When talking about Hungary, the first thing that pops into your mind is Budapest. There is no doubt that the capital is the main political, cultural, commercial, industrial and transport centre of the country. People born and raised here usually have a very good opinion about the city. This time though, we asked what people moving here from the countryside think about Budapest.
Cost of living
While most of the respondents noted that salaries are much higher in the capital – one interviewee put the difference as high as an extra 50 percent – all in our mini-poll said that living is also much more expensive. “Houses, flats, apartments are at least 20 percent more expensive in Budapest than in Debrecen,” said Zoltán, adding that everyday items (food and beverages, clothing) are on the same level but services are cheaper in the country’s second city (restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, taxis).
Tamás added: “Budapest is expensive compared to other cities. There is even a big difference between east and west Hungary. So the gap between Budapest and east Hungary is very big in wages or cost of living.”
Most of the respondents agreed that the public transport system in Budapest is highly developed. Zoltán noted that services are better than in his hometown. “In Budapest vehicles are more punctual and the waiting time is smaller than in Debrecen, where there are only two tram lines, some trolley lines but no late-night transportation”.
The dissent was voiced by Tamás, who said that “public transport is not in the best shape in the country. In Budapest there are not enough subway lines and they are old. It’s also expensive. I would say the situation isn’t perfect anywhere but Budapest is the worst”.
The interviewees agreed that people in smaller cities are friendlier. Tamás: “People in the countryside are usually more open than in big cities but I wouldn’t say that people in Budapest are unfriendly.”
Attila added that Hungarians can be ignorant and mostly notice the negative things first. “The situation in other cities is quite different. In smaller towns – especially the ones far from big cities – people are happier and more positive,” he said.