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Safest Countries in Europe for 2024: The Ultimate Guide

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Traveling opens doors to new opportunities and friendships and deepens our understanding of the world.

However, with the thrill of exploration comes with the risk of dangers as tourists, often unfamiliar with local customs, can become prime targets for criminals.

Take, for example, the infamous ‘Millionaire Express’ scam in the Dominican Republic where a fake cab driver exploited tourists, offering them cab rides before going on to drain their bank accounts and steal their identities. The driver was eventually caught and sentenced but such scams are rife throughout the world.

Things are little safer in Europe but there are many crime hot spots there too. Still, despite the dangers, the allure of Europe’s high standard of living, universal healthcare and top-tier education continues to draw many.

The dream of European citizenship or residency is potent, promising an expanded investment portfolio, increased freedom, and a superior quality of life. This intriguing blend of opportunity and caution shapes the modern traveler’s experience.

If that’s you, get in touch with Nomad Capitalist, and we’ll help you go where you’re treated best.

Safest Countries in Europe for 2024

Why Safety is so Important

When it comes to selecting a country to travel to or settle down in, there are must-haves and must-haven’ts on everyone’s list of what they want. Most people focus on a location’s natural beauty and developed infrastructure along with its entertainment and activity options and, of course, its tourist attractions. 

From a Nomad Capitalist point of view, we prioritise factors like investment opportunities, how favourable the business environment is or how friendly the tax regime is.

However, one factor tops all others: personal safety. Your chosen country could be the ultimate highly developed, zero-tax investment hub but if it’s not safe, would you touch it with a to-foot pole? Probably not. Safety is that important.

There are various aspects to safety that go beyond violent crime rates and law enforcement. Safety also includes healthcare, public perception and the political landscape. So we put all these considerations together and put together a list of the top ten European countries for safety and security. 

Safest Countries in Europe for 2024

Luxembourg

The Duchy of Luxembourg is a landlocked country in northwestern Europe bordered by France, Germany, and Belgium. Luxembourg is one of the world’s smallest nations, at just 2,586 km², which is smaller than Rhode Island. It’s also one of the world’s oldest and most prosperous countries. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Luxembourg has the largest economy by GDP per capita. 

The country’s robust economy and other stabilising factors make it the largest investment fund centre in Europe and the second largest in the world after the US. It’s an excellent location to set up trusts and other financial vehicles.

Luxembourg’s passport ranks 4T on the Nomad Passport Index due to its superb travel freedom while friendly taxation laws and immigration policies also contribute to its high ranking. Economically and politically speaking, the country is highly desirable and the crime rate is low, with most offences typically including petty crimes.

Even on a continent with a surprisingly low organised crime rate compared to other regions, Luxembourg has a high rating from the Global Organized Crime Index. According to the index, Luxembourg is one of the safest places to visit or live, with little to no organised criminal activity and secure neighbourhoods. 

Luxembourg meets the highest security standards and the political landscape is very stable. Quality healthcare is widely accessible and the same can be said about the standard of education.

Put all that together and you a country that’s a standard occupant in lists discussing the safest countries in Europe or the world.

Switzerland

Switzerland, Safest Countries in Europe for 2024

The crime rate in Switzerland has been consistently low for a very long time. In fact, in 2017, the chance of becoming a victim of a crime in Switzerland was only 0.3%. If that isn’t safe, we don’t know what is.

Compared to somewhere like the United States, Switzerland’s violent crime rate is extremely low. The US has a 94% higher rate of gun violence and the murder rate is around seven times higher. 

Switzerland’s neutral stance has sheltered it from war and violence over the decades, preserving its safety and stability.

Currently, Switzerland tops the Human Development Index. The extended period of peace has enabled the country to focus on more important issues, such as development, social welfare and other forms of domestic development.

In addition to all these positive aspects, the Swiss tend to hold authorities in high regard and generally obey and respect the law and law enforcement.

Iceland

Iceland, Safest Countries in Europe for 2023

Consistently reaching the top of the Global Peace Index since 2008, Iceland is a Nordic Island nation known as one of the world’s happiest, safest and most satisfied countries.

Iceland is also the only NATO member without a standing army, navy or air force. Thanks to economic and political stability, crime rates are low and corruption is almost non-existent. According to the Global Organized Crime Index, Iceland has a stunningly low crime rating of 3.37, which is even lower than in previous years. 

The northwestern European nation is also one of the safest places to travel as a woman – even for solo travellers. Thanks to these attributes, Iceland has bagged the sixth spot on the latest Women, Peace, and Security Index. They are outranked only by other European nations, such as Denmark, Finland and Luxembourg. 

