From the historic streets of Budapest’s old-world opulence to the yacht clubs of Lake Balaton, Hungary is a tempting option for those seeking a European luxury lifestyle.

The country’s commitment to celebrating its heritage while embracing modern life is a perfect combination for those who appreciate the finer things:

  • World-class food and wine
  • Exquisite art and culture
  • Architectural marvels
  • Exclusive retreats

Known as the Heart of Europe, Budapest is an old-world European capital that anchors the past and future of the European Union. 

Once ruled by the Habsburgs, Hungary is a testament to the elegant obsession Europe’s kings had for castles. To this day, Hungary is still one of Europe’s most dynamic real estate markets. 

Often overshadowed by Western and Central Europe, Hungary offers a respite to European taxation without sacrificing a single degree of luxury while maintaining all EU access—a central reason why it has attracted the global HNW community for centuries.

Today, Hungary is many things, but at the top of that list is one of the best European investments any HNW entrepreneur, investor, or family can make. 

A brief overview of Hungary

Hungary is a fascinating country with an equally fascinating history. 

Emerging as a distinct entity in the late 9th century, Hungary has swung between Eastern and Western influences. 

A beacon of the Renaissance in the 15th century, Hungary went on to face significant challenges in the centuries that followed:

  • Ottoman occupation 
  • Habsburg domination 
  • Two World Wars and a communist regime

The fall of the Iron Curtain and Hungary’s transition to a market economy in the 1990s marked a new era of freedom and development – that has now set its focus on foreign direct investment from non-EU nationals. 

Hungary joined the European Union in 2004 and the Schengen Zone in 2007 and is on course to adopt the euro by 2030.

Consequently, Hungary has been experiencing an era of revival – almost a second renaissance.

Today, Hungary is renowned for its significant contributions to European culture, its effervescent capital, and its pivotal role in the global automotive and IT industries.

What makes Hungary so attractive?

Since the Habsburgs controlled the country, Hungary has been an attractive destination for HNW entrepreneurs, investors, and their families. 

History records that lavish living, fashion, and wealth were trademarks of the Habsburg Empire, and those remnants remain the foundation of Hungarian high society to this day. 

In truth, there are many reasons why the global HNW community loves Hungary,  but the main ones are:

  • Hungary’s strategic location in the heart of Europe means unparalleled access to key markets. Due to membership in the European Union and the Schengen Area, Hungarian residents enjoy the freedom to live, work, and bank across Europe. 
  • Hungary has some of the lowest tax rates in Europe. A 9% corporation tax rate and a flat 15% income tax enhance the appeal for global entrepreneurs and investors.
  • The Hungarian Golden Visa Program will allow investors to gain residency through capital contributions – an attractive option for those seeking a foothold in the EU with ETIAS & EES exemption status.
  • High standard of living – Hungary embodies Europe’s old-world opulence and continues to preserve and maintain the standards of European luxury living.
  • Among the best real estate investment markets in Europe, it has not had a YoY price decline in over a decade. Currently, British investors are becoming the most influential property investors.

Prime locations for luxury living in Hungary

In a country as diverse as Hungary, the options are seemingly endless—from centuries-old family estates to contemporary urban penthouse apartments. 

While Budapest is the most obvious destination, some regions outside the capital provide the perfect backdrop to a high-end lifestyle with incredible investment potential. 

Lake Balaton has become the focal point for Hungary’s global HNW community in recent years. 


Budapest is, without a doubt, the most sought-after spot for real estate investment and residency in Hungary. 

Known as the “Pearl of the Danube,” the city’s old-world charm is breathtaking. 

World-renowned thermal baths, such as the Széchenyi and Gellért, are part of a tradition dating back to the Romans. Along with exhilarating nightlife and treasures like the Hungarian Parliament and Buda Castle, Budapest fuels one of Europe’s hottest tourism and rental markets. 

Budapest stands out as one of Europe’s finest on a continent filled with grand cities. 

