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Budapest  is the capital city of Hungary. With green filled parks full of charming pleasures, museums that will inspire, and a pulsating nightlife that is on par to its European counterparts, Budapest is one of Europe's most delightful and enjoyable cities.
Although Budapest is administratively divided into 23 numbered districts, always written in Roman numerals, it can most simply be divided into the two cities of which it is comprised (Buda and Pest) and one historic district:
Regarded by many as one of world's most beautiful cities, travelers are quickly recognising the appeal of Budapest, with a tourism growth of approximately 20 million visitors per year.
Consisting of two very different cities,Buda on the west bank of the Danube River and Pest on the east bank, Budapest (pronounced "BOO-dah-pesht") offers travelers Viennese romanticism at an affordable price. However, Budapest is unique in its own right. Hungarians are proud of what this ancient capital has to offer and its contributions to European culture, especially in the field of music, a language one doesn't need to speak to appreciate.
Budapest first appeared on the world map when the Romans founded the town of Aquincum around 89 AD, in what is today Óbuda. It soon became the capital of the province of Lower Pannonia, and the Romans even founded a proto-Pest known as Contra Aquincum on the other side of the river.
The Romans were eventually driven out by the Bolgars from present-day Bulgaria, who left behind the name Peshta (today's Pest), but were replaced around 900 by the Magyars, who went on to found the kingdom of Hungary. The Mongols dropped in uninvited in 1241, but the Magyars bounced back and built the Royal Castle that still today dominates Buda in 1427.
In 1541, Buda and Pest fell to the Ottomans and stayed in the hands of the Turks until 1686, when the Austrian Habsburgs conquered the town. Now at peace, both sides of the river boomed, and after an abortive Hungarian revolution in 1848–49, the great Compromise of 1872 made Budapest the united capital of the Hungarian half of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.
Budapest emerged from World War I battered, but now the capital of an independent Hungary, and its population reached one million by 1930. Air raids and a terrible three-month siege towards the end of World War II resulted in the death over 38,000 civilians, and up to 40% of Budapest's Jewish community were murdered during the Holocaust. A total of 400 000 Jews in the area were murdered by the Nazis and their Nyilas sympathizers. One man noted in history was Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish humanitarian sent to Hungary under a diplomatic cover, who tried to make a difference by distributing Swedish passports to as many Jews as possible.
After the war, the city recovered and became a showcase for the more pragmatic policies of Hungary's hard- line Communist government. It was, however, site of the 1956 Hungarian uprising against unpopular policies such as collectivisation. The revolution against communist rule only ended when the Soviets sent in the tanks as they felt Hungary slipping out of their influence and control.Greenchills 13:39, 3 August 2008 (EDT) Today's Budapest is by far the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan city in Hungary and is increasingly popular with tourists. In 1987, it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List for the cultural and architectural significance of the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue.
 Official Tourism Information
 Quality of life
Homeless people are a big problem in Budapest, and are commonly seen in some of the inner city metro stations and sleeping in doorways in both Buda and Pest.
 Get in
 By plane
Budapest (Ferihegy) International Airport(pronounced "Ferry-hedge") is the country's largest airport, located about 16 km (10 miles) southeast of the city center. Ferihegy has two terminals, Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, often called Ferihegy-1 and Ferihegy-2, respectively. Terminal 2 is the hub of the Hungarian national carrier.
The airport’s central telephone number for information is +36-1 296-9696 or on +36-1 296-7000. Luggage services can be contacted on +361 296-5449 in connection with flights into and out Terminal 1 and +36-1 296-5965 for Terminal 2.
It is wise to double-check your arrival and departure terminal: while Terminal 2A is within a short walking distance from 2B, the distance between Terminal 1 and 2 is quite sizable - the trip takes 6-8 minutes by car or 12 minutes by bus.
Duty free stores are operated by Travel Value. Customs authorities in German airports may not allow you to bring duty-free items purchased at the airport in Budapest through Germany. On Terminal 2, among dedicated brand shops, there are only Hugo Boss and Swarowski. The traditional alcohol-tobacco-sweets assortment shop has a decent choice of local wines, mainly by Gundel. Several cafés also serve travellers, there are Caffè Ritazza eateries on Terminal 2A. One is in a pre-checkin area; another is in the boarding area, after passport control. Terminal 2B pre-boarding area has half a dozen of cafes.
