Europe is the most-visited, according to Statista, surpassing the Americas and Asia-Pacific, primarily due to its world-class landmarks.
But the question is, can you fit in? The character and friendliness of the people can significantly influence your holiday experience.
While it’s hard to resist destinations like Paris, Budapest, or London, understanding why they have earned the reputation as the rudest cities in Europe can help you set expectations for your trip.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 unfriendliest cities in Europe worth considering.
- The unfriendliest cities in Europe are Paris in France, Budapest in Hungary, Moscow in Russia, London in the United Kingdom, Prague in the Czech Republic, and Copenhagen in Denmark.
- Austria, Denmark, and Sweden are the unfriendliest countries in Europe you should avoid visiting.
- Some typical reasons European cities are regarded as unfriendly are language barriers, reserved nature, blunt communication style, and stress on over-tourism.
Most Unfriendliest Cities in Europe to Visit
1. Paris, France
Paris, France, is a top tourist destination in the world but probably one of the unfriendliest cities in Europe to visit, where you can expect to deal with cold or rude people.
Although not universally valid, many reasons contribute to this kind of treatment, including the language barrier, as most Parisians do not speak fluent English. Moreover, it is a cultural norm for Parisians to be straightforward and blunt in conversations, which could be translated as coldness for tourists.
Another reason could be tourist fatigue. Since Paris receives 30+ M visitors annually, locals must deal with tourists all year. Parisians work and live fast-paced, so some impatience can be experienced when tourists are obstructing somewhere.
In a survey by CEOWorld magazine, they revealed the top 50 rudest cities in Europe, and Paris, France, is coming right up front with the highest percentage, taking 36% of the 170,000+ Europeans surveyed.
Even Euronews made their report for the world’s most unfriendly cities, and Paris, France, comes in fourth next to Moscow, Russia.
2. Budapest, Hungary
There are unfriendly people in any big city. It just so happens that Budapest, Hungary, acquired most of its rude or unfriendly attributes from its older generations during the Soviet era when friendliness among outsiders was strictly urged against. This social attitude has been passed on from generation to generation, lingering the wariness.
Moreover, Hungary has faced an economic crisis or technical recession since 2022, and inflation is skyrocketing. This affected Hungarians on a different stressful level, affecting their morale and optimism, especially in dealing with foreigners.
Recently, Russia has included Hungary, together with other countries like Greece, Norway, and Denmark, among their list of “unfriendly countries” because of the unfriendly action committed against the whole of Russia, signing all the anti-Russian sanctions. CEOWorld magazine also includes Budapest, Hungary, as one of the top rudest cities in Europe at the third spot.
3. Moscow, Russia
Moscow, Russia’s capital city, has been branded one of the world’s most unfriendly cities for many reasons. One is the historical context, having ruled under the Soviet Union with a cultural impression of more privacy and fewer interactions with outsiders. It has also contributed to Russians being stern and blunt in communicating and prioritizing privacy over small talk.
Additionally, Russians speak limited English, so it’s also challenging for them to sustain a conversation with tourists. Crime has also added an inch of a factor as they become guarded when talking to strangers since 1990, with exceedingly high crime rates.
In a survey made by Travel + Leisure, Moscow ranked #1 among the unfriendliest cities in the world from the 266 cities ranked because of the Russians’ aloofness, unhelpful locals, bad traffic, and uninspiring culinary scene.
4. London, United Kingdom
London, United Kingdom is considered one of the rudest cities in Europe and one of the possible reasons is their busy pace of life where people are primarily in a hurry to get to and from work. Brits also have a reserved culture, settling for less small talk and more privacy, which is regarded as coldness to outsiders.
Brexit has also impacted this notion, seeing London people as rude because of the anti-foreigner sentiments, which increased the hate crimes and harassment of immigrants. Pro-Brexit voters fear the rise of too many immigrant groups changing the traditional authentic British culture and stealing jobs/resources from them.
Preply made a study and surveyed 1,500 European residents from 19 cities in the UK. London came out 6th among the rudest cities in the United Kingdom, with an average rudeness score of 5.54. On top of that, CEOWORLD magazine ranked London at the #2 position for the rudest cities in Europe.
5. Vienna, Austria
Although ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities offering an excellent quality of life, Vienna, Austria, has been downright one of the unfriendliest cities in Europe.