Iceland has a strong sense of community and social support networks, with almost 98% if people reporting having someone to count on in times of trouble. This is one of the most significant benefits of being an island nation with a close-knit community where almost everyone knows each other. Crime rates are low due to the strong social connections and communities can come together during trying times.

The country is highly developed and currently ranks third on the UN’s Human Development Index. According to the World Happiness Report, it’s also the third happiest nation in the world, just shy of Denmark and Finland. 

If we consider human development, happiness levels, healthcare, education standards and law and order, Iceland is very stable and peaceful, making it a great place to visit or call home. 

Denmark

Scandinavian countries have consistently ranked among the world’s safest countries. Whether you talk about quality of life, education, healthcare, safety or happiness, Scandinavian countries are invariably among the top ten.

The Women’s Peace and Security Index ranks Denmark as the safest nation out of 177 countries in the world, owing to its low crime rate, high satisfaction levels and extremely low danger rating. In fact, Denmark ranks high on every means of measurement used by the organisation to determine whether it is improving women’s lives within its borders. 

The country is also among the top twenty in the Safety Perception Index, which indicates that its citizens and residents perceive themselves to be safe across five domains: health, violence, personal security, workplace and environment. Their Global Organized Crime Index rating is 4.02 which is an improvement from past years. The country does experience rare cases of human trafficking and extortion, which is common in all nations, but the rates at which such things occur are far lower than even in other developed countries. 

Denmark is also known worldwide for its capital, Copenhagen, which is famous for its ancient castles and undeniable charm. The city is also incredibly secure and was named one of the world’s safest cities by the  Economist Intelligence Unit’s Safe Cities Index (SCI).

Slovenia

Slovenia is a Central European country known for its crystal-clear lakes, majestic mountains and world-class ski resorts. With neighbouring countries like Croatia, Austria and Italy, Slovenia is often ignored in European travel itineraries, despite being among the safest and most prosperous Slavic countries. 

Here’s why Slovenia deserves your attention.

First of all, the country is beautiful and full of lush greenery. In fact, Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, was named the Green Capital of Europe in 2016 owing to its car-free city centre, plentiful green spaces, sustainability and environmental health.

But environmental safety is not the only domain in which Slovenia excels. It also boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Its Global Organized Crime Index score of 4.37 makes it safer than most European countries. Slovenia is an under-appreciated location in Europe. For example, the crime index scores of France and Spain, well-developed and popular tourist destinations, are not as good as those of Slovenia, which may surprise most people. 

With an abundance of medieval castles, plenty of outdoor activities and one of the safest and greenest atmospheres you’re likely to encounter, Slovenia deserves to be your next destination for vacation, business or permanent residence trips.

Ireland

Ireland, Safest Countries in Europe for 2023

Ireland needs no introduction. Each year, millions of entrepreneurs, investors, digital nomads and tourists visit Ireland for its breathtaking views, business-friendly environment and highly skilled workforce. The Irish are well known for their friendly demeanour and welcoming spirit, which only add to the nation’s overall appeal. 

The Global Peace Index ranks Ireland as the third most peaceful country in the world. Moreover, the country is eighth on the UN’s Human Development Index and one of the top twenty on the Women, Peace and Security Index.

Ireland has always been a very safe country and is welcoming toward foreigners, whether they’re tourists or people looking to settle there long-term. One of the top reasons foreigners prefer Ireland is its secure environment. The country has a very low crime rate and the percentage of violent crime is even lower. Its Global Organized Crime Index rating is 5.08, making it a safer nation than Germany, France and Spain. 

The Emerald Isle also offers one of Europe’s lowest corporate tax rates and its passport is the second most powerful in the world according to the Nomad Passport Index, offering excellent travel freedom.

Finland

Finland, one of the most northerly countries on the planet, is also one of the safest. The education standard in Finland is world-class and easily accessible, making it one of the best countries to raise a family.

The remarkable social welfare system, tight-knit community and high living standards have made it the happiest nation in the world.

This ranking isn’t just indicative of the country’s overall economic success. It also shows the Finnish people’s general perception of each other and their government. If you’re constantly concerned about your nation’s government and whether or not they can be trusted, then Finland may sound like a breath of fresh air with a transparent political system and little corruption. 

Moreover, Finland is a safe haven for solo travellers as it’s the fourth-safest country on the Women’s Peace and Security Index. So, if you’re a woman planning to see the northern lights, you can pack your bags and book the next flight to this beautiful country without any worries.

