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These are Europe’s worst destinations for pickpocketing

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New research has found that some of the most popular tourist spots in Europe unfortunately go hand-in-hand with some of the worst pickpocketing statistics on the continent.

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As we get ever closer to jetting off on summer holidays, it’s sadly important to remember that not everyone you meet on your travels will be well-intentioned.

A new study by UK-based travel insurance company QuoteZone has highlighted that many popular European destinations are hotspots for pickpockets.

Researchers looked into the proportion of mentions of pickpocketing in visitor reviews of each European country’s top five tourist attractions.

Italy came out on top, with the highest proportion of any country across the continent, followed by France and Spain.

Here’s where you should be extra vigilant – and how to stay safe.

Italy’s pickpocketing hotspots are dotted around the highly-visited country

Although many cities and towns across Italy attract hordes of visitors year-round, Rome was found to be the worst for pickpockets.

Overall, QuoteZone found that there are 478 pickpocketing mentions for every million British visitors to Italy’s top tourist attractions.

The capital’s iconic Trevi Fountain came out on top in that country-specific ranking. The 18th century architectural masterpiece averages a staggering 1,000 visitors per hour.

Tourists throw around €1,000,000 into its waters every year – but it’s important for visitors to keep a keen eye on the crowd while tossing their loose change.

Also in Rome, the ancient Colosseum and the Pantheon were found to be particular hotspots for pickpockets. Outside of the Eternal City, the Duomo di Milano in Milan and the Gallerie Degli Uffizi in Florence were also reported as having the highest volume of stolen personal items on online travel reviews in Italy.

France’s worst places for pickpocketing are all in its capital

France is a hugely popular destination for tourists from across the globe, with Paris consistently one of the most visited cities worldwide.

Unfortunately, the research found that the city has the second highest number of pickpocketing mentions in all of Europe at 251 per million visitors.

All five of the top attractions monitored are in Paris – and the world-famous Eiffel Tower was, perhaps unsurprisingly, found to be the most risky for tourist theft.

Other places in the French capital to be extra vigilant are the Arc de Triomphe, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, and the Musée d’Orsay and Louvre Museums.

Paris is set to become busier than ever this summer when it hosts the 2024 Olympics. If you’re visiting, make sure to be extra careful with your bags and personal belongings in large crowds throughout the city.

Spain and Germany are equally bad for pickpocketing

Despite attracting rather different kinds of tourists, both Spain and Germany were each found to have 111 instances of thefts per million visitors.

Barcelona is notorious for pickpocketing so it’s little surprise that Las Ramblas tops the list.

One of Europe’s busiest pedestrian streets, Las Ramblas is infamous for its thefts, many of which happen while visitors are watching one of the many street performers there.

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Also in Barcelona, the hugely popular Basílica de la Sagrada Familia is a place to take care and, outside of the city, the Plaza Mayor and Prado National Museum in Madrid are hotspots as well as the unique Alhambra palace in Granada.

In Germany, the worst pickpocketing spot is the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. The 18th century monument is known as one of the city’s most iconic monuments – but the capital is home to four of the most highly pickpocketed areas.

Berlin’s Reichstag Building, East Side Gallery and Holocaust Memorial are all potentially dangerous for theft too, especially during busy times.

Outside of the capital city, Marienplatz in Munich is the place you’ll want to make sure to keep an eye on your belongings.

Amsterdam is home to all the worst pickpocketing spots in the Netherlands

Amsterdam’s famous Red Light District is one of the most popular destinations for tourists across all of the Netherlands. It’s also where tourists are most likely to be the victim of a pickpocket in the country.

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Its city centre location likely plays a part in this and could be set to change as Amsterdam authorities consider moving the district out of the busy hub.

With 100 mentions of thefts out of a million visitors, other popular attractions to be vigilant at in the Netherlands are all in its capital.

Anne Frank House, Vondelpark, the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum are all hugely popular – and come hand-in-hand with the danger of pickpockets.

Greg Wilson, Founder and CEO of Quotezone, says that while it’s unfortunate that so many attractions in Europe pose a risk, there are steps you can take to lessen the worry.

“It is essential always to remain vigilant, leave valuables, like expensive jewellery, in a safe in the hotel and always travel with a secure cross-body bag with zips to secure phones and wallets or even a money belt,” he advises.

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“Try never to leave personal belongings unattended because travel insurance companies require travellers to take ‘reasonable care’ and could reject insurance claims for theft if items have been left alone,” Wilson adds. “It is also important to remember to get a police report for the loss or theft of an item if you’ve been pickpocketed, as this will support the insurance claim.”

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