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Worldly wise | What are the safest and most dangerous countries in Europe? (2024 edition)

In this article by worldly we talk about security in Europe. Which countries will be the safest in 2024 and which will be the most dangerous? We present a list of the top 10 safe and dangerous countries in Europe. This ranking is compiled from various sources and analyzes on safety published at the end of 2023. One of those sources is visionofhumanity.org. They annually release comprehensive analyzes of global security, based on the Global Peace Index (GPI). The GPI is a list of countries compiled annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace (ELM). The IEP rates safety in countries based on several criteria, including general security, conflicts, crime and attacks.

Global Peace Index report | 2023 | Source Visionofhumanity.org
Global Peace Index report | 2023 | Source Visionofhumanity.org

Also read: Which are the safest and most dangerous countries in Central America?
Also read: Which are the safest and most dangerous countries in Europe?
Also read: Which are the safest and most dangerous countries in Africa?

About the 2023 Global Peace Index (GPI) report

The GPI is a list created every year by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). This institute is one independent organization which is committed to peace as an important measure of human well-being and progress.

What is the purpose of the Global Peace Index?

The purpose of the IEP is to shift the world's attention to peace as something positive and tangible. They do this by developing new ideas about peace, finding ways to measure peace, and showing how business, peace and prosperity are connected. They also want to promote understanding of the cultural, economic and political factors that promote peace.

The IEP is headquartered in Sydney and has offices in New York, Brussels, The Hague, Mexico City and Harare. They work with various partners worldwide, including intergovernmental organizations, to measure and communicate the economic value of peace.

Where can I view the entire Global Peace Index (GPI) report?

You can view the full 98-page 2023 GPI report below or download it as a PDF. If you really want to dive into the data in addition to the full report, that is also possible. You can request data per country via interactive world map of visionofhumanity.org.

How does the GPI score work?

Each country starts with a score of one with three decimal places (1,000). Poor general safety, conflicts, crime and/or attacks provide extra points. The lower the number of points, the better the country or region is doing.

Europe still the most peaceful

Let's start: Europe remains the most peaceful region in the world this year. But we did see a problem: for the third year in a row, peace in Europe has deteriorated according to the 2023 GPI. This is mainly due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

And it's not just Europe; Global peace has also deteriorated in 2023. Only in Asia-Pacific, North America and the Middle East/North Africa has the situation improved.

Regional Global Peace Index Scores by Continent | Source Visionofhumanity.org
Source Visionofhumanity.org

Also read: Worldly | 7 continents or continents – Everything you need to know

Of the 36 countries in Europe, 12 countries saw an improvement in peacefulness, while 23 countries recorded a deterioration and one country remained the same. Europe therefore remains the most peaceful region in the world and will continue to have seven of the ten most peaceful countries in 2024.

Europe is home to 7 of the 10 most peaceful countries in the world

Source - Wereldreizigers.nl

Looking a little more broadly, we see that European countries occupy 15 of the top 25 positions in the 2023 global GPI. Iceland has the highest score, both in Europe and Worldwide.

Turkey is the only European country in the top 25 for the seventh year in a row, together with Ukraine most dangerous countries in the world. Around the world, there are 84 countries that are doing better and 79 countries that are doing worse.

GPI Results, 2023 | Source Visionofhumanity.org
GPI Results, 2023 | Source Visionofhumanity.org

Political unrest in Europe

Although Europe remains the most peaceful region in the world, it has experienced political unrest in the past year. Poland, Slovakia, Hungary en Romania have fallen exceptionally sharply in the global Global Peace Index rankings in 2023.

In Poland, for example, there have been public rallies and protests against the government's controversial anti-gay laws. In Romania, demonstrators took to the streets for months to protest against corruption. There were also mass protests in Hungary after the government introduced a new labor law known as the 'Slave Law'. This is just one example of many controversial laws and statements that pro-Russian President Orban has made over the past year. It is striking that these four countries all have populist governments that appear to be causing unrest. Three of them share a border with Ukraine.