Budapest is connected with the major European cities and most of the EU countries by direct flights. There is scheduled service between Budapest and North America, operated by Malév and Delta Air Lines. The city is connected with some countries of the Middle East, Asia and North Africa.
There are several low cost airlines flying to and from Budapest (using Terminal 1 unless otherwise stated):
In winter (Dec-Mar) Malév's Budapest Winter Invasion, offers discounted fares for international flights to Budapest, and its 45 partner hotels provide 4 nights accommodation for the price of 3.
 Airport transfer
 By train
Due to its ideal location in Central Europe, Budapest is easily reachable by train from other European countries; there are daily connections to/from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine. Budapest is also well connected to other Hungarian cities.
The city is also an ideal starting point to visit The Balkans, Russia or Ukraine by rail. Trains coming from Austria and Western Europe are clean and safe, the ones arriving from other countries tend to be shakier. Night trains coming from The Balkans and Romania are supposed to be less safe; take normal precautions.
Hungary’s rail system is operated almost entirely by the Hungarian State Railways. If you arrive to Budapest from another Hungarian city, you can choose among a wide range of services. Travelling by Intercity is more expensive but vehicles are much cleaner and faster than regular trains. Always check if your train is subject to compulsory reservation; for prices and further information check MÁV’s website. It is wise to reserve your Intercity tickets for national holidays, Friday and Sunday evenings beforehand. It is still not possible to buy rail tickets via Internet.
Note that EU citizens under 26 years get 33% discount on trains between Friday 22.00 and Sunday 24.00; EU citizens older than 65 years travel for free on every train on second class. On Intercity trains extra fare is applicable. Discounted rates are NOT available on international rails. For your international travel plan, check Deutsche Bahn's website.
Budapest has a number of railway stations (Pályaudvar), the main ones being Keleti pályaudvar (Eastern Railway Station), Déli pályaudvar (Southern Railway Station) and Nyugati pályaudvar (Western Railway Station). The stations are not named for their geographic location in the city, nor for the direction of the destinations served by each; trains to Vienna, for example, leave from Keleti. The stations are well connected to each other and to the rest of the city.
Keleti and Déli Railway Stations are located on the Metro 2. Nyugati Railway Station is on the Metro 3. A transfer should not take more than 15 minutes at peak hours; slightly more on weekends and evenings.
Major Budapest stations are still are not up to Western quality standards; they are hard to access for people with disabilities and their facilities are very limited. Do not expect luggage trolleys or clean toilets. Having food or a coffee at a Budapest railway station is unlikely to give you a gastronomic buzz; it is also difficult to find a good nearby cafe if you didn't research in advance. Be prepared for long queues at the ticket office; English is rarely spoken.
Depending on where you are coming from, some outer stations can be useful to you; trains arriving from Vienna, Bratislava, the lake Balaton or other western locations stop at Budapest Kelenföld station, which is a good public transport hub for Southern Buda. Trains arriving from Romania, Ukraine and Eastern Hungarian cities regularly stop at Kőbánya-Kispest station, a good place to get to Eastern Budapest or to Ferihegy Airport.
If you intend to use taxi on your way from the station, do not accept any offers from drivers waiting around the station entrance. For further information read also Safety section.
 By bus
Arriving to Budapest by bus is an easy and painless option. Eurolines, +36-1 318-2122], connects the city to Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and the Ukraine. Although most of connections are not as frequent as they were before the low-fare airlines revolution, they still run two or three times a week; from Austria and Slovakia daily. Orangeways 36-1 801-2330, a low fare bus company offers cheap tickets from and to Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. Book online.
Budapest’s main bus stations are located in outer zones, but they are safe, relatively clean and well connected to the rest of the city. Most useful bus stations for travellers are following:
Use your common sense and sit only in taxis logoed by bigger companies.
