The 50 Safest Cities in the World Gallery
October 26, 2018
Here’s a guide for the more cautious traveler
The 50 Safest Cities in the World
One of the biggest concerns for potential vacationers is whether or not the place they’ve chosen to visit will be safe. This concern has only grown in recent years, and it’s a good one to have. Travel safety is important.
Depending on where you travel, you might have to consider any number of security concerns as a traveler. Even something as minor as having your pocket picked could ruin an entire vacation, and some attractive destinations carry with them much more serious risks.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of cities where you can focus on the culture, history, fun, and of course, food. Using data from Numbeo, we ranked them based on how they scored from a scale of 1 to 100, 100 being the safest. We should note that Numbeo's database is fluid, with the data depending on the changing stats and reports on a given day, and that this ranking is based on data pulled on October 30, 2018. The numbers may have changed slightly since, and of course, there is also the chance that the situation in a given city has suddenly changed.
Some cities you may expect to see, but others may surprise you. Seven of the safest 50 cities are located within the Middle East, whereas only two are in the United States. Romania and Canada, in particular, seems to be a safe bet for when you're looking to travel, with three cities each on the list. So if you’re looking for a nice, stress-free vacation, here are the safest 50 cities in the world for you to be.
#50 Chiang Mai, Thailand
Explore the gorgeous, mountainous terrain of northern Thailand in Chiang Mai, a cosmopolitan destination that also manages to offer an active vacation surrounded by beautiful nature. With cheap food and stunning Buddhist temples you can visit for free, the city is an affordable cultural destination. Nature lovers that will find that experiences like riding an elephant here will transform your life, and those looking for a bit more adventure will find many opportunities for mountain biking and zip lining.
#49 Düsseldorf, Germany
With much of the city having been destroyed in World War 2, Dusseldorf is a very modern city full of modern architecture and contemporary public artworks. Known for its nightlife, shopping, and cultural events, Düsseldorf offers a different kind of adventure in Germany and a chance to enjoy the Lower Rhine region.
#48 Oulu, Finland
Oulu is a northern Finnish city with many cultural attractions, including concerts and festivals such as Oulu Music Video Festival (home of the Air Guitar World Championships), the International Children’s Film Festival, and Qstock, an annual rock festival. Museums teach visitors about local art and science, and one can also explore the city’s churches, theaters, markets, and parks.
#47 İzmir, Turkey
The third largest city in Turkey after Istanbul and the capital of Ankara, İzmir is a bustling port city located on the Turkish Riviera (also known as the Turquoise Coast), one of the most stunning coasts in the world. Beaches aren’t too far from the city center, but if you’re not the beach-going type, you can always check out the many bars located in Ottoman-era houses, explore the shopping and nightlife, or check out Konak Square, home to the city’s symbolic 1901 clock tower and Kemeraltı Bazaar.
#46 Waterloo, Canada
Not to be confused with the famous Belgian battlefield of the same name — although it is named after the battle itself — Waterloo fell 10 places from last year and has a safety index of 73.14. Go in the summer or fall, as that’s when the city tends to hold all sorts of events and festivals.
#45 Stuttgart, Germany
Car geeks will love Stuttgart, where both Porsche and Mercedes-Benz have their headquarters and respective car museums. A big city with a small town feel, Stuttgart has a safety index of 73.16, having fallen 17 places on the index from last year. The city also has plenty of art and history museums for those who are less enthused by the auto industry, as well as a zoo and planetarium. Stuttgart lies very near the Black Forest region, known for being a culinary center in Germany.
#44 Iasi, Romania
Iasi has a 73.41 on the safety index and is two spots higher than last year. A city full of Romanian culture, art, and history, it’s also basically a college town, which might contribute to the safety factor.
#43 Brasov, Romania
Brasov may not be that well known, but it’s a city worth a visit with a skyline full of watchtowers, baroque buildings and churches, and Gothic spires. As intimidating as some of its buildings may look, the city is quite safe.
#42 Prague, Czech Republic
Full of gorgeous medieval architecture and a fascinating history, Prague is a great city for solo travelers, particularly because of how safe it is. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city center, as well as some of Central Europe’s top museums.
