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Safest Country in Europe for a woman to travel solo

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Apr 6th, 2015, 11:40 PM
  #1
LKL
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Safest Country in Europe for a woman to travel solo

Thinking about taking my first solo trip. I'm 43 yrs old and seeking......culture, great food, music, beaches. Not looking for romance. Just want to see a part of the world on my own. I would love to meet new people and learn new ways. Just want to feel safe. Any suggestions? I prefer warm weather and am particularly fond of the Mediterranean but it's not a deal breaker. Thanks for any and all suggestions!
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Apr 7th, 2015, 12:03 AM
  #2
 
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Being from a country within Europe I always wonder what safest means. No country is at war, no extremes in murder rates or sexual assorts.
Still a web search throws up some links you might be interested in reading. Whilst they cover the world, locations include European destinations too..
http://www.escapehere.com/inspiratio...avel-alone/10/
http://www.theactivetimes.com/safest...leastdangerous
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._homicide_rate
http://www.travelandleisure.com/slid...solo-travelers
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Apr 7th, 2015, 12:09 AM
  #3
 
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I'd try to avoid the main draw cities just because they may have gangs of pickpockets who target tourists. That would take out:

Paris, Rome, Barcelona.

To get to meet the locals it is useful to speak the language, which Med languages do you speak?
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Apr 7th, 2015, 01:15 AM
  #4
kja
 
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I'm a woman who has traveled reasonably extensively without difficulty. IMHO, you could go ANYWHERE you would like in Europe and have a safe, enjoyable experience. Just conduct yourself appropriately (as in, don't get raving drunk with strangers), take reasonable precautions (e.g., use a passport pouch or money belt), learn the "scams" and tricks, and be mindful of your surroundings! ;-) Actually, I feel safer alone, because when alone, I am devoting ALL of my attention to my surroundings, rather than focusing on what a companion is saying or doing.

Personally, I choose where to go (solo) based on when I plan on traveling and how long I have for the trip -- safety is simply not something that factors into my planning for Europe. (Which is not to say that untoward events don't happen -- just that they are RARE and, IMO, not worth factoring into my planning.)

For inspiration, here is a collection of solo trip reports that include visits to Europe and other parts of the world:
http://www.fodors.com/community/trav...collection.cfm

Go and enjoy!
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Apr 7th, 2015, 02:31 AM
  #5
 
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You left out London.

Lol - if pickpockets scare you off then I would suggest staying at home Don't be put off by scare-mongering. Just take precautions you would take in *any* big city. Keep your valuables secure and be aware of your surroundings.

In 20+ visits to Rome plus lengthy periods as a resident I've never seen these 'gangs of pickpockets' by the way. I wonder where they lurk.
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Apr 7th, 2015, 02:37 AM
  #6
 
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Well, I am a female who has traveled solo to Paris - around a dozen times and have not had any gang of pickpockets bother me. Nor do I speak French. I love it there and have never had an issue. I've also traveled alone to Provence, France twice.

I spent a week in Rome alone ! Loved it. Not one pickpocket experience. I've also traveled alone in Florence, Italy and Milan.

I've traveled alone to London more times than Paris and have never had a problem.

Bottomline, imo, don't think in terms of dangerous places. Think in term of where 'you' want to go. What places interest and appeal to you? Go there ! Use your common sense and street smarts. Don't let people tell you silly things like don't go to Paris or Rome or .... wherever. If that's where you want to go. GO !! Read trip reports here and on Trip Advisor. Thousands of single females do these trips every year! Don't live in fear. Go to where you are interested in going!
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Apr 7th, 2015, 02:39 AM
  #7
 
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OP - according to 'The Economist' the safest cities in Europe for personal safety are Stockholm and Amsterdam. Their methodology is explained here:

http://safecities.economist.com/wp-c...te_paper-1.pdf

However, I would go where *you* want to go. Don't let perceived issues put you off. I also travel frequently to Naples - apparently one heck of an unsafe place - however I feel safer there than I do on the streets of London and NYC.

Just follow usual precautions - as I said above, keep valuables close, be aware of your surroundings in crowded areas, don't walk around late at night. I presume you would do all of these things at home - so do the same when travelling.

Buon viaggio!
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Apr 7th, 2015, 02:41 AM
  #8
 
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Safest areas:
small Greek Islands with no or few road traffic and few tourists from abroad, like Gavdos, Agathonissi, Lipsi, Inousses, Psara .....
Liechtenstein
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Apr 7th, 2015, 03:01 AM
  #9
 
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Yes, it isn't countries that are safe or unsafe, at least in Western Europe, but neighborhoods. As a tourist, you're not very likely to go to unsafe neighborhoods. kja's advice to notice your surroundings as you would at home is good.

