Budapest Warnings and Dangers

  • Dirty building in Budapest
    Dirty building in Budapest
    by balhannah
  • Lots of people!
    Lots of people!
    by balhannah
  • Budapest
    by balhannah

Most Recent Warnings and Dangers in Budapest

  • Budapest Metro Scam!

    by kayelle2 Written Mar 28, 2014

    We have just had a really horrible experience with a nasty ticket inspector on the Metro in Budapest, which has ruined an otherwise amazing time in this beautiful city. We went to the Metro station, purchased tickets from the ticket booth at the station, saw no signs anywhere saying you should validate your ticket, WALKED PAST AN INSPECTOR at the top of the escalator who did not pass any remark and got on the metro.

    When getting off the metro at Astoria station, we were met with a really mean little ticket inspector, who shouted at us in Hungarian. We tried to explain we didn't understand what she was saying and she started to shout 'NO VALIDATION!, PASSPORT PLEASE!, CALL POLICE!, 8000 HUF!". We were totally shocked as we had just paid for our tickets and nobody told us at all that we needed to also somehow validate the tickets.

    Totally frazzled, we got the money out and tried to pay her the 8000 HUF each and she went through the notes and saw the tiniest tear on the corner of one of them and said she couldn't accept it and started threatening us again. Then another ticket inspector joined her and' pretended' to be on the phone to the police. When we said "OK, then call the police!', they refused to call the police and marched us over to an ATM to extract a fresh note to replace the one with the tiny tear. We were so confused and bewildered at that stage, we just paid the money, which amounted to €56 between the two of us.

    On the back of the tickets in small print it says "Valid on the metro for one short trip of up to 3 stops after validation." But nowhere does it say how or where to validate your tickets. And when one walks past an inspector on the way onto a train, one would assume that this is considered the point of validation! This is an absolute disgrace and a scam. They specifically target tourists also, so beware.

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    by balhannah Updated Mar 23, 2014

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    Clean & dirty!
    2 more images

    Budapest, being a big and busy city with quite a bit of traffic in the centre, has found that its historic old buildings are now very dirty from all the fumes, etc coming from cars, buses and other types of transport. If you look at my photo of a building in Budapest, you will see what I mean, as the ground floor has been cleaned and the rest has been left.
    They are cleaning buildings, so don't be surprised to find one that you really want to see [for me - it was Parliament House] under a lot of scaffolding while they do this. What a difference a clean makes!
    Others are under wraps because of restoration.

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  • budapest rip off

    by badblake81 Written Mar 14, 2014

    I've just been to budapest for business for 2 nights. Waling down city center right in front of the burger king I was approached by a blond women. A quick analyse got me thinking that she was not a working girl since she was dressed casual with a big scarf and sneakers. She asked me if i knew a famous underground pub since she had " lost her friends". by a great coincidence we where right next to a pub like that but I didn't know it at the time. So down we went and starded chatting. the waitress came and gave me some attitude right away. i said a whiskey and she said HELLO, FIRST SAY HELLO! i wanted to leave but i thought hell a drink won't hurt. I orded a whiskey and my lost friend didn't order anything but when the waitress came back with my whiskey there she was served a bottle of champagne. Along came the bill 28650 florins. So... i got pissed and told the waitress to go to hell . she called the bouncer and well, I had to bash his head in but i soon ralized that I was really alone in a place where I really didn't wanna be anymore. I ran out and jumped in a cab back to my hotel.... I talked with the taxi driver and told me that was a .... BUDAPEST CLASSIC

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    by balhannah Written Mar 14, 2014

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    Lots of people!

    We arrived at Heroes Square a bit before 10am. At this time, there were already quite a few Tourist Coaches parked, and crowds of people getting off them. The coaches kept on arriving, and it wasn't long before a large area was full of coaches.

    All of these Tourists came to view Heroes square first. It was impossible to take photos of anything, so I just browsed around the area, and took high up photos.
    In approx. 15mins, most of the crowd had dispersed and were about to head into the Museums.
    I wouldn't choose this time to visit the Museum of Fine Arts or the Kunsthalle.
    As for the Square, hardly anybody was left!

