Tipping in Budapest

How much tip should I give in Budapest Hungary?

The average official payment of waiters and waitresses is quite low, so they mainly live from tips. In 2011, the average Hungarian net wage was HUF 141,000 per month, which means approx. HUF 900 per hour (roughly 3 euros, GBP 2.3 and USD 3.7).

Budapest Taxi - tipping in Hungary

Budapest Taxi - tipping in Hungary

Nevertheless, the average tipping is only 10%. If you go over that, it means true appreciation for the service provided by the hotel personnel, restaurant staff, taxi drivers.

Our Budapest tipping guide is descriptive only (not prescriptive), so if your tipping philosophy is different from the one which is customary in Hungary, nobody will force you to tip (unless a 10% service charge is automatically included in your restaurant bill Рplease check the menus for that). We are aware that in some countries tipping is non-existent. Hungarian tipping is in line with the European trends with its 10%.

Tipping situations in Budapest

Tipping in Budapest is customary in the following situations:

  • waiters and waitresses in Budapest restaurants (on average 10%)
  • bar attendants (approx. 5-10%)
  • hotel staff (from cleaners to bellboys – approx. HUF 200-1000) at hotels in Budapest: many hotel guests leave a small daily tip for the cleaner every day (HUF 100-200) rather than a bigger sum at the end of their hotel stay in order to make sure that it is really the cleaner that gets the tip
  • Budapest taxi drivers (tips are about 10% of the taxi fare, or rounding up the sum),
  • Gypsy musicians ‘playing in your ear’ in restaurants (tips range from HUF 200-1000)
  • petrol station attendants (HUF 100 – 200 normally, but if the windscreen has also been cleaned, the tips might be more)
  • public toilet attendants (WC – about HUF 100-200)

Now, you may be very surprised, but due to old communist non-competition, it is still customary to tip doctors, dentists, hospital staff. There are initiatives to tackle this deep-rooted tradition, but tipping health care people in Hungary is still prevalent. As a tourist you may not experience this old fashioned tipping tradition, but don’t be surprised if you hear such stories. They are not legends.

 

 
Comments

Please correct me if I’m wrong but after reading your column on tipping habbits and expectations in Hungary to date, is this trend mainly directed at tourists or are the locals subjected to it on a daily basis, if so your comments on prices in Hungary and how the locals complain about affordability on a low wage makes sense, not only do they pay for a service but then lumbered with a 10% tip charge just so the poor little sod dosen’t come across as a cheap skate.
Not sure if this is the road the Hungarians want to take in regards to promoting tourism there, if we want to tip till we drop we will visit the good old USA..
Even so we are looking forward to a 7 day visit to Budapest soon, tipping in Australia is virtualy non existant so will be an experience for us and believe me we are far from being tight or cheap.
Thank you for a well laid out and informative site, a lot of this will come handy on our holidays.

Cheers: Frank

Hello Frank, I’m afraid tipping in the US is more than 10%, approx. 15% at restaurants. They are usually more generous, even up to 20%. We are quite sure that Hungarian tipping is perfectly in line with the European trends (Greece 10%, Croatia 10%, Spain, Portugal, Italy – service fees are often included in the prices, which is becoming a trend in Hungary too). Of course it does not mean that you have to like it. But it is worth checking the menu in Budapest restaurants if automatic 10% service fee applies or not.

If you look at this reputable travel website, written by an American, Rick Steves, you will find that tipping outside Australia may have changed in the last couple of decades: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/tipping.htm
Although tipping 10% in Hungary or rounding up taxi fares has been in practice for more than 30 years for sure.
You are right, being a local tourists in Hungary is not easy with Hungarian average wages, so Hungarian staff may probably be expecting stinginess from locals, while getting the general 10% tips from foreigners. There are no statistics about Hungarian tippings, but APEH is trying to tax tips, and the Hungarian government is planning to do away with tipping – so there are some regulations being prepared for future tippings rules http://www.borsonline.hu/cikk.php?id=50630
(in Hungarian)

China, Japan are places where tipping is rude, so they may be good travel destinations. :)

Still, we hope you will enjoy staying in Budapest again. :)

topbudapest
I appreciate your contribution to TA and this fantastic site,but other than Americans most of the world neither wants or receives tips
it resonates of a master/servant relationship
I have been to Hungary 3 times in 11 years and have never felt browbeaten to tip like i have been in America
I would add 10% to a meal,massage or taxi but that’s it
service workers in the USA only get $1-2 per hour so 20% tip is part of their wages
Here in the Uk most bar staff would think you were mad offering a tip
If a place made a big issue of tips in Hungary then i probably wouldn’t use it again
nearly all the service i have had in Hungary is similar to the uk in that people do a job and get paid by their employer to make the customer happy
coming back to Budapest in June
regards tony

Hi Tony, tipping philosophies differ, I agree. From your comments I have concluded that it was necessary to point out that our information about customary tips in Budapest, Hungary is descriptive, not an impudent request or hidden expectation, etc.: there is no one forcing you, or tourists or locals to tip.
You either do as most locals do, or you are free to follow your personal tipping approach. Just a couple of decades ago lots of people were smoking, and by now there are overall bans. The world is changing and so do cultural elements like tipping too.
That said, I am more than happy to express my appreciation of really good services in a tipping jar (whether in restaurants, in cafes or for street performers), and absolutely enjoy if I can write great reviews about great services in Budapest or elsewhere in the world. And I find it ridiculous and impolite to include automatic tipping in prices at restaurants. As some countries, apparently like Australia, shows, people can do without tipping, which sounds a bit Brave New World in Hungary right here right now. But things can change.
In short, you do NOT have to tip, you are not asked to tip, but if you wish to know how most people in Hungary tip, you can take a look at the above Hungarian tipping guide, and make up your mind how (not) to follow suit.
To be honest, in my experience (Anna at TopBudapest) Hungarians who work in catering, tourism, etc. (like myself during my students’ years) rely on tipping, are looking forward to being tipped – so I find the statement “nearly all the service i have had in Hungary is similar to the uk in that people do a job and get paid by their employer to make the customer happy” less true of certain jobs where people’s low wages are increased by tipping. But a good employee in the same jobs would not show it to any customer that he / she was counting on a tip, and is disappointed in any way. Instead, would stay polite, smiling and helpful. Some tips, some don’t. We always tip in the UK, and nobody has ever raised their eyebrows questioningly, just pocketed it happily (taxis, restaurants) http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g186216-s606/United-Kingdom:Tipping.And.Etiquette.html
Have a nice trip to Budapest again. :)
And thanks for adding your thoughts about this seemingly innocent but controversial topic.

Anna that guide to the Uk is so old it made me LOL,
maybe i got the wrong end of things here
on my first visit to budapest in 2001 very little english was spoken and service wasnt great
my wife and i travelled the whole length of the libego(sic) chairlift with the safety bar upwards because no one told us to pull it down
we were terrified :-)
tipping is an american habit that Americans have tried to export over the world,far better to have a minimum wage for hotel and restaurant staff
I have had tips refused in Iceland and Norway
so a tip isnt a necessary thing
it just makes people obsequious and servile
in the tourist towns of the uk they will always take tips i.e. london,bath,oxford
but if you go to normal towns like mine (luton) no need to tip except to round up the change
when i go to work,nobody tips me and i wouldnt expect it,I do my job as best i can and get paid a fair rate
budapest is our favorite capital city in the world and we DO tip while there but never feel that it is the most important part of everything like I have down in new york and las vegas
kind regards tony

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