If you live in a small town or suburb, there are a couple of pieces of advice I would give you even if you were coming to Boston:

-- don't smile at people on the street
-- look like you know where you are going.
-- don't carry a big tote, no matter how convenient. Use a cross-body bag.
-- never, ever for even a second, set your bag down on a table top, chair, or the floor. Ditto your camera.

On another point, while the sea coast is often beautiful in Europe, the beaches are often disappointing. Either the water is chilly or the beach itself is shingle -- pebbles or stones -- rather than sand.

Have a wonderful time. Sometimes touring alone is best because you have only yourself to please.
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Apr 7th, 2015, 03:22 AM
  #10
 
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Pretty much all of western Europe - and most of eastern Europe - is 'safer' than most of the US. There are pickpockets in crowded touristy areas in all cities, even small ones, including in the US. I have never seen 'gangs' of pickpockets and I have traveled about twice a year to all over Europe for the past 15 years.

The safest strategy is to wear an under the clothing 'money belt' in which you keep your passport, credit cards, ATM cards and excess money. In your purse or pocket keep out only what you'll need for that day. This is as much to prevent loss as it is theft. I don't carry any special kind of bag/purse/backpack but just keep my arm over it in crowded metro trains or in crowds. I keep my phone and camera in an inside zip pocket. Pickpockets are looking for easy targets - the bulging wallet in the back pocket, the phone that is half sticking out of a pocket, etc. I also wouldn't go flashing huge diamonds or wads of money around but dress 'normally' - just don't call attention to yourself. You are more likely to encounter beggars than pickpockets. Just don't make eye contact or talk to them and they quickly move on to someone else. Actual crimes (muggings, etc. ) are very rare and you are really more likely to have something 'bad' happen to you on your way to work tomorrow.

But it's always a good idea to know what to expect, so reading some of the posts, or news articles, or guidebooks about 'tourist scams' is a good idea. And of course don't go to sketchy neighborhoods late at night. There's really no reason to go to outlying suburbs that might have large immigrant populations where you might encounter unemployed youth that might seem threatening. The entire historic centers of all cities are very safe.

The thread kja linked to above will show you how many people happily and successfully travel alone. I travel about half the time solo and half with my husband and feel just as safe alone as I do with him.
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Apr 7th, 2015, 04:16 AM
  #11
 
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Given the way you describe your interests, I suggest Greece.
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Apr 7th, 2015, 04:30 AM
  #12
 
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You are much safer as a solo woman or anyone in any European city than in any American city. Much ado about nothing and I hope now you realize that and feel comfy going anywhere - pickpockets target everyone, male or female or trans-gemdered - put angst to rest. I base this on decades of European travel.
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Apr 7th, 2015, 05:36 AM
  #13
 
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No different than my going downtown in my home city--I just watch my surroundings.

This quote-- I'd try to avoid the main draw cities just because they may have gangs of pickpockets who target tourists (ruling out major great cities).

is pretty silly. I was travelling with my husband, two LARGE sons, and was "targeted" by pickpockets. I pushed them away.
Husband was targeted and yelled at them to go away.
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Apr 7th, 2015, 05:53 AM
  #14
 
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I agree with all the positive notes, but the OP asked.

I guess there are pebbly beaches but I only go to European sandy ones. There are so many it is impossible to list them all and this whole pebbly thing that some NAs talk about is just crazy.

What you will discover is that some of the old fashioned resorts that are linked to the very wealthy European old style holidays that focused/focus on casinos, sex and power don't tend to have great beaches, well what do you know!
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Apr 7th, 2015, 07:47 AM
  #15
 
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As others have said, you're probably safer in Europe than you are at home. I am a 79 year-old woman, and I travel solo. I wear a money belt under my clothes. In it I keep my credit cards, ATM cards and big money. I carry a large tapestry bag with zippers in which I keep my small money and camera. I'm very aware of what's going on around me.
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Apr 7th, 2015, 07:59 AM
  #16
 
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LKL,

Given how you describe what you are looking for, I would suggest the
italian Riviera,near Genoa but on the scenic coast away from the most touristy spots. Towns like Chiavari, Rapallo, Bogliasco or Camogli. You won't need a car and you will feel (and be) very safe. But if music is very important to you, then Portugal. I would pick a residential neighborhood in Lisbon with views, like Lapa. You can get great deals on apartment rentals in Lisbon, and food and wine is cheap. But it is a more urban environment, so there will be an edge.
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Apr 7th, 2015, 09:51 AM
  #18
 
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Oddly enough, Lisbon is the only place I was aware of being targeted by thieves, and I am 6'3". They were waiting to do a grab-and-run at an ATM. I gave then an urban stare, and they moved away. Well, there was the bus in Rome where all the nuns started screaming at the gypsy women who got on, but these are amusing, not scary.
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