European Crisis? Where not to go

With terrorist attacks coming more frequently in Europe, many travelers are likely starting to rethink plans to visit, or want to know what places to avoid. In truth, the majority of Europe is relatively politically stable and some countries are among the safest in the world. Take a look at the following for where not to go and where to go in Europe today.

Safety Threats

Terror attacks have happened most recently in Paris, Brussels and London. There have also been reports of widespread migrant crime in Sweden and Germany particularly. Northern Ireland is still considered a place to be on a alert for American travelers, and countries on the border of Russia are also known for having some political instability. Every city and country also has specific dangerous neighborhoods and travelers should familiarize themselves with their locations. The best practice is to either consult a good guidebook or talk to knowledgeable locals on places to avoid.

Safest European Countries

Travelers looking for the safest country in Europe should consider visiting Iceland. Not only is this by far the safest country in Europe, but it’s the safest in the world. Iceland’s crime rate is extremely low. In 2013, there was only one murder in the entire country. Iceland is quite small with a population below 400,000. Police do not carry guns and Iceland is known for being friendly to American travelers.

Another safe country to consider is Denmark. Violent crime is low and even pickpockets aren’t very common. It’s ranked second after Iceland in the world’s safest countries. Austria comes in third in the safest countries and it also has low violent crime and the only thing to look out for is pickpockets or scams aimed at travelers.

Other generally safe European countries to consider include:

  • Portugal
  • Czech Republic
  • Switzerland
  • Slovenia
  • Finland
  • Ireland

Top Unsafe European Cities

World Atlas lists the following 10 cities as the most dangerous in Europe:

  1. Brussels, Belgium
  2. Zurich, Switzerland
  3. Kiev, Ukraine
  4. Riga, Latvia
  5. Belfast, Northern Ireland
  6. Podgorica, Montenegro
  7. Moscow, Russia
  8. Vilnius, Lithuania
  9. Glasgow, Scotland
  10. Tallinn, Estonia

The criteria for this list is based on homicides per 100,000 people. Tallinn, Estonia has the most with 5.5 homicides. It’s easy to see that the majority of these cities lie on the eastern side of Europe. Along with violent crime, these cities also see crimes such as theft, assault and scams or pickpocketing. Brussels is recently known as the site of terror attacks.

Another list of unsafe European cities comes from Business Insider. This list is largely based on terror attacks and general civil unrest.

  1. Paris, France
  2. London, England
  3. Bucharest, Romania
  4. Zagreb, Croatia
  5. Riga, Latvia
  6. Rome, Italy
  7. Madrid, Spain
  8. Budapest, Hungary
  9. Sofia, Bulgaria
  10. Athens, Greece
  11. Belgrade, Serbia
  12. Kiev, Ukraine

Again, countries on the eastern side are listed for widespread corruption, theft and civil unrest. Athens has been struggling for some time due to prolonged austerity, which has upped poverty levels and caused an increase in crime and general turmoil. Paris is still a popular destination, but it has seen a number of terror attacks in recent years with suicide bombers and gunmen.

It’s always possible to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in any country, but these lists should help travelers find a starting point on where and where not to go in Europe.

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