The fabulous Hungarian capital attracts millions of tourists every year. But like every metropolis, Budapest also has its dodgier parts that are best to be avoided as a tourist, especially at night. Let’s see the list of these areas.
It is not surprising that the most favourable real estate prices are found in the neighbourhood of Hero Street in Budapest’s 10th district (Kőbánya). The horror district of Hős Street is one of the most frightening examples of slums in Budapest, with an extremely high crime rate. The liquidation of the Hős Street slum, which was entwined with deep poverty, lack of public safety and serious drug problems, began last year. In the block, the municipality has carried out complete environmental cleaning and waste removal several times, so the condition of the neighborhood has improved in recent years, but the problem of drugs, prostitution and assaults are still dominant in the area.
The 8th district of Budapest – also known as Józsefváros – is also infamous for its lack of public safety. Once known as the Harlem of Pest, the district has seen major developments in recent years, which significantly improved its image. The Corvin District, located in a renovated part of the neighbourhood, is one of the most prominent residential areas in the city centre, with a wide range of entertainment, sports, shopping and transport facilities. This part is recommended for tourists. However, the more backward parts of the district should be avoided at all costs, as crimes, thefts and physical assaults are common.
During the night, tourists should avoid the abandoned areas of the district, as well as the underpass at Blaha Lujza Square. It is highly recommended to always keep your bags locked, as pickpocketing is common on József Boulevard and on tram lines 4-6.
Despite the district’s elegance, or perhaps because of it (in the hope of a bigger catch), criminal activities are very common in Budapest’s 5th district. Over the past decade, the 5th district became one of the dodgiest areas where the highest number of incidents involving violence, vandalism and offences against property were registered.
As a tourist, it is recommended to visit the unmissable attractions of the area during the daytime. However, it is not advisable to walk alone in the district in the evening and at night. In addition, tourists should avoid public areas where gang encounters are common, including Deák Square where a double murder took place in 2020.
In the same year, another tragedy occurred in the district. According to the latest news, the Metropolitan Prosecutor’s Office has filed charges against a 28-year-old American-British-Hungarian man who killed a young French man with a knife in downtown Budapest in February 2020. The drunk perpetrator crossed the road near the Károlyi Garden in the 5th district and started walking towards a 25-year-old French man on the opposite side of the road. When he reached the victim, he punched him twice in the face and stabbed him in the chest with the knife. The French man died at the scene, his life could not have been saved by immediate medical assistance – reported by the Hungarian news portal Index. After the attack, the accused ran away from the scene. The murder was recorded by the street cameras.
The party zone of Budapest – centred around the 6th and 7th districts – is the hub of nightlife in the Hungarian capital. In addition to increased inspection, the police regularly raid nightclubs and bars in the region. The purpose of the police operation is to maintain public order and public safety, prevent drug-related crimes, and arrest criminals and violent people. As a tourist, it is worth being careful here too. Always keep your valuables with you in a locked bag. Additionally, it is also recommended to pay extra attention when paying the bills, as tourists can easily become victims of scammers.
During the day, the Budapest Police keep a close eye on public safety in the underpasses. However, during the night we should be extremely careful or even avoid underpasses (if possible) and choose another more visible and adequately lit way to get home. Last year, all passers-by were warned to be careful in the 14th district’s Örs vezér Square, where defenceless pedestrians were insulted by loud, primitive, aggressive gangs. In addition, the situation at Kelenföld Station (11th district), Blaha Lujza underpass (7th district) and Nyugati Station (6th district) was also untenable, where several verbal and physical abuse, violence and assaults were experienced in the late hours. Although policemen pay close attention to public safety, they cannot be there at every moment. Therefore, it is highly recommended to avoid underpasses, call a taxi or accompany a friend on your way home.