Naturally, property in the capital is in higher demand and comes at a premium compared to the rest of Hungary. 

Buda is known for its luxurious residential areas, such as District II and the Buda Hills, where you’ll find classic European-style villas featuring breathtaking views of the capital. 

Pest, particularly District V and the bustling Andrássy Avenue, is home to premium apartments in centuries-old buildings, high-end shopping, and gourmet dining experiences.

Another option is the Danube Bend, just north of Budapest. This area is known for its picturesque riverside towns, home to country estates, mansions, and even the odd castle.


Debrecen is Hungary’s second-largest city. 

Known as the “Capital of the Great Plain,” the city is emerging as a hub for luxury living owing to a growth in high-end residential developments. 

These developments often feature spacious, modern homes with gardens, community amenities like pools and fitness centers, and easy access to the city. 

Debrecen is perfect for families who appreciate the arts and nature.

The nearby Hortobágy National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the place for horseback riding, bird watching, and exploring the vast, untouched plains of Eastern Hungary.


For a more exclusive retreat, Eger is a prime location. 

Known for its thermal baths, baroque architecture, and 500-year-old castle, Eger represents the charm of Hungary’s countryside and is the anchor for the extensive northern wine region. 

Luxury accommodations here often take the form of carefully restored estates and boutique wineries that cater to a sophisticated clientele and emphasize wine tourism and gastronomic excellence.

Lake Balaton

Larger than Lake Geneva and called the Hungarian Sea, Lake Balaton is Central Europe’s largest freshwater lake and has become synonymous with luxury living in Hungary. 

Lake Balaton stretches across three counties, and the region is famous for its serene beauty, vineyards, and recreational activities, including beaches, sailing, and golf. 

Towns like Balatonfüred and Tihany are trendy and offer high-end villas and estates, often featuring direct access to the lake. Meanwhile, the Balaton Uplands on the northern shore provide a more secluded lifestyle amidst vineyards and ancient castles.

Luxury lifestyle in Hungary


The luxury of Hungary lives in food and wine.

While it’s known internationally for hearty, comforting dishes like Goulash and an unbreakable obsession with paprika, Hungarian cuisine has much more nuance and complexity than meets the eye. 

Palacsinta, a type of pancake, can be filled with sweet jams, cottage cheese, or savory fillings. Meanwhile, Húsleves, a soup made from slow-cooking beef or poultry, is a staple. 

Today, like all of Hungary, the culinary scene is experiencing a renaissance, and Budapest is leading the charge; the city is home to seven of the country’s nine Michelin-starred restaurants, including:

  • Stand: A two Michelin-star venue in Budapest that has quickly garnered acclaim for its refined, seasonal dishes
  • Costes: Situated in the heart of Budapest, Costes was Hungary’s first Michelin-star restaurant – celebrated for an approach to modern gastronomy while paying delicious homage to Hungarian traditions
  • Essência: Owned and operated by a Portuguese couple, Essência’s thoughtful tasting menus feature elements from both cuisines  


Hungarian winemaking and the country’s finest vineyards date back to the first century, making Hungary one of the oldest wine regions in the world.

Hungarian wine is profoundly influenced by the diverse terroir, with variations in climate, soil, and topography across the country’s wine regions contributing to the unique character of each vintage. 

The Tokaj region is world-renowned for its sweet Tokaji Aszú, a luxurious wine made from botrytized (noble rot) grapes. Tokaji Aszú has complex notes of honey, apricot, and spices. 

In contrast, the volcanic soils of the Badacsony region along Lake Balaton produce distinctive white wines. In particular, the indigenous Olaszrizling and Furmint grapes deliver crisp, mineral-driven wines.

The Eger region is celebrated for its red blend, Egri Bikavér, which is made primarily from the Kékfrankos grape and blended with other varieties. The name, which translates to “Bull’s Blood,” encapsulates the region’s strength and spirit.

Another powerhouse is the sun-drenched Villány region in southern Hungary. Full-bodied reds, particularly those made from Cabernet Franc, have gained international acclaim for their quality and complexity. 


