Whether one measures safety by the annual Global Peace Index, released by the Institute for Economics and Peace, or my other metrics such as rates of violent crime, Europe is the safest continent in the world. In fact, 14 of the top 20 safest countries in the world in 2022 were located in Europe. Nevertheless, the level of safety varies from one European country to another—and some European countries are much safer than others.
Top 10 Safest Countries in Europe (2022 GPI)
- Iceland — 1.107
- Ireland — 1.288
- Denmark — 1.296
- Austria — 1.300
- Portugal — 1.301
- Slovenia — 1.316
- Czech Republic — 1.318
- Switzerland — 1.357
- Hungary — 1.411
- Finland — 1.439
Opening the list of the safest countries in Europe is Iceland, which has ranked as the safest country worldwide for more than 10 consecutive years. This Nordic country has a very low crime rate thanks to its low population (about 340,000 people), high living standards, stellar social attitudes against crime, educated police units, and lack of hatred between people of different economic and social classes. Iceland has no army, and its police are unarmed.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the country known for its lush green hills has very few red flags. Ireland has very little risk of natural disasters, boasts safe and reliable mass transportation, and has low instances of petty crimes (such as pickpocketing and muggings) and even lower rates of violent crime. The few troubles that do arise are often alcohol-fueled, so exercise caution when out at night.
Besides being one of the safest countries in Europe, Denmark is among the world's happiest countries. Denmark has extremely low crime rates, and people, including children, report feeling safe every time. The high safety level is attributed to equality and a shared sense of responsibility for social welfare. Also, the country is a welfare state, implying that all citizens get services and benefits that help improve their lives. Denmark has no risk of natural disasters like some European nations, and its capital, Copenhagen, is one of the world's safest cities.
Mozart's home country ranks as the third-safest in both Europe and the world as a whole. Austria has a very low crime rate, few violent protests, very little terrorist activity, and remarkably few natural threats such as hazardous weather, natural disasters, or dangerous wildlife.
Portugal is second among the safest countries in Europe. Crime rates in Portugal are very low. Unlike Iceland, Portugal has a military force, and its police units are armed. The presence of security officers in the southwestern European nation is partly responsible for the high safety levels. The political stability also makes Portugal a safe country. It has harmonious relationships with other countries.
Yet another of the world's safest countries, this Central European country is known for its abundance of medieval castles, rugged natural beauty, and tendency to incorporate dragons into its cultural identity. It is not known for any type of crime or unrest, both of which are quite rare in the country.
7. Czech Republic
Nested in Central Europe, the Czech Republic is a very safe country. The nation has safe communities where people live in harmony. Crimes are seldom and are often minor. Accessing weapons in the Czech Republic is difficult, and the risk of terrorist attacks is meagre. There is high equality in the nation, and health care, as well as other essential services, are relatively cheaper.
Switzerland is a safe country in continental Europe, given its low crime rates. People feel safe walking and staying outside, even in isolated areas, at any time of the day or night. The chances of terrorist incidents are low in the nation. Although Switzerland is one of the largest exporters of firearms, getting weapons in the country is extremely difficult. Natural disasters are also infrequent in Switzerland.
While visitors to tourist areas should be on the watch for pickpockets (which is true anywhere in the world), Hungary is still Europe's 9th-safest country in 2022 (and 13th-safest in the whole world) thanks to its minimal crime rate, few natural hazards, and welcoming people. Note, however, that cabbies may get a commission for delivering patrons to specicic pubs or restaurants, so their advice may be best avoided.
As long as one knows how to dress warmly and either stay inside or drive in snow during the winter, Finland is quite a safe place. Its capital, Helsinki, is often considered one of the world's safest cities, transportation is easy and reliable, and risk of even petty crime is quite low.