Hungary’s national bus network is operated by 28 state run companies, united in Volán Association. If you arrive to Budapest from another Hungarian city, bus is often the best option. Connections are frequent, prices are identical to those on non-Intercity trains. Long-distance buses are clean and safe, but often subject to delays. Buy your ticket at the station ticket desk before boarding; if you do not take your bus at a main station, purchase a ticket from the driver. It is a good idea to reserve your tickets for national holidays, Friday and Sunday evenings beforehand. Online booking is available only in Hungarian.
 By boat
 Get around
Orientation is not a big problem in Budapest. River Danube splits the city in two areas: Buda and Pest. Aside from the very center, the city's structure is quite logical. Landmarks in Buda as the Royal Castle or Citadella Castle also help you to find your way. Besides the Danube itself, the best reference points for orienting yourself are the bridges crossing the river. From North to South, they are:
 On foot
Many of Budapest's highlights are easy to approach walking, and in the center you find more pedestrian zones from year to year. Car drivers tend to respect pedestrians and often give advantage on a cross-walk even if there is no traffic light. Due to the lack of bike lanes, cyclists have to weave around pedestrian traffic; be prepared. Don't wear high-heeled shoes in the downtown as there are lots of stone pavements, especially in the Castle Hill.
 Public transport
You'll find several points of interest within walking distance, but Budapest is a sizable city, so unless you drive your own car, you will inevitably use some form of public transportation. The good news is that the urban area is well covered by three metro lines, blue urban buses, yellow trams and red trolley-buses, and the whole system is easy to understand. The bad news is that the schedules are less than reliable, vehicles are not always clean, and tickets have become increasingly expensive.
Public transportation in Budapest is run by Budapest Transport Limited Company (BKV), which has a useful English-language site including current schedules and fares. Vehicles run from around 5am to 11.30pm. After that an extensive night bus network is available.
If you only visit Budapest for a few days as a tourist, you may find the following lines particularly useful:
If you stay longer, it's worth to buy a public transportation map at any BKV ticket office.
 Tickets and passes
If you intend to travel a lot (and you probably will), travel cards are far less expensive than single tickets, as you should validate a new ticket when transferring (also between metro lines). In 2008 most useful tickets and travel cards for tourists include the following:
You may run into ticket inspectors any time, everywhere – even on night buses. They have a notoriously bad reputation (supposedly being ”rude” and ”cruel”), as they impose a fine literally on everybody travelling without a valid ticket or travel card (no mercy - any plea of ignorance will go unheard). They also rarely speak English. If you get caught, you may choose to pay the fine on the spot (HUF 6000) or later by mail (HUF 12,000 if paid within 30 days). It is therefore highly advised that you purchase (and validate) your pass/ticket in advance. And just another note: paying-on-the-spot would only go to the private purses and wallets of the inspectors. Can't stress this enough: have a pass/ticket on you at all times, preferably a pass, and do try not to let the inspectors take it out of your hands.
Budapest's underground network is an excellent way to get around, it connects the suburbs with railway and autobus stations, several centrally located hotels, museums and sights. The system consists of three lines, crossing at Deák tér station (Deák square, in Pest center).
All the metro lines are well represented on maps scattered on platforms.
Budapest's 25 tram lines are a tourist-friendly way of getting around. They are slower, but more scenic than the subway and particularly useful on the nearly subway-less Buda side of the river. Be careful about doors, they open on different side of the tram on different stops.
Particularly useful lines for tourists are:
Budapest has a dense bus network, which also connects the agglomeration and suburban zones with several metro and train stations and the city center. Regular services have black numbering, while rapid or express services have red numbering: it means that 7 stops more frequently than 7 RED does. Besides, the itinerary of a black and a red service with the same number could be slightly different. And if we add that black numbering often appear as green on the new digital displays – it seems a total confusion. Don't worry, in a few days you will understand the system, but until then think twice which bus you take.
Particularly useful lines for tourists include:
If you aren't using a recently published city map, be aware that some popular lines have been subject to number changes:
There are 13 trolley-bus lines running in Northeast and Central Pest (mainly in the XIV, VI, VII districts). Some of them pass through the City Park (Városliget) and cross Andrássy avenue (Andrássy út), giving you beautiful views while using this eco-friendly mode of transport. Unless you are a trolley buff, you're unlikely to use them frequently, however, line 70 from Kossuth square (Kossuth tér, next to the Parliament) to City Park can be useful.
