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Old 10-28-2017, 03:27 PM
 
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While I am extremely well-travelled, most of my European travel has happened long, long time ago (I have been living in the US for several decades). In my retirement, I want to revisit certain places in Europe, and also see a few new ones that I have not seen before. In connection with that, I would greatly appreciate some up to date comments. Could well-informed people (either local residents or well informed travelers) please post their comments regarding parts of the following cities that are safe vs unsafe for a senior American woman traveling solo (crime, animosity against foreigners, etc) - which parts of each city to definitely visit, which to avoid. Also, if you think something on my list is boring/not worth visiting, please say why.

London
If I have a choice of one medieval English cathedral city, which one? York? Canterbury? Winchester? Other?

Amsterdam
Bruxelles
Bruges

Paris
Rouen
Reims
Metz
Strasbourg
Nice-Monaco
Avignon
Annecy
Chamonix-Courmayeur
Poitiers
villages in Dordogne (which ones are the most interesting, while also being accessible by train?)
Toulouse-Albi
Carcasonne

Toledo
Cordoba
Granada
Sevilla
Palma (Majorca)
Ibiza
Tenerife
Lanzarote

Hamburg
Lubeck
Bremen
Aachen
Munich
Berlin
Smaller medieval German towns: Regensburg, Rothenburg, Bamberg, Erfurt, Quedlinburg, Goslar
Freiburg
Heidelberg

Bergen
Oslo
Stockholm
Copenhagen

Rome
Siena, Florence
Padua, Venice

Vienna
Budapest
Prague

Zurich, St Galen, Chur
Zermatt, Grindelwald
Berne, Basel, Geneva
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Old 10-28-2017, 04:03 PM
 
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I’m not sure how accurate safety advice can be in absolute terms. The best I can suggest is to keep aware of your surroundings, trust you gut if something seems off, assume beggars and strangers who approach you on the street are thieves or otherwise up to no good, be familiar with common tourist scams, don’t accept food or drink offered by strangers, take a look at State Department alerts for various areas, avoid demonstrations and similar situations, don’t wear fanny packs, keep your purse in your control not just on the street but when sitting at a restaurant or using the bathroom.

Good list of destinations! The only additions I can think of would be Milan, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Athens, Naples and the Amalfi Coast, Krakow, Dresden, Edinburgh, and Dublin. There are also good (mostly) day trips one can take from various major cities: Chartres and Versailles from Paris, Tivoli and Ostia Antica from Rome, Pompeii and Herculaneum from Naples, El Escorial and Aranjuez and Segovia (and of course Toledo) from Madrid, Delphi and Corinth and Mycenae and the various Greek islands from Athens, Neuschwanstein from Munich, Potsdam from Berlin, Ghent (and Bruges) from Brussels, Oxford and Cambridge and Bath from London. But you may have already been to these.

Happy travels!
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Old 10-28-2017, 04:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bachslunch View Post
Iím not sure how accurate safety advice can be in absolute terms. The best I can suggest is to keep aware of your surroundings, trust you gut if something seems off, assume beggars and strangers who approach you on the street are thieves or otherwise up to no good, be familiar with common tourist scams, donít accept food or drink offered by strangers, take a look at State Department alerts for various areas, avoid demonstrations and similar situations, donít wear fanny packs, keep your purse in your control not just on the street but when sitting at a restaurant or using the bathroom.

Good list of destinations! The only additions I can think of would be Milan, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Athens, Naples and the Amalfi Coast, Krakow, Dresden, Edinburgh, and Dublin. There are also good (mostly) day trips one can take from various major cities: Chartres and Versailles from Paris, Tivoli and Ostia Antica from Rome, Pompeii and Herculaneum from Naples, El Escorial and Aranjuez and Segovia (and of course Toledo) from Madrid, Delphi and Corinth and Mycenae and the various Greek islands from Athens, Neuschwanstein from Munich, Potsdam from Berlin, Ghent (and Bruges) from Brussels, Oxford and Cambridge and Bath from London. But you may have already been to these.

Happy travels!
Thank you!
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Old 10-28-2017, 04:54 PM
 
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Firstly,quite the variety!

Just a tip for traveling. Know where the embassy of your homeland is located. And before you step into their country,know their rules (laws). Seems basic enough til you find yourself face to face with an officer and little grounds to be safe.

Most would say...why bother..your only there for a day or two...
Lots can and does happen. Be vigilant.

Now go read up and enjoy your safe destinations.
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Old 10-29-2017, 04:12 AM
 
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I have been to most of the French places you mentioned (except maybe 2) and they all feel very safe to me, at least those places interesting to travellers (all cities have bad neighbourhoods I am sure).

