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Budapest is generally a safe city during day and night compared to other big cities. Petty crimes like pickpocketing, theft, and scams may however occur.

Police are frequently on patrol and many surveillance cameras deter criminals from committing more serious crimes like aggravated assault.

Some residents of Budapest, especially the older ones may be offensive or rarely hostile towards people of colour and members of the LGBTQ+ community. But these are rare instances. Or in the worst-case scenario, these people just shout offensive things but do nothing.

Travelling is also safe in Hungary. Students can travel without stress on public transport, taxis, rented cars, on bikes, and even on foot.

The safest parts of Budapest include district I., II., III., XIII., and all suburbs of Budapest. The worst parts of Budapest include district V. (due to the high-value thefts, but in reality it’s peaceful), VI., VII., some parts of the 8th district, and the 10th district.

Partying is also safe, but as most of the criminals target the party district (Jewish Quarter, VII. district) it’s wise to be more cautious than usual.

Travel on night buses and trams is also safe, albeit usually there are more drunken people who are prone to random conflicts.

We collected some public safety tips for students to help them avoid any unpleasant situations. Also, you can find some useful emergency numbers at the end of the article that can come handy during your Erasmus in Budapest.

Is Budapest safe?

Yes, Budapest is generally safe for students, residents, and visitors alike. It typically ranks well in global safety indexes, often faring better than many other European cities. Violent crimes are rare, and most visitors experience a trouble-free stay.

How safe is Budapest compared to other European cities?

Budapest is relatively safe when compared to other European capitals. But like many big cities, Budapest has its crime side, too. Petty crimes such as pickpocketing, theft, and scams may occur, especially in tourist-heavy areas. However, the city is generally safer than others when it comes to serious crimes.

Why is Budapest safe?

There is no definitive reason why Budapest is safe. Plus, it can be quite subjective. However, there are some possible reasons why Budapest is considered a safe city. These reasons are the following.

  • Police are usually on patrol at the most popular places in Budapest on the most crowded party nights.
  • Many surveillance cameras in the city deter people from committing crimes.
  • Melee and fire weapon laws are very strict in Hungary.
  • Drug laws are also very strict in Hungary.
  • Loitering is practically a nonexistent thing in Hungary.
  • The funny thing is, people are not poor enough to rob others and they are not rich enough to be robbed by poor people. Thus, robbing is not worth it from a financial perspective.

How common is crime in Budapest?

Crime in Budapest is not a common thing, and the crime rate is lower compared to many other European cities. Verbal abuse, petty thefts, and scams targeting tourists and foreigners can occur, especially in the vicinity of popular parts of Budapest.

Brawls can occur in bars and clubs, obviously due to alcohol or drug consumption.

Violent crimes, like mugging, aggravated assault, or even murder are extremely rare in Budapest. Especially towards foreigners.

The most serious crime that occurs in Budapest in rare instances is stabbing.

What are the typical crimes in Budapest?

The most common crimes in Budapest are typically non-violent and include verbal abuse, pickpocketing, bag snatching, and bicycle theft. These incidents are more likely to occur in crowded tourist areas, on public transportation, at Friday and Saturday nights, and at large events.

What are the typical scams in Budapest?

The typical scams in Budapest are the following.

  • Bars, especially low-rated bars, tend to overcharge guests.
  • Restaurants, especially with Hungarian cuisine and in the centre, tend to overcharge guests.
  • Freelance taxi drivers often try to rip-off tourists and foreigners by overcharging them, or taking unreasonably longer routes to the passenger’s destination.
  • Shady figures tend to sell sham drugs like parsley or sugar in the proximity of clubs.
  • It’s quite rare nowadays, but at some places drinks might get spiked.
  • Other common scams include “friendship bracelets”, where someone ties a bracelet on your wrist and then demands payment, and fake petitions.

Is Budapest safe for black people?

