Destinations In Europe Where You're Most Likely To Get Pickpocketed

Unfortunately, many popular vacation spots across the globe are not immune to theft, tourist traps, taxi scams, and other petty crimes. With so many wonderful places to see and things to experience in Europe, travelers undoubtedly will come across or plan entire vacations in more than a few areas where these kinds of activities are prevalent. What's more, even the savviest of travelers can fall victim to being pickpocketed, as gone are the days of obvious pickpocketing — with the world becoming more and more tech-based, stealing one's credit card number, bank details, and other important private information, is a lot easier than we might want to admit.

That does not mean there is no way to avoid being pickpocketed on your European holiday. Instead, if you know where you are most likely to get pickpocketed ahead of time, then you can take the necessary precautions to reduce the likelihood of it happening to you and having a negative impact on your trip. With that in mind, here are the European destinations where you are most likely to get pickpocketed, according to Quotezone's European Pickpocketing Index. The index was compiled by analyzing reviews of major tourist destinations in countries across Europe. Theft can happen anywhere at any time, so there's little value in obsessing over it. Still, take a few precautions, and your visit to these magnificent destinations will be all the more secure.

Protecting your pockets on vacation

Besides digital pickpocketing, bag snatching, slash-and-grab, charity mugging, and the old tried-and-true method of simply helping oneself to your belongings are still common tactics. Thankfully, there are several anti-pickpocket tips that can help you protect your pockets while on vacation. First and foremost, travelers must pay attention to their surroundings regardless of where they are.

In addition to staying alert when out and about, it is highly recommended that all travelers take advantage of helpful travel hacks such as keeping valuables close in all settings, trying not to be glued to your phone, using anti-theft bags or money belts, and opting for RFID-blocking wallets. Placing your credit cards, phone, cash, and other essential items in zipped-up inner jacket pockets can also save you from being pickpocketed. Leaving the possessions you do not need on your person during daily adventures (like your passport) back in your hotel room safe (if applicable) is also a smart move.

Whether heading out in the city, lounging at the beach, or just passing through, the less you look like a tourist, the better. This is another way to avoid becoming a target. Blending in is essential, but it is also something you should do when entering touristy spots, iconic attractions, and areas open to the public. Remember, anywhere you may need to leave your personal effects unattended, even for a few seconds, or where you can become easily distracted is likely considered fair game by potential pickpockets.


Even with a low to medium risk of petty theft crimes against tourists as a country, visitors still need to be mindful of their belongings in Poland. As one of the larger countries in Europe, Poland has more than a few must-visit cities that are popular among wanderers, such as Kraków, and that brings a common risk. A truly gorgeous city packed with history and culture, Kraków has a stunning city center, although it is also sadly well-known for its high levels of theft and pickpocketing. In places that tourists flock to — museums, outside restaurants and bar patios, public transport, and other congested areas — distraction is the method of choice for most pickpocketers. Even at the airport, travelers should keep their wits about them and avoid leaving items unattended or wearing flashy clothes and expensive jewelry.

Other locations in Poland that visitors should be vigilant in include Warsaw, Poznań, Gdańsk, Wrocław, Katowice, and Łódż. These delightful towns and cities are all brimming with attractions and tourists, so it is not too surprising that pickpocketing is more commonplace. Exercising caution and safeguarding your personal effects is a wise choice when checking out these cities mentioned above or this country as a whole. Poland has so much to offer, best enjoyed with a calm mind.

Republic of Ireland

Not too far behind Poland on the European Pickpocketing Index is the Republic of Ireland. In larger cities like Dublin, Cork, and Galway, there are areas where the risk of pickpocketing is low to medium. However, in more rural regions of the Republic of Ireland, visitors will quickly note that there are fewer areas for large crowds to gather, making theft less of an issue in smaller towns like Kilkenny, Cobh, Limerick, and Athlone.

According to the Global Peace Index, the Republic of Ireland is one of the safest countries on the planet, although petty crime isn't unheard of. In part to Dublin, Cork, and Galway, millions of overseas tourists spend some of their precious PTO enjoying all that the Emerald Isle offers, so practicing pickpocket prevention is key, particularly in crowded spaces (like at the street parties outside of Dublin's Temple Bar or when simply enjoying the beloved pub and nightlife scenes).

Similarly, both Cork and Galway have lively city centers, ample things to see and do, stunning coastal hikes, and are conveniently located near other phenomenal points of interest. There are also several fantastic festivals hosted throughout the year. Petty theft in all its forms tends to occur in these famed corners of the Emerald Isle, so keep your wits about you.