#41 Muscat, Oman
The capital of Oman as well as its largest city, Muscat lies on the coast of the Arabian Sea and has a landscape characterized by impressive mountains. Home to a number of beautiful mosques and museums, Muscat also has an impressive opera house and some beautiful resorts.
#40 Brno, Czech Republic
The second Czech city to make the list, Brno is also the second largest city in the Czech Republic. Part of the historical Moravian region, it’s home to sites full of Moravian culture and history as well as gorgeous scenery.
#39 Luxembourg, Luxembourg
You’ll find Luxembourg squeezed right in between Belgium, Germany, and France. Ranked as one of the cleanest cities in the world, its capital — also called Luxembourg — is full of beautiful architecture and landscapes.
#38 Minsk, Belarus
Falling just two spots from last year, Minsk is another city with a strong World War II history. Interestingly, it also used to be the location of the KGB headquarters back in the days of the Soviet Union — as well as home to Lee Harvey Oswald, who lived there for a few years before returning back to the U.S. with a son and Belarussian wife. However, all of these things are a mere memory today, and the city is quite a safe place to explore architecture, museums, and theater.
#37 Ottawa, Canada
Ottawa is a bilingual city, so it’s a great place to brush up on your French. Canada’s capital is right along the Ottawa River, and has a safety index of 75.01. Make sure you check out the beautiful Gothic architecture of Parliament Hill before you leave.
#36 Yerevan, Armenia
Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, has a history dating back to the 8th century B.C., but much of its development has occurred in the past couple of decades, resulting in many shopping centers and restaurants featuring delicious Armenian cuisine. You can still, however, find that history and amazing architecture in the city’s many museums, monuments, and churches.
#35 Eindhoven, Netherlands
It isn’t Amsterdam, but Eindhoven is a very safe spot in the Netherlands, although it did fall one spot since last year, and there’s plenty to do in the city. In addition to the usual museums, churches, and city landmarks, it has a lively nightlife as well.
#33 Ghent, Belgium
The second largest city in Belgium, Ghent is a Flemish city with a rich history present in its well-preserved medieval architecture. A highly underrated European destination, it also has plenty to do for those looking for a great food or nightlife scene in a safe city — its safety index is 75.27.
#32 Ljublana, Slovenia
Slovenia’s capital is full of impressive architecture and beautiful parks, and the city plays host to over 10,000 cultural events every year. The city actually rose up 11 spots from last year, which is even more reason to make the trip so you can attend one!
#31 Mangalore, India
Officially known as Mangaluru, Mangalore is the only city in India to make this list. The safety index of 75.62 should put your mind at ease as you explore the city’s heritage, which includes rule by the Portuguese and the Kingdom of Mysore.
#30 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Cluj-Napoca is the highest rated Romanian city to make the list, and it’s also the most popular for tourists. It’s the unofficial capital of Transylvania, a historical region that is often associated with Dracula, on account of it being the setting of Bram Stoker’s novel. He doesn’t seem to be a threat though, as the city is a great place to explore beautiful Gothic architecture among museums, galleries, parks, and delicious Transylvanian food.
#29 Zagreb, Croatia
Croatia has seen a tourism boom in the past few years, and the capital of Zagreb is definitely a must-stop. Not only is it pretty safe, but it’s also a fantastic place for foodies as well as beautiful cultural, historic, and religious sites.
#28 Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
The fifth largest city in Russia, Nizhny Novgorod is a big destination for river tourism in the country. Find an impressive mix of Russian Revival and Stalinist architecture, as well as over 600 cultural and historic monuments in addition to beautiful churches and museums.
#27 Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is known for being friendly and quite safe (although the city did fall 6 spots on the list since last year), and it’s a great place to experience Danish culture and history, as the country’s capital. Visit the statue of the Little Mermaid from the story written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen or Tivoli Gardens, the city’s amusement park that’s more than 100 years old.
#26 Aalborg, Denmark
Aalborg is home to an ancient Viking graveyard, as well as a nice zoo and many renaissance buildings. The biggest carnival in Northern Europe, Aalborg Karneval, is held here in the last week of May.