The country is also among the top 20 countries in the Global Peace Index, Safety Perception Index and Human Development Index. 

Finland is also among the most beautiful European countries, with breathtaking landscapes, numerous lakes and lush forests. In 2021, its Lahti region was named the Green Capital of Europe.

Norway

Norway, Safest Countries in Europe for 2023

Our second Scandinavian addition to this list is Norway, which is famous for its glaciers, pristine fjords and rich cultural heritage.

The era of the Vikings is long past now so all travellers can breathe a sign of relief. Norway is extremely safe for women, ranking seventh out of 177 countries on the Women’s Peace and Security Index.

Norway also ranks high in general security and low crime. Visitors to the nation are generally advised to avoid travelling on poorly lit roadways or through sparsely populated regions. However, this has more to do with travel conditions than the threat of violence and attack.  

Norway, like Denmark, has a strong economy and high living standards. It also has stringent gun laws and one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Out of 191 nations and territories, Norway comes in second on the Human Development Index. Likewise, it scores as the seventh-happiest nation globally, thanks to its commendable social welfare system.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands, Safest Countries in Europe for 2023

Another happiest nation on our list, the Netherlands is also a safe haven for locals and foreigners alike. Famous for its bicycle culture, rich art, capital city of Amsterdam, tulip fields and more, the Netherlands is a delight to visit.

Ranking sixth as one of the happiest nations in the world, its citizens have faith in their government and public services and mutual respect for one another. 

It holds a high rank on the Global Peace Index, with a score of 1.49. According to the criteria, the lower the score, the safer the country. Crime is more prevalent in the nation’s capital, Amsterdam, but it still maintains a good rating on the Economist’s Safe Cities Index of 2021. Most of the crimes encountered by the Netherlands are non-violent theft and similar petty crimes. 

Portugal

Portugal is as diverse as it gets. The country’s north is rocky and cold, while the south is warm with year-round sun and it’s best known for its vast history, rich culture, excellent cuisine, delicious wines and miles of stunning coastline.

Still, if you’ve read this far, you may have concluded that safety and good weather don’t go hand in hand. Well, Portugal is proof that’s not true.

The country ranks seventh on the Global Peace Index with little internal and international conflict and a score of 1.33 out of five. It holds an excellent ranking from the Global Organized Crime Index of 4.88, demonstrating its overall security and low crime levels. Among the top tourist destinations in the world, Portugal is a safe place for solo women travellers with a score of 19 out of 177 on the Women’s Peace and Security Index

One thing distinguishing Portugal from most other countries on our list is its potential for residence thanks to its Golden Visa program, though changes have been made to the visa in early 2024. Although Portugal doesn’t have a generally low tax rate, it offers incentives to foreigners looking to live in Portugal – something you won’t find in the world’s happiest nations.

Georgia

One of the most underrated Eastern European countries is Georgia, a beautiful nation famous for its delicious wines, historic capital of Tbilisi, ancient monasteries and majestic mountains. Georgia ranks 21st on the Safety Perception Index owing to its low crime rate and high satisfaction levels of its citizens and residents. 

Other countries on this list may be excellent from a tourists’ point of view, but Georgia takes it one step further and markets itself as an ideal European base for business or even a second home.

With a thriving real estate market, tons of tax incentives, a friendly business environment and a strategic location at the intersection of Asia and Europe, this destination is an excellent option for a second residency or citizenship.

Georgia, Safest Countries in Europe for 2023

Is Safety All That Matters?

Feeling safe and secure is vital when travelling – no one wants to be constantly looking over their shoulder or approaching new cities with a feeling of anxiety. This is true whether you’re just visiting or looking for citizenship or residence offshore. 

So, safety is of the utmost importance.

But it isn’t the entire picture. Any country you’re about to visit, whether short- or long-term, must be safe but high-net-worth individuals are looking for more than security. 

At Nomad Capitalist, we’re all about a holistic approach to solving any travel issues you’re likely to encounter. So, for a country to be in our good books, it must be tax-friendly, business-friendly, investor-friendly as well as, of course, safe.

Most countries on this list score very high in safety while, unfortunately, featuring some of the highest tax rates. Favourable taxes should be among your top priorities if you’re an investor or an entrepreneur looking for your next base.

Do you want a complete holistic approach that takes everything into account? Contact Nomad Capitalist and we’ll provide you with precisely that. We’ll help you make the right decisions when choosing where you are treated best.

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