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Most visitors to Hungary, and Budapest especially, think that because Hungary is in Europe the Hungary currency must be Euros. Nope!
In fact, Hungary has its own currency, called the Hungarian forint. This makes a trip here slightly different to other European countries as you have a whole new currency to get used to!
Luckily, though, the currency in Hungary is pretty straightforward. On my trip to Budapest I got used to using the currency in Hungary very quickly, and I learnt a lot about it!
In this post you’ll learn everything you’ll need to know about money in Hungary and Hungarian currency. You’ll also learn why Hungary having its own currency means great things for your travel budget!
What Currency Does Hungary Use in 2024?
The currency of Hungary is the Hungarian forint (HUF), and this is still used in 2024. So, if you ever see the HUF currency abbreviation, you now know that means the Hungarian forint.
Hungarian money offers great value to tourists because (unlike countries that use the Euro) the use of the Hungarian forint in Budapest and Hungary in general means prices feel cheap to Western tourists.
It goes without saying, but the Budapest currency is also the Hungarian forint since Budapest is the capital of Hungary.
The Hungary currency symbol for forint is Ft, so all over Hungary you’ll see prices listed as, for example, 150 Ft, which is 150 Hungarian forint.
A single forint is the smallest denomination of currency in Hungary. Previously, a forint was divided up into 100 fillér, but fillér coins are no longer in circulation. Given that 1 forint is worth €0.0025, it’s clear to see why!
Does Hungary Use the Euro?
In general, Hungary does not use Euros.
In the main tourist areas in Budapest (particularly bars and clubs aimed at tourists) you might see prices listed in Euros, but that’s pretty much it!
If you’re in a touristy restaurant and bar they may let you pay in Euros, even if the prices are in forint, but you’ll likely get a bad exchange rate. You’ll always get the best deal by paying in the local currency.
If you’re wondering “what is the best currency to take to Hungary?” the answer is clear – it’s Hungarian forint!
Outside of Budapest, you’ll find it much, much harder to find anywhere that will let you pay in Euros. Overall, you can’t pay in Euros in Hungary. It’s far better to just carry Hungarian forint or an international travel card so you don’t need to deal with cash.
Can I Get Hungarian Currency in the US/UK/Etc?
Hungarian currency is really easy to get in the UK and other countries in Europe. You’ll find it at almost every currency exchange counter.
Further afield, like in the US or Australia, it’s less common to see the forint at the currency exchange counter, but you can easily order Hungarian forint online.
My favourite method for getting a local currency is to use a travel credit or debit card (I use a debit card with Starling Bank) to withdraw the local currency on arrival at an ATM at the airport. That way, I always get a good conversion rate, and with a travel card you won’t pay any conversion fees.
That said, it’s always a good idea to have a small amount of local cash (usually the local equivalent of €20) before you arrive just in case you struggle to find an ATM immediately.
What Is The Hungary Exchange Rate for Euros/US Dollars?
At the time of writing, the Hungary currency to Euro rate means that one forint is around €0.0027. The Hungary currency to dollar rate is $0.0029, so it’s pretty similar, and the Hungary currency to pound rate is £0.0024.
Get used to seeing prices in Hungary in the hundreds or thousands of forint!
Obviously, exchange rates change frequently, so it’s best to check the current rates before your trip.
It’s pretty easy to remember the exchange rate in Hungary, as 1000 forint is roughly €2.70, $2.90, or £2.40. If you’re wondering what you can buy with 1000 forint, that’s easy – you can buy a glass of wine at a bar!
I always download the XE Currency app, and it’s invaluable when travelling to Hungary! You can download the Hungarian currency calculator, and then you can simply enter the amount of forint or your own currency and it will convert the amount automatically.
Cash in Hungary
When it comes to cash in Hungary you’ll use coins and banknotes. In terms of Hungary currency denominations, coins come in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 HUF. You can’t get a single forint coin. Notes come in 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 HUF denominations.
It’s a good idea to break into your larger cash notes as soon as possible. They’re a bit of an inconvenience if you just want to pay for something small in cash, for example at the market.
Can You Use Credit Cards in Hungary?
We withdrew around €100 worth of Hungarian currency for our trip to Budapest. To our surprise, though, almost everywhere accepted card payments and we struggled to get through our cash! For the most part Budapest is very card-friendly, and you can use credit cards in most parts of Hungary.
As of 2021, it’s technically mandatory for shops in Hungary to accept card payments, but not all of them have implemented this yet.
That said, the further off the beaten path you are the more likely it’ll be that you need to pay with cash. Visit an ATM before exploring less-touristy destinations in Hungary.
So, do you need cash in Hungary? Probably not, but it’s best to be prepared and have a little bit just in case.
How Much Money Will I Need to Budget for Hungary?
The amount of money you’ll need to budget for a trip to Budapest or Hungary depends on how long you’re visiting for and your travel style.
However, if you’re travelling from Western Europe, the US or Australia, you’ll love how little you need to spend in Hungary. After all, it’s one of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe!
Budapest is the capital city of Hungary, and it’s also the place most tourists head to, so things are slightly more expensive than elsewhere in Hungary, but still affordable by western standards.
In most places in Hungary, expect to pay around 800 HUF (€2) for a beer at a bar. A main course at a budget restaurant will cost around 2700 HUF (€6.75).
To get a better idea of how much money to take to Budapest, check out my full guide to the cost of travel in Budapest. It shows you exactly how much you’ll need to spend on accommodation, food, drinks, transportation and activities for your trip.
Hopefully this guide has made things clearer for you in terms of the correct currency to use in Hungary.
In summary – the currency in Hungary is the HUF Hungarian Forint, and you can’t use Euros unless you buy things like hotels and tours online. What is the best currency to bring to Hungary? The Hungarian forint, of course!