Yes, Budapest is generally safe for black people. Budapest is increasingly multicultural, and while instances of racism can occur, they are not widespread. Younger generations are usually more open, while older residents of Budapest are often more racist.

Students of all backgrounds should feel welcome, but it’s wise to stay informed about the areas you plan to visit.

Is Budapest safe for members of the LGBTQ+ community?

Yes, Budapest is generally safe for members of the LGBTQ+ community. However, residents of Budapest, especially the older generation, don’t tolerate public displays of affection between gay pairs.

Budapest is relatively liberal and has a growing LGBTQ+ scene. Public attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community are generally tolerant, especially among the younger generation and in urban areas. However, discretion is advised in less cosmopolitan areas.

How safe is public transport in Budapest?

Public transportation in Budapest is safe, efficient, and widely used by locals and tourists. However, it’s advisable to keep an eye on your belongings, especially during rush hours and on crowded public transport vehicles.

Thieves usually look for passengers who are unaware, or even sleep. A common tactic is standing close to a passenger, who is using his/her smartphone, and before the door is closed, the thieves grab the phone, get off, and run away.

Always try to keep your valuables (especially your smartphone) close! If a shady figure stands unreasonably close to you – especially if the public transport vehicle is not crowded -, it’s a red flag. In these situations, try to get further from the guy. If the thief sees that you are aware, then he/she won’t even try.

Are taxis safe in Budapest?

Taxis in Budapest are generally safe, but it’s best to use reputable companies or apps to book rides. The most reputable taxi companies are the following.

  • Bolt
  • Főtaxi
  • 6×6 Taxi
  • Taxi4
  • City Taxi

Uber is still unavailable in Hungary. But it’ll be soon available again thanks to an agreement between Uber and Főtaxi.

Ensure the metre is running or agree on a fare in advance to avoid being overcharged. A taxi service that has an app and thus transparent pricing is your safest option.

Is it safe to drive in Budapest?

Yes, it is safe to drive in Budapest. However, it’s not recommended. Driving in Budapest can be challenging due to heavy traffic and the complex layout of the city. If you’re not familiar with the area, consider using public transportation, taxis, or bikes instead.

Is it safe to bike in Budapest?

Yes, it’s safe to bike in Budapest. Budapest is becoming more bike-friendly, with dedicated lanes and bike-sharing schemes. But be aware when the traffic is heavy, especially along the line of Tram Line 4 and Tram Line 6. In addition, car drivers tend not to be tolerant towards people who bike on the road.

Always follow traffic rules and use bike lights at night for safety.

Is it safe to walk in Budapest?

Yes, it is safe to walk in Budapest, both in the daytime and at night. Walking is a great way to explore Budapest. The city is generally safe for pedestrians, but it’s important to be cautious at night, especially in less-lighted areas, less crowded areas, and when you are alone.

What are the safest neighbourhoods in Budapest?

The safest neighbourhoods in Budapest are the following.

  • District I. (Buda Castle)
  • District II. (Krisztinaváros, Hűvösvölgy etc.)
  • District III.
  • District XII. (Németvölgy, Svábhegy, etc.)
  • District XIII. (Újlipótváros, Angyalföld etc..)
  • District XV.
  • District XVI.
  • District XVIII.
  • District XXII.

The Buda side is overall a very safe part of Budapest, as the upper-class residents of Budapest live there. Pest is a tad more risky. There are districts, like the 13th district, that are completely safe, and neighbourhoods like the 10th district are best to avoid.

The Jewish Quarter of Budapest, or in other words the party district is unfortunately the less safe part of Budapest. The reason is simple: this neighbourhood is filled with tourists (with money), who likely walk in these parts drunkenly. Easy targets for petty thieves.

Suburbs of Budapest belong to the top safest neighbourhoods of Budapest. But are less interesting and exciting for Erasmus students.

Is Buda Safe?

