Money change and ATMs

The coverage by ATMs is increasing in Budapest and other major cities, but in less urban areas availability may be limited. ATMs operate 24 hours a day. Most ATMs offer several languages (Hungarian, English, German, French, Russian). ATMs accept most credit and debit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Eurocard, JCB, and Diners Club. Most hotels, restaurants and petrol stations accept credit and debit cards – but sometimes excluding American Express. The acceptance of traveller’s cheques is not universal; they are accepted by banks and money exchange offices only.

It is easy to change money at banks, hotels, post offices, tourist offices, travel agencies and private exchange offices. Some places (hotels, restaurants, shops) accept EUR/USD cash too, but the actual exchange rate can differ from the banks’ by up to 10%. Be aware that smaller shops usually only accept cash!

Exchange rates as of November 2018: 1 EUR= 322 HUF, 1 USD= 282 HUF.

Shopping and going out

Budapest is affordable compared to other European cities, as Hungary does not use the EURO as its currency. Eating out, entrance fees to baths and museums, tickets to theaters or to the opera are still offered at reasonable prices. Restaurants, night pubs and shopping centers are very common in Budapest. Restaurants are usually open from 11am to 12 pm; pubs open till 2-4am. Shopping centers are open from 10am to 9pm. Tipping is expected in restaurants and pubs if the service is not included in the check; 10-15% tip is most welcomed.

From April 2012 you are not allowed to smoke in any community place including shopping centers, pubs and restaurants. From June 2013 you can only purchase cigarettes and related products in the assigned tobacco shops.


Import duty and taxes are due when importing goods into Hungary from outside the EU whether by a private individual or a commercial entity.

The duty rates applied to imports into Hungary typically range between 0% (for example: books) and 17% (for example: Wellington Boots).  Some products, such as laptops, mobile phones, digital cameras and video game consoles, are duty free. Certain goods may be subject to additional duties depending on the country of manufacture, for example bicycles made in China carry an additional (anti dumping) duty of 48.5%.

The standard VAT (in Hungarian: Általános Forgalmi Adó, or ÁFA) rate for importing items into Hungary is 27%, with certain products, for example books, attracting VAT at the reduced rate of 5%. VAT is calculated on the value of the goods, plus the international shipping costs and insurance, plus any import duty due.

Excise duty is payable on for example tobacco and alcohol. Additional customs fees can be charged to cover the expense of performing any required examinations, verification and or testing of the imported goods.

The value added tax ranges from 0 to 27% and covers the purchase of all new goods. It is normally included in the price written on the price tag or check.

Tourist tax (in Hungarian: Idegenforgalmi Adó, IFA) must be paid for each night in hotels/hostels for all guests between the ages of 18 and 70. The amount differs in cities and hotels. In 2014 IFA is 350HUF (~1.1EUR) /person/night for hostels but it might go up to 4% of the room price in hotels of 3 stars or higher, especially in Budapest. This is usually included in the price of the room, but guests are advised to check it in advance.

0%postal services
 medical transportation (human and tissue)
 medical services
 sport services
 folk art products
 public utility services
 insurance services (under 22 EUR)
5%diagnostic and medical equipment
 herbs and medicines
 books and newspapers
 performance (as service by artist)
18%milk and milk products
 grain, cereal products
 hotel accommodation services
 take away foods
27%all other goods and services

Visitors are not exempt, but non-EU residents can claim refunds for total purchases of at least 50000 Ft on one receipt (175 EUR or more), as long as they take the goods out of the country (and the EU!) within 90 days. The ÁFA receipts (available from where you made the purchases, has to contain the buyer’s particulars identical with his ID), should be stamped by customs at the border.

One doesn’t have to pay any tax or duty on goods bought in another EU country as long as tax was included in the price when the item was purchased. The item must be for your own personal use, and not for re-sale. Restrictions apply for larger amount of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages.

Duty Free and Travel Value stores can be found at the airport. The stores offer traditional duty-free categories including cigarettes, electronics, clothing, liquor, fragrances and confectionery.

VAT refunding for conference costs is available for companies registered in European Union countries or in Switzerland or Lichtenstein.For more about taxation in Hungary please check: