The Travel industry is back in full force and tourists are flocking to Europe for their vacation time. Unfortunately, petty criminals and scammers are taking advantage of the masses of travelers and trying to make up for lost business over the last few years.
While some European cities have become increasingly dangerous following the pandemic, others are considered to be extremely safe. Many of the safest cities in Europe are also the safest cities on the planet, so you can book your trip knowing that you’re in good hands.
Of course, no matter where you travel, there’s always some level of risk that you’ll run into trouble. Wherever there are humans, there will be crime.
However, as long as you exercise basic safety precautions, including staying aware of your surroundings, avoiding becoming inebriated in public, and avoiding walking alone through isolated or poorly lit areas, you will likely stay safe in the following cities.
The 21 Safest Cities in Europe
1. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
According to the Global Peace Index, Amsterdam is the safest city in Europe as of 2023. The Dutch capital beat out all other European cities in areas of digital and health security, infrastructure, and personal safety.
Like anywhere, Amsterdam has areas that are more dangerous, especially at night. Particular neighborhoods to avoid (which you probably wouldn’t come across as a tourist anyway) include Bijlmermeer and Nieuwendammerham.
Though a popular tourist destination, the Red Light District can get a little chaotic at night. The only time I felt unsafe during my trip to Amsterdam was walking through the area after dark.
2. Copenhagen, Denmark
Denmark has long been thought of as a safe (and fairytale-like) travel destination, so Copenhagen should definitely be on your bucket list if you’re looking for a safe city in Europe to visit.
According to Travel Safe Abroad, Copenhagen is safe on several fronts, with a low risk of pickpocketing, natural disasters, mugging, terrorism, and scams. While it’s still important to keep your wits about you, you’re statistically safer in Copenhagen than in many other cities around Europe.
3. Stockholm, Sweden
Many of the safest cities in Europe are located towards the north of the continent, and that’s certainly true of Stockholm. Considered to be one of the safest cities on the 2023 Global Peace Index, Stockholm is a great location for solo travelers and solo female travelers.
The city itself is made up of a network of small islands, and among the safest neighborhoods to discover are Gamla Stan, Norrmalm, and Djurgarden.
4. Frankfurt, Germany
The German city of Frankfurt also ranks highly on the Global Peace Index list of safest cities for 2023.
Not being as much of a global travel hotspot as other European cities, Frankfurt is an extremely safe city overall, without the petty crime levels that occur in more popular destinations and was ranked as the seventh most liveable city in the world by The Economist 2022 Global City Ranking.
Most areas of Frankfurt are considered to be safe, though one of the more dangerous areas to avoid at night is the red-light district of Bahnhofsviertel.
5. Zurich, Switzerland
Switzerland has a long history of security and neutrality, and that legacy carries on to the city of Zurich today. Unsurprisingly, this is another one of the safest cities of 2023, as chosen by the Global Peace Index.
Zurich has a score of 87/100 in terms of overall safety. Visitors to the city have a low risk of becoming the victims of pickpockets or muggings, and there’s also a low risk of natural disasters, terrorism, and scams.
There are lots of beautiful landmarks to witness in Zurich (which you can enjoy with the peace of mind that you’re in one of the world’s safest cities!), from Lindenhof to the famous street known as Bahnhofstrasse.
6. Paris, France
As a major tourist destination, Paris has the usual safety concerns of any other popular city in Europe. While you might run into pickpocketing here, it is considered to be one of the safest cities by the 2023 Global Peace Index.
There are higher crime rates in certain areas and neighborhoods, including the 18th and 19th arrondissements. You might also want to avoid walking around Gare du Nord/Gare de l’Est after dark.
In most of the touristy areas of Paris, though, there are so many people around, both night and day, that you’ll generally feel safe at all times.
7. Brussels, Belgium
Belgium often flies under the radar of travelers headed for Europe, but it’s one of the safest cities on the continent, and also one of the most beautiful.
Like a select few other cities on this list, it’s not a trending or traditionally globally popular destination the way Paris or Rome is. That means there will likely be fewer occurrences of pickpockets and scams.
Though Brussels is a safe city to visit overall, there are four areas to avoid: Molenbeek, Gare du Midi, Rue d’Aerschot, and Brussels-North Station.
8. Madrid, Spain
The Spanish capital of Madrid is also one of the safest cities in Europe, as listed by the 2023 Global Peace Index. It’s considered to be safer than Spanish cities such as Salamanca, Granada, and Bilbao despite receiving crowds of tourists every year.
