I never planned to go to the most dangerous cities in Europe before I came over from the US. I just happened to go through some of these cities on my way to St. Jean Pied De Pore for the Camino De Santiago. One of those cities that I visited and really enjoyed was Marseilles, France.
Marseilles, France was the “Capitol of Culture” in 2013 for Europe and is a port city.
Does Marseilles Really Feel Like One Of The Most Dangerous Cities in Europe
Marseilles is the 5th most dangerous city in Europe based off statistics. The unemployment rate is one of the highest in all European cities. The crime rate is one of the highest in Europe. Should that deter you from going there? I don’t think so.
Let me tell you why.
It is a city that I think is definitely worth visiting for the amount of tourist attractions that are available. And the general landscape of the city is beautiful.
- Notre Dame De La Garde is amazing and you can see the whole city from the top.
- I took some of my best pictures here out of my whole 3 month trip in Europe.
- Street Art
- Historic European City of trade that went through what is called now Vieux Port.
- Markets, history, and delicious food. The delicious food includes pizza that is similar to the Neapolitan pizza in Naples.
Other notable attractions can be seen here. And I might write a post in the future more about the attractions I actually visited.
However, I did have a small confrontation when arriving in Marseilles.
When I got off the train to Marseilles and started walking down the stairs to the city I was greeted by two teenagers. I didn’t pick up on a friendly vibe. I could tell that they wanted something. The one that was talking to me was speaking in French and so I had no idea what he was saying.
I was wearing my Osprey Aesper 70 backpack which comes with pockets in the front that wrap around your waste. This is convenient for this type of situation. Because I had my wallet, passport, change, and other valuable items in these pockets.
If they wanted to rob me they were going to have to actually physically attack me.
I could tell they had tried this tactic many times. It definitely wasn’t the first time. They had perfectly positioned themselves with one on my left side and the other on my right side. The one on my right was talking to me and trying to gain all of my attention. But I had no interest in what he was saying, so I kept my awareness on both of them at the same time.
The kid to my left tried to take my backpack while the other one was talking to me.
But I had my awareness on him the whole time as well and was able to push him away easily. These were probably 13-15 year old kids.
If I had stored my valuable items in one of my pants pockets then there plan might have been more effective. It just goes to show you that you can’t be lackadaisical when walking around a big city that you are not familiar with. Especially one that has a reputation as being one of the most dangerous cities in Europe.
That’s how they get you. Distraction.
I’m sure eventually they got someone with this tactic.
I remember reading a little about gypsy’s before I came to Europe. And I had heard stories from my friend who had been in Europe. I was somewhat surprised, but not to much.
This was the only time in the 3 months in Europe that I had anything like this happen. And I had already visited two of the other top 5 most dangerous cities in Europe according to statistics which were Naples and Turin. Check out my post on Naples here.
It was just a reminder to be aware at all times. Anything can happen.
If you want more information on visiting Marseilles, you might want to check out this forum which gives you more opinions and stories on one of the most dangerous cities in Europe.
Stay Next To Vieux Port
I recommend staying around the port because it is the safest area to stay in. Here are two recommendations of where to stay.
This hostel is more about social interaction. It didn’t have the nicest facilities. But I met a ton of people in one night staying there. And they give you free breakfast. It’s also a very good location. I think I only paid around 15 Euros for the night.
If you want your space and more isolation this is the hostel for you. I stayed in a two person room the second night I was in Marseille. It was way nicer than Hello Marseille, but it also cost more.
Download City Maps To Go
If you have access to apps on your cell phone make sure you download City Maps To Go so you know exactly where you are and where you are going. I used a traditional map in Marseilles and found it harder to navigate than other cities. And there are a ton of tourist attractions that you will need City Maps To Go for.
I wouldn’t worry about Marseille’s label as being a crime infested top 5 most dangerous European city. It shouldn’t deter you from visiting this place full of history with unlimited tourist attractions.