Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, a hive for tourists seeking to visit the two halves – Buda and Pest – which are separated by the gorgeous River Danube. For visitors to Budapest, the best advice is to get your forints in the country itself. Budapest is a city with natural beauty combined with modernity; it offers great value for money and with a bit of preparation offers a terrific treat for tourists.
It’s a safe city, provided normal levels of care are taken. Violent crime is rare, although pickpocketing is rife in the tourist areas. Take hand sanitiser and tissues wherever you go and avoid public toilets if you can – they are not the most pleasant experience!
Can you use the Euro in Hungary?
The nation is keen to get its hands on foreign currency and will usually offer better exchange rates than it is possible to achieve elsewhere. However, be warned as in Budapest each exchange can set its own rates and is under no obligation to let customers know whether there are better deals to be had elsewhere.
When Hungary joined the European Union, along with nine other nations back in 2004, its intention was to adopt the Euro as soon as possible. Financial analysts predicted that to do so would raise economic activity with the rest of Europe by up to 30%. Unfortunately, at that time the budget deficit within the country was too great and the conditions under which it could join the Euro could not be met.
Entry kept being put off until 2011 when the authoritarian right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has constantly been a thorn in the side of the European Union, said that the country would wait until 2020 to adopt the Euro.
For visitors to Budapest, the best advice is to get your forints in the country itself. The nation is keen to get its hands on foreign currency and will usually offer better exchange rates than it is possible to achieve elsewhere. However, be warned as in Budapest each exchange can set its own rates and is under no obligation to let customers know whether there are better deals to be had elsewhere.
As is always the case, the bigger and more official the operator, the better the rates are likely to be achieved. However, without ruining your holiday, it is worth spending a little time shopping around.
It is not just the beauty of the city that is an attraction of going to Budapest; compared to many European capitals, the prices offer great value for money. Although some places are costly, a meal can set you back from as little as 2500 forint, or about £7. That includes a glass of wine or beer.
There are a lot of kebab-type shops where a bite for lunch will be yours for under £3. It’s a similar price for a coffee and a pastry at one of the many coffee shops that are dotted throughout the city. When paying for your food and drink, double check that service has not been included – it could well have been, especially in the larger places. If not, around 10% is a good amount to tip. The same applies if you are taking a taxi. (A word on these; taxis are best avoided as they are not well regulated. If you do not fancy the well-run public transport system, then book an official taxi and phone a couple to compare prices.)
A handy tip for whenever you are about to spend some money is to separate notes carefully. Forint notes are very similar to each other and it’s easy to confuse a 2000ft note with a 20000ft note. Now, that could be a costly mistake.
How many Hungarian forints to the pound?
At the time of writing, the exchange rates for the Hungarian forint were just under 312 forints per Euro, 265 per dollar and a touch under 350 per pound. The rupee was worth four forints.Although the forint remains the official currency of the region, Euros and American Dollars are widely accepted in the city.
We hope that this post offers useful information regarding money matters in Budapest and Hungary as a whole. For more details on currencies abroad, keep an eye on our blog containing more posts like these.