    Probably arriving at 10.15 or 10.30 am would be a lot better to have the square with less people!

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    Bilincs! Vehicle clamping

    by halikowski Written Jan 16, 2014

    Watch where you park! We neglected a sign warning of shop loadings in the mornings, and didn't calculate the 15 metres set aside for this purpose.The clamp cost us 14.290 forint, and very unpleasant orc-like monitors with tattoos across their scalps (you wouldn't challenge those kind of people).

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    The Big Budapest Name Change

    by antistar Updated Oct 30, 2013

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    After the collapse of Communism, many of Budapest's streets and squares were changed from their previous roles glorifying the heroes of the people, usually to their original names. Almost a quarter of a century later, they decided to make another big change, but this time it wasn't just Communist names that got the boot. It total 26 squares and streets got renamed, but easily the biggest name on the list is Moskva Ter.

    Moscow Square is the central hub of Buda, and one of the busiest squares in the city. Moscow Square might not be the most fitting name for a square in Hungary, but it is at least easily remembered by tourists swamped by strange Hungarian words. The new name, Széll Kálmán tér, doesn't exactly spring off the tongue.

    Another big square to get renamed is Roosevelt tér, right in front of Gresham Palace and at the start of the famous Chain Bridge. This will be a little less problematic, as they are renaming it after the bridge: Szechenyi Ter. Most of the rest are in suburbs and out of the way places, although there is an amusing new square at the end of Margaret Island, now named Elvis Presley square. I'm not sure how that got its name, but it might have won a vote. Some odd names in Hungary have come about that way already.

    The big problem for visitors is that all the old maps will say Moskva Ter, and all the signs will say something else. Thankfully until 2013 there will be dual signs, but after that you are on your own. If the last big name change is anything to go by, the locals will continue to call the places after their old name for maybe ten years or more, meaning if you ask someone for Széll Kálmán tér, instead of Moskva Ter, you might get blank looks for years to come.

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    There are two potential...

    by shrimp56 Updated Oct 18, 2013

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    There are two potential problems I will mention for Budapest.
    First -- ALWAYS validate your metro/tram ticket in the little orange machine. And validate a new ticket for each leg of your journey. You do no validate single or multiple day passes. {The ticket inspectors single out tourists and they are MEAN! They actually announce in Hungarian at some of the metro stations when they are present! Deak Ter is one of their favorite stations}.

    Second -- don't wave down a taxi on the street -- the rates are not set and they can be extortionate. I think City Taxi is still the best one or get your hotel to call you a taxi. It will be a little more expensive than the best rate, but you won't get ripped off. THIS STILL HOLDS. Especially at train stations.
    Budapest is a wonderful place -- these warnings are just a 'heads-up' -- otherwise have a wonderful time!

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  • Budapest is Safer than London!

    by Mogus Written Sep 18, 2013

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    There are a lot of terrible stories on this website, but Budapest is a very safe place! I've lived here for more than two years, on the edge of the "bad" district, and nothing bad ever happened to me in all that time. Reading these reports about things going wrong, I notice that a lot of the time people have done slightly silly things to get themselves into trouble.

    You have to remember to take forint with you in Hungary or withdraw it from a cash machine, not dollars or euros --- it is the national currency. Don't go into seedy-looking strip joints -- or if you do, read about them on the Internet first. Don't leave your wallet sticking out of your pocket on publish transport or put all your money in an easily-unzippable pocket on the back of your rucksack. Stay away from dodgy-looking people. Buy tickets before getting on transport. Plan your journeys in advance and leave time for mishaps. This is just common sense.

    Budapest is not some den of vice and iniquity -- it's one of the safest capital cities in the world. You'll only get into trouble if you are naive about cities in general, fail to take basic common-sense precautions or just run into the kind of bad luck that you can run into in any town anywhere. Remember that Budapest is a "normal" European city and a member of the EU -- you don't normally get randomly scammed or thrown into prison by mad communists for having the wrong train ticket. I say this as someone who would be afraid even to go to China, Saudi or Thailand -- Budapest is very safe and normal by "Western" standards.

