Is Budapest safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide
Also called the Queen of the Danube, Budapest is a magnificent ancient city nestled on the banks of the Danube River. It’s the capital of Hungary and its largest city, with a population of over 1.75 million people. It’s one of the most beautiful European cities with a spectacular natural setting and art nouveau architecture. That’s why it’s not surprising that it receives an average of 30 million visitors each year.
The city is divided into two parts—Buda, which occupies the west side, and Pest occupying the east—linked by the historic Chain Bridge. While Buda is known for its quiet, sophisticated neighborhoods, green hills, and fairy-tale-like architecture, Pest boasts numerous cultural treasures and is home to the Parliament Building, Central Market Hall, and the Hungarian Opera House. It also delivers a live atmosphere with multiple bars, restaurants, and cafés.
The high season in Budapest starts from May to September, with many locals and tourists enjoying outdoor events, festivals, and open-air dining in warm weather. You can expect large crowds during this time, despite higher accommodation prices. Since there will be many people there, it’s essential to keep your belongings safe in a secure luggage locker in Budapest while navigating the city.
Is Budapest safe to visit right now?
Hungary is one of the world’s most peaceful and safest countries. In fact, it has risen further to becoming the 13th most peaceful nation among 163 countries based on the newest Global Peace Index. Therefore, as the Hungarian capital, it goes without saying that Budapest is a very safe city for tourists to visit.
Although Budapest is generally safer than most major cities and free of violent criminal acts against tourists, you still need to be more vigilant with your belongings and aware of your surroundings. Pickpocketing, purse snatching, and other petty crimes occur in the city, particularly in crowded areas, railway stations, markets, and on public transportation.
While we’ll provide you with the necessary information to help you enjoy a safe and fun trip to Budapest, there’s no such as a perfect safety guide. Your overall safety and well-being, as well as that of your belongings, are your responsibility, so be alert at all times.
Follow our safety tips and check out your government’s official travel guidelines for the country or visit you plan to visit before deciding to travel, regardless of whether you’re a seasoned traveler.
Top petty crimes and scams in Budapest affecting tourists
Although Budapest has a low crime risk, it’s not entirely free from petty crimes and scams, especially in high-traffic areas. Having an increased awareness of these acts will help you become more cautious and avoid being caught in potentially risky situations.
Pickpocketing and bag snatching
Snatchers and pickpockets typically target unsuspecting travelers in tourist areas, shopping centers, train stations, and markets. Always take precautions against petty crime, especially when visiting any popular tourist destination in the capital city.
Avoid carrying too much cash and ensure your items, including your passport, visa, and other travel documents, are secure. It would be best to leave your valuables at home or a Bounce luggage locker and only access them when necessary while traveling.
Some bars and restaurants are notorious for charging exorbitant amounts for meals or drinks. If you can’t pay the bill, they will accompany you to an ATM to demand more money. To avoid falling victim to these scams, ask for the menu with prices listed clearly before ordering.
Unfortunately, some taxi drivers are an accomplice in the scam. For this reason, you should never ask a taxi driver for a bar or restaurant recommendation and decline if they offer to take you to a nearby entertainment venue. It’s always a good idea to contact a taxi from a reputable city taxi company.
Cash, credit cards, and passports are common targets of thieves. Highway robberies and car thefts may also occur when thieves persuade drivers to pull over and steal items from them. Be careful when stopping at highway parking areas and gas stations, especially at night.
Spiked drinks and food
It happens rarely, but there have been instances where tourists were unknowingly given drug-laced food or drinks. That’s why you shouldn’t accept drink or food from a stranger or anyone but a server. Be wary of accepting beverages or snacks from new acquaintances, and never leave your food or drinks unattended.
Is Budapest safe to travel alone
If the thought of visiting Budapest alone is causing you anxiety due to safety concerns, don’t fret! It’s one of the best big cities to start your travel journey on your own. With a high location score of 76 according to Travel Safe Abroad, Budapest is a safe city to explore for solo travelers.
Hungary ranks 29th on the Bounce Women Travel Safety Index. Solo female travelers can also find comfort in knowing they can plan their itinerary without worry. There are female-friendly restaurants, bars, and top hotels close to major attractions. It’s the perfect opportunity to relax and make time for yourself, making the most of everything the capital has to offer.
However, just because Budapest is not a dangerous city doesn’t mean you can be inattentive to your surroundings. You still must practice sensible safety precautions and avoid walking alone at night.
Safest neighborhoods in Budapest
Thorough research is crucial when deciding where to stay in Budapest. While most neighborhoods in the capital of Hungary are safe for tourists, there are some shady areas you should stay away from so you don’t ruin your trip. If you don’t know where to start, we’ve highlighted some of the best neighborhoods in the city and a few places you might want to avoid.
District I Várkerület
Also known as the Castle District, Várkerület should be your go-to destination if you want to see many of the city’s offerings and features while staying safe. It is located in Buda and well-connected to the Pest via public transport. It boasts medieval architecture, cobblestone streets, and scenic views. It’s also home to the prestigious Buda Castle, one of the city and the country’s remarkable symbols.
District V Belváros
Belváros is another esteemed neighborhood in Budapest. It features many of the city’s main attractions, such as the Shoes on the Danube Bank, the Hungarian Parliament Building, and St. Stephen’s Basilica. It is laid back for a historic center, offering visitors some of Budapest’s elegant hotels and luxurious restaurants.
Unless you’re an experienced traveler, you might want to skip some areas in the city that are not super safe. These include the Józsefváros in District 8 and Angyalföld in the 13th District.
Keep in mind that every District has its share of shady streets, and anything can happen to anyone, just about anywhere, at any time. But to help you be safe while discovering the city, avoid walking through dark alleys, use your common sense, and follow safety tips.
Is Budapest public transportation safe?
Budapest is one of the world’s most popular destinations among tourists. Since it relies heavily on tourism, the government does its best to provide visitors with a reliable and safe experience when touring the city, whether on foot, by private vehicle, or via public transportation.
Taxis are also safe in Budapest, and the risk of being kidnapped by a driver doesn’t exist. Perhaps, the most common threat of taking a taxi is being overcharged by an unlicensed taxi. Instead of hailing a cab or catching one from Budapest airport, book a ride from a reputable transportation company.
If you’re traveling overnight by train, secure your compartment from the inside and avoid traveling alone. Plan your route ahead of time and avoid getting on and off at deserted or unlit areas when possible.
Important emergency numbers in Budapest
You can never be too safe when visiting a foreign land or an unfamiliar city. Besides following simple safety rules and being aware of your embassy number, take note of the emergency numbers in Budapest so that you know who to call if you ever feel in danger.
- Hungary's country code: +36
- Budapest area code: 01
- Free emergency hotline available 24/7: 112
- Ambulance: 104
- Fire service: 105
- Police: 107
- Central help number: 112
- Domestic inquiries: 11 800
- International inquiries: 11 811
- Tourist Police (0-24): 06-1-438-8080
- Lost and found: +36 (1) 296-8797
- Call Center: +36 (1) 296-7000
Visit Budapest without worries
Budapest is Hungary’s administrative, political, commercial, and industrial center, so it only makes sense that the Hungarian government pays great attention to the city’s overall safety and security. If you ever feel unsafe, there are plenty of organizations and services you can take advantage of during your trip. That way, you can return home with nothing but exciting memories to remember for a lifetime.
Before booking your hotel, get helpful tips by reading Where to Stay in Budapest: The Ultimate Guide. You can also check out our guide on how to get around Budapest, highlighting ways to navigate the city and maximize your adventure.