Budapest Safety Guide
Budapest is a friendly and hospitable city, which attracts visitors from all over the world, but like in every metropolis, you should be careful here. In order to absorb the beauties of the city without worries, we would like to give you a few advices.
Upon arrival at the station
Visitors are often fascinated by the beautiful and vivid city upon arrival to Budapest and do not keep an eye on their valuables and thieves can take advantages of this "lucky" situation.
• Keep an eye on your belongings at the station, where you can leave your luggage in the locker.
• If don't have your accommodation reserved in advance, please turn to the travel agency or information at the railway station and try to avoid agents who offer private rooms. Only agents with proper badges are permitted to offer accommodation to visitors.
If you drive a car
Just like in every big city, finding a parking place in Budapest could be a problem even for the inhabitants. If you don't know the city well, we advise to use public transport instead. There are parking lots with parking meters around sights. Vehicles are not permitted to stay more than three hours in downtown parking lots. Your car may easily be clamped if you fail to pay the parking fee or run out of time.
• Leave your car in the guarded or indoor parking lot or in a parking house.
• Do not leave your belongings, car registration documents and your mobile phone in the car.
• Please make sure you have properly locked your car and the alarm is on even if you leave it for a minute.
You may easily bump into illegal money changers who seem to offer very favorable rates at frequently visited tourist spots. This activity is not only illegal, but is also dangerous and usually turns out to produce considerable losses.
• We recommend that you change money at the banks, hotels, travel bureaus, exchange offices or the more than hundred ATM machines of the city.
During the summer season uniformed tourist police patrols do their beat with interpreters on their side at the most frequently visited places of Budapest. Some people try to pose as tourist police and ask for the visitor's money, credit cards or travel documents in order to check them. The sole reason of the move is to cheat tourists.
• Please make sure the police patrol has a proper badge with a "police" sign on it and with an ID card with picture, hologram and rank. Police badge without an identification number is not not valid.
Pick pockets in Budapest in Budapest too prefer working in huge crowds. Careless travelers can easily be deprived of their belongings, you, therefore, should be extremely careful when traveling on crowded vehicles, or on public transport lines which connect the sights of Budapest (streetcars no. 2, 4 and 6, buses no. 7 and 26 in the summer, and the metro). At the most frequently visited places of Budapest, such as downtown streets, Matthias Church in the Castle, Heroes' Square, the Citadel, and the underpasses, some groups of people may try to surround unsuspecting tourists making a loud noise and turmoil in an attempt to steal their belongings.
• You are recommended to leave your valuables, cash, airplane or train tickets in the safe at your accommodation.
• You should not take more cash with you than necessary for the shopping.
• Keep your bag closed and don't keep your cash and credit card at the same place.
You can easily find a restaurant or a bar in Budapest to match both your purse and your taste. At some places frequently visited by tourists average quality food and drink may be overpriced. Quite often attractive women who speak foreign languages may recommend restaurants and bars to undecided guests. Accept these invitations only if the bill doesn't make any difference to you. We would rather discourage our friends to do so.
• Before ordering make sure you know the prices, a five-digit price for one dish is unrealistically high.
• Never accept menus which do not contain prices or are coded, these are illegal.
In the Citadel, Fishermen's Bastion, Váci utca or Heroes' Square people who play betting games turn up from time to time tempting visitors to make easy money. Players always cooperate with their friends who pose as spectators. If you enter the game, you can take it for granted that you will loose.
• Don't try your luck in the streets if possible, there are casinos in the city.