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  • Budapest Nightmare

    by akgho Written Jul 16, 2013

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    On July 14 2013, I went to the subway station of Parliament in Budapest, in a hurry to get to the Railway Station (Kelti Budapest) to catch my train.
    When I asked to buy a ticket to Kelti, the ticket woman at the window (the only one) refused to accept euros. I said I only carried euros and there was no exchange office nearby and I had to buy a subway ticket to get to the railway station to get back to Vienna at about 8:00 p.m.
    The woman insisted it’s a policy not to accept euros in Hungary. I said I couldn’t walk to Kelti or the train for Vienna would have departed. Then a subway inspector came and said I could exchange euros at nearby bars. I did and returned to the window with Forints. However, the woman was no longer there. I shouted, “Anybody there?” No reply. I asked the inspector why there was no one at the ticket office. He went with me there. It turned out the woman was busy talking on her mobile phone. Hearing the inspector’s voice, she came out, still talking.
    “One ticket to Kelti Budapest, please,” I said.

    She kept talking, while giving me a 3-station ticket and changes.
    I was in a hurry to catch the train so I didn’t read the words on the ticket. After validating the ticket at a machine, I rushed to the platform and caught a subway train.
    When I finally arrived at Kelti Budapest (the general railway station of Budapest), a subway inspector stopped me. He checked my ticket and took me aside.
    “Your ticket is invalid, because you use a 3-station ticket for a 4 station trip. You have to pay a fine,” he said.
    I told him that was the ticket the woman gave me and I had clearly told her I wanted to buy a ticket to the railway station. I asked him to call the lady to confirm that.
    “I’m not interested in that,” said the inspector. “You have to pay the fine. Or I’ll call the police.”
    Thinking of the horrible communist prison in pro-Soviet time in Hungary, I said, “OK, I’ll pay. But I don’t have Forints. Can I pay the fine euros?”
    “That’s 30 euros,” said the inspector.
    “What? 30? That almost can buy a high-speed train ticket from Vienna to Budapest!”

    “You pay the fine or stay in jail. That’s up to you,” said the inspector coldly.
    I gave him 50 euros and he took out 20 euros from his thick pocket, bulging with lots of euros, which must be the money from innocent Western tourists.

    And he did NOT give me a receipt! That’s how corrupt communist officials to collect money for their own pocket!
    When I left the subway station after paying the fine, I suddenly realized that euros are accepted in the subway for fines or for the inspectors’ personal pockets! And Hungarians do speak good English when they need your hard currency!

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    Bike hire to be avoided!

    by IanG35 Written May 3, 2013

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    I had 5 days in Budapest and decided to hire a bicycle as there were many places I wished to visit that were off the beaten track. I am a large format photographer and part of my purpose for visiting Budapest was to shoot some of the unique architecture. In my ignorance I picked the first place I saw, the place looked bright and inviting enough. The bike looked okay but turned out to be a complete nightmare. I specified I needed a parcel shelf to carry my camera bag and tripod on and I think this requirement meant I ended up getting their oldest and most worn out machine. After only a kilometre or so of slow cycling the chain broke, I ended up spending a whole afternoon pushing the damn thing all the way back to the shop. I expected to just be given a replacement bike, but instead I had a half hour argument with the very unpleasant owner who seemed to think I had abused his property and broken it through stupidity. He wanted to have me leave the bike to be fixed as he didn't have another with a parcel carrying shelf. In the end, he summoned a dirty looking urchin to remove the shelf from the junk bike and put it on another. So I wasted most of my first day and took zero photographs. This second bike turned out to be no better than the first so I returned it at noon the next day, this lead to another lengthy argument and the owner was very aggressive. So my advice to anyone visiting Budapest is to avoid like the plague. There are lots of bike hire places in Budapest and I'm sure they are more friendly and helpful with better bikes because they surely can't be worse than this gang!