 Suburban rail
Green suburban railway lines (called HÉV) connect central Budapest with several suburbs, but most of them are of little use to visitors. Note that your tickets and travel passes are valid only within the city boundaries, otherwise you should purchase a supplementary ticket (kiegészítő jegy) at a ticket office.
Some other means of public transport can be useful if you get tired of regular buses and trams, or if you want to escape from the hustle and bustle to the lush green hills surrounding Budapest.
 Night services
Budapest is covered by 34 night bus lines. Numbers are triple-digit, starting with '9'. Buses run every 15-60 minutes from around 11pm until 4 am. The main linking points of the night bus network are Moszkva square (Moszkva tér) tér in Buda and Astoria (junction of Kossuth Lajos utca–Károly körút) in Pest. Daytime tickets and passes are valid.
Most useful night buses are:
 By car
Apart from the summer holiday, Budapest has a heavy traffic with long-lasting traffic jams in the morning and in the afternoon. If you don't want to spend your visit to Budapest in a traffic jam, leave your car in the hotel's garage, and use the public transport.
If you drive across downtown, plan your journey, otherwise you can get into tough situations. For example you cannot turn left in most of the crossings of the inner ring road (Nagykörút) or on the main avenues like Andrássy út, Váci út, Üllői út or Rákóczi út.
 By taxi
Budapest's taxi drivers are not always prepared for English speaking clients, but it does not necessarily mean that they intend to overcharge their foreigner guests – use one of the major taxi companies with English speaking switchboards to avoid problems. All of them have flashy home pages, but currently only City Taxi is available in English. If you wish to call any of the following phone numbers from abroad, use the +36-1 (Hungary-Budapest) code before the numbers.
 By bicycle
Budapest may be one of the most exciting places of Europe, but it's still not a cyclists' paradise. There are bikeways separated from automobile roads in the downtown, but unfortunately often used as car-park or pedestrian zones. Generally, the city is not prepared for cyclists' presence, but situation is slowly changing. Budapest has been home to Europe's biggest cycling demonstration, Critical Mass, where in 2008 more than 80 000 people participated.
If you are ready, renting a bike is not a problem, but still not cheap. Expect to pay around HUF 2000-3000 for a day.
Budapest offers a variety of bike rental companies. Some of them are:
Cyclists are not very patient, so be aware while you are walking, if you hear a shout, be prepared to get out of the way quickly.
The main sights on Castle Hill are:
Other museums on the Castle Hill:
The Danube Bridges (see Orientation above), especially the Chain Bridge (Széchenyi Lánchíd) are really attractive and make it worthy to promenade along the river bank. Lánchíd (pronounced “laance heed”) means chain bridge and the suspension structure of the bridge is made of chains whose links are huge dog-bone shaped metal bars linked by pins at their ends.
You can have a superb glimpse over the bridges from the Citadella on the top of Buda's Gellert Hill (Gellérthegy).
Riding a boat is ideal as you can enjoy both riverbanks at the same time. For romantic views of the city, go at night.
Margaret Island (Margitsziget) and its large parks (see Buda) are a very pleasant place to relax and wander. Perfect for a sunny afternoon.
Downtown (Belváros) of Pest is the administrative and business centre of Budapest and the whole of Hungary. The main sights here are:
Museums in at the city centre:
On Buda side there are:
Music related Museums:
There are several travel agecies, tour operators offering city tours or walking tours, if you don't have much time, you can use one of them and you can visit the main sights within 3 - 4 hours.
 Theatre and opera
Hungary has a surprisingly rich theatre scene and, not surprisingly, Budapest is the epicentre of it. Season begins in mid-September and ends in June. Productions range from classic dramas and traditional operas to post-modern performances. There is much to discover around Budapest theatres, even if you don't speak Hungarian; the following venues can be particularly interesting for non-Hungarians. Tickets are bookable about one month beforehand at Interticket, the Hungarian theatres' official booking engine for a small (10% + HUF 50) booking fee.