In 2024, the four biggest losers in Europe will be Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.

It is striking that these four countries have elected populist governments that appear to be causing unrest.

Three of them share a border with Ukraine.

Source – Global Peace Index 2023

Top 10 safest countries in Europe

1. Iceland | GPI score: 1.124

Iceland's safety scores remain as good as ever. For 15 years in a row, since 2008, Iceland has been the safest country in Europe and even in the world. Iceland has also been financially healthy since the economic crisis of 2008. More tourists come to the country every year.

Also read: Top 10 Volcanoes in Iceland | Otherworldly, impressive and active

Iceland did see an overall score drop of four percent due to an increase in homicides and the impact of terrorism. This is the first year in which terrorist activities have been detected in the country.

Iceland, the safest country in Europe and also the world.
Iceland, the safest country in Europe and also the world.

juicy detail: Iceland is the only country in the world which punished criminal activities before and during the economic crisis in 2008. Several top bankers have been convicted and spent long periods in prison. Subsequently, laws were introduced to prevent only men from dominating the boardrooms in both business and politics. It is now required by law that at least 40% of every major position in the country be held by women.

For many people, this law is the basis of Iceland's success over the past 15 years. Documentary maker visited in 2016 Michael Moore Iceland and spoke to some influential women about the crisis and the positive changes in the country. The entire documentary “Women of Iceland” (seen below, +- 15 minutes) is definitely worth watching.

2. Denmark| GPI Score 1.310

Denmark has always been one of the safest countries in Europe and is not known internationally for economic or authoritarian influence. Apart from some football successes, Denmark has always kept itself somewhat aloof from the world. The country does not interfere with others and others do not interfere with Denmark. This mainly benefits the residents. Denmark will remain one of the safest countries in Europe in 2023 and will rise from 5th to 2nd position.

Also read: City trip Copenhagen | What to see and do + budget tips

Life in Denmark is generally quiet. The small country is known for its safe streets, where women dare to walk alone late at night. Denmark offers good facilities for living and traveling and the atmosphere is relaxed.

3. Ireland | GPI score 1.312

In the 70s, 80s and 90s, Ireland faced turbulent times, with attacks and the activities of the IRA causing much suffering, along with serious economic problems. But by 2023, these problems will have largely disappeared. Over the past two decades, Ireland seems to be thriving. Dublin is now a very popular destination for city ​​trips and tourism in the country continues to grow.

Security in Ireland has improved in recent years
Security in Ireland has improved in recent years

In general, the Irish are a special people and they actually do everything differently from the English. Although they are neighboring countries, they have little in common in terms of culture, safety and tourism. Crime rates in Ireland have continued to break records in recent years, but in a positive way.


Would you like to receive great travel tips and extra benefits every month? And did you know that we give away a monthly world map to our subscribers? All you have to do is leave your email address below and you will have a chance to win every month!


4. Austria | GPI Score 1.316

Austria has been a very stable country for many years and has been in the top 5 safest countries in Europe for more than a decade. There is hardly any crime. The lush, green nature has a calming effect on residents, and travelers always feel at ease, even in the larger cities.

Also read: Top 3 | The coolest winter sports destinations in Europe

5. Portugal | GPI score 1.333


Portugal is experiencing an unprecedented rapid rise in the rankings of the safest countries in the world. In 2000, the Portuguese government took a radical decision: all forms of drug use were decriminalized. Twenty years later, the results are largely positive. The number of addicts has decreased significantly, as has the associated crime. People who are addicted or use drugs and break the law are required to undergo treatment in a clinic. With this approach, the country has managed to tackle major drug problems in a very short time. Significant investments have been made in actually helping people, instead of simply locking them up.