Turkey is another destination where visitors should be alert to the dangers of pickpocketing. With incredible scenic views of the Mediterranean and Aegean waters, a rich history, breathtaking architecture, a vibrant culture, and so much more, countless travelers dream of going to Turkey. The country is packed with gorgeous destinations, and Cappadocia, Istanbul, Ankara, Marmaris, and Ephesus are some of the best.

In particular, Cappadocia and Istanbul are two of the most revered destinations in Turkey, making petty crimes like pickpocketing a low to medium problem for visiting tourists. Therefore, keeping an eye on your personal effects, ensuring your bags are properly secured, and even opting for smaller bags and backpacks when out and about all help reduce the likelihood of being mugged. Likewise, in Istanbul, pickpocketing is common near touristy and well-known points of interest, including dining and shopping establishments. Besides petty crimes like these, visitors should also be mindful of money, shopping, and taxi scams.

Ankara (Turkey's capital city), Marmaris, and Ephesus also experience a low to medium risk of pickpocketing and bag snatching, so staying vigilant in these vacation spots is highly recommended. Marmaris, a quieter section of the country, still attracts scammers and opportunists due to the many luxury resorts and accommodations.


Portugal is another European destination where it is not uncommon to come across pickpocketing. Public transport is often where most incidences occur in Lisbon due to the constant crowds. Visitors should also keep a close watch on their belongings in other areas in the capital. In Lisbon, pickpocketers have become a little more organized and have been known to work in teams. Typically, already-distracted tourists with children are the most targeted. Petty thieves also come from far and wide during the summer high season when there is an abundance of wealthy tourists on holiday.

Other cities, including Porto, Albufeira, and Madeira, have their share of thefts and pickpocketing incidents on public transport (thanks partly to inconsistent CCTV). On a positive note, these cities offer visitors a different kind of landscape. Not only do Porto, Albufeira, and Madeira have incredible historical sites, wine cellars galore, stunning beaches, and secure lavish resorts, but they also have every type of outdoor activity you can think of. Petty or street crime tends to happen downtown or on busy streets.


Next up, Spain is a well-known European destination that also suffers from pickpocketing problems. Standout cities like Barcelona and Madrid are the go-to touristy holiday spots, and travelers also head out to Bilbao, Seville, Valencia, and others when considering Spain for their next getaway. Barcelona and Madrid tend to draw in the biggest crowds, so pickpocketing happens more in these larger cities than elsewhere.

Barcelona, for instance, has points of interest such as Las Ramblas, which is always overflowing with tourists. The Barcelona Metro is another busy location in the Catalonian capital, with people in close quarters and hanging on handrails, making pickpocketing easy for even the most unskilled thieves. Similarly, the Spanish capital of Madrid is also a hotbed for pickpocketing. Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, and Jardines Sabatini are just a few touristy areas in Madrid where pickpocketers are prevalent.

In Barcelona and Madrid, the standard prevention rules apply. Staying alert on public transport, shopping streets, and popular attractions is necessary. Visitors should also make sure not to leave their phones, bags, and other personal effects unattended. In Madrid and Barcelona, scammers sometimes work in teams, so look out for groups of strangers approaching you or getting in your way to distract you.


Greece is gorgeous, but petty crime is a problem. In places like Athens, tourists have to take extra precautions when it comes to dealing with pickpocketers. Paying attention to the surroundings is crucial at the beach, on public transportation (especially on the subway in Athens), and in various neighborhoods close to Omonoia and Exarcheia.

You should also be on alert when visiting tourist attractions and make sure to leave items like your passport back at the hotel. Also, having comprehensive travel insurance is a smart move when heading off to Greece. Some travel experts suggest bringing a decoy wallet if you plan to stay more than a few days in this island paradise. Even if your vacation is on the shorter side, having extra cash hidden away or not stashing all your money in your wallet is highly recommended when exploring the mainland.

Other famed Greek destinations such as Santorini and Mykonos surprisingly do not have a high incidence of petty crime, despite the abundance of tourists and attention. Travelers vacationing on these two islands can relax as they do not need to worry as much about their belongings being stolen. Nevertheless, taking the necessary steps to ensure your stuff is secure and not left unattended is always in your best interest. Being relaxed and being absent-minded are not the same thing, after all.