Budapest’s cinema life has developed around malls. Since the shopping center revolution in the late 90s, more than two thirds of the city’s cinema screens are run by international chains and franchises. Mainstream cinemas mainly show subtitled Hollywood films and Hungarian romantic movies. For contemporary European and Hungarian titles turn to Budapest’s excellent art house movie chain, Art mozi, most of their branches are provided with a café or pub and offer pleasant atmosphere to spend your evening.
The baths are really the last vestige of Turkish culture in Budapest, left over from their occupation of the city. Budapest does not have a large Turkish culture the way a city like Berlin or Munich does; instead the Hungarians have modified and molded this tradition into something of their own.
All baths are built around hot springs, and their central part is one or several thermal pools. They are usually complimented with several steam baths, saunas, massage services and other therapies including drinking cures.
Tourist mix: After locals, Russians seem to be most frequent in Budapest's baths; Italians and Americans come next (and for many Americans, baths are the main reason for visiting Budapest).
 Traditional public baths
Traditional public baths (like Gellért, Széchényi) have quite a complicated navigation and Soviet-time service and admission system, but it's worth going through to experience authentic bathing with locals around you. At the cash desk at the entrance, you are expected to select treatments / areas to access in advance. Time to spend in baths is not restricted, but if you're finished earlier, some part of your payment may be returned. The only thing that can't be paid at the entrance is rental of towels and bathrobe (and/or deposit for it)--it should be paid inside, right where they are given (with the exception of Gellért - towels, etc are paid for at the entrance). There are two types of place to change clothes: a common room with lockers is cheaper (male/female-separate, of course); cabins can be used by families and may differ in size (2 or 3 persons). For cabins, you're handed a token with a number, which is also written on a chalkboard inside as a security code; you need to remember cabin number. To open your cabin, show your cabin and a token to attendant, and s/he'll check it against the number inside. In swimming pools, swimming caps are recommended (and are available for rent), although this is not always strictly enforced.
 Modern baths
There are also very modern baths (like Danubius Grand Thermal Hotel) which are usually called spas, although their central component are thermal pool and multitude of steam baths/saunas, which is not always typical for spas in the rest of the world.
The baths have a main pool with adjoning very small pools, steam room and dry sauna. The emphasis is more on relaxing and enjoying the waters rather than swimming.
Massages are offered as oil or soap&water versions. 15 min. cost 2.500 HUF, 30 min. 3.500. Parts of Schwarzenegger movie Red Heat was shot here.
Generally speaking, finding a full-time job is fairly difficult unless you speak Hungarian. You should also be prepared that Western standards at job interviews regarding personal life and diversity issues do not always apply. Do not be surprised if you are asked about your smoking habits. Also, companies are not always prepared to fully understand and accept people from diverse backgrounds.
Most of the visitors from far away end up shopping in Pest in the middle of the city: Váci utca and nearby. It is historically the most expensive part of the city. You'll find Hungarian linens and lace, pottery, and other items, in souvenir shops.
You definitely want to visit the Great Market Hall (Nagy Vásárcsarnok) at Fővám tér the recently renovated markethall with essential atmosphere (it's at the south end of Vaci). Prices for the same items vary a lot between sellers and aren't set in stone so be sure to compare and bargain.
 Non-speciality shopping
Also, chain stores can be found along the Váci utca (C&A, H&M, Clinique, Estee Lauder, New Yorker, etc).
The "Plazas" are usually good for buying clothes, but prices may vary wildly even in shops next to each other. Check out international clothing shop chains like Mango here. For electronics, the cheap supermarkets like Electro World and Media Markt are good targets, but the quality is on par with the prices.
Absinthe is available for purchase at common liquor stores, a must-have purchase for the European traveler. Many brands available in the Market Hall and liquor stores are of poor quality (or not even "real" Absinthe).
Local specialties include paprikás, gulyás, Lake Balaton pike-perch (fogas), pörkölt (a goulash-like stew with lots of onions), halászlé (fishermen's soup served differently by regions), stuffed cabbage, and liberal use of paprika. There is also a great variety of wonderful pastries, many of which you will recognize if you are familiar with Viennese pastries. As in other spheres, the Hungarian approach to food combines pride in their own traditions with a readiness to accept outside influences. The result is a vibrant restaurant scene where an Asian-Hungarian fusion restaurant may well be of genuine interest.
