You must have heard that Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, is a city known for its rich history, stunning architecture, thermal baths, vibrant cultural scene, and delicious cuisine.
Unfortunately, it's also quite common for our tour guides to be asked whether or not Budapest is safe, so we've compiled some of their best tips below.
While we understand your concern, the truth is that this European destination is a beautiful, safe city to visit for the most of the part.
In addition to providing helpful advice from our tour guides, we'll also include suggestions from locals and travelers who are familiar with the city.
- How Safe is Budapest?
- Safe Neighbourhoods of Budapest
- Is Budapest Safe at Night?
- Are the Trains and Buses Safe to Ride?
- Safety Tips While in Budapest
- Suggestions from Locals and Travelers
How Safe is Budapest?
Budapest, like any large city, has varying safety levels across its neighbourhoods.
While it's generally safe for tourists in well-travelled areas like District V (Belváros-Lipótváros), District I (Várkerület) and District XII (Hegyvidék), petty crimes like pickpocketing and purse/bag snatching can occur in crowded places.
However, good news is that unlike any other major cities around the world, Budapest didn’t experience any terrorist attacks in the past.
Due to its location in along the Danube River, there is also a possibility of flooding in the Budapest. Another natural disaster which threatened Budapest in past is Earthquake.
The city has a visible police presence in tourist areas, contributing to a sense of safety.
Budapest is also considered good for solo female travellers and solo travellers, but everyone needs to be careful because some people might try to trick you, cheat you, or steal from you.
Which Areas of Budapest Are Safe?
The capital city of Hungary, like any major city, has neighbourhoods that are generally considered safe for residents and tourists alike.
These areas tend to have a lower crime rate and are popular among both locals and tourists due to their vibrant atmosphere, cultural attractions, and security measures.
When deciding what neighbourhoods to visit during your trip, we recommend starting with these options.
Belváros-Lipótváros (District V)
Budapest's city center is a safe and vibrant area, featuring historic landmarks, upscale hotels, and a lively atmosphere.
It is home to popular tourist attractions like St. Stephen's Basilica, Hungarian Parliament Building & Danube Promenade.
It's a well-patrolled area, making it a popular and safer choice for tourists.
Várkerület (District I)
This district encompasses the Castle District, featuring historic landmarks, cobblestone streets, and panoramic views of the Danube.
It's a top destination for those seeking a glimpse of Budapest's rich history.
Home to popular attractions like Buda Castle, Fisherman's Bastion and Matthias Church, it is a well patrolled area and considered safe for visitors.
Erzsébetváros (District VII)
Home of famous attractions like Ruin Bars, Gozsdu Courtyard and Dohány Street Synagogue, this neighbourhood is known for its cultural diversity and vibrant nightlife.
While it's generally safe, be aware of your surroundings, especially at night.
Hegyvidék (District XII)
This hilly area on the Buda side of the city is known for its green spaces and upscale residences. It's generally considered safe.
It is known for its upscale residences, green spaces, and safety. It's an excellent choice for those who appreciate a suburban feel within Budapest.
Normafa, Buda Hills and Zsíroshegy Lookout Tower are some places/attractions popular among tourists.
Újlipótváros (District XIII)
This residential neighbourhood is favoured for its tranquil atmosphere, parks, and proximity to the Danube River. It offers a more relaxed pace of life in the city.
This is a residential neighbourhood with a mix of locals and expats.
Some popular tourist attractions of this district include Margaret Island, Szent István Park and Újpest Water Tower.
Remember that while these areas are generally safe, it's essential to exercise standard safety precautions and stay aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded or tourist-heavy locations.
Visitors should always keep the safety tips in mind and watch out for scam artists or pickpockets in these areas.
Is Budapest Safe at Night?
Budapest is mostly safe at night, and it's considered one of the safer capital cities in Europe.
However, like any large city, it's essential to take some common-sense precautions to ensure your safety.
When the sun goes down, it is time to be extra mindful and cautious about where you travel and how you behave.
- Before going out at night, plan your itinerary, and let someone know your whereabouts. Choose well-known and reputable establishments for dining and entertainment.
- In night, try to confine your visit to safer neighbourhoods, such as the Belváros-Lipótváros, Várkerület, or Erzsébetváros.
- Memorize or have easy access to emergency contact numbers, including 112 for general emergencies and 107 for the police.
- Use licensed taxis, ride-sharing services, or public transportation when moving around the city. Avoid unlicensed or unofficial taxis.
- Walk on well-lit, main streets, and avoid shortcuts through dark alleys. Keep a map or navigation app on your phone to avoid getting lost.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Keep headphones at a low volume or use only one earbud to remain alert.
- Carry only what you need for the evening and leave unnecessary items in your hotel safe.
- If possible, travel with friends or fellow travellers, as there is safety in numbers.
