Disclaimer: Due to Covid-19 some of the places and venues mentioned below have temporarily closed down. Please check their websites and social media channels for up to date information.
Arriving in Budapest for the first time can be a little daunting, what with, a wonderfully strange language, a unique culture, and not to mention the confusing money. Coming from places that accept the Euro as the standard currency, discovering that the Budapest currency is Forint and that it comes in 1000's can be a lot to process.
Fortunately, this article can help you out in finding where to exchange money in Budapest, the few places that take Euro and the things to avoid when dealing with money in Hungary.
There are lots of places to exchange money in Budapest, but not all of them, however, give competitive rates. Here's a list of the top 5 places to exchange money in Budapest, complete with an address.
Friendly reminder: always compare exchange rates before you hand over money, just in case you can find a better rate somewhere else - and always check and keep your receipts!
You won't have a problem finding ATMs around Budapest, however, not all ATMs are created equal! Some charge very high conversion rates when withdrawing money.
Euronet ATMs, although there are lots of them in the city and very convenient, do charge at a very high rate. That's not to say you shouldn't use them, but when you do, do make sure to check the exchange rate given against your bank's rate. If the rate isn't as good as your bank's, you can decline the conversion and it will then be charged at your bank's rate.
When trying to find money exchange offices, Budapest has many places available. However, just like ATMs, not all exchange places offer competitive rates. Be wary of places like train stations, airports and other transport hubs and their unusually high rates.
This is because they know people will want to get local money as soon as they can and therefore can charge higher. If possible, it is smarter to wait until you're in the city center and exchange at one of the places listed above.
Although the Euro is not the national currency in Hungary, some places do accept it as they know many tourists have recently arrived from EU countries. That being said, although they do accept Euro, they do not offer competitive rates and can sometimes have worse rates than airports and train stations.
Major shops such as Spar, H&M, and some international shops in the shopping areas of Budapest do accept Euro and will usually say it on their door or by the checkout counter, but make sure to check their rate before spending your Euro. Usually, it is better to exchange your Euro at an official exchange shop.
In an ever-progressing world, more and more companies and shops are now accepting cards, so this can mean the need to exchange cash is reduced or even removed altogether. As well as easing the stress and anxiety of having to handle multiple currencies and deal with rates and numbers, this also allows you to use your bank's conversion rate and therefore avoid unwanted fees and charges.
As always, do check exchange rates before you confirm payments and also be aware that while it is becoming commonplace to use your card, not every shop accepts it, therefore cash may still be needed on occasion.
We hope that with this information you will have everything you need to get the most out of your money in Budapest and have the memorable trip you wanted. Head to one of the conversion shops mentioned above and get the best bang for your buck!