Europe is known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and diverse cultures. However, like any other continent in the world, some cities face higher levels of crime and safety concerns.
Some of the most dangerous cities in Europe include Marseille, Catania, Naples, Paris, Nice, Manchester, Brussels, Athens, Birmingham, Liege, London, and Malmo.
Top 50 Most Dangerous Cities in Europe
1. Marseille, France – Crime Rate 64.5
Marseille is a city nestled on the coast of the Gulf of Lion in southern France. It’s the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and part of the Bouches-du-Rhône department. Marseille boasts a rich history and a bustling population, making it the second most populous city in France, with over 870,000 residents in 2020. The city is considered as the most dangerous city in Europe based on it’s high crime rate.
Beyond the city limits, the Marseille metropolitan area extends over a vast 3,972 square kilometers, making it the third most populated in France. Since 2016, it has been part of the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis, an authority responsible for broader metropolitan issues, with a population reaching over 1.9 million in 2020.
2. Catania, Italy – Crime Rate 64.2
Catania is a charming city located off the coast of Sicily. While it attracts numerous tourists, it faces issues with petty theft, pickpocketing, and other crimes. The city’s crime index has been increasing annually, encompassing incidents of theft, carjacking, and occasional violent crimes.
Catania, a jewel of Sicily, stands as the island’s second-largest municipality and a bustling urban center. It’s home to approximately 311,584 residents within the city itself, while the entire Metropolitan City of Catania boasts a population of 1,107,702. Located on the eastern coast of Sicily, Catania is a city with deep historical roots.
Founded in the 8th century BC by Chalcidian Greeks in Magna Graecia, Catania has weathered multiple geological and historical storms. It faced near destruction from a catastrophic earthquake in 1169 and grappled with major volcanic eruptions from nearby Mount Etna. However, throughout the centuries, it has remained a center of culture, art, and politics in Italy.
3. Birmingham, United Kingdom – Crime Rate 63.5
Bradford holds the record of having the highest crime index in the UK. The prevalent crimes include violent outbursts, harassment, and theft.
Birmingham, often dubbed the “second city” of the United Kingdom, is a vibrant metropolitan borough in the West Midlands region of England. With a city population of around 1.145 million and approximately 4.3 million in the wider metropolitan area, Birmingham stands as the largest metropolitan area outside of London.
Known for its central location in England and rich industrial history, Birmingham has grown from a medieval market town in Warwickshire into a thriving cultural, financial, and commercial hub during the 18th century. The city is not defined by large rivers but rather by its central role in the Midlands.
4. Coventry, United Kingdom – Crime Rate 63.3
Coventry, situated on the River Sherbourne in the West Midlands county, is a city with a rich history. Although it wasn’t officially founded as a city until the Middle Ages, Coventry has been a significant settlement for centuries. At the 2021 census, it boasted a population of 345,328, making it the tenth largest city in England.
Coventry is one of the world’s most iconic cities and it welcomes millions of visitors annually. While much of the city is safe, it’s important to be aware of potential risks. Some areas have higher incidents of gang violence and drug-related activities. To ensure your safety, stick to well-lit areas, avoid unlit streets, and travel in groups, particularly at night.
Coventry is known for its proximity to Birmingham and Leicester, forming part of the larger Coventry and Bedworth Urban Area. Historically, it played a crucial role during the Middle Ages and later emerged as a major industrial center, particularly in the bicycle and motor industry during the 19th and 20th centuries.
5. Charleroi, Belgium – Crime Rate 62.9
Charleroi is a vibrant city known for its friendly residents and cultural richness. However, like any bustling metropolis, it has its share of safety concerns. Reports of pickpocketing and muggings are more common in the city center, particularly in tourist hotspots and public transportation hubs.
Charleroi is a city steeped in history. With a population of over 200,000, Charleroi is the fifth most populous city in Belgium.
Traces of early human activities date back to prehistoric times in this region, with signs of metallurgical and commercial activities along the Sambre. The city’s history is rich and diverse, and it has grown from a small hamlet with only around 50 inhabitants during the Middle Ages into a thriving urban center.
6. Naples, Italy – Crime Rate 62.6
Naples offers a delightful blend of fashion, art, and historical landmarks. However, pickpocketing is a major issue, particularly on public transportation, so ensure your valuables are secure. Most areas are known to be less safe, especially during the nighttime.
Naples, often called the “City of the Sun,” is more than just a coastal paradise in southern Italy. With a history spanning millennia, it’s one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. Founded by the Greeks in the first millennium BC, it has seen the rise and fall of empires, making it a treasure trove of historical and cultural significance.
But Naples isn’t just about history; it’s a vibrant, modern metropolis. Its economic growth, particularly since the late 20th century, has transformed it into a thriving hub. The Centro Direzionale business district and an extensive transportation network, including a high-speed rail link to Rome and Salerno, have bolstered its economic significance. Today, Naples boasts the third-largest urban economy in Italy, trailing only Milan and Rome.
The Port of Naples, one of Europe’s most critical ports, has further solidified its status as a global city. Additionally, Naples is home to NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command Naples, underlining its importance in international affairs.
