Costs and Prices in Budapest, Currency in Hungary

Price of Food, Eating Out, Transportation and Other Services

See how much the most important things cost in Budapest to give you an idea about cost of living in the Hungarian capital. There’s a common misconception that Budapest is a cheap city to live in or to visit it as tourist.

Since we live here (and visited other countries and cities in the neighboring countries), we can compare prices in Budapest to that of in popular cities in Central Europe (Prague, Vienna), and the fact is that our city is still quite affordable regarding accommodation, food, admission to museums and other sights.

How much you will spend during your visit depends on your needs.

If you wan to splurge, stay in a luxury Budapest hotel and eat in upscale restaurants than you have to dig deep in your pocket.

The good news is that Budapest offers budget travellers a wide choice in affordable accommodation and eating out options, too.

Quick Links: Currency, Money Exchange - Reliable Foreign Exchange BureausCredit cards, ATMsAccommodation PricesMeal Prices in Restaurants - Basic Items, ServicesParking Fees, FinesMotorway Toll

Currency in Budapest, Hungary – Money Exchange Tips

Hungary’s official currency is the forint (FT, HUF). The country is expected to join the Euro zone around 2020.

TIP:  It is best to pay in the local currency (you pay less than you would in EUR or other foreign currency), Forint, for most everything: services, food, in shops, tours, museum tickets etc.

Larger shops, popular restaurants in the Budapest’s city center accept Euro, and US Dollar but usually at higher exchange rate, so you end up paying more than you would in the local currency.

So it’s best to have cash in Hungarian forint with you.

Don’t exchange money at people offering it to you on the street (Vaci Street is a typical place where people might approach you and offer you to exchange your currency), however tempting may their offer seem avoid them because you’ll likely get cheated (you get fake money or a bunch of papers for your money).

Avoid changing money at the airport or train stations too: exchange bureaus at at these places usually work with inflated rates.

Exchanging Money in Currency Exchange Bureaus in the City center

TIP: For the most favorable exchange rates, change money in a reliable exchange merchant in the city, they have lower rates than most banks, or withdraw currency from an ATM (you’ll find plenty of them in the city center and in major shopping centers), but do find out how much your card provider charges for transactions in a foreign country (usually between 0.5 – 1.5 % of the midpoint exch. rate.

Hungary is a pretty safe and good (meaning financially favorable) place to change currency.

  • Check rates and calculate how many Forints you will get before doing the transaction. Exchange bureaus display two prices for each currency: a “Buy” Rate and a “Sell Rate”. If you want to buy Forints you need the “Sell rate” (it is lower than the “Buy rate”) because you’re selling your local or other currency for HUF.
  • Calculate the difference between the two rates (known as “spread” in the monetary world): you are good if it is less than 2 % ( less than 1 % off the midpoint – For up-to-date midpoint exchange rates between other countries’ currencies use the XE website.. TIP: a good website to search for the best exchange rates in Budapest: Valutacentrum (it’s only drawback is that it is only in Hungarian).
  • Ask how much the commission is.
  • Count your money both before handing it over, and the amount you receive before leaving.

Reliable Exchange Bureaus in Budapest’s City Centre, District V.

These are trustworthy, legitimate companies offering favourable rates:

Northline – they have several bureaus in district V.:

  • Two in Váci Street at: No. 86. (near the Great Market Hall) and 36.
  • at No. 2. in Kígyó utca ( a small side street of Váci utca)
  • Two in Petőfi Sándor utca runs parallel with Váci Str.) at No. 1. and 12.
  • One in Sas utca at No. 10-12., near the Basilica

Bálint Change

  • in Régiposta utca at No. 15 (a small street crossing Váci Str. between Vörösmarty Square and Elizabeth Bridge).
  • at Kálvin tér 1. (at Hotel Korona)

Using Credit Cards

If you don’t want to carry cash with you you can pay with your credit card (Visa, Master Card, American Express are widely accepted in larger stores, and in most restaurants – in small shops and food markets you can pay in cash only -, the sticker of the accepted cards are displayed in shop, and restaurant windows) .

Coins: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 200 (introduced in June 2009 to replace the 200 banknote).

Bank notes: 500, 1 000, 2 000, 5 000, 10 000, 20 000

Cost and Prices in Budapest, Hungary

Accommodation Prices

5-star and 4-star hotel room rates
100-150 EUR(double room)
Budget Hotel room prices
30-50 EUR
Hostel room prices
cc. 12 EUR in dormitory, cc. 20-23 EUR in single room, cc. 15 EUR in double room (person/night)
a budget apartment is around 40-60 EUR /night


Note: Hotel room prices and apartment rental fees depend on the season. The majority of hotels have higher prices (by min. 20 %) during summer, Easter, the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Related Information:

TIP: Before booking your accommodation, always compare room rates online to get the lowest prices. Try to look for special offers (e.g. 3 nights for 2 during winter in Budapest) or discount packages for further savings.

