These 5 Under The Radar European Cities Rank Among The Safest For Travelers  


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Is there anything better than that feeling of arriving in a new city as a first-time traveler? The excitement and uncertainty have a way of washing over you and leaving you feeling curious, energized, and possibly a bit apprehensive (especially for solo travelers). 

Bern Switzerland skyline with river

With no shortage of beautiful destinations to visit, Europe is and will always be a huge draw for tourists, with essentially everything to see all in one diverse continent. With classic favorites such as Paris, Rome, and Barcelona all being popular draws, those who are looking for a bit less touristy still have lots of options. 

One main factor to consider when traveling to a new city is the safety aspect, which applies to travelers of all ages and demographics. From solo female explorers to family vacations, everyone wants to feel safe when they arrive at their new destination. 

bern Switzerland clock tower

A recent UK report has just compiled a list of the top 20 safest global tourist destinations, with cities from Japan to Norway and many places in between. While there is no shortage of articles to be found on the safest destinations, there are a few on this list that might pique the interest of travelers looking for some lesser-known European destinations. 

The recent UK report compiles data and assigns each city a global holiday safety score, using the following metrics to determine the overall score:

  • Homicide rate per 100,000 by country
  • Global terrorism index
  • Human freedom index/ reliability of police 
  • Human freedom index/ rule of city law
  • % of people who feel safe walking one at night 
  • % of people worried about being mugged or robbed 
  • Numbeo crime index
  • LGBT social acceptance 

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old houses in tallin estonia

Upon configuring this data, the following cities ranked in the top 5 of safest global tourist destinations:

  1. Reykjavik, Iceland 
  2. Bern, Switzerland 
  3. Bergen, Norway 
  4. Kyoto, Japan 
  5. Taipei, Taiwan 

While all these destinations are definitely deserving of their high score and their popularity amongst tourists, there are some on the list that might offer an option for a bit more unique holiday. 

river boat and old houses in bruges, belgium

Here are 5 Under The Radar European Cities Rank Among The Safest For Travelers  

Ljubljana, Slovenia 

Coming in 10th on the list, we find the capital city of this underrated destination, with a global holiday safety score of 7.56/10. Ljubljana scores high marks since violent crime is rare, and the city is known to be very safe, as is the country of Slovenia in general.

Some have claimed this small city is the safest capital of the Eastern European countries, and visitors can walk around at night with no more than a normal level of awareness and precautions. The city’s old town, in general, has a reputation amongst traverses as being safe and welcoming, and those who visit can explore the streets and cafes even after the sun goes down. 

Ljubjana houses and river with bridge

Bern, Switzerland 

This Swiss capital city ranked second on the list, making it one of the safest cities in the world for tourists, with an overall global holiday safety score of 8.64/10. While this city tends to get passed over by many tourists who flock to the more famous Swiss cities, there are plenty of reasons to explore safe and charming Bern.

The city scored high marks in particular for both the reliability of police and rule of law categories, as well as LGBT social acceptance. So, if you find yourself exploring Switzerland this year, don’t miss Bern! As if you needed another reason to visit this stunning country, there is also the new scenic train that has recently opened. 

river and bridge with city skyline in bern Switzerland

Tallinn, Estonia 

While you might not need any more reasons to visit this underrated capital city, the high marks it received for its global holiday safety score might help to entice you to book the trip and explore this small Baltic gem. With a score of 7.16/10, Tallinn ranks 17 amongst the 100 destinations included in this study, making it considerably safer than many other European cities.

High marks for this city included a large percentage of people who feel safe walking alone at night (almost 70%) and a global terrorism index of 0. Tallinn is a city that gets into people’s hearts quite quickly, and travelers who go there often stay longer than expected. In fact, some make it a long-term base for traveling the nearby Baltic region.

old buildings in the skyline of Tallinn, Estonia

Bruges, Belgium 

Named one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Europe to visit, Bruges just made the top 20 list for safest holiday destinations. The city ties with Prague as number 19, both scoring 6.98/10 for a global holiday safety score. Bruges ranks high for LGBT acceptance and low for the percentage of people worried about being mugged or robbed.

While violent crime is very rare in this picturesque city, it’s important to remember that normal precautions should be then to avoid petty theft, as it is a tourist destination, after all. So sit back and drink some of the famous Belgium Beer in one of the many cafes tucked along the postcard-worthy canal-side streets as you watch the tour boats float by.

colorful houses in bruges, belgium

Salzburg, Austria

If a country has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, such as Austria, it should come as no surprise to see one of its cities on this list. Salzburg scores a 7.88/10 for this global holiday safety index, with high marks for both people feeling safe waking at night, as well as rule of law and the reliability of police.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is full of culture and beautiful sights. From beer gardens, museums, and riverside cafes, to Mozart and the Von Trapp family, there is so much to see and do in Salzburg. Many miss this city in favor of Vienna (which is understandable as Vienna is a fantastic destination in its own right), but those who are looking for a safe and culture-packed trip set amongst the Salzach River and the foothills of the Alps should check out Salzburg this year. 

castle on hill with mountains in salzberg, Austria

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