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Money



Hungary's official currency is Hungarian Forint (HUF). Many stores and other places accept Euro* as well.

However, the exchange rates at such places often don't follow the most up-to-date bank rates, and this is not in favor of the customers. Be prepared to get the change in HUF. Coins are HUF 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200. Denominations of banknotes are HUF 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000. Smaller shops or ice cream parlors may not have enough change if you try to pay with high denominations, so it's recommended to have change or smaller denomination notes at hand.

 

In each city around the country there are ATMs for money withdrawal, that accept major debit cards or credit cards. You can also pay by debit or credit cards in most stores. Only a few banks are willing to cash traveller’s cheques, so it is recommended to bring your debit or credit card when you visit Hungary. Smaller shops or country guesthouses may only accept cash.

 

Generally, money exchange points at airports use the least convenient exchange rates. So, when you arrive, only exchange the smallest amount necessary (you can also pay by card for cabs or bus tickets). It is recommended to exchange money at banks, private money exchange points or maybe even at hotels or travel agencies, where the exchange rates are displayed. To avoid any unpleasant surprise, always ask whether they apply a commission. Exchanging money in the streets is definitely not recommended. Hotels usually use less convenient exchange rates than banks or private money exchange points. ATMs are often located in the lobby of banks, and you need your card to open the door. Banks open between 8 and 9 am and close between 4 and 5 pm (the opening hours of banks at malls are longer).

 

A glass of beer usually costs around HUF 600 (less than € 2); a glass of wine costs HUF 700-1100 (€ 2-3); a Big Mac menu costs about HUF 1800 (€ 5-6), while you can buy an artisan burger for about HUF 2000 (€ 5-6). You may buy a coffee for less than € 1 at small pubs. On the other hand, if you prefer specialty cafés (which you can find around any corner in Budapest, and are spreading like wildfire in other cities as well), an espresso (or ristretto for black-belt coffee fans) costs about € 1.5. You can have lunch for € 10-15 at a mid-range restaurant, or enjoy a three-course lunch menu at a Michelin restaurant for € 35+15% service charge, if that's your preference. Many restaurants feature daily offers on weekdays.

 

*There are some places where you cannot pay by Euro, like markets, small grocery shops, bakeries, souvenir shops and some restaurants. Theoretically, from 1st o January 2021 it is obligatory by for shops to accept credit or debit cards, mobile payments or bank transfers, but unfortunately, in reality, it is not always possible

Tips

The usual amount of tips is 10%. This goes for cabs, restaurants etc. If you pay by card at a restaurant, the staff prefers to receive the tip in cash. The 10-15% service charge added to the sum total of the bill, is just starting to spread in Hungary. If it is included you don't need to tip.

 

 

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