Don’t forget to read Travellers’ Hotel Reviews because the cheapest hotel is not always the best choice.

 Budapest Card (from 01. April 2015.)

24- Hour Card
17 EUR
48-Hour Card
27 EUR
72-Hour Card
33 EUR

See more details on Budapest Cards: what’s included and buying options.

Restaurant Prices in Budapest

Menu in a good cheap fast food (like Platán in City park) or self-service restaurant
900-1 200 HUF
Meal in a high-end restaurant like Onyx (soup or dessert and main course)
5 000-12 000 HUF
Pizza (32 cm)
1 000-1 400 HUF
600-700 HUF
McDonalds Menu
1 200 HUF
TIP: for cheap eats go to one of the market halls in Budapest where you can have inexpensive snacks both savory (lángos, scones), and sweet (strudel, various pastries). The Central Market Hall at Liberty Bridge has some cheap eateries on the first floor.

The markets are also the best places to buy souvenirs and stock up on some Hungarian specialties like Hungarian paprika.

Further Budapest Restaurant Tips


Some restaurants charge 10 % service fee which should be displayed on the receipt. In this case tipping is not expected from guests. If there’s no service fee charged you can give around 10 % tip to the waiter either by rounding up the bill, or giving the amount to the waiter/waitress when settling your bill.

Cost of Parking in Budapest

There are 5 parking zones in Budapest: in the most expensive zone the parking fee is 525 HUF/1 hour (city centre, Buda Castle, Margaret Island) in other parts you have to pay 265-440 HUF for 1 hour parking. The lowest tariff is 175 HUF/1 hour in the suburban areas.

Parking Fine

If you exceed the period you paid for or forget to drop more money in the parking ticket machine, and get caught, the fine will be calculated as follows.

There is 5 500 HUF base fee to which 2 hours parking fee is added.

Prices of Basic Items, Services in Budapest

Single ticket for public transport Other Budapest public transport ticket prices
350 HUF
A loaf of bread (1 kg)
300-400 HUF
1 litre milk
250-300 HUF
Mug of draught beer
400-600 HUF
A bottle of beer (0.5 litre) in shops
200-300 HUF
A glass of quality wine (1 dl)
600-700 HUF
A bottle of wine
1 500-4 000 HUF (don’t bother with cheap 500- 800 HUF wines)
A shot of espresso
280-300 HUF
A cup of cappuccino
400-500 HUF
A cup of tea
300-500 HUF
A slice of cake
300-600 HUF
1 litre petrol/gasoline (95 octane)
330 HUF
Taxi fares
250-300 HUF/km (as of Sept 01 2013: all taxi companies charge a flat rate: a base rate: 450 HUF + cost per Km: 280 HUF + waiting fee: 70 HUF/minute)
Cinema ticket
1 200-1 400 HUF
Museum entry fees
800-1 500 HUF
Classical Music Concert ticket
3 000-8 000 HUF
cc. 35-100 EUR
with buffet lunch : 29.64 EUR / 8 300 HUF, with dinner and live music: 38.57 EUR / 10 800 HUF, with coffee/tea: 10.35 EUR / 3 200 HUF, with wine tasting: 16.06 EUR/4 500 HUF
High-speed internet
5 000-10 000 HUF/month


Motorway Toll In Hungary (Vignette)

In Hungary every motorway is a toll road, administered by the National Highway Authority (Á.A.K. Zrt.). The roads M0 (that forms a half ring around the city of Budapest), M2 and M15 although are divided multilane roads, they are not considered as motorways, and can be used free of charge.

Types of E-Stickers and prices for the D1 category of vehicles (motorcycles, and motor vehicles with a maximum total permissible weight of 3.5 tons, including any trailers):

  • 10-day: 2 975 HUF for cars, 1 470 HUF for motorcycles
  • Monthly: 4 780 HUF
  • Annual: 42 980 HUF

The stickers can be used for unlimited trips on every highway, within its validity period.

For up-to-date prices please check website of the Hungarian State Motorway Management Company Ltd.

Authorisation for road use can be purchased/registered at petrol stations (gas stations) all around the country. The purchase receipts should be kept for at least half a year after the trip.

Foreign travellers can also by the e-vignette through the following on-line retailers:

Buying Motorway E-ticket in Hungary

Related: Public TransportationCar Hire in BudapestShopping in Budapest  – For Business Travellers