Berlin, Germany's capital city, is often where most tourists fall victim to petty crimes and scams. What's more, Berlin visitors have their work cut out for them since bag snatchers are on public transport, near attractions, at parks throughout the city, and even daring enough to steal from café-goers dining outside. That said, cities like Munich, Hamburg, and Frankfurt suffer from similar problems like pickpocketing in crowded areas. The petty crime problems in Germany echo those found in many economically powerful countries around the world.

If you are off to Germany, remember — anywhere that draws a crowd is known to attract pickpocketers. From attractions to festivals like Munich's Oktoberfest and any special holiday festivities in general, keeping an eye on your valuables will save you a lot of trouble. Other areas in Munich, specifically the Hasenbergl district and subway stations, also require extra diligence.

Hamburg visitors, on the other hand, really only have an increased risk of pickpocketing near the Mönckebergstraße shopping district and the main station closest to this area. Petty crimes, bike thefts, and tourist scams are also likely but are rare and tend to happen near public transport hubs if anything. In order to reduce the likelihood of being mugged while in Frankfurt, travelers should avoid the red-light district and try not to fall for distraction tactics at the central train station.


Known for its windmills, tulips, art, and canals, the Netherlands attracts well over 15 million tourists annually, as per data from Statista. With holiday destinations like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Den Haag, it's not hard to see why people flock to the Netherlands. As a result of all these tourists, however, scammers and thieves are plenty — putting the Netherlands high up on Quotezone's list of European destinations where you are most likely to be pickpocketed.

In the capital city, Amsterdam, pickpocketing is irritatingly prevalent. Whether travelers are roaming about the city center, enjoying the many touristy sites, or zooming around on the city's forms of transportation, bag snatchers are a real problem here. During local events throughout peak travel season, the risk of being a victim of petty crime is high.

Rotterdam also has a medium to high risk of pickpocketing — with tourists being the primary target. So when admiring the sites here and taking advantage of the excellent public transportation in Rotterdam, make sure your valuables are well-hidden and not easy to lift off your person. Falling asleep on the train is not a good move either, as you will likely wake up with fewer belongings. In Den Haag, the same tips can help you stay safe and keep your personal effects secure while on the street, on the train, or when shopping and dining.


France is often cited as the world's most popular tourist destination, receiving tens of millions of international visitors every year. Visitors come from all over to see the Eiffel Tower in Paris, sip wine in Bordeaux, and soak up the sun on the French Riviera. And, since Paris is on most people's bucket lists, they tend to check this beloved metropolis and all its lovely arrondissements off first. With a wealth of attractions, including the Louvre Museum, the Seine River, Cathedrale Notre-Dame, Museé d'Orsay, the Champs-Elysées, and much, much more, there is no shortage of crowded places in Paris, which also gives pickpocketers plenty of opportunities.

Travelers, therefore, need to be on the lookout in most areas of the City of Lights, as well as when in restaurants, shopping, and on public transport. Bordeaux also has its fair share of pickpocketers in the usual bustling sections of the city center, but there are fewer incidents of theft overall once you venture out into actual wine country. As for the French Rivera, cities such as Nice tend to attract more skilled thieves, scammers, and beach grabbers. Do not forget to implement more than a few pickpocketing prevention tips when vacationing anywhere in France.


According to Quotezone's rankings, The Beautiful Country takes the cake when it comes to European destinations with serious pickpocketing problems. From Rome and Naples to Venice, Milan, and Florence, theft in Italy, especially petty crime like pickpocketing tourists, is a significant problem. With all kinds of tactics and schemes, Italy deserves your full attention in order to avoid being a victim of petty crime.

Even though scammers and thieves can be anywhere, Rome is often the first port of call for many tourists, especially first-timers in the country. Since many people are not prepared for such a high level of pickpocketing on their initial go-around, bag snatchers tend to thrive in the Eternal City. Thus, it is important to exercise caution, blend in, and only have what you absolutely need with you when exploring Rome's major points of interest, squares, and piazzas.

Ultimately, no matter where you go in Europe, you want to take the necessary steps to ensure you have an amazing and problem-free vacation. Follow conventional wisdom and recommendations from travel gurus like Rick Steves, plan ahead, purchase the right travel essentials (if you do not own them already), do your best to protect your belongings, and remember, even if your stuff gets stolen — it is not the end of the world. If you left your passport and other valuables in your hotel safe and purchased comprehensive travel insurance, then it is all replaceable.