Yes, Buda is safe. Buda is known for its residential tranquillity and is generally safer, with lower crime rates than Pest. Since the upper-class residents of Budapest live here, it makes it a more reserved part of Budapest. Its hills offer not only stunning views but also a peaceful living environment.

Is Pest Safe?

Yes, Pest is generally safe. But being more commercial and densely populated, sees higher foot traffic and consequently, a slightly higher risk of petty crimes. However, it remains safe, especially in well-frequented and well-lighted areas. Especially in the daylight.

Is the Jewish Quarter in Budapest Safe?

The Jewish Quarter in Budapest is generally safe but attracts more thieves due to its popularity among tourists.

District VI, along with Király Street and its surroundings, has long stood as one of Europe’s top nightlife destinations, attracting young people for parties and stags. However, the abundance of nightclubs and the influx of tourists bring not just enjoyment but also issues. Public prosecutor’s office statistics reveal that this area also experiences high rates of vandalism, theft, and robbery.

As drunken tourists with relatively more money are easy targets, most of the robberies and thefts happen here.

Are the Suburbs of Budapest Safe?

Yes, the suburbs of Budapest are very safe with lower crime rates. However, as with any city, it’s advisable to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings.

What are the most dangerous neighbourhoods in Budapest?

The most dangerous neighbourhoods in Budapest are the following.

  • District V.
  • District VI.
  • District VII.
  • Hős utca (in the 8th District)
  • Magdolna-Negyed (in the 8th District)
  • District X.

District V. on this list is misleading in that sense that the highest value thefts – due to the high number of tourists and rich residents – happen here. But overall a safe part of Budapest.

Many people also mention District VIII. as the whole district is a dangerous part of Budapest and one should not enter it at all. The reason is that it indeed used to be the most dangerous part of Budapest, during the 20th century and in the early 2000s. There are still problems here, however, due to the extensive gentrification this district is getting safer and safer.

Is Budapest safe at night?

Budapest retains much of its charm after dark and is generally safe at night. However, like in any major city, we recommend you to stick to well-lighted, busier streets and avoid walking alone in unfamiliar areas.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s wise to keep an eye on strangers who seemingly follow you. In these cases, you should either try to find police or outpace him/her by taking corners regularly and then walking faster.

Is it safe to party in Budapest?

The nightlife in Budapest is vibrant and generally safe. But as drunken tourists or foreigners with money are easy targets, the vicinity of popular nightlife spots attracts thieves, criminals, and troublemakers.

Always try to stick with friends, watch your drinks (even better if you constantly hold it in your hands), and be cautious of overly friendly strangers to avoid any trouble.

It’s important to always keep an eye on your belongings, NEVER leave them unattended!

How safe are night buses and trams in Budapest?

Night buses and trams in Budapest are very safe to travel with. There are often ticket controllers on these lines who also act like semi-security guys, thanks to their big size. However, keep up your guard on Friday and Saturday nights on the most popular night buses and trams as rapid brawls between guys often emerge on these lines. Also, these lines tend to be quite crowded even at night, which makes it easier for pickpockets to have a successful night.

Keep an eye on your belongings, and even if it’s extremely difficult not to fall asleep drunk on a night bus or tram, try not to fall asleep on a night bus or tram. Because if you do, you’ll likely be robbed.

By bearing in mind some basic tips, you can radically decrease your chance of having unpleasantries.

Public safety tips for students in Budapest

The most important public safety tips for students are the following.

  • Always listen to the advice of locals!
  • Keep your belongings secure, especially in crowded spaces!
  • Know your limits, drink responsibly!
  • Watch your drinks!
  • Never fall asleep on a night bus or train!
  • Never buy drugs from random strangers on the street!
  • Never exchange money with a random fella on the street!
  • Avoid freelance unbranded taxi drivers!
  • Don’t get into trouble with the security staff at clubs!
  • When in doubt, leave!
  • If there’s an emergency, dial 112!

Always listen to the advice of locals!

Locals know best. If they tell you not to do something, then don’t do it. Similarly, if they tell you not to go somewhere, then don’t go there.