7. Montpellier, France – Crime Rate 61.8
Montpellier experiences a significant amount of crime, primarily pickpocketing and theft. Travelers should remain attentive and keep a close eye on their belongings while exploring the city. Car theft and burglary also occur relatively frequently.
Montpellier, located in the sunny south of France, offers a delightful blend of history and modernity. Established in 1220, the University of Montpellier is one of the world’s oldest, with an illustrious list of alumni that includes Petrarch, Nostradamus, and François Rabelais. This university has been a center of learning for centuries and continues to be a source of innovation.
Montpellier has experienced exceptional economic and demographic growth since the 1990s. Its urban area boasts the highest population growth in France since 2000, driven in part by its thriving student population. Students make up nearly one-fourth of the city’s residents, making it one of the most youthful and dynamic cities in Europe.
In recognition of its cultural and environmental efforts, Montpellier was nominated for “Best Emerging Culture City of the Year 2017” by the think tank LCD. The city’s commitment to culture, education, and sustainability makes it a shining star in the French urban landscape.
8. Liège, Belgium – Crime Rate 59.6
Liège, an emerging tourist destination, carries its own set of safety considerations. While the city is generally safe, some neighborhoods pose risks. Tourist-heavy areas are often associated with petty crimes, such as pickpocketing and muggings. Liège also has a significant number of stray dogs, and it is advisable to keep a distance if encountered to avoid any potential aggression.
Liège, located in the Meuse Valley of eastern Belgium, is a city with a rich industrial and cultural heritage. It’s strategically situated near the borders of the Netherlands and Germany, making it a pivotal economic and cultural center in the region.
Liège is the third most populous urban area in Belgium, following Brussels and Antwerp. Its location along the Meuse River has historically made it a critical center for trade and commerce. Today, it continues to play a vital role in the economic development of the region.
The city’s rich cultural heritage is reflected in its architecture, museums, and festivals. Liège’s commitment to both its industrial legacy and its vibrant cultural scene makes it a city where history and innovation coexist harmoniously.
9. Grenoble, France – Crime Rate 59.1
Grenoble entices millions of visitors each year. However, it is crucial to be mindful of potential safety concerns. The city has experienced instances of pickpocketing and bag snatching, particularly in popular tourist spots and most subway stations can be risky at night.
Grenoble, often referred to as the “Capital of the Alps,” is a city that blends natural beauty with scientific prowess. Nestled at the confluence of the Drac and Isère rivers, and surrounded by the French Alps, Grenoble offers a breathtaking backdrop for its residents and visitors.
Grenoble’s economic development took various forms over the centuries. It witnessed a booming glove industry in the 18th and 19th centuries, followed by a strong hydropower industry in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. In the post-World War II era, Grenoble experienced an economic boom that culminated in the hosting of the X Olympic Winter Games in 1968.
Today, Grenoble stands as one of Europe’s foremost research, technology, and innovation hubs. Approximately one in five residents work directly in these fields, contributing to the city’s classification as a global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.
10. Nantes, France – Crime Rate 58.9
Nantes is prone to pickpocketing and car theft issues, which have seen an increase due to drug dealing. These various vices makes it one of the most dangerous cities in Europe.
Certain neighborhoods such as Dervallières and Bottière should be avoided. Additionally, protests can sometimes turn violent, necessitating distance from such events.
Nantes, located along the Loire River in western France, is a city that blends history with modernity. Its strategic location near the Atlantic coast has shaped its identity as a dynamic port city.
This city, the sixth-largest in France, boasts a population of over 320,000 in Nantes proper and nearly a million in its metropolitan area. Historically associated with Brittany, Nantes’ position within the modern administrative region of Brittany is a matter of ongoing debate.
Other dangerous cities in Europe are:
- Paris, France
- Malmo, Sweden
- Athens, Greece
- Nice, France
- Manchester, United Kingdom
- Brussels, Belgium
- Dnipro, Ukraine
- Lyon, France
- London, United Kingdom
- Odessa (Odesa), Ukraine
- Thessaloniki, Greece
- Bilbao, Spain
- Minsk, Belarus
- Dublin, Ireland
- Rome, Italy
- Lille, France
- Turin, Italy
- Rennes, France
- Barcelona, Spain
- Toulouse, France
- Nottingham, United Kingdom
- Bari, Italy
- Milan, Italy
- Drogheda, Ireland
- Bordeaux, France
- Kharkiv, Ukraine
- Liverpool, United Kingdom
- Novosibirsk, Russia
- Bologna, Italy
- Skopje, North Macedonia
- Gothenburg, Sweden
- Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Craiova, Romania
- Kiev (Kyiv), Ukraine
- Belfast, United Kingdom
- Glasgow, United Kingdom
- Kristiansand, Norway
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Palermo, Italy
As we wrap up this article on the most dangerous cities in Europe, it is important to remember that crime rates should not overshadow the incredible experiences and vibrant cultures these cities have to offer.
While some cities may face higher crime challenges, it’s important to exercise caution, be aware of your surroundings, and take necessary precautions to ensure personal safety.