Living in Gödöllö
When you first arrive in Gödöllő, there will be a few things that everyone will tell you about the town. Most of them will probably have to do with the royal Habsburg family, since one of their most popular couples – Queen Sisi and King Franz Josef – have used the Grassalkovich Palace as summer residence.
The royal Palace of Gödöllő was expanded over the years, and finally became the summer residence of one of the most beloved Habsburg queens, Elizabeth, or “Sisi”.
Gödöllő itself, although home to a royal palace, is a quickly expanding suburb of Budapest. It attracts a great many young professional families because of its clean air and friendly atmosphere, as well as a good deal of high-tech industry, including United Technologies, Avon, Caterpillar and Teva Pharmaceuticals among others. While the industries are attracted by the excellent transportation (connection by freeways to the capital, to the airport and to all main highways), people are attracted to the area because there are many woodlands in the surrounding area. Indeed, it has one of the highest ratios of wooded to developed land in all of Hungary.
One of the other major attractions of the town is the university itself. Its main building is one of the most beautiful higher education edifices in the entire country. The university is also one of the largest employers in Pest County, with over 2,000 persons currently working there. In short, Gödöllő has all the amenities any prosperous town boasts. We believe it is a good place to live, work and study, and we hope you will agree.
Food & eating out
Hungarian food prices for staples are about the European average, and you can find some reasonably priced pizzerias in town, most places also deliver. For your weekly grocery shopping you might want to go to TESCO, which is considered a cheap grocery store with wide selection in Gödöllő. (The cheapest stores are Penny Market, Aldi and Lidl with smaller selection – not far from Tesco) It is at the other end of town, but TESCO operates a free bus line between the railway station and the supermarket. For the timetable go to http://tesco.hu/bus.php and scroll down till you find Gödöllő.
There is also a shopping centre called STOP SHOP (strip mall style) next to Tesco where you can buy clothes, shoes, cosmetics, electronic equipment among many other, e.g. a Chinese restaurant with large portions and reasonable prices.
Some restaurants and cafés in town:
Solier Restaurant and Café – Gödöllő, Dózsa György út 13.
PizzaMax Café – Gödöllő, Dózsa György út 36.
Pizza Palazzo – at the HÉV stop of “Szabadság tér”
Tűztorony Café – Gödöllő, Kossuth Lajos utca 13.
Campus Café – on campus (dorm. “A” ground floor)
Sziget Restaurant – Gödöllő, Szabadság út 139.
Napsugár Restaurant – Gödöllő, Rét utca 1/a
Császárkert Restaurant – Gödöllő, Ady Endre sétány 1-3.
One of the best things about Hungary for those who are looking to live on a budget is the public transportation system. Within the towns, there are bus lines that can get you anywhere you want to go. They are reasonably priced and run very often.
Fare dodging is possible, but certainly not advisable. Plain clothes ticket inspectors patrol the public transportation system all the time and if you are caught without a valid ticket you have to pay a fine of several thousand Forints, so it is not worth the risk. If you are using a temporary student card (brown plastic card with a green personal paper card) please make sure to renew it every two months at the Student Services or Erasmus/CEEPUS Office. For this you will need an ID photo and 100 HUF. If you have a permanent, blue plastic student card, you will need to get a new hologram sticker on the back of it at the beginning of each semester. The sticker from the previous semester is valid till the month of March in the next semester.
The main destination for travellers from here is Budapest, of course, which is the nation’s capital. Budapest is about 30-45 minutes by train (MÁV), bus (Volánbusz) or special suburban train (HÉV). Any of these will get you into the centre of Budapest and back out again quickly and easily, and for the most part, on time. They each run about once every half-hour, so there is rarely a period of twenty minutes when something is not going to Budapest. The schedules for these are in each dormitory, and also on the website of the university.
Taxis are also good, but they tend to be expensive, and students use them only when they have to. Telephone numbers for the stations, and people to help you arrange these things, are everywhere in the university.