Also read: Madeira Portugal | 17x the most beautiful places + things to do

Madeira | Portugal is still one of the safest countries in Europe
Madeira | Portugal is still one of the safest countries in Europe

Overall, this drastic decision has brought about a wave of positive developments in the country. Portugal has transformed from one of the most unsafe to one of the safest countries in Europe in just 20 years. This is an impressive achievement, which has also saved the country billions. The costs of maintaining safety have decreased considerably.

6. Slovenia | GPI Score 1.334

The average safety rating of Slovenia has fallen slightly due to a lower score for the capital Ljubljana. Without this city, Slovenia would certainly have ended up in the top 5 safest countries in Europe. Slovenia has many similarities with Austria in terms of nature and population.

Lake Bled, Slovenia
Lake Bled, Slovenia

The Slovenians generally love nature and enjoy spending time outdoors. Tourism in Slovenia has grown enormously, especially in the past decade, contributing to economic prosperity and prosperity. Over the past 10 years, Slovenia has risen no less than 5 places on the list of safest countries. Do you want to see how beautiful Slovenia really is? Then watch our video of Lake Bled below or read the article we wrote about Bled.

Also read: Bled, Slovenia | A breathtaking destination for drone photographers

7. Switzerland | GPI Score 1.339

Switzerland continues to perform well, as in previous years. The country ranks 7th in safety in Europe and 10th worldwide. Switzerland has a rugged landscape and some large cities. Unlike the Czech Republic, Switzerland is as little concerned with Europe or the rest of the world as possible. However, in recent years Switzerland has come under increasing pressure to be more open about the country's known secret banking affairs.

Also read: Roadtrip Switzerland | Things to Do in Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken

Chris van Wereldreizigers.nl in Switzerland, still one of the safest countries in Europe
Chris van Wereldreizigers.nl in Switzerland, still one of the safest countries in Europe

According to researchers, there is much more large-scale crime in the country than you would think. This mainly concerns financial crime that takes place behind closed doors, so that residents and tourists hardly notice anything. Although Switzerland has fallen two places in the past year, it still remains one of the safest countries in both Europe and the world.

8. Czech Republic | GPI Score 1.379

Czech Republic ranks 8th in the top 10 safest countries in Europe. Just 15 years ago, the country wasn't even in the top 25 in the world. But in 2023, the Czech Republic sits firmly at 12th in the world and 8th in Europe in terms of safety. Experts mainly point to the rapidly growing economic prosperity as the main reason for this.

Also read: Eastern Europe | The 'Eastern Bloc' is so much hipper than you think!

Czech Republic, in the top 2023 safe countries in Europe in 10
Czech Republic, in the top 2023 safe countries in Europe in 10

Accession to the EU and governments with a left-wing orientation that emphasized security and social safety nets are the basis of this growth. More freedoms and open borders with Europe have given the population a taste of the new Czech Republic. Crime has decreased, the conflict with Slovakia appears to be a thing of the past, and the country has also been doing very well in the field of tourism in recent years.

9. Finland | GPI score 1.399

Despite the relatively high unemployment rates Finland, which are at 7,5%, the country is still doing very well. Slowly but surely, Finland is increasingly distancing itself from Russia, which used to have a lot of influence here. Finland is a large country with only 5,5 million inhabitants. There is little crime, mainly because there are hardly any large cities outside Helsinki.

Husky tour in Finnish Lapland
Husky tour in Finnish Lapland

Finland has been welcoming more and more tourists in recent years, especially in Finnish Lapland. The population is very hospitable, friendly and helpful. The country is ideal for spotting it northern Lights and in general, as a tourist you can walk the streets late and alone without any worries.

Also read: NoFear Travel in Europe | Overlanding in Lapland

10. Croatia | GPI score 1.450

Croatia is a newcomer in the top 10 safest countries in Europe in 2023, making it Germany out of the top 10. The country's economic growth is an important factor for this security success. Tourism in Croatia is booming, more and more Europeans are choosing the country as a holiday destination and in recent years it has received almost as many tourists as Italy and Spain.