Golf is returning as a popular pastime in Hungary after losing its appeal in the mid-20th century. 

Hungary may not – yet – be in the same league as Scotland, Portugal, or Spain, but the country is steadily developing its golfing infrastructure and reputation. 

The country currently boasts at least 15 high-quality golf courses and country clubs that offer everything from championship-level play to select networking opportunities. 

Notable courses include:

  • The Pannonia Golf & Country Club, located in Máriavölgy
  • The Old Lake Golf Club, in Tata
  • The Zala Springs Golf Resort in Balaton (one of Central Europe’s largest golf resorts)


Known as the Hungarian Sea, for good reason, Lake Balaton is a popular destination for yachting. The lake hosts the Blue Ribbon Regatta – Europe’s oldest sailing race and a highlight of Hungary’s sailing calendar. 

The lake’s upscale marinas and yacht clubs cater to the HNW community – whether sailing aficionados or not – offering the ability to charter yachts and sailing boats, purchase personal berths, organize private tours, and enjoy water sports activities in one of the country’s most sought-after settings.


The Hungarian lifestyle is synonymous with thermal baths. 

The tradition of thermal spas and bathing is deeply ingrained in Hungarian culture and dates to the Romans.

The country is blessed with abundant thermal springs, making it one of the leading nations in the world for thermal and medicinal waters. 

Budapest, often hailed as the “City of Spas,” is at the heart of it all (as it usually is), but the spa culture extends well beyond the capital:

  • Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Budapest: One of the largest spa complexes in Europe, its Neo-Baroque architecture and outdoor pools make it a must-visit.
  • Gellért Thermal Bath, Budapest: Renowned for its Art Nouveau architecture, this spa has a range of thermal pools, a wave pool, and spa treatments.
  • Hévíz Lake: Near Lake Balaton, this is the world’s second-largest thermal lake, providing a unique outdoor bathing experience surrounded by nature.
  • Miskolctapolca Cave Bath: In Miskolc, this spa is set in a natural cave system – creating a truly unique thermal bathing experience in an atmospheric setting.

High-end shopping

Luxury shopping in Hungary intertwines with the country’s architectural elegance.

Budapest stands at the forefront of luxury retail. The highlight is Andrássy Avenue, the country’s most illustrious shopping district hosting an array of high-end labels, including:

  • Louis Vuitton
  • Gucci
  • Emporio Armani
  • Burberry
  • Michael Kors
  • Hugo Boss

This grand boulevard, reminiscent of Paris’s Champs-Élysées, is a shopping destination and a cultural experience rolled into one – the street is lined with neo-renaissance mansions and buildings, including the State Opera House.

Fashion Street and Váci Street are Budapest’s other luxury shopping districts. Both contain a mix of international designer stores and local high-end brands. Fashion Street, in particular, is pedestrian-only, making it a delightful spot for a leisurely afternoon.

Private education

Most private international schools are in Budapest and provide English-language education. Curricula options include the International Baccalaureate (IB), British (GCSEs and A-Levels), and American systems. 

Noteworthy institutions in Hungary include:

  • Britannica International School, Budapest
  • The American International School of Budapest
  • The British International School Budapest
  • SEK Budapest International School

Astons – Hungary, the newest EU Plan B

Hungary is an incredible place to live and invest. 

For HNW entrepreneurs, investors, and families, its appeal extends beyond the scenic landscapes and vibrant cities to the comprehensive quality of life and investment opportunities for those seeking EU residency and a home in the heart of Europe.

With a Golden Visa program due to launch in the Summer of 2024, it’s set to become one of the best Plan B strategies – with the pending price increase for the Greek Golden Visa, Hungary’s Golden Visa will become the EU’s most affordable program. 

Hungary’s commitment to foreign direct investment, a high standard of living, and its EU membership positions it as a strategic choice for HNWIs.

Schedule your Free Confidential and Comprehensive Consultation with an expert at Astons today.