While the overall risk of running into trouble in Madrid is low, there are some issues to be aware of, just as you would in any other European city. In particular, stay alert to potential pickpockets, crime related to taxis and public transport, terrorism, and scams.
9. Barcelona, Spain
The seaside city of Barcelona is also considered to be one of the safest cities in Europe by the Global Peace Index. What stuck out to me when visiting Barcelona was the warmth and kindness of the locals. This, along with comparatively low crime rates, will likely make you feel very safe in Barcelona!
You can still come across pickpockets and petty thieves, as Barcelona is a major travel destination, so always be aware of your surroundings. Criminals like this are more likely to operate around tourist hotspots.
The good news is it looks like Barcelona is only getting safer, with crime rates having dropped by 14.6% in 2023.
10. Milan, Italy
Not only is Milan one of the world’s fashion capitals, but it’s also one of the safest cities in Europe. Again, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and watch out for pickpockets and petty crime in touristy areas, but generally, you can feel safe walking around Milan.
There are a few neighborhoods in the city that have higher levels of petty and drug-related crime which would be wise to avoid as a tourist. They include Quarto Oggiaro to the northwest of the city center, San Siro (which is home to the famous San Siro Stadium), and Corvetto — particularly near the metro station.
11. Rome, Italy
Long gone are the days of risking being fed to a lion in the Colosseum; in modern times, Rome is considered to be one of the safest cities in Europe.
The main thing to watch out for in Rome is scammers who target tourists. They tend to linger outside attractions such as the Colosseum and pretend to offer free gifts or services before demanding payment.
Watch out for “actors” dressed up as gladiators who offer to have a photo with you, as they’ll want to be paid for that photo. Also, be wary of people who approach you without invitation and try to tie string bracelets to your wrist — they aren’t free, whether you asked for them or not!
12. Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik is not only the safest city in Europe for 2023, but also the safest city on the planet. The Icelandic capital, known for its mystical landscapes and opportunities to witness the Northern Lights, has relatively low levels of crime and is a great destination for solo travelers.
It can be a little hectic in Reykjavik late at night when bars and pubs close, but on the whole, travelers tend to feel safe when walking through the city streets. Iceland is known for its gender equality values, so it’s a particularly good location for female travelers.
Iceland has consistently been ranked highly on the Global Peace Index since it began. In terms of instability, criminality, and conflict, the northern European country is constantly considered a safe place to live and travel.
13. Berlin, Germany
Berlin is a city with a fascinating history, and particularly throughout the 20th century, it has been far from safe to visit. However, the German capital is now considered to be one of the safest cities in Europe.
The dark periods of Berlin’s past are still on full display in the city — prevalent through buildings that still boast burn marks on their roofs, and moving tributes, such as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Walking through the city as a tourist can be haunting, but it’s generally quite safe.
Some popular tourist areas, including Alexanderplatz and Kurfürstdamm, are known for pickpocketing and becoming a little more chaotic at night.
14. Helsinki, Finland
Finland tends to fly below the radar in favor of more popular travel destinations in northern Europe, but this Nordic nation (which is not Scandinavian, by the way!) is a super safe place to travel to.
The overall risk of running into trouble in Helsinki is low, and that includes the risk of pickpocketing and scamming, terrorism, mugging, and natural disasters.
Of course, it’s still important to remain aware of your surroundings and listen to your gut instincts, but you’re far less likely to feel unsafe or face danger in Helsinki than you are in other European cities.
Pickpockets that operate in the city may be more prevalent in the summer, which is considered the high travel season. Be extra vigilant when traveling to tourist hotspots at peak times in Helsinki. But overall, this is one of the safest destinations you can visit.
15. Budapest, Hungary
People from all over the world visit Budapest to witness the stunning architecture of structures like the Parliament Building that overlooks the Danube River, and to bathe in the world-famous Széchenyi thermal baths. However, you should also consider the Hungarian capital if you’re looking for a safe European destination for your next trip.
Budapest gets a high score of 76 on its overall safety and the risk of natural disasters, mugging, terrorism, and women-specific crime is low. There is a medium risk of pickpocketing, scamming, and being overcharged by taxi drivers, but overall, it’s still considered a mostly safe place.
As with all popular European cities, keep your wits about you around tourist attractions and be aware of any stranger who approaches you.
A common Budapest scam to watch out for is women waiting outside bars to lure travelers inside, claiming there’s no entry fee. Once inside, tourists are given drinks with high concentrations of alcohol and then unknowingly rack up large bills, which they are then forced to pay by the security guards.