Many tourists have described Viennese as highly unsociable, bad-tempered, and cold. It could be brought about by the insular society Vienna possessed and is half-hearted to welcome tourists.
Sitting at the 4th spot, Vienna is one the rudest cities in Europe according to CEOWORLD magazine, with votes totaling 10.4% of the total survey participants. Internations regarded Vienna as the world’s worst-rated city in terms of East of Settling In Index and seats last on their Local Friendliness rank among 50 cities.
6. Prague, Czech Republic
Although not the universal take of the whole city, Prague is considered among the top 10 unfriendliest cities in Europe to visit because of the anecdotal reports complaining about the unkind behavior of the residents towards outsiders.
The cold stance of locals towards visitors is more likely because of the following reasons – stress on the commercialization of the city, residual distrust and suspicion, language barrier, and blunt communicators.
From the 170,000+ European adults surveyed, Expats magazine was driven to know Europe’s top five rudest cities. Prague came in 6th, following the cities of Vienna and Amsterdam.
7. Amsterdam, Netherlands
There has been a mix of love and hate from tourists about Amsterdam, Netherlands. Some travelers experience a friendly and welcoming atmosphere from the locals, and some do not. Regardless, the CEOWORLD magazine included Amsterdam in the 5th spot among the 50 unfriendly cities in Europe. But why?
One realizable factor why Amsterdam is included in the list is because of the rising anti-tourism acts done by locals, furious about the over-tourism in the city center.
We can’t blame the locals for feeling unsafe, as some locals have reported annoyance over drunken tourists vomiting and urinating everywhere. Some angry locals have shown their resentment through graffiti with the words “Tourists go home.”
8. Berlin, Germany
Berlin is known to tourists as a vibrant city with a welcoming atmosphere, but there’s always a dark side to it. It is ranked in the 8th position because of the cultural differences. In contrast, Berlin residents are naturally reserved, there are language barriers as there might still be lapses and misunderstandings, and an overwhelming number of tourists in the city.
Another significant factor is Berlin’s history as a divided city for 40+ years, separating the East side from the West through the Berlin Wall, so there’s a social mentality for locals to be cautious and unfriendly between Berliners and outsiders.
Gentrification becomes rampant with the non-stop flocking of wealthier newcomers to the town. Due to this, many neighborhoods were redeveloped, causing rent and other prices to rise. From then on, some locals were forced to relocate, bred resentment towards newer foreign tourists and residents.
9. Lyon, France
Just like most cities in France, Lyon residents tend to be more professional and formal, so they’re more distant from tourists and travelers. This character of the Lyon residents has been weighed up to be cold and unfriendly by most travelers.
Other reasons could be their reserved culture, language barrier, and insularity. In fact, CEOWORLD magazine ranked Lyon, France, at 8th place among the rudest cities in Europe with 8.6% percent of votes.
10. Copenhagen, Denmark
Many people perceive Danes as reserved or introverted when interacting with tourists, which might contribute to the reputation of being one of Europe’s unfriendly cities. It’s important to note that rudeness is not a norm in the city; however, language barriers, trust issues, and shyness can create a perception of unfriendliness among residents.
In a study by Internations, out of the Nordic countries surveyed, Denmark seems the worst in the Ease of Settling In Index. It ranks last in the Finding Friends Subcategory. It was revealed that 66% of expats find it hard to make friends, and 29% feel they need to feel at home in Denmark.
What Are the Unfriendliest Countries in Europe?
Austria consistently ranked as one of the most unfriendly countries not just in Europe but worldwide. As a matter of fact, the study from InterNations stated that 58% of expats need help to make friends from the locals of Austria. Moreover, 33% of expats felt unwelcome in Austria.
Denmark locals often have trust issues among foreigners. They tend to care more about their fellow locals rather than foreigners. The study from InterNations stated that 66% of expats have difficulty making long-lasting friendships among the Danes.
According to the Expat Insider survey conducted by InterNations, Sweden doesn’t fare well in terms of friendliness as they can seem reserved or cold. The survey reveals that 36% of expats perceive the population as unwelcoming, with 26% explicitly describing them as unfriendly towards foreign residents.
Furthermore, when it comes to making friends, Sweden ranked second to last in the Finding Friends Subcategory, with 63% of expats finding it challenging to connect with locals.