New in the top 10 safest countries in Europe: Croatia
New in the top 10 safest countries in Europe: Croatia

Also read: Itinerary Croatia 2 to 4 weeks | Hints and Highlights

There is also peace in Croatia politically. Accession to the EU and the introduction of the euro as legal tender went relatively smoothly. Croatia can certainly be proud of this – just 10 years ago the country was not even in the top 20 safest countries in Europe.

Dubrovnik, Croatia | Top 10 safest countries in Europe
Dubrovnik, Croatia | Top 10 safest countries in Europe

Also read: Dubrovnik | 10x tips what to see and do in Old Town

And what about the Netherlands?


You might be surprised to find out where The Netherlands in terms of safety in Europe. Although we are used to our down-to-earth country and it generally feels safe here, statistics from 2015 to 2020 show a different picture. In these years, the Netherlands has fallen no less than 10 places and was even in 2020st place in the world in 21, with a GPI score of 1.528. At European level, the Netherlands was in 2020th place in 14, but we will now be in 2023th place in 12. The Netherlands will have a GPI score of 2023 in 1.490, which is considerably better than in previous years. Below you can see the ranking from numbers 11 to 15.

We must let Germany pass us by. However, it is clear that the positions are very close to each other. The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Norway and Sweden regularly change places just outside the top 10, although Sweden has fallen further this year.

The Netherlands has not been in the top 10 safest countries for several years now
The Netherlands has not been in the top 10 safest countries for several years now

The main reason for the Netherlands' mixed results in recent years is mainly due to organized crime. Drug trafficking and settlements seemed to be the rule rather than the exception in our country. It arrest and sentence Ridouan Taghi for life, the largest drug trafficker in the Netherlands, has contributed to the restoration of peace over the past two years. However, the number of petty thefts and muggings has increased slightly in recent years, which unfortunately still affects the crime figures and keeps us out of the top 10.

Top 10 most dangerous countries in Europe

Now that you know where you can safely go in Europe, it is also good to know where you should be careful or which countries and areas you should avoid.

1. Ukraine | GPI score 3.043

I'm sure it won't be a surprise, but Ukraine has been number 1 in recent years when it comes to the least safe, or in other words, the most dangerous country in Europe. The main reason for this is of course the war after the Russian invasion of the country. Worldwide, Ukraine ranks 157th out of 163 countries. It is astonishing to realize that Russia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan are currently even more unsafe.

Ukraine | Russian Synagogue and an old Lada (own photo, taken by Chris Thomassen in 2020)
Ukraine | Russian Synagogue and an old Lada (own photo, taken by Chris Thomassen in 2020)

Also read: Goodbye Ukraine, be well

2. Turkey | GPI score 2.800

Turkey continues this year, for the tenth year in a row, the most dangerous country in Europe if you ignore the war in Ukraine. Between 2012 and 2020, the situation in the country deteriorated significantly every year, according to the GPI. In 2020, Turkey fell even further in the global GPI rankings to 150th place, among Venezuela (#149) and North Korea (#151).

Istanbul, Turkey | an unsafe country plagued by political terrorism
Istanbul, Turkey | an unsafe country plagued by political terrorism

Fortunately, the decline now appears to be stopping and there is even a slight improvement visible. Turkey now shows a small improvement in safety for the second year in a row, climbing from 152nd place worldwide (in 2022) to 147th place (in 2023).

3. Kosovo | GPI score 1.946

After the breakup of the former Yugoslavia Kosovo never really recovered. The country is struggling economically and hostility towards neighboring Serbia is still palpable. The war left many mines and weapons in the country, meaning armed conflicts still occur regularly.

Kosovo, one of the most unsafe countries in Europe
Kosovo, one of the most unsafe countries in Europe

Although Kosovo scores much better than Turkey, it is still a dangerous country (by European standards).

