Tourist Advisory for Hungary
U.S. citizens planning to travel to Hungary should acquaint themselves with common tourist scams and areas with a high incidence of theft. Since we would like you to have an enjoyable trip to Hungary, this advisory has been issued in the hope that with advance warning, you can avoid potential theft situations. Keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens have had pleasant, incident-free stays in Hungary.
The vast majority of clubs and restaurants in Budapest are legitimate businesses that offer good value and service. However, there are clubs and restaurants in Budapest about which the U.S. Embassy has received numerous complaints from U.S. citizens for engaging in unethical business practices. Victims have filed reports with the Embassy describing the following practices: excessive billing of customers, physical intimidation to force customers to pay exorbitant bills (including holding a member of a party while others in the group pay the bill at ATMs, or 24-hour cash facilities), and assault by club/restaurant employees for non-payment of excessive bills. There have been incidents, although rare, where U.S. citizens unknowingly have been drugged.
Further, Do NOT let seemingly helpful taxi drivers or local women lure you to an establishment they recommend – they may receive a commission for bringing victims to the club/restaurant. It also is advised that you not go to clubs/restaurants that do not list prices or provide a menu with prices. Always verify the cost prior to purchase. Be aware that a menu switch may occur at the time of a billing complaint/dispute, and you may be handed a menu that lists higher prices and other hidden charges. Please note that most of places that have come to the attention of the Embassy are located in Budapest’s fifth district, on/near the main tourist street, Váci utca.
If you have been the victim of any incident, scam or theft, you should file a police report and report the incident to the U.S. Embassy. Please see our Contact Information page. The Incident Report Form (PDF 41KB) can also be downloaded here.
Victims of personal crimes, such as theft, robbery, scams or overcharging while in Hungary are strongly encouraged to report all such incidents to the police. The Hungarian National Tourist Office has a special 24-hour telephone number for tourists who become crime victims while in Hungary. Personnel with foreign language capability, including English, are on duty seven days a week to give advice on how to file a police report and help crime victims find the nearest police station. This telephone number is 438-8080.
A Tourinform office that provides service in English and German is located in one of Budapest’s busiest tourist areas:
Sütő u. 2., 1052 Budapest, open daily 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Prime theft areas involve crowds of people, where it is easier to distract the unsuspecting tourist. Train stations, trains, trams and metros are sometimes crowded and present opportunities for thieves and pickpockets. Do not leave purses and luggage unattended at any time. The U.S. Embassy has received numerous theft reports from these areas: on trains to Hungary, especially from Vienna, Austria; all train stations – in particular, inside and just outside Keleti Station; Metro lines #1 and #3; Tram lines #2, #4, and #6; Bus line #7; and U.S. fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Burger King.