to ballet, opera, concerts, and other events.
Be sure to visit the House of Terror museum. While the name might be off-putting, this is where you’ll learn a bit of what it was like when the Nazis and Arrow Cross (Hungarian fascist regime) ruled the country and a lot of what life was like under communist rule. It’s a great way to understand the context of the more recent history of the country.
District 11: Újbuda
Sitting on the Buda side of the Danube, just a few minutes walk across the river on the Liberty Bridge, is District 11. While the Pest side of the river is flat and gritty and full of hustle and bustle, the Buda side offers hills with green spaces to hike and enjoy nature without sacrificing interesting food options.
Grab lunch or do some grocery shopping at the historic Central Market Hall, just a 10-minute walk across the river. There are also some great restaurants for lunch and dinner nearby, such as Szeged Restaurant where you can try a wide variety of Hungarian specialties like Hungarian goulash, chicken paprika, or stuffed cabbage. Or if you’re in the mood for a burger, head over to nearby Bajor Burger and Beer where you’ll also find a huge beer selection and after-work drinks are perfect at KEG Sormuvhaz.
Baobab Coworking Oasis provides a workspace that takes full advantage of Buda’s greenery with a garden where you can work while enjoying a nice day outdoors without sacrificing a WiFi connection. After sitting and working all day, head out the door for a walk up to the Citadel, a fortress atop Gellért Hill. Maybe check out the fantastic sculptures in the Garden of Philosophers on the way where, during warmer weather, you may find a sunset yoga class.
District 8: Józsefváros
Formerly known as a less-than-desirable area, in recent years parts of District 8 have experienced a renaissance. Home to various international universities with exchange programs, this district is popular with digital nomads. Permanent exhibits explain the history of Hungary from archaeology to art, from Roman times to the fall of communism, at the Hungarian National Museum, but if you’re feeling the urge to shop, both Corvin Plaza and Arena Mall offer all that your hometown mall does with fashion, food courts, and movie theaters.
For transportation, the west end of District 8 borders the 4/6 Tram route which will take you across the city in no time. If you want to travel to different cities in Hungary or around Europe, this is a great spot as Keleti Train Station sits in the district. You can catch multiple trains per day to Vienna, a less-than-three-hour ride. For a quick lunch, or maybe dinner on the way home, the chain restaurants, hummusbar, and Las Vegans are in the neighborhood. For a very local experience, try Rákóczi Restaurant. If you’re in the mood for some Persian food, Rumi is the place to go. When you’re ready to spoil yourself with a nice dinner, get a reservation for Rosenstein.
One of the most beautiful places to work in Budapest isn’t an official workspace, but it is a former palace. The Central Library at Ervin Szabó in District 8 is housed in the Neo-Baroque Wenckheim Palace, a former aristocratic private residence. You can take a tour to check it out, but if you want to use the library you just need to pay a small day rate. Being a library, services are limited and you might have to plan your meetings and conference calls elsewhere, but there is WiFi and the historical and glamorous surroundings will ensure your remote work experience in Budapest is extra special. Alternatively, Hub55 is a 24/7 pet-friendly coworking space with a great community, meeting rooms, event spaces, and private offices. If you’re a podcaster, you’ll love the fully-equipped studio for rent. Plus, you can enjoy after-work cocktails with the community at their in-house, 55 Café and Bar.
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