Safest European Cities for International Students 2018 Ranking

Studying abroad is an amazing experience, so it’s great that more and more of us are doing it! Last year, around 725,000 students went on exchange through the EU’s Erasmus+ programme alone. Millions more leave their home country for full degrees abroad, while universities strive to make themselves more internationally-friendly.

With more rounded, skilled and culturally-aware individuals as the result, this is good news for students, employers and society as a whole.

At, we help international students to find mid-term rental accommodation in over 400 cities around the world. With personal safety among the primary concerns for a young person moving to a new city, we decided to research the safest cities in Europe.

To develop the ranking, we used public data on city crime levels as well as experiences from current study abroad students to help others make informed decisions for their future international study, internship or work placement.

We started by researching hundreds of cities throughout Europe that are popular among international students. These range from large international hubs such as Barcelona, Amsterdam and Berlin, to up and coming destinations such as Ljubljana, Pisa, and Göteborg. The ranking is divided into 5 categories: City Safety Levels, Transportation , Absence of Scammers, Attitudes Towards Internationals, and City Evaluation by International Students.

More students are choosing an experience abroad every year, and the world of education is opening up more than ever before. But study abroad means stepping into the unknown, and we all want to feel safe and prepared. We hope that this study will help prospective international students make an informed decision about where they want to go next.

Djordy Seelmann, CEO

Top 100 City rankings

Safest cities for international students

See below the top 100 ranking based on the total score. Click here for the ranking per City Safety Levels, Availability of Public Transportion, Absence of Scammers, Attitude Towards Internationals or City Evaluation by International Students.


Safest Cities for International Students Index was created using country and city-level public data. The final scores were calculated by category, using a normalized value ranking countries and cities based on their total average score. There is no maximum number of points, meaning cities can keep climbing the ranking if they score well in each category,

Where insufficient data was available, cities were excluded to maintain consistency.

Each category is scored according to the latest data available from reputable sources, and is standardised.


City Safety Levels

This score was created using data on city and country-level crime rates combined with reported safety levels, to give an indication of the sense of safety international students can expect to experience in a city.


Whether it’s going to class or getting home from a night out, students need to be able to safely travel within a city. To score this category, we looked at city-level transport infrastructure levels to assess how transport in a given city is facilitating safe student life.

Absence of Scammers

Research shows that finding housing is a key concern for all students abroad. Those coming from abroad have the added issues of not being physically present for viewings, leaving them vulnerable to online scams. Data from an EU-funded study was measured alongside HousingAnywhere figures on attempted scams per country to establish which cities are the safest when looking for accommodation online.

Attitudes Towards Internationals

How open local residents are towards internationals could impact the sense of safety experienced by students living there. Indexes on how welcoming cities are were combined with social progress indexes to develop an overall attitudinal measurement score.

City Evaluation by International Students

Previous city rankings based on international student reviews were used to develop this score. The presence of an organisation such as an ESN section that actively supports and welcomes international students also affected this measurement.


Safety levels: Numbeo Crime Index 2018 Mid-Year
Transportation: The World Bank International LPI rankings 2018
Absence of Scammers: House Erasmus 2018 report and HousingAnywhere 2018 data
Attitudes towards internationals: 2017 The Social Progress Imperative and Travelbird 2018 Most Welcoming Cities ranking
City Evaluation by International Students: Top Universities 2018 city ranking and ESN location data


We developed this ranking to give an idea of which cities put their best foot forward when it comes to welcoming international students. Ultimately, safety is subjective, so if a city ranks lower, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unsafe. By providing a comparison between cities we want to help mobile students base a decision for their next move abroad. Of course, knowledge is always developing and data can always be discussed. If you have questions or input for the ranking - feel free to reach out!