- Be vigilant for pickpockets, especially in crowded areas and on public transportation. Keep wallets and smartphones in front pockets or secure bags.
Besides all these measures, if something feels unsafe or uncomfortable, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation. Don’t wait for something bad to happen.
Are the Trains and Buses Safe to Ride?
Trains and buses in Budapest are generally safe to ride.
The public transportation system in Budapest is well-maintained, efficient, and widely used by locals and tourists alike.
Budapest's has a well-developed metro, tram, bus, trolleybus, ferries, and Suburban Railway system, known as HÉV, which connects Budapest with surrounding towns and suburbs.
Metro, trams and buses are an affordable, faster way to see more of the city, and we highly recommend riding them with safety in mind.
The best way to get around the city and its popular tourist attractions is by purchasing a travelcard on the official app BudapestGo.
These cards are valid on all public transport vehicles, except for the boat service, for unlimited number of trips.
But if you are on a short visit and only plan to use public transportation for a few trips, buying individual tickets might be more cost-effective.
However, the problem with both metro and buses is that they can become very crowded, especially during rush hours.
This is the time when many thieves focus on train stations and buses and it is also when most pickpocketing and petty theft incidences can happen.
The best way to prevent yourself from such incidences is to keep a watch on your belongings and your surroundings.
Keep your wallet or mobile phone safe and don't leave them in your pocket where they can be easily snatched.
If you take care of these tips, public transportation will make your Budapest trip much easier and fun.
Tips to Stay Safe While Visiting Budapest
- Stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. Avoid poorly lit or isolated areas, especially at night.
- Travel with others when you can. Walking with a friend or group is always a good idea. If you are traveling solo, consider exploring Budapest on a group tour. Always follow travel advisories.
- Take licenced taxis at night. Choose licensed taxis or reputable ride-sharing services, and verify the vehicle's identification before getting in.
- Keep your bags and valuables secure. This means bags zipped, snapped, and across your shoulder. Avoid putting your wallet in any pocket where it can be seen and stolen.
- Avoid bad neighbourhoods. Like every city, Budapest has both good and bad neighborhoods. Its better to keep yourself away from some potentially dangerous neighbourhoods like District VIII (Józsefváros), District IX (Ferencváros), District X (Kőbánya) and District III (Óbuda-Békásmegyer).
- Avoid Provocation. Stay away from arguments or confrontations with strangers and avoid engaging in potentially heated discussions.
- Know the emergency numbers. Familiarize yourself with the local emergency numbers and have a map or navigation app on hand.
Apart from these tips, you also need to avoid scamsters who can dupe you by these common scams.
- Taxi scams. Some taxi drivers may overcharge you by taking longer routes or using unregistered taxis. Always use reputable taxi companies and ensure the meter is used.
- Currency exchange scams. Be cautious when exchanging money, especially at small exchange offices, as they may offer unfavourable rates or hidden fees. Use established banks or currency exchange offices. Also pay in local currency Forint (HUF) instead of Euros.
- Restaurant and bar scams. Some establishments may overcharge for food and drinks, particularly in tourist-heavy areas. Check the menu for prices and ask for the bill before ordering.
- Drink and food spiking. There have been incidents of drinks being spiked, especially in bars. It's advisable to purchase your own beverages and ensure visual contact at all times.
- Street vendors and pickpocketing. Keep an eye on your belongings, as street vendors may attempt to distract you while an accomplice steals your wallet or phone.
- Fake petitions and beggars. Be wary of individuals approaching you with petitions or sob stories, as they may be distractions for pickpocketing. It's best to politely decline and keep moving.
- Distraction theft. Be cautious of anyone trying to distract you with a spill, a dropped item, or another ruse. While you're distracted, an accomplice may steal from you.
Remember, if you stay alert and mindful of potential danger, you are unlikely to run into any problems while visiting Budapest.
Suggestions From Locals and Travelers
The advice of our tour guides is of course valuable, but it can also help to get the opinions of those who have actually traveled to Budapest or perhaps even life there.
In this section, we'll cover some of the most helpful suggestions from various Facebook groups dedicated to providing advice to travelers.
One thing you'll find from both travelers and locals alike is that they frequently report that Budapest is one of the safest cities they have ever visited.
Donna's comment is a common one, noting that even when she's been out really late, she has felt safe in part because of all the security cameras.
Reinitz also notes that especially during the day and early evening, it's perfectly safe to walk around Budapest without fear.
You'll be hard pressed to find anyone in these groups describing this city as anything but safe, but some locals do recommend avoiding certain areas such as the Keleti Railway Station and Blaha Lujza ter.
If you're wondering which side of the city is safest for accommodations, it would seem that almost everyone agrees on this subject: stay on the Pest side!
Although you'll probably be safe on either side, most locals and travelers prefer this part of the city, especially when it comes to hotels.
For additional tips and tricks, make sure to read through some of these Facebook groups yourself, and consider asking them a question!
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