4. France | GPI score 1.939

Are you surprised by that? France here stands? We actually don't. France has had a difficult time in recent years. During the four years that we have been writing and/or updating this article, France has consistently ranked among the top 5 most unsafe countries in Europe. There is a lot of inequality between ethnic groups, many violent crimes and the country has experienced several attacks in recent years.

Below you will find a list of attacks in France in recent years:

  • 2015 – Charlie Hebdo, 12 dead
  • 2015 – Paris, 5 dead
  • 2015 – Paris, 130 dead
  • 2016 – Paris, 2 dead (bomb belt didn't go off)
  • 2016 – Nice, 84 dead
  • 2016 – Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, 3 dead
  • 2017 – Paris, 0 dead (bomb in apartment defused)
  • 2018 – Trèbes, 5 dead
  • 2018 – Paris, 2 dead
  • 2019 – Lyon, 13 injured in bomb attack, no deaths.
  • 2020 – Romans-sur-Isère, 2 dead
  • 2020 – Charlie Hebdo, multiple injured
  • 2021 – Nice, 4 dead, 9 injured
  • 2023 – Paris – 1 dead, several injured
France drops further on the list and is one of the most unsafe countries in Europe
France drops further on the list and is one of the most unsafe countries in Europe

France gently climbed the safety rankings in 2021 and 2022, but unfortunately dropped again in 2023. It currently ranks 67th globally and 32nd of the 36 safest countries in Europe. So not really good.

The only positive news about this is that southern and western France have not been affected by all the unrest so far. Those who stay away from the big cities will hardly notice the problems. Hundreds of thousands of Dutch people still go on holiday in France every year.

5. Serbia | GPI score 1.921

Serbia made significant progress from 2010 to 2020 and was no longer considered unsafe. In 2020, Serbia belonged to Europe's 'green, safe zone' for the first time in years. Unfortunately, the situation is now deteriorating again due to political unrest.

Serbia can call itself a 'green' country for the first time this year.
Serbia can call itself a 'green' country for the first time this year.

Serbia has regularly expressed anti-European views and the influence of Russia and China appears to have increased significantly in recent years. Crime rates are high and the number of annual homicides is increasing.

From here the 'green zone' starts. That is to say: all countries listed here are in principle considered safe.

Chris – Wereldreizigers.nl

6. Cyprus | GPI score 1.904

Cyprus has been through difficult times in recent years, but now seems to be slowly recovering. It is mainly a victim of the ongoing tensions between Turkey and Greece, both of which claim the entire island. Add to this the large influx of refugees who come to the island by boat, and the problems are complete.

Cyprus | Number 6 most unsafe countries in Europe with a GPI score of 1.904
Cyprus | Number 6 most unsafe countries in Europe with a GPI score of 1.904

With only 1,2 million inhabitants, Cyprus simply cannot accommodate the large flow of refugees economically and logistically. As a result, the island has been affected by petty crime in recent years. Refugees trying to build a new life contribute to crime rates.

Tourists who stay in luxury resorts usually have a pleasant holiday. Outside the resorts, however, the problems are quickly felt and visible. Fortunately, hard work has been done in both 2022 and 2023 to improve the situation. It is therefore expected that the security situation in Cyprus will improve further in the coming years.

7. Bosnia and Herzegovina | GPI score 1.892

Like Kosovo heeft Bosnia and Herzegovina the economy is tough. Many people fled Yugoslavia during and after the war in search of a better life. High unemployment is clearly visible in the many abandoned villages in the country. There is a relatively high level of petty crime, but there are also some good areas. The larger cities in particular score well.

Fortunately, there has been a clear positive trend in recent years. Tourism is growing strongly, which ensures economic growth. This improves safety.

However, it is still risky to just walk in the nature of Bosnia. Many areas are still full of landmines that have not yet been cleared. Although efforts are underway to clean it up, it may take many years before it is completely safe.

8. Greece | GPI score 1.890

Greece has been slowly recovering in recent years from a serious economic crisis that seemed to have no end. Unemployment is extremely high, which contributes to petty crime, theft and street robberies. This remains a persistent problem, especially in the big cities.