#25 Mérida, Mexico
There is a Mérida in Spain, Venezuela, and the Philippines, but the one in Mexico is the largest. The culture here is an interesting mix of Spanish, Mayan, British, French, Lebanese and a bit of Dutch. It has a safety index of 76.65, as well as cheap and fresh tamales sold on the street for you to enjoy before heading over to one of its many museums or markets.
#24 Bursa, Turkey
Bursa is a Turkish city in the northwestern part of Asia Minor, and it was the first major city taken over by the Ottomans; it served as the first capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1326 until 1363 when the seat of government was moved to Edirne. Known for its beautiful mosques and historical sites dating from those times, this city of over 2 million people has a safety index of 76.85, as well as plenty of delicious döner kebabs.
#23 Tampere, Finland
Falling 5 spots from last year, Finns largely consider Tampere to be the most beautiful city in Finland, one of the most peaceful countries in the world. Its strong industrial history is chronicled by its many museums and two historic factory complexes. It’s also a great base for many outdoor activities including, but not limited to, fishing, cruising, skiing, hiking, ice hockey, ice swimming and even ice walking.
#22 Vienna, Austria
Vienna is a city with so much history and culture that its historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was home to the Hapsburg court, and it serves as Austria’s political, cultural, and economic capital. It has a safety index of 77.30 and is also one of the world’s best cities for coffee.
#21 Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki is known for its design heritage, and shoppers will find many beautiful prints and gorgeous dresses there. Moving up 21 places on the list from last year, it’s a perfect destination for the summer with plenty of outdoor bars, cafes, and beautiful parks.
#20 Canberra, Australia
Australia’s capital doesn’t get as much attention as Sydney or even Melbourne, but it’s the only Australian city to make this list. One of the most eco-friendly cities in the world, great place for outdoor adventurers, with of opportunity to bike, jog, or walk through its parks, gardens, and natural reserves. Canberra has a huge lake — man-made — surrounded by picturesque museums, galleries, and national monuments.
#19 Reykjavik, Iceland
Visit the world’s northernmost capital city, where you can experience the friendly and creative culture of Iceland. Reykjavik should definitely be on your bucket list. It has a safety index of 78.43, rising 13 spots from last year, and it’s a great spot for nature lovers, as well as those looking for a good arts scene.
#18 Hong Kong
Hong Kong is possibly the most cosmopolitan city in all of Asia, and while it is technically a Special Administrative Region of China, it’s very much autonomous and a world of its own. It has a 79.08 rating, falling five places from last year, and a fantastic food scene. Get to Victoria Peak for an amazing view of the entire island.
#17 Tbilisi, Georgia
In recent years, Tbilisi has grown as a tourist destination due to Georgia’s growing hospitality industry. It’s the nation’s capital, and it has a safety index of 79.24. Try a sulfur bath in the city’s bath district or check out the local tea plantation before heading to one of its parks or lakes for a nice breath of fresh air.
#16 Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn is a very popular destination in the summer, and for good reason. It’s quite safe with an index of 79.33, rising six spots since last year, and a history that goes back to medieval times, as seen with the medieval houses and cobbled streets in the absolutely gorgeous Old City.
#15 Eskişehir, Turkey
With two big universities, Eskişehir is a college town that’s become even more safe in recent years and holds a great mix of modern, traditional, and ancient Turkish life. It’s largely known for its hamams, or Turkish baths, some of which date back to the time of the Ottomans.
#14 Tartu, Estonia
Estonia is a bucket list destination you can actually do on a budget, and Tartu is a great place to explore Estonian history and culture as it’s home to many museums, churches, and theaters. In addition to being the second largest city in the country, it’s also full of students, making it easier to navigate for English speakers.
#13 Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich has been ranked among the cities with the highest living standard for years now, and part of that is definitely its level of safety. Right near the Swiss Alps for your mountain adventures, Zurich is also home to the Bahnhofstrasse, one of the busiest shopping streets in the world.
