First of all we would like to emphasize that Budapest is a very safe city, there should be no safety concerns, but as in every big towns, precautiousness can prevent any unpleasant situation. As we have been working in the tourism have heard of some incidences in the past that some tourist encountered. We think if we share these information with you, the possibility of bad experiences can be minimised, and you will leave Budapest only with good memories.
1. Your car / Parking
When parking in the street please make sure that you didn't leave any valuables or bag at a visible place of the interior space of the car, and remove the cover of your car cd player or radio. There are many guarded parking facilities (Parking Houses) which are recommended to use in case of traveling by a higher category car. (Fee is 300-400 HUF/ hour or 2000-4000 HUF/ day.) Fortunately, the numbers of car thefts are strongly decreasing for the last few years.
2. Walking around at night.
It's absolutely OK. The only area to avoid is some part of the 8th district (east from Grand Boulevard), which is inhabited by minorities and new immigrants. The only thing to look after is: try not to draw attention to your camera or vallet. Robbing in the street is unlikely.
3. Using the public transport
Budapest has an extremely good and frequent public transport system. Ticket types: one way ticket (orange) is valid for a single journey, when you change lines or get off and taking a new vehicle please remember to validate a new ticket. Price: 185 HUF. One day card is valid for all means of public transport- costs 1400 HUF and can be used for one calendar day, while a 3-Day Card is 2800 HUF. To buy tickets: newspaper stands, tobacco shops, metro stations,slot machines ( not recommended, most of them eat your coins ). Ticket validation: On buses, trams you have to have a prepurchased ticket, which has to be punched (validated) on the bus/tram. (Drivers very rarely sell tickets.)
Bp. has three metro lines which meet at -Deák tér- station. There is a common problem that tourist usually encounter: when using a single ticket and changing the metro lines it's important to validate a new ticket, otherwise controllers are eagerly searching for uncarefull foreigners to fine.
Using the public transport is very safe even in the night. The only thing one should pay more attention is travelling by tram because pickpockets are acting more frekvently than elsewhere.
4. Changing money
You can change money at banks (Open. Mon-Fr 8:30-16:00), Exchange Offices. In Hungary due to the valid lows commission cannot be charged that should be included by the daily exchange rate. Some exchange bureaus apply more rates based on the amount you want to change, so please make sure that you accepted the relevant rate because after completing the transaction there is no refund. (Some offices e.g.: INTERCHANGE give an extremely bad rate for smaller amounts than 1000 EUR / 1200 USD which is shown in the first column on the exchange rate board with small caracters.)
Changing money in the street can not only cause you some financial losses, but also illegal.
5. Bars, Night Clubs
Some years ago it occured that at night clubs, and bars some foreigners have been overcharged (whith a zero for example). These notorious places have been already closed but to avoid such an incident elsewhere, please always check the menu before ordering, and before paying insist to get a printed receipt. Apart from this issue, nightlife is very safe, enjoyable and recommendable in Budapest !
Always prefer those taxis that belong to an official taxi company! These cars can be recognised by the trade mark on the door. Private taxis without trade mark are not only extremely expensives, but often cheat. The highest applicable tariff/Km is maximised by the municipality in 350 HUF. Waiting fee: max. 200 HUF / min, basic (starting) tariff: 420 HUF. The driver must present a printed receit by the taxameter. (Make sure, that the taxameter has been started!). Before sitting in a cab, ask the driver how much the fare will be approximately. A ride in the town can not exceed 2500 HUF even at night. Taxi tariffs in case of phone order are the cheapest (125 HUF/km). Please find some reliable taxi companies and their numbers at the "Useful phone numbers" passage below.
7. Faked policemen
Some years ago I also heared about the activity of some South-East European peoples' crimes against our visitors. They stopped people in the street quickly showing some ID card similar to Police Officers ID card requiring people's money to check if it is faked or not saying, that they are working for the "tourist police". (Tourist Police which in this form doesn't exist!!!) When all of them "checked" your bank notes they give them back to you saying it's OK, but meanwile these skilled hands change for example the 100- dollar-notes to one-dollar-notes, and you will realise the trick when you want pay in a shop later on.
Please note that no policeman works in civil clothes in Hungary in the street, and they are forbidden to check or demand any cash by law!
Wewould like to tell you again that Budapest is one of the safest capitals of the region. The above mentioned examples happened a few ago, and we haven't heared such incidents recently.