Regarding Dordogne, it is one of those French regions where renting a car is almost obligatory as they have pretty bad train/bus access. An alternative is to stay in Sarlat and join those organized tours.
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Old 10-29-2017, 08:30 AM
 
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Quite a list, Canary Islands as well? Nothing pops out as "unsafe" in terms of personal safety but of course each town has it's area of crime - London and Rome for instance have it's undesirable areas where you don't walk at night just like any big city. Be aware also parts of Spain (where unemployment rates for the young are something like 40%).

In general the biggest issue you need to worry about by far in Europe, much more than in the US, is theft as it seems ANYTHING you set down in Europe even for a second will be stolen, particularly in tourist areas. Also is pickpocket and purse snatchings. Also anything you leave in cars. Always secure your personal possessions.
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Old 10-29-2017, 08:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
I have been to most of the French places you mentioned (except maybe 2) and they all feel very safe to me, at least those places interesting to travellers (all cities have bad neighbourhoods I am sure).

Regarding Dordogne, it is one of those French regions where renting a car is almost obligatory as they have pretty bad train/bus access. An alternative is to stay in Sarlat and join those organized tours.
Yes, I was definitively planning on Sarlat! It appears that the other two towns I'll see in Dordogne are Belves and Les Eyzies (both reachable by train). I am not really a total "completist" while traveling, and prefer to stay several days at each of the limited number of places, rather than spend an hour everywhere and see everything, so likely will not drive (I plan to complete this list over ten or so different trips, over ten or so years).

Yes, finding out about bad neighborhoods was the main objective of starting this thread - especially the ones that are not obvious, or not well known to be dangerous, but where some people maybe had a bad experience.

As I I mentioned, I have traveled extensively already, but not in Europe in the 21st century, and things change over time, so am trying to find up to date info re crime/safety. When I was 20-ish, I used to stay at hostels in large European cities, and wander around by myself, and have to say that I DID have a handful of bad experiences, although I was not walking around at night or in deserted places, and was attired in jeans and big shirts and sweathers, without anything that would attract attention. But shady men did tend to trail me, and I wery nearly avoided an assault by a boy who followed me into a small hotel near Gare de la Republique in Paris (the receptionist noticed him sneaking quietly behind me into the stairwell... if the receptionist just assumed that the boy and I were together, it would have ended very badly. I don't automatically assume rotten things about people based on their ethnicity or race, but hate to say that this would-be rapist boy 40 years ago in Paris was Moroccan). This could have been just a freak random incident that could happen anywhere if one has a random bad luck, but I will would not stay again near Gare de la Republique.
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Old 10-29-2017, 08:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
Quite a list, Canary Islands as well? Nothing pops out as "unsafe" in terms of personal safety but of course each town has it's area of crime - London and Rome for instance have it's undesirable areas where you don't walk at night just like any big city. Be aware also parts of Spain (where unemployment rates for the young are something like 40%).

In general the biggest issue you need to worry about by far in Europe, much more than in the US, is theft as it seems ANYTHING you set down in Europe even for a second will be stolen, particularly in tourist areas. Also is pickpocket and purse snatchings. Also anything you leave in cars. Always secure your personal possessions.
Yep, Canary Islands too :-). I know about Spain (notice that Madrid is not on the list, although I will likely have to fly there, but with the exception of staying briefly at the hotel, maybe seeing the Prado again, I will not hang out there for any extended time), but really really really want to see the Andalucia in detail.

Of course, re pickpockets, the passport and any major money are always in the money belt under the clothes (incl under the other regular belt), the wallet is in an inner zippered pocket of a jacket, or under the top layer of clothes, and the tote that I am carrying contains cheap insignificant items like an umbrella and a "fake" wallet with things like old credit card with inactivated number and $12 in local currency.
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Old 10-29-2017, 10:36 AM
 
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I've been to a number of European cities in the past (mostly back in the sixties/seventies) but given the state of the world right now, I don't think I'd go anywhere in Europe. Same goes for most major US cities - am I being a bit paranoid?

Walessp
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Old 10-29-2017, 10:43 AM
 
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Don't stand out like a clueless tourist and beware of pick-pockets and baggage thieves.

I was at the Frankfort Airport rental counter and the well dressed couple ahead of me had both bags stolen in a crowd of people... they were at the counter... unbelievable and I was withing several feet... it had everything as they had only the two large carry on for their weekend.

Many of my friends have been victims of pick-pockets and smash and grab with rental cars...

Unfortunately there is an industry that thrives by preying on tourists...

My hometown can be argued is even worse... San Francisco when it comes to smash and grab from parked cars... it is almost a given pushing 30,000 annually...

Last edited by Ultrarunner; 10-29-2017 at 10:53 AM..
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