Research reveals the European nation with the most pickpockets

Avid travellers are used to encountering new cultures, witnessing breathtaking sights and embarking on unforgettable adventures around the world.

However, amidst the excitement, there is always a lurking risk of falling victim to pickpockets, no matter how careful you are. To shed light on this issue, the travel insurance comparison experts at have analysed data to rank the most popular European holiday destinations based on their European Pickpocketing Index.

Pickpocketing index. (

The index takes into account the proportion of pickpocketing mentions in visitor reviews of each country’s top five tourist attractions. Surprisingly, Italy took the top spot with the highest number of pickpocketing mentions, totalling 1906 in Tripadvisor reviews. Visitors to iconic landmarks such as the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon in Rome, Duomo di Milano in Milan and Gallerie Degli Uffizi in Florence have reported having their belongings stolen.

France came in second on the index, with 283 pickpocketing mentions per million visitors. All five attractions monitored were located in Paris, which is known for its popularity among tourists. The Netherlands ranked third on the index, despite being the ninth most visited country in Europe. On the other hand, Spain, notorious for pickpocketing in cities such as Barcelona, surprisingly only ranked sixth on the list, with five times fewer mentions of theft compared to Italy.

Greg Wilson, founder and CEO of, expressed disappointment in the research findings, stating that thousands of people have reported theft while enjoying the best of what Europe has to offer. He emphasised that theft can happen anywhere, and tourist hotspots are prime targets for criminals due to the busy crowds. Mr Wilson explained that iconic attractions with large crowds, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Trevi Fountain in Rome, are particularly favoured by pickpockets for their ability to blend in inconspicuously.

“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,” Mr Wilson said.
“Many holidaymakers are unaware that some of the most popular destinations have some of the highest incidents of petty theft in Europe.”

Mr Wilson advises travellers to remain vigilant, leave valuables such as expensive jewellery in hotel safes, and use secure cross-body bags with zippers or money belts to protect phones and wallets.

Have you ever been pickpocketed? Where do you keep your valuable when travelling? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Europe’s safest countries in 2022

Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.


  1. Got pickpocketed from my backpack in Rome recently. 2 ladies (and use that term loosely