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The 10 Cities in Europe Most Likely to Go on Strike and Cause Travel Chaos

Are you heading to any of these destinations soon?

It’s been one thing after the other for the workers. Labor shortages, long working hours in poor conditions, difficult customers and terrible disruptions, and low wages—workers around Europe are struggling after the pandemic. The result? Strikes. From airline, railway, and bus crew to healthcare workers, unions across the continent are demanding better. 

Holiday rental booking company Holidu has mapped the most strike-prone cities in Europe using International Labor Organization’s data. It has calculated the average days not worked between 2009 and 2019, as well as search volumes for strike+country and strike+city. France, Spain, and the U.K. are the most strike-prone countries, and French cities dominate this list with Paris taking the top spot and four other cities following closely behind.

This information will come in handy when you’re making travel plans this summer—hopefully, with minimum surprises.

Related: Europe Trips Can Be Much, Much Easier if You Follow This Advice

1 OF 10


WHERE: France

The French are not having it. More than one million people joined protests in mid-January to reject the proposed plans to raise the retirement age. Trains, flights, and schools faced disruptions as workers walked out. Multiple cities across the nation are witnessing protests by trade unions and it is expected to continue. President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms have been part of the conversation for years and the country has experienced nationwide protests many times.

Paris tops this list of most strike-prone cities with the most average days not worked between 2009 and 2019.

2 OF 10


WHERE: England

London has the third-highest average number of days not worked between 2009 and 2019, plus the second-highest search rankings for strikes. In the U.K., healthcare workers, transport staff, and civil employees have been striking on and off since last summer. This month, more are planned and this calendar can help you circumvent some of these, especially if you are traveling on trains.

3 OF 10


WHERE: Spain

According to the data, Spain has the second-highest average number of days not worked between 2009 and 2019. Its snazzy capital takes the bronze here.

Since last year, airline crew, including Ryanair and Vueling, have been participating in strikes, leading to massive disruptions in operations. In addition, air traffic controllers are currently striking, citing that they are the worst paid in Europe. Walk-offs are planned throughout February. Healthcare workers across the country are also walking off due to poor working conditions.

4 OF 10


WHERE: Spain

The fourth city to appear on this list is also Spanish. It closely follows Madrid in terms of search volume. Besides air traffic controllers who are striking at airports in the country, healthcare workers, teachers, and taxi drivers in Barcelona are also protesting.

Related: The Best Things to Do in Barcelona

5 OF 10


WHERE: France

Another French city that’s making its sentiment clear about the proposed pension reforms is Marseille. Marches and demonstrations by unions (including transport workers) will continue this month. 

6 OF 10


WHERE: France

Mass strikes by French trade unions against the proposal to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 are also happening in the historic city of Lyon. According to news reports, more than 38,000 people took to the streets of Lyon on January 19, 2023.

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WHERE: France

France is the most strike-prone country according to the Holidu study, and the coastal city of Nice also made it to the list with a high number of search results writing about the strikes. Trade unions are planning another day of protest on February 16. 

8 OF 10


WHERE: France

Toulouse makes it on this top 10 list because of the high search volumes of strike+city. It is also one of the major cities that’s participating in current protests against the pension plans.

Related: Why Are All the Streets in France Named After Men?

9 OF 10


WHERE: Germany

The only German city to have been massively affected by strikes is the capital Berlin. As recently as January 25, around 300 flights were canceled at the Berlin Brandenburg Airport over pay issues. Ground staff and security personnel were on strike and 35,000 passengers were impacted.

10 OF 10


WHERE: England

Who isn’t striking in Manchester? Last month, the University of Manchester students organized a protest due to the rising living costs. Train and bus drivers, teachers and lecturers, and civil servants also staged walkouts in February over pay disputes.