Coffeehouses (kaveház) are a Budapest institution and a visit to one should be on every traveller's agenda. As the name implies, these are places for a cup of coffee and a delectable pastry, not a full meal.
Budapest has many great places to eat, but an unfortunate number of tourist traps as well. Avoid restaurants in touristy areas like Váci utca, especially if the customers are all foreigners, or you'll more likely than not be served mediocre food with an exorbitant bill padded with all sorts of bizarre charges. In other restaurants too, note that anything you don't explicitly ask for, but appears on your table anyway, is likely to be charged for.
Top-notch quality food (1st category restaurants) charge a wide range of prices (from starters around 1000F, main courses around 3.000ft-10.000ft, and menus from 5.000ft).
Only cross-district chains are listed here; see district articles for individual restaurants.
 Grocery Stores
There are hypermarkets like "Auchan", "Tesco", "Cora" where the food is cheap, and they offer an usually wide range of goods. Around the downtown areas, you will find smaller grocery chains such as GRoby, Spar, Plus and CBA.
Hanna's Kosher Kitchen Features classic Hungarian food, but Kosher. VII., Dob utca 35. Tel.:+361 342-1072.
Kinor David VII. Dohany utca (next to the big Dohány Temple) Tel. (+361) 413-7304 or 5.
Salamon glatt kosher restaurant (Next to King's Hotel)1072 Budapest, VII. Nagydiófa u. 27 Tel: (++36-1) 413-1487, 413-1488 Cell: (++36-30) 743-6938, (++36-20) 966-6160.
Halal food is uncommon in Budapest, as are kebabs, although they are becoming popular. You can buy gyros instead, which are very similar, but of Greek origin.In fact Gyro name is coming from Turkish Döner, which was on the market for more than 35 years.
Budapest offers plenty of places to drink, from cool and ultra-hip to rowdy and downmarket. One particularly Hungarian experience is to visit a borozó (wine pub), where cheap but tasty Hungarian wine is available on tap, at ridiculously low prices if you find one off the tourist circuit.
Be sure to try Traubi Szoda and Marka. These are unique Hungarian soft drinks available only in Hungary. Traubi is a white grape soda and Marka is a sour cherry soda.
Budapest offers a wide range of accommodation in all price classes from the small cheap pension to the luxurious 5-star hotels, although the costs of staying here are notably higher than elsewhere in Hungary.
Arriving trains are often met by touts offering free rides to hostels, as well as little old grannies offering their apartments for rent. Try to figure out exactly where you're going before you choose - or, better yet, visit any of the many travel agencies to browse the many options in a more comfortable environment.
The most expensive digs are on or near Castle Hill, while backpacker hostels are mostly across the river in the suburbs of Pest. However, Buda has better air quality due to the closeness of the hills and the forests lying to the west from the city.
Apartments may be a cheap alternative for those making extended stays.
Mobile phones work in the metro, even in tunnels between stations.
Some phone booths take coins (including euro coins), but others only take pre-paid cards. The posted number for credit card calls will lead to unexpectedly high charges (40USD for a one minute call to the US) and is to be avoided. Unfortunately, you cannot trust T-mobile to charge reasonable prices on their pay phones.
There are many internet cafes throughout the city. Prices usually average 100Ft/half hour. In addition, many popular bars and cafes in Budapest offer free wi-fi access.
 Stay safe
Although petty theft is common, crime in Budapest is still low by Western European and U.S. standards – you're unlikely to have any problem if you follow some basic rules you wouldn't forget in Paris, Bruxelles or Vienna. Magyars tend to be friendly with foreigners, racism or xenophobia against tourists is practically unknown.
Hungarian policemen rarely speak English. Tourists have no reason to be afraid of them unless breaking the law.
During the peak tourist season, police patrolling major tourist areas are accompanied by bi- or multi-lingual students who assisted with problems or complaints. Police also opened a 24/7 TourInform office in one of Budapest's busiest areas. It is located downtown at Suto Street 2, District 5, and they are able to receive complaints and render assistance in English and German.
