Warning For NI Travellers as Top Pickpocketing Holiday Spots Named


Travel insurance comparison experts at have crunched the numbers to reveal where each of the most popular European holiday destinations rank on their European Pickpocketing Index.

The index ranks the most popular European holiday destinations by the proportion of pickpocketing mentions in visitor reviews of each country’s top five tourist attractions.

Research gathered across online travel review websites, showed visitors to Italy’s Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon in Rome as well as the Duomo di Milano in Milan and the Gallerie Degli Uffizi in Florence mentioned having items stolen 1,906 times.

This equates to 463 pickpocketing mentions for every million UK visitors to Italy’s top tourist attractions – the highest proportion of any European country.

France is the second most popular destination for UK travellers and also has the second highest number of pickpocketing mentions at 283 per million visitors, with all 5 attractions monitored being in Paris.

The Netherlands ranked third on the pickpocketing index despite being only the ninth most visited country.

Despite Barcelona’s reputation for pickpocketing, Spain – the most popular holiday destination for UK tourists only came sixth on the list with five times fewer mentions of theft than Italy.

Closer to home, the index suggests that tourists enjoying a pint at the Guinness Storehouse can feel fairly confident their possessions are safe, with the Republic of Ireland ranking down in ninth with only 30 pickpocketing mentions per million visitors.

Countries ranked by most pickpocketing mentions per million visitors:

HOTSPOTUK Visitors in 2022Pickpocketing mentionsMentions per million visitors
1. Italy4.12m1906463
2. France6.98m1974283
3. Netherlands1.76m252 143
4. Germany1.73m224129
5. Greece4.24m436103
6. Spain16.5m155994
7. Portugal3.81m20253
8. Turkey2.8m9233
9. Republic of Ireland2.83m8530
10. Poland2.35m4318

Ian Wilson, Managing Director at said that unfortunately this new research shows that thousands of people have complained about items being stolen while experiencing the best that Europe has to offer.

He said: “Theft can happen anywhere and tourist hotspots are convenient places for criminals to target holidaymakers’ wallets and purses whilst they are busy taking in the sites.

“Iconic attractions like the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Trevi Fountain in Rome are particularly popular with pickpockets as they can move more inconspicuously amongst larger crowds.

“Many holidaymakers are unaware that some of the most popular destinations for UK travellers have some of the highest incidents of petty theft in Europe.

“Our research revealed some surprising results, with Italy having the most pickpocketing mentions and Spain only coming in sixth with five times fewer mentions of theft.

“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.

“Try never to leave personal belongings unattended because travel insurance companies require travellers to take ‘reasonable care’ and could reject claims if items have been left alone.

“It’s also important to remember to get a police report for the loss or theft of an item as this will support the insurance claim. Remember to double check what is and isn’t covered on the travel insurance policy before heading to these high-ranking destinations, most travel insurance policies cover important documentation such as passports but rarely cover stolen cash and phones.  Most providers allow travellers to add on extras that might be needed such as gadget travel insurance.”

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This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes.