Budapest in detail

Money and Costs

Currency

Forint (Ft)

Daily Costs

Budget: Less than 15,000Ft

  • Dorm bed: 3000–6500Ft
  • Meal at self-service restaurant: 1500–2500Ft
  • Three-day transport pass: 4150Ft

Midrange: 15,000–35,000Ft

  • Single/double private room: from 7500/10,000Ft
  • Two-course meal with drink: 3500–7500Ft
  • Cocktail: from 1500Ft

Top End: More than 35,000Ft

  • Double room in superior hotel: from 16,500Ft
  • Dinner for two with wine at good restaurant: from 12,500Ft
  • All-inclusive ticket at a spa: adult/child 3600/1600Ft
  • Cover charge at a popular club: 1500–2500Ft

Money

ATMs are everywhere, including at the airport and train and bus stations. Visa, MasterCard and American Express widely accepted in many hotels and restaurants.

ATMs

  • ATMs are everywhere in Budapest, including in train and bus stations and at airport terminals.
  • All major banks have ATMs and most ATMs accept cards issued outside Hungary.
  • There's a proliferation of Euronet ATMs dispensing both forint and euros, particularly in Budapest's touristy neighbourhoods. They offer comparatively poor exchange rates and visitors are better off using the ATMs of major banks instead.

Some convenient bank branches:

OTP Bank

K&H Bank

Cash

  • Hungary’s currency is the forint (Ft). Notes come in six denominations: 500Ft, 1000Ft, 2000Ft, 5000Ft, 10,000Ft and 20,000Ft. There are coins of 5Ft, 10Ft, 20Ft, 50Ft, 100Ft and 200Ft.
  • Prices in shops and restaurants are always quoted in forint, but many hotels and guesthouses state their prices in euros. In such cases, we have followed suit – you can usually pay in either euros or forint.

Changing Money

Avoid moneychangers (especially those on V Váci utca) in favour of banks if possible. Arrive about an hour before closing time to ensure the bureau de change desk is still open.

Credit Cards

  • Credit cards are widely accepted. Use them at restaurants, shops, hotels, car-hire firms, travel agencies and petrol stations, but don’t assume they are accepted at all supermarkets or train and bus stations (though you can use them to purchase tickets from ticket machines).
  • Many banks give cash advances on major credit cards, but these involve both fees and interest.
  • Contactless payment, in which you wave or touch your card or handheld device over a reader at the point of sale terminal without inserting your card or entering your pin, is widespread in Hungary. The limit is set at 5000Ft.

Tipping

Gratuities in Hungary are commonplace.

  • Bars For drinks served at table, 10% of total.
  • Hairdressers 10% of haircut price.
  • Hotels 500Ft for luggage, 200Ft to 300Ft per day for housekeeping.
  • Petrol stations & thermal spas Attendants expect some loose change.
  • Restaurants For decent service 10%, up to 15% in more upmarket places; 12.5% service is often included in the bill nowadays.
  • Taxis Round up the fare.

Travellers Cheques

  • You can change travellers cheques at most banks and post offices, but shops never accept them as payment. Bureaux de change generally don’t take a commission, but exchange rates can vary; private agencies are always the most expensive. OTP bank offers among the best rates.
  • A good option is the Travelex Cash Passport (www.travelex.co.uk/cash-passport) – a prepaid travel card that you load up with funds before departure and then use to withdraw cash in local currency as you go along.