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  • ophiro's Profile Photo

    Metro Tickets

    by ophiro Updated Apr 9, 2013

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    ticket inspector

    If you are using metro/bus/tram you MUST buy a valid ticket !!!
    There are inspectors all the time and there is a big possibility that they will call you to check your ticket.
    They stopped me 5 times on my stay to check my ticket.

    Don't make a mistake because you can get a big fine to pay - something like 8000 HUF.

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  • fipsi's Profile Photo

    Wanna spend € 1,000 for a couple of beers?

    by fipsi Updated Mar 29, 2013

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    Being in Budapest at the moment I can't believe how many women - mostly as pairs of "girlfriends" - have approached me so far around my hotel in order to convince me to go for a drink with them. I am staying at the Marriott, and most of them walk around at Váci utca.

    I ignored them always, but I got curious as it seemed very odd to me, and I found this:

    They are not looking for a drink but your money only, so watch out! It's an organized crime , well known by the authorities and by the hotels and going on now for years. Some men had a couple of beers for € 1,000 - so it's worth mentioning it.

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  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo

    Validate your ticket!!

    by GentleSpirit Updated Mar 5, 2013

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    It is important to remember that if you are using the Budapest subway you must validate your ticket. a very small stamp with the date and time will appear on the back of your ticket once you have entered it into the machine.

    Subway stations along the tourist track, particularly major stations, can have ticket checkers, people that are checking for people trying to ride free etc. You will often hear about these people, it is true, they are there! They are allowed to fine you. The fine is currently 8,000 Hf (about 35 USD). If not paid within two days it will double.

    Please see this website to see what the correct and legal procedures are-

    There is a common scam associated with this. People dress up as police or claim to be official ticket checkers and demand money on the spot. Sure sight is usually that they dont show any sort of identification.

    Don't skip paying the fare, its minimal already! Save yourself a lot of hassle

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  • Ticket inspection

    by natgus Written Mar 1, 2013

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    I have been many times in Hungary before and love the country and its people but what happened yesterday was completely out of order !
    I bought a ticket in Deak Ferencs to get to the airport. Metro until Kobanya Kispeth and then bus to Ferihegy. I am well aware that in Hungary, you have to validate your ticket EACH time you change method of transport.
    When I got into the bus in Kobanya Kispeth, I don't know why but my ticket could not be validated !
    The bus was already moving and I had my luggage with me. Honestly, I did not thing I would run in any problem and assumed that the machine was not working properly.
    Then, what happens ??? a ticket controller walks by and wants to fine me 8000 florints... because the ticket was not validated. Two Hungarian ladies who were there and saw me trying to validate my ticket talked to the inspector and (I suppose at least) told him what happened but he would not hear any word. I told him to try to validate my ticket himself if he did not believe me, but he would not do that even and was adamant that I pay the fine. I refused and said that I wanted to talk to the police. And we went to the airport when I stood why the police was checking on my passport and told me that if I refused to pay, I would be receive a fine in England for a total of 32000 florint !!! I did not pay and left it at that.
    This is DAYLIGHT robbery and not very likely to promote tourism in Hungary. As I said, my ticket was valid, I was on my way to the airport with my luggage... and why on earth would I try to cheat on a ticket that costs only a couple of quids. Even the testimony of fellow passengers was not enough !!! I would advise ANY tourist to be very careful with the Hungarian transportation system as we are obviously considered as prey by the inspectors.
    And I would mention the fact to any Hungarian friend of mine and to anybody planning to travel to Hungary.
    Believe me, standing in the airport with police around you as if you were a thief is not an experience I can recommend to anybody !

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    At St Stephens Basilica

    by GentleSpirit Written Feb 24, 2013

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    I don't know if this has happened to others. Anyway, I was coming into the Basilica and a woman asks me for money for the tour. What tour, I thought, the basilica is supposed to be free! Conveniently, the woman spoke little English. Turns out she was taking money for the right to climb up to the belltower, which supposedly has a great view of Budapest. This does cost money,
    seeing St Stephens Basilica does not cost anything.

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    • Religious Travel

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