Luckily, Budapest has no off-limit zones, particularly not in the touristy areas or nearby. As a traveller you should only take normal precautions; don't show off your money and don't wear flashy jewellery. Beware of pickpockets, especially at pubs, crowded restaurants, fast food eateries and on public transportation vehicles. Petty crime is quite common, but is mainly limited to robbery and petty theft. Major railway stations (especially Keleti Pályaudvar), dark underpasses in the suburban area and some outer zones of district 8th in Pest are supposed to be the most "dangerous" zones by locals. Violent crimes are rare, and most locals live their whole life without having their purse robbed.
 By night
There's no reason to have concerns about Budapest by night. In practice the whole city, including all the touristy areas, Pest within the inner ring road (the line of Szent István körút–Teréz körút–Erzsébet körút–József körút–Ferenc körút, popularly known as Nagykörút), and Buda are safe even before dawn. Most locals avoid walking alone by night in outer zones of districts 8th and 9th in Pest, as these are shady, though not particularly dangerous areas. Bigger public parks as Városliget, are surely to be avoided.
Night buses passing through the city center, along the inner ring road can be very crowded at peak socialising times on Friday and Saturday nights. You may come across aggressive drunk youngsters(skinheads) on the vehicles or at the stops; keep low profile or avoid night public transportation system on weekends.
 Tourist traps
Like in several cities of the world, in Budapest the major scams for the inexperienced tourist are taxis and restaurants.
Taxis used to be a travellers' nightmare, mainly for those arriving from / going to the airport. Luckily the situation is slowly getting better. In 2006 Zóna Taxi, a reliable company, won the right to take passengers from the airport; for details read the Airport transfer chapter. Unless you ordered a cab from a different company, do not accept any offer from taxi drivers waiting around the terminal entrance. Some of them may want to mislead travellers, demanding them as much as EUR 100 for a single trip. If you travel the other way around (from the city to the airport), pre-order your taxi on the chosen company's phone number.
Unfortunately the situation around railway and bus stations is still not regulated. The worst is probably Keleti Pályaudvar: never trust drivers hanging around the arrival side, rather pre-order a car. If that's not possible, take only taxis logoed by one of the bigger companies. As a general rule, make sure the taximeter is on or bargain the price with the driver beforehand. Even in 2006 many cases have been reported when taxi drivers extorted hundreds of Euros from inexpert foreigners.
Similar abuses have happened also in restaurants and bars, almost all of them in the vicinity of Váci utca in the touristy heart of Pest. You should avoid the eateries and bars of the zone. However, the majority of restaurants and pubs in Budapest are reliable. In Hungary it's compulsory to put the menu card outside the entrance; if it's not the case, don't enter. Eat only where locals eat, drink where locals go.
Don't befriend the girls hanging around Váci utca and never accept any invitation for a drink from them. Be sure that they will have fake French champagne, but you will only have the bill - it's unlikely that a small talk with them is worth hundreds of Euros. You'll find the same girls in erotic and topless bars; avoid them unless you're ready to pay your monthly salary for a glass of wine. Currently the standard trick is to produce a menu with small print at the bottom stating that the first drink costs HUF 15,000 (apx EUR 60) and consumption is compulsory. This modified menu might only be produced when the bill is presented. Most of the erotic bars in Budapest are tourist traps.
The common scam now (06/2008) is for attractive women to walk up to men and ask for directions to a particular bar. If you respond "I don't know" they will ask you if you have a map and say "lets go together"... they commonly tell you a story such as "I just got in from Bratslava and am just looking for a good place to get a drink."
 Political protests
Unlike in many democratic countries of the world, violent protests have never been frequent in Hungary. In September-October 2006 and in March 2007, some anti-governmental demonstrations resulted in heavy street fights and affrays. Hungarian State Television and other public buildings were besieged, police and private cars burned up. Police's rule in the demonstrations has been widely discussed as obtrusive demonstrators and bystanders apparently were arrested with no distinction. Since then the situation calmed down completely. While political demonstrations are not to be avoided, never participate in violent, illegal or nocturnal demonstrations (if they occur), as your personal security can not be guaranteed.
 Get out