Published: September 06 2023
The concise answer to this pressing question is yes, you can technically pay with Euros in Budapest, but it’s not widely accepted everywhere. Hungary, where Budapest is the capital, primarily uses their own currency, the Hungarian Forint (HUF). However, in certain tourist hotspots, bigger hotels, and some shops and restaurants, Euros may be accepted.
Conversion Rate Issues
It’s crucial to understand that even if they accept Euros, these places may not provide you with the best conversion rates. Consequently, you might end up paying more than needed. Simultaneously, places that do accept Euros frequently, don't always give correct change back in Euros - most likely you'll get Forints as change. Thus, it is often best to convert your Euros into Forints at a currency exchange or to withdraw Forints directly from a Hungarian ATM.
Preferred Currency in Hungary
The Hungarian Forint (HUF) is the official currency of Hungary. Products, goods, and services are typically priced in Forints, including public transportation. Most Hungarians use Forints for daily transactions - it's simply more convenient and familiar. Therefore, paying with Forints will certainly make your transactions smoother and save you from unexpected exchange rate surprises.
Using Credit or Debit Cards
If you prefer not dealing with cash, credit or debit cards are very commonly used in Budapest. You will find that the vast majority of businesses, including restaurants and stores, readily accept card payments. Major international payment services like Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are accepted by most.
However, bear in mind that small retailers, individual market vendors, and traditional Hungarian eateries may only accept cash, particularly outside of the Budapest city centre. So, it's a good idea to keep some Forints within your reach.
For cash needs, you can always withdraw Forints from a Hungarian ATM. They are widespread throughout Budapest and the rest of Hungary. Your bank's foreign transaction fees and exchange rates will apply.
You have an option to exchange your money into Hungarian Forint at currency exchanges around the city. Comparing rates between different providers can help you find the best match for your needs. You may notice that rates are usually less favourable at the airport or main tourist areas, so it may be best to convert larger amounts of money elsewhere.
In conclusion, while you have some ability to use Euros in Budapest, the local currency is the Hungarian Forint and is preferable for everyday transactions. To secure the best rates and avoid losing money through poor conversion rates, consider using a mixture of credit/debit card payments and cash in Hungarian Forints.