Greece is recovering and climbing back up the rankings of safe countries
Greece is recovering and climbing back up the rankings of safe countries

The many large protests against the government, especially in the wake of the economic crisis, can sometimes turn violent. Despite the ongoing conflict with Turkey, Greece is slowly seeing calm return. In the past three years, the number of major protests has decreased by 50%. Tourists are returning to the country and the economy seems to be recovering.

Also read: Tip for holiday Greece 2024 | Tzoumerka National Park

9.Montenegro | GPI score 1.772

Montenegro is generally a great travel destination. However, in recent years it has experienced political unrest, riots and even some attacks. The ties with Russia are worrying. Nevertheless, in recent years we have seen an increase in the number of tourists visiting the country and safety is visibly improving.

Chris van Wereldreizigers.nl in the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
Chris van Wereldreizigers.nl in the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

The beautiful beaches and affordable prices attract many tourists. In general, the coastal areas, especially the city of Kotor, are safe. Yet there is a higher risk than desired in the country. It really is a country with two sides.

10. Albania | GPI score 1.745

Despite the challenges in the border areas Albania great progress has been made in recent years. The tourism sector is growing steadily, which means the country is attracting more and more visitors. The beautiful coastline, untouched nature and historical sights make Albania an attractive destination for travelers. In addition, the population has benefited from an improved economic situation, which translates into higher living standards and greater job and prosperity opportunities. Although challenges remain, such as social inequality and regional tensions, the overall trend is positive and Albania remains a country with potential and growth opportunities.

Security in Albania - improvement can be seen
Security in Albania – improvement can be seen

It is still one of the less safe countries in Europe, but you have to see that in proportion. Petty crimes and street robberies are especially a problem. Fortunately, the coastal areas are usually safe for tourists, and Dutch travelers receive positive travel advice from the government.

Security in Europe – the middle bracket

Above you can see the 10 safest and 10 most dangerous countries in Europe. In between, a group of countries remains, the middle group. Germany is just outside the top 10 safest countries in Europe, while United Kingdom falls just outside the most dangerous countries in Europe. For the full list of countries in the middle tier, see below.

Also read: Worldly | The Safest and Most Dangerous Countries in Africa

  • 11 – Germany | GPI score 1.456
  • 12 – Netherlands | GPI score 1.490
  • 13 – Hungary | GPI score 1.508
  • 14 – Belgium | GPI score 1.523
  • 15 – Norway | GPI score 1.550
  • 16 – Estonia | GPI score 1.563
  • 17 – Slovakia | GPI score 1.578
  • 18 – Latvia | GPI score 1.582
  • 19 – Sweden | GPI score 1.625
  • 20 – Poland | GPI score 1.634
  • 21 – Bulgaria | GPI score 1.643
  • 22 – Romania | GPI score 1.649
  • 23 – Spain | GPI score 1.649
  • 24 – Italy | GPI score 1.662
  • 25 – Lithuania | GPI score 1.671
  • 26 – United Kingdom | GPI score 1.693

Do you want to know exactly how the countries are doing at a global level? Then view the 2 overviews below (click on the images to enlarge them).

Global GPI (Global Peace Index) Scores | Part 1, 2023 | Source Visionofhumanity.org
Global GPI (Global Peace Index) Scores | Part 1, 2023 | Source Visionofhumanity.org
Global GPI (Global Peace Index) Scores | Part 2, 2023 | Source Visionofhumanity.org
Global GPI (Global Peace Index) Scores | Part 2, 2023 | Source Visionofhumanity.org

Consulted sources:

Want to read more Worldly articles? Then take a look at our worldly page. Do you have a question, addition or do you see an error somewhere? Let us know in the comments!

Also read: Which are the safest and most dangerous countries in Central America?
Also read: Which are the safest and most dangerous countries in Africa?

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