We all love getting away and spending a few days or weeks relaxing and recharging our batteries on holiday. However, if we don’t feel safe on our travels then it can be pretty difficult to enjoy our time away, and any mishaps can cause no end of drama and stress.
Countries and cities around the world can have wildly varying safety standards, with crime and trust in police being much higher or lower depending on the location. Even small things, such as whether staff have appropriate training and qualifications, can have a big impact. For instance, here in the UK security staff need a SIA licence to ensure they can keep our stores and venues safe for the public.
With this in mind, we wanted to explore the safety of different holiday locations in the UK and abroad, looking at a wide range of factors from trust in the local police to crime rates and more. We’ve put together an index of 100 of the top global tourist cities and ranked them based on these safety factors, as well as looking at some of the top tourist spots in the UK. How will your favourite holiday destinations rank for safety?
The safest global tourist destinations
- Reykjavik, Iceland Global Holiday Safety Score: 8.87
The Icelandic capital of Reykjavik is the safest tourist destination in the world, receiving a Global Holiday Safety Score of 8.87. Reykjavik earned the highest LGBT social acceptance score in our study at 9.78/10, showing it to be an open-minded and tolerant holiday destination. Scoring well across most factors, Reykjavik performed particularly well for Rule of Law, coming third with 8.53/10, and Reliability of Police, coming third again with a score of 9.02/10.
Reykjavik is a popular tourist destination for many different types of travellers and has a wide variety of attractions that draw in tourists each year. As well as the museums, cafes and attractions of the capital, Iceland is famous for its volcanic scenery and interesting topographical features. These include the impressive thermal eruptions of the Great Geysir as well as the Silfra Fissure in Iceland’s Thingvellir National Park, where you can stand (or swim) between two tectonic plates.
- Bern, Switzerland Global Holiday Safety Score: 8.64
The second safest tourist destination in the world is the Swiss capital city of Bern, which received a Global Holiday Safety Score of 8.64. Bern scored very well across most factors in our study, particularly for the Rule of Law and Reliability of Police, achieving the second-highest scores for both factors.
Bern is an excellent city to visit and is often overlooked by tourists in Europe. This small picturesque city is built within a meander on the river Aare and is home filled with stunning architecture such as the Bundeshaus parliament building, the Zytglogge medieval clocktower, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the city’s well-preserved medieval Old Town. Due to the city’s compact nature, tourists can experience most of Bern’s attractions in a relatively short amount of time, making it an ideal weekend destination or a good stop in a larger European holiday.
- Bergen, Norway Global Holiday Safety Score: 8.35
Bergen is the third safest holiday destination in our study, with a Global Holiday Safety Score of 8.35. Norway scored particularly highly for LGBT social acceptance with the third highest score of 9.38, making cities like Bergen particularly welcoming for people of all sexualities. The city also scored well for the Rule of Law, with a score of 8.33/10, and received a very low score on Numeo’s Crime Index with a rating of 25.72/100.
This coastal Norweigian city sits on the southwestern edge of the country, surrounded by the mountains and fjords for which the country is famous. Bergen is a small city steeped in history and set against a backdrop of amazing scenery. Tourists might visit the impressive Bergenhus fortress, and the historic Bryggen harbour, or ride the Fløibanen funicular railway from the city centre to the top of Fløyen mountain for breathtaking panoramic views.
- Kyoto, Japan Global Holiday Safety Score: 8.33
Kyoto is the fourth safest city in our study of the world’s top tourist destinations, with a Global Holiday Safety Score of 8.33. According to data from Numbeo, Kyoto is the destination where people are least concerned about being mugged or robbed, with only 8.42% worried that it could happen to them.
The ancient capital of Japan, Kyoto is home to a wide array of Shinto and Buddhist temples, as well as grand palaces and many worthwhile museums. The most famous site is the golden temple of Kinkaku-ji, a Zen Buddhist temple in the north of the city, adorned with gold leaf and surrounded by landscaped gardens where it overlooks a tranquil reflecting pond.
- Taipei, Taiwan & Singapore Global Holiday Safety Score: 8.04
Taipei and Singapore are tied as the joint-fifth safest holiday cities in the world, with a Global Holiday Safety Score of 8.04. As many as 86.61% of people in Taipei feel safe walking alone at night, which is the highest rate in our study, while Singapore performed best when it came to public trust in the Police, receiving the highest score of 9.19/10.
Taipei has a lot to offer the visiting tourist, from an incredible food scene to some amazing attractions, such as the National Palace Museum, which houses thousands of ancient Chinese artefacts, while Taiwan as a whole is often regarded as one of the friendliest and most welcoming countries in the world for foreigners. Singapore is a bustling multicultural city and a dream for food lovers and shopaholics. While the city is home to many extravagant malls, there are plenty of other attractions such as the Singapore Botanic Garden and the luxurious Marina Bay Sands resort and casino complex.