Similarly, the same type of scam often occurs with women who approach men pretending to be lost tourists, and then convince them to join them for food or drinks at a nearby bar or restaurant. The final bill can end up being exorbitant — in the thousands — and travelers have no choice but to pay it or face aggressive restaurant/pub owners.
Of course, scams like this can be avoided by simply ignoring strangers who try to lure you anywhere, and never having drinks or food with them.
16. Oslo, Norway
Norway is another Nordic country that enjoys a strong reputation as one of the safest destinations in the world. The solo travel app Travel Ladies rates Norway as 5/5 in terms of safety, and the city also ranks highly for food and things to do (unfortunately, it’s not so budget-friendly!).
One of the great things about Norway as a foreign traveler is that many locals speak English and are known to be friendly, so if you ever do need to ask for help, you can feel confident that there will be someone there who can help you.
Perhaps the greatest risk to travelers in Oslo is the unpredictable weather, which can involve heavy snow in the winter. Winter nights can last around 18 hours, so be prepared for lots of darkness if you’re going to travel at this time.
Though Oslo is generally safe, it’s still not advisable to walk around at night by yourself. If you have to walk at night, always stick to public, well-lit areas.
17. Dublin, Ireland
Ireland is one of the safest countries to travel to in the world, so naturally, the capital city of Dublin is also considered to be relatively safe. While it’s larger and more populated than any other city in the country, and therefore more dangerous, most tourists report feeling safe in Dublin.
As a female traveler to Dublin, I felt safe catching the tram back to my hotel in the Docklands at around midnight. Of course, I was sober and aware of my surroundings, so taking these extra precautions will always increase your actual level of safety.
One thing to be aware of in Dublin is the pub-goers getting rowdy late at night after being kicked out. You don’t want to get in the way of someone who’s had too much to drink and not thinking clearly, so try to avoid getting too close to pubs late at night if you notice chaos near the door.
18. Munich, Germany
Berlin isn’t the only German city you should consider traveling to if you’re looking for a statistically safe destination, Munich is classed as one of the safest cities in Europe in 2023.
With a good social welfare system and competent police force, Munich has low levels of crime. Munich ranks highly in terms of overall safety. While there is a slightly higher risk of pickpocketing and terrorism, the risk is low when it comes to mugging, scams, natural disasters, and women-specific travel concerns.
It’s definitely good news that Munich is a safe city to visit because there’s so much to see and do! Be sure to make time for Marienplatz, Munich Residenz, and the beautiful Nymphenburg Palace.
19. Vienna, Austria
Go Visa Free also lists Vienna, the Austrian capital, as one of the safest cities to visit in 2023. The website considers crime rates, law enforcement efficiency, infrastructure, healthcare access, and social stability, and Vienna definitely makes the cut!
Austria as a whole ranks highly on the 2023 Global Peace Index and is considered to be safer than countries such as Japan and Switzerland. Though Vienna has 2 million residents and thousands of tourists, it has low levels of crime and is constantly ranked near the top of the Global Liveability Index.
With a ranking of 88%, Vienna is one of the safest cities in the world, with a slightly raised risk of pickpocketing, mugging, and terrorism during peak seasons in crowded places. As with any place, follow normal safety precautions and you can travel to Vienna with peace of mind.
20. Bern, Switzerland
As mentioned above, Switzerland has a global reputation for being safe and secure (and neutral!). Another Swiss city that you should add to your bucket list of safe places to visit is Bern. Not only does it look like it was taken from a fairytale, but it enjoys low levels of crime.
Petty crimes, such as pickpocketing, can happen, so it’s important to stay vigilant and aware in crowded areas. Another great asset that Bern offers visitors is an advanced public transport system, so it’s easy for solo travelers to get around safely.
21. Lisbon, Portugal
An underrated European destination known for its gorgeous architecture, friendly locals, and sunny weather, Lisbon is a city where you can feel safe while exploring.
According to the independent Lisbon guide, Lisbon is an especially good choice for solo travelers, solo female travelers, elderly travelers, or those who are more likely to be vulnerable in some way, as it has a high police presence and great political stability.
In terms of values, Lisbon is progressive and liberal, making it a good destination for travelers of diverse backgrounds and minority communities. Public transport is also available and cost-effective, and there’s a lower risk of being financially exploited than there is in other destinations.
The biggest problem you’ll likely run into in Lisbon is pickpockets. It’s still important to be aware of your surroundings, particularly in crowded areas and popular locations, but when applying standard safety precautions, you’re unlikely to get into any trouble in Lisbon.