Budapest is considered a safe city, but as it is also a major city with 1.7 million souls, it is advised to keep your eyes open. Murder-rate is extremely low and physical assaults are also very rare, but pickpocketing and tourist scams are popular. Avoid getting ripped off, don’t exchange your currency at street vendors, only official shops like Western Union offices. Avoid getting into a tourist scam, check the menu at restaurants and double check the receipt you get. Don’t follow strangers to a great club, even if it’s a beautiful woman. Make sure your wallet, phone, and papers are secured.
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Crime and police
Police are everywhere, and most of them can speak at least moderate English, especially in the central areas. Call 112 if you’re in an emergency, assistance in English and other major languages is also available on this number.
If your passport is stolen, contact your country’s local embassy immediately. Almost all states have at least a small consulate in Budapest.
No Go Zones
There are no highly dangerous places in Budapest as again, it is a safe city, but there are areas where a foreigner will get some extra attention as it’s not a typical issue.
General rule: everything that is inside the Grand Boulevard is considered safe and fun, everything outside the Grand Boulevard isn’t, with a few exceptions. 99% of the city’s essential attractions and places can be found inside the Grand Boulevard. There are some areas where the crime rate is higher, and they are closer to the Grand Boulevard, so it is not unusual that you end up there if you get lost. These areas are the following:
7th District: Garay Square (Garay tér) and its areas
8th District: Kalvaria Square (Kálvária tér), II. Janos Pal Papa Square (II. János Pál Pápa tér), Orczy Square (Orczy tér), Teleki Laszlo Square (Teleki László tér), Matyas Square (Mátyás tér), Baross Square (Baross tér), and the Keleti Railway Station and their areas
9th District: Haller Square (Haller tér) and its areas
Extra attention is required in the city’s parks during the night.
For civilians, guns and firearms are illegal to carry in any forms in Hungary. The license is amazingly complicated and restricted. Blades above 8cms are also prohibited on the streets, but they are still popular among criminals. Obtaining a dummy gun or a pepper spray is legal, but a taser isn’t. Physical mugging is rare, but if it happens, usually only a blade which comes up in the worst case scenario, 95% of mugging is hand-to-hand assault.
The Buda side of the city is considered extremely safe.
Tips on crime and safety
1. Avoid streets without CCTV during the night
2. The 8th District has the highest rate of crime – but the situation keeps getting better – so it is advised to keep an eye open when you cross the 8th District outside the Grand Boulevard
3. Avoid larger groups of people on the streets at night
4. Taxies and Uber are super cheap, getting in a car is safer than wandering on the streets at night
5. If you get mugged, usually they want your belongings only. Don’t try to be smart, give it to them.
6. Don’t go to nightclubs and strip bars, focus only on traditional night bars
7. The night buses can be very crowded, and most of the people are drunk, keep an eye on your belongings
8. Flats are safe, the burglary rate is low. When going out at night, only take as much cash as you want to spend
9. Check the restaurant menu prices before ordering and the receipt before paying
10. Don’t fall into tourist traps, this will be your number one crime that you will encounter in the city