The least safe global tourist destinations
- Lagos, Nigeria Global Holiday Safety Score: 0.49
Lagos is the least safe global tourist destination in our study, with a Global Holiday Safety Score of just 0.49/10. This incredibly low score highlights the Nigerian capital as a city not the faint of heart. With high levels of crime and poor performance across all factors, the Nigerian capital performs worst for LGBT acceptance with a score of 2.18/10, the fourth lowest in our study.
The UK government advises against all travel to much of Nigeria, though Lagos is not in the most dangerous regions. Despite the potential hazards of a holiday in Lagos, the city does attract many visitors each year and is the heart of tourism in the country.
- Lima, Peru Global Holiday Safety Score: 1.21
Lima is the second least safe tourist destination, achieving a Global Holiday Safety Score of just 1.21. The Peruvian capital performed particularly poorly on the Numbeo Crime Index, with the fourth highest score of 70.53/100, while it was rated the second worst location for police reliability.
Despite the hazards that Lima presents, the city remains a popular tourist destination. The city is home to many interesting cultural attractions, from the Larco Museum of pre-Columbian art to the impressive sights of the Plaza de Armas and the city’s striking cathedral.
- Mexico City, Mexico Global Holiday Safety Score: 1.49
Mexico City is the third most dangerous global tourist destination, receiving a Global Holiday Safety Score of 1.49. Mexico City has the fifth-worst rating when it comes to the dangers of being mugged or robbed, causing 75.37% of residents concern, while the country has the third highest homicide rate in our study, as well as the least reliable police.
While the Mexican capital is more dangerous than many other destinations, there are a huge number of reasons why tourists take the leap and visit the city. Visitors should make sure to visit the National Museum of Anthropology and the ruins of the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan to learn about the area’s pre-colonial history, while art enthusiasts should consider visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum in La Casa Azul, where the artist was born and resided, as well as the architecturally impressive Palace of Fine Arts.
- New Delhi, India Global Holiday Safety Score: 1.63
The Indian capital city of New Delhi is the fourth most dangerous tourist destination in our study, with a Global Holiday Safety Score of 1.63. This huge bustling city received poor scores in most factors, with a rating of 59.15/100 on the Numbeo Crime Index and only 28.04% of people feeling safe walking alone at night.
New Delhi is a popular destination for many travellers, with a rich offering of cultural and historical sites. The 17th-century Red Fort is one of the most popular sites to visit, while the imposing India Gate and the recently completed Swaminarayan Akshardham Hindu Temple are just two examples of the many attractions tourists might choose to visit.
- Manila, Philippines Global Holiday Safety Score: 1.69
Manila is the fifth most dangerous city in our study with a Global Holiday Safety Score of 1.69. Manila has one of the highest scores on the Numbeo Crime Index at 65.39/100, while the wider country had the third lowest rating for the Rule of Law and the fourth lowest for police reliability.
Manila is a bustling port city on the Philippine island of Luzon, home to towering skyscrapers interspersed with Spanish colonial architecture. The local food scene is a popular draw for tourists, as the mix of Spanish and Southeast Asian cuisines produce a truly unique culinary experience. The city’s oldest district, Intramuros, is a walled-off area home to many impressive colonial-era buildings and historical sites, such as Fort Santiago, Casa Manila and the beautiful Manila Cathedral.
The safest UK staycation destinations
- York UK Holiday Safety Score: 7.69
York is the safest tourist destination in the country, with a UK Holiday Safety Score of 7.69. While not achieving the top score in any one category, York performed well across the board. The city has the third-highest rating for safety while walking alone at night, low levels of crime and a relatively high proportion of the population identifying as LGBTQ+. However, the city has the second-lowest number of SIA license holders for its size, at 4.8 per 1,000 people, making security staffing issues a more likely problem.
York is a city brimming with history, from the walkable medieval wall that encircles the city centre, to Clifford’s Tower and the many museums such as the Jorvik Viking Centre, which explores the area’s past as a hub of Viking activity. Visitors might also consider visiting the impressive York Minster, the iconic medieval Shambles street, or one of the many fantastic pubs and bars that make up the city’s well-regarded nightlife.
- Durham UK Holiday Safety Score: 7.68
Durham is the second safest tourist destination in the UK, with a Holiday Safety Score of 7.68. The city received the best results in several categories, having the lowest rate of theft, the lowest score on the Numbeo Crime Index, and the greatest proportion of residents saying they felt safe walking alone at night at 75.10%. Durham also appears to have a higher than average number of SIA license holders for its size, with 16.5 per 1,000 people.
Durham is a picturesque cathedral city nestled on a kink in the river Wear in the northeast of England. The impressive Durham Cathedral, which houses its own museum as well as offering climbs up the tower for stunning views of the city and surrounding area, is not the only reason to visit. Durham castle is a favourite attraction in the city, as are the botanical gardens, while numerous pubs and bars provide a vibrant nightlife if you stay the night.
- Bath UK Holiday Safety Score: 7.31
Bath is the third most safe UK tourist destination with a Holiday Safety Score of 7.31. The city performs well across most factors, recordeding the lowest rate of sexual crimes in our study, as well as having the lowest rate of offences for the possession of weapons. Despite these promising statistics, Bath has the lowest rate of SIA license holders at 3.7 per 1,000 people, meaning qualified security staff could be in short supply.
