The currency in Hungary is HUF, also known as the Hungarian Forint. Even though Hungary became a member of the European Union in 2004, they still haven’t introduced the Euro. Many people would love for Hungary to get the Euro, but unfortunately, the economy of the country has made it impossible. The current politics of Hungary doesn’t make things easier.
Even though the Euro isn’t an official payment method in Hungary, you can still pay with Euro almost everywhere. But, before you spend your Euro, it is worth knowing that you are better off paying with Forint. Do you know why?
The Hungarian Forint isn’t a very stable currency (and neither is the Euro and the Dollar). But, we have seen a steady decline in the value of the Forint compared to the Dollar and the Euro in the last years. By the time you read this article, this information might not be correct anymore, but as of November 2022, the exchange rates are something like this.
- 1 Euro = 410 HUF
- 1 Dollar = 395 HUF
The problem is that when you pay with Euro in the grocery store or at the restaurant, they will calculate with very poor exchange rates. Instead of calculating with a realistic exchange rate, they say 1 Euro equals 370 Forint. As a result, you will end up paying much more than you should, at least if you would have paid in HUF.
That is why you should pay with HUF whenever you pay at a restaurant, a grocery store, or elsewhere in Budapest. If you pay with a card, always select to pay in HUF and not with your local currency (often, the payment terminal will give you a chance to decide this yourself). Above, you can also see an example of a terrible exchange rate if you pay with Euro. The price is 3000 HUF which equals less than 7,5 Euros. But, if you decide to pay in euros, the price will be 12 euros. This is an extreme example, but it describes well why you should be careful with Euro payments in Budapest.
Instructions for changing money
Let us say that you have brought a lot of euros or Dollars to Budapest. But, after reading this information you have decided that you want to change your currency to the Hungarian currency. What should you do?
The places where you can change your money are always up to date on the latest values of the forint, so they will always know how much it is worth. They earn their money through you paying more for a forint than it is originally worth. But, someone lets you pay much more, others just a little bit more. So, how can I know that I receive a good rate? In times of big changes (when the forint is very unstable), the differences will be greater than normal. So in quiet times, you can expect a difference on around between 5 and 10 when buying or selling HUF for euros.
What does this mean in real life? If you use an exchange office, you can feel safe that it is a good place to change if they take no commission and you see a difference of less than 6-7 HUF between the buying and selling price.
- Buy Euro: 400 HUF
- Sell Euro: 410 HUF
- this is not the best…
- Buy Euro: 402 HUF
- Sell Euro: 406 HUF
- this is a great place to change your money…
It is also worth knowing that you can withdraw HUF in all the ATMs around Budapest. You will then enjoy a reasonable exchange rate, but you will most likely pay fees to your local bank. It is worth looking up what the actual fees are for withdrawing money abroad before you do this.
Above, you can see a picture of an exchange office in the middle of the shopping street Vaci Utca. The difference between the buying and selling price of the Euro is 28 Forint which is an alarming exchange rate. Unless you are in an extreme hurry, you should definitely look for a better exchange rate than this one.
HUF Currency converter
Would you like to find the correct exchange rates for the Hungarian Forint right now? Below you will find a currency converter that you can use to check the current price of the Hungarian Forint compared to Euro, USD, NOK, SEK, DKK, GBP, and other currencies.
Bargaining and giving tips.
It is quite normal in Hungarian to tip in restaurants, but it is also normal to tip guides, hairdressers, and taxi drivers. It is not normal to bargain as you shop, except in the Big Market Hall and in open-air markets.
Some examples of current prices in Hungary.
Do you wonder what things cost in Budapest? Here you can find some price examples.
- Big Mac menu in McDonald’s = 1700 HUF
- 1/2 liter beer at a pub = 600-800 HUF
- A Caffe Latté in Starbucks = 1200 HUF
- A public transportation ticket = 350 HUF
- A Snickers bar = 200 HUF
- A pizza in a normal restaurant = 3000 HUF.
If you have any questions concerning the currency in Hungary, about changing money, about exchange rates, or whatever deals with your travel to Budapest, visit our frequently asked questions page and ask there.