Know your limits, drink responsibly!

Enjoy your drinks, but remember not to drink too much. While sometimes it’s tempting to accept a drinking challenge, always think twice before engaging in it. In a more dangerous environment with pickpockets nearby, you are becoming an easy target of thieves.

There are some stories from western cities, where residents pass out on the street and don’t get mugged, but Budapest is not one of those cities. Passing out at a random place at night, especially alone, is highly risky in Budapest!

Watch your drinks!

It sounds like common sense, but it’s worth repeating. Although it’s getting rarer, it’s recommended to always keep an eye on your drink, or keep it in your hands, as they can get spiked. Be sure no one can tamper with your drinks. If you do leave your drink unattended, it’s better to get a new one. If your drink smells funky, then don’t risk it, get a new one.

Unless you are really into cocktails, it’s always better to buy an alcohol that is not a mixture of more than 2 ingredients.

Keep your belongings secure, especially in crowded spaces!

Pickpockets are quite common, especially in rush hours and at night. Don’t let them steal your stuff out of your pocket easily! Your most important belongings (wallet, IDs, smartphone, keys etc.) should always be in a locked space in your bag. Or at least somewhere, where it’s almost impossible to steal without you noticing them trying.

Don’t leave your bags unattended. It’s better to keep them close and secure!

Never buy drugs from random strangers on the street!

There are lots of shady figures, who tend to sell drugs in the proximity of the most popular clubs in Budapest. Most of the time these are sham drugs, like chopped parsley or sugar. Buying questionable synthetic material is risky itself (not to mention that it’s illegal). But if it’s counterfeit, it’s even worse. Just don’t!

Never exchange money with a random fella on the street!

One of the rarest types of scammers is exchange scammers. It sounds common sense, but never exchange money on the street from a random person on the street. Those banknotes will likely be counterfeit, or just papers. Stick to the official exchange shops in Budapest, or use your card instead. All clubs in Budapest accept cards.

Don’t get into trouble with the bouncers at clubs!

You can’t beat the security guards of a club in Budapest. Even if you knock out some big guys, there will be plenty more as a backup at the scene ready to bust you up nicely. The reason is simple: their reputation. If word gets out that someone managed to beat up the security guards of a club, then it’ll be swarmed with criminals and such. Because they know the club wouldn’t be able to kick them out.

Clubs won’t let it happen. So if you try your strength with a security guy, it’s 100% that you’ll be beaten. Even if bouncers are offensive, don’t take it personally.

When in doubt, leave!

Sometimes your instincts are your best advisors (except the advice of locals). If you feel like something’s not right, then don’t hesitate, leave! Even better, if you leave with a friend, or with a group of friends.

Never fall asleep on a night bus or train!

Pickpockets typically seek people who fall asleep on public transport. These are the easiest targets to steal a smartphone or bag from. While sometimes it’s quite hard to stay awake, especially with an unreasonable amount of alcohol in your system, always try to stay awake and vigilant when you travel alone home!

Avoid freelance unbranded taxi drivers!

The other typical scammer of Budapest nightlife is the freelance, unbranded taxi drivers. These are those service providers, who’ll most likely rip you off big time. Either by rigging the metre, or by taking unnecessarily long routes to your home. If you fall asleep in the taxi, then it’s even worse.

Stick to the aforementioned trusted taxi services!

If there’s an emergency, dial 112!

In case of an emergency, dial 112 from any phone. This number will connect you to the police, ambulance, or fire brigade services.

Important emergency numbers for students in Budapest

In case trouble or serious crime did happen, here are the most important emergency numbers for students in Budapest.

  • Free emergency hotline, that is available 24/7: 112
  • Ambulance: 104
  • Fire service: 105
  • Police: 107
  • Tourist Police (available all day and night): 06-1-438-8080
  • International inquiries: 11 811
  • Lost and found: +36 (1) 296-8797

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