The city of Bath takes its name from the natural spring around which it is built. The city traces its history back to the Celts and Romans when the spring was revered as a holy site for its natural healing properties. One of the main attractions in the city is the Roman Bath complex, which sees thousands of visitors each year. Other popular attractions include Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein, the beautiful Bath Abbey, and the many cosy pubs that can be found scattered throughout the city.
The least safe UK staycation destinations
- Blackpool UK Holiday Safety Score: 2.18
The least safe tourist destination in the UK is Blackpool, which earned a UK Holiday Safety Score of 2.18. This popular seaside town recorded high levels of crime in most categories, topping the table for violent crimes and sexual offences. Additionally, the number of SIA license holders in the area is lower than average when compared to the local population, with only 9.4 per 1,000 people. This suggests that there could be a shortage of security staff, leading to higher levels of danger at venues.
Blackpool has been a popular tourist destination since the Victorian era, and many people have a tradition of making an annual visit to see the famous Blackpool Illuminations. The town is also well known for its theatre and music scene, particularly Northern Soul, for which a festival is held in Blackpool each year. Other attractions include the iconic Blackpool Tower, the spectacular Blackpool Tower Ballroom, and the ever-popular Blackpool Pleasure Beach amusement park.
- Birmingham UK Holiday Safety Score: 2.27
Birmingham is the second least safe UK holiday destination, earning a safety score of just 2.27/10. The city has the highest score on the Numbeo Crime Index in our study at 62.71/100, as well as being the least safe for walking alone at night. Birmingham also has the highest rate of offences for the possession of weapons at 3.04 per 1,000 people. However, the city has the third highest rate of SIA license holders at 19.4 per 1,000 people, which helps to mitigate some of these dangers by providing a large pool of security staff to work at Birmingham’s many venues.
While Birmingham might not be the safest UK city to visit, there are plenty of reasons why many tourists visit each year. One of the best attractions in the city is the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, with collections covering all manner of topics from fine art to archaeology and natural history. Other attractions include the National SEA LIFE Centre, the historic Jewellery Quarter, and the beautiful 15-acre Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
- Manchester UK Holiday Safety Score: 2.45
Manchester is the third least safe tourist destination in the country, with a UK Holiday Safety Score of 1.56. The city performs relatively poorly in most categories and has the highest rates of theft and public order offences in our study. However, the city also has a relatively large LGBTQ+ community, showing it to be one of the more open-minded and accepting locations that we looked at. Manchester also has the second highest rate of SIA license holders at 46.4 per 1,000 people, improving safety in the city.
While the safety statistics could use a little work, the city of Manchester is a great place to visit with many excellent attractions for the visiting tourist. Manchester is home to two global football clubs, Manchester City and Manchester United, and both teams’ grounds are close by with regular tours available. The city is also home to the National Football Museum, though there is much more to Manchester than the beautiful game. The Museum of Science and Industry is a great attraction for visitors of all ages, and the Imperial War Museum can be found in nearby Stretford. Art lovers should make sure to visit Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth gallery, while the many gigs and live performances in the city cater to those with a passion for music.
We wanted to find out which tourist destinations were the safest in the UK and around the world. To do this, we first created a list of 100 global tourist destinations using sources like Delicious.com and Touropia as inspiration.
We then used data from the Williams Institute to record the level of LGBT acceptance in each location. We also used data from the Fraser Institute’s Human Freedom Index to record each location’s performance for trust in the police and rule of law, while data on the impact of terrorism in each location was taken from the Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Terrorism Index via Vision of Humanity.
Additionally, we collected data from Numbeo including each city’s score on the Numbeo Crime Index, as well as people’s perceived threat of being mugged or robbed and their safety walking alone at night. The national homicide rate in each country was taken from World Bank data, with any gaps being plugged using data from World Population Review.
All of these factors were combined into a single score to reveal the safest and most dangerous global tourist destinations.
We also included a section looking specifically at tourist destinations in the UK, in which we focused on 30 of the top tourist cities. The cities included were inspired by sources such as Hand Luggage Only and TripSavvy.
We used ONS data to find the crime rate in each area for a variety of offences that visitors could be subject to. We also used ONS census data as well as revealing the percentage of each city’s population which identified as LGBTQ+, as this would imply a more open-minded and accepting view towards issues surrounding gender and sexuality.
Data showing the number of SIA licence holders in each city was sourced from offical government data from the Security Industry Authority. These figures were compared to local population figures to calculate the number of SIA licence holders per 1,000 people in each town, revealing where there are shortages of qualified security staff.
This was combined with Numbeo data, which showed each city’s Crime Index score and their rating for safety while walking alone at night, to produce a single score. The cities were ranked accordingly and the safest and most dangerous UK tourist cities were revealed.
Any UK cities that appeared in both the global and UK sections will have different scores for each. This is due to different factors being used in each section and the scores being relative to the other locations included.
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