Not much of a problem at all in the way of violent crimes and such…but massive problems in terms of petty theft and all sorts of scams and crime targeting tourists. Scams, cell phone and purse snatchers, and ATM “tinning” are very common…and sadly, if you spend a few days along the Vaci Utca, you will see that the police are very cozy with a lot of the rings that are involved in it :-(
I would say that maybe 35% of all the people I know, who have travelled to Budapest have had some sort of problem with this stuff (no major problems in the rest of Hungary). It is sad the local police and officials do nothing about it (and surely some get bribed), because it will eventually kill them in regards to bringing in tourism money…after all, who visits anywhere if they expect to become a victim?
It also isn’t even very cheap there as most tourists expect!
Bratislava is very nice but not as large and active as Prague…I only expected to spend 2-3 days there but was so disappointed by Budapest that, I went back to Bratislava and spent a rather relaxing additional week there.
I have not been there in the winter though.
If you try an A-Bomb (Absinthe and Redbull), make sure you don’t fall into the Donau (Danube) lol.
*absinthe is about the same in alcohol content as Everclear…and it is “psychotropic”, and for those who don’t read the cans, Redbull has warnings (at least in Europe) not to mix with alcohol…
Sounds a lot like Italy. I lived in Florence, and it seemed like everyone I knew fell victim to pickpocketing. It’s good to know to be aware though. I have noticed that accommodations in Budapest seem to be cheaper than they are in Prague and Vienna (expected). Definitely have to check out Bratislava as a viable alternative, perhaps.
Absinthe and Redbull sounds like a dangerous combination, lol.
Part of what you will bump into in Budapest is Romanie/Gypsy pick-pockets. In some places they work in packs, a very common problem in Italy…but in Budapest, they tend to work for the crime rings that operate scams and theft in layers…a bit lower profile, and keeps the police from having to crack down.
I find accommodations generally tend to be higher in Budapest for similar quality, than they are in Prague…and i would have to say most things seems to be a bit higher in Budapest.
Bratislava is less expensive than both Prague and Budapest…also considerably smaller. People are correct in saying that 1-3 days is plenty of time to “see Bratislava”…but is a really nice town to relax or party in.
The Centrum area is very nice, and a good place to hit…shopping, food, cafes, bars, nightclubs, etc…and a few days in that area and you will feel like a “local”. Being smaller, there are fewer of everything, but there is plenty to do and i think you might like it there.
I was traveling solo for part of my time there, and stayed at the Backpacker’s Hostel (about 50m from the palisady – the presidential palace, a 100m from the Centrum). I met so many nice people there that it really made for a great time. Lots of people ending up in Bratislava seem to be coming or going from Krakow, and are pleasantly surprised by Bratislava.
There are lots of great hotels and pensiones of all price ranges, so I think you will find what you like.
I wouldn’t want to discourage you from Budapest, but think a few days there and being very aware of the dangers, will serve you well there.