#12 Taipei, Taiwan
Taiwan is another great East Asian destination, and Taipei is one of the most fun-filled cities in the world. Taipei 101 (officially the Taipei International Financial Center) dominates the skyline, but there are plenty of beautiful temples and buildings closer to the ground. Take a trip to the National Palace Museum to see one of the most significant collections of Chinese imperial artifacts in the world.
#11 Rijeka, Croatia
The seaport of Rijeka has it all: beaches, theaters, diving, churches, outdoor trails, castles, towers, and a plethora of museums. This city in Croatia also has a safety index of 82.75, rising nine spots, and was named as the European Capital of Culture for 2020, along with the Irish city of Galway.
#10 Irvine, California
Relax in Irvine, one of America’s least stressed cities probably because it’s also the safest. The master-planned city is a college town with access to the famous Newport Beach, and if you’re not looking to hit the waves, you can also explore its many parks, restaurants, and galleries.
#9 Basel, Switzerland
A day trip to Basel is not a bad idea if you decide to visit the other Swiss cities on this list. The heart of Dreiländereck, or “three countries corner,” it shares a border with both France and Germany. It has over two dozen museums, and it hosts several events and festivals throughout the year, including BaselWorld, the largest jewelry and watch trade show in the world.
#8 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is in a class of its own. Constantly pushing the boundaries of technology and architecture, it’s home to the tallest structure in the world: the Burj Khalifa. The Dubai Mall (also the largest in the world) contributes greatly to Dubai’s reputation as a shopper’s paradise, with over 1,200 stores (not including pop-ups), 120 restaurants, a theme park, an Olympic-sized ice skating rink, and even a 250-room luxury hotel. Consider going in July, when Dubai is among the cheapest places to travel.
#7 Munich, Germany
Munich is definitely a mandatory stop if you’re ever in Germany, especially if you’re a millennial. Some of its museums are considered to be of better quality than the ones in Berlin, and with so many schools and multinational companies based here, it’s no wonder that the birthplace of Oktoberfest is also considered a leading city in engineering, research, business, and more.
#6 Tokyo, Japan
Japan’s capital, Tokyo, is over 500 years old, and it has multiple districts, each with its own character. Known for its nightlife and amazing technology, Tokyo is striving to become even more advanced in preparation for hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics; multiple venues and transit stations will undergo construction or renovations, which means this already fast-growing destination will only grow hotter.
Singapore is actually a city-state, meaning it’s a nation that consists of a single city — but there’s quite a lot happening in that city. The second most densely populated country in the world with a population of 5.6 million, Singapore is full of workers and expats from all over the world, and its food scene is impressive too, with influences from the Chinese, Malay, and Indian communities that have thrived here.
#4 Osaka, Japan
Osaka is the best city in Japan for food, drinks, and nightlife, and it’s safer than ever. Make sure you visit Osaka Castle while you’re here, which has a park attached, or the nearby Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, where you can even customize your own Cup Noodles to take home.
#3 Quebec City, Canada
Quebec City is one of the few cities in North America that still has its original city walls (all of the others are in Mexico or the Caribbean). One of the most romantic cities on the planet, its Old Town was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and as a city with just over 700,000 residents, it’s got a safety index of 85.36, landing it in the top three.
#2 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Dropping down a notch from the top spot last year is Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, with a safety index of 88.03. While it has a population of just over 1 million, only 420,000 are actually citizens — whose average net worth is $17 million dollars. (Most of the rest are expatriates, primarily from other Arab countries, South Asia, the UK, and the Horn of Africa.) It is also home to the picturesque Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the country’s largest, as well as many camel races, and the city is also full of huge gardens and parks, as well as amazing skyscrapers and high-end hotels.
#1 Doha, Qatar
Qatar is currently embroiled in a major diplomatic conflict with many other countries in the Middle Eastern region, but visitors to its capital, Doha, will still find themselves in the safest city in the world. It’s home to the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei with inspiration from traditional Islamic architecture, which houses Islamic art from three different continents that span over 1,400 years. Developing quite rapidly and building more hotels, museums, and parks, Doha seems to be trying to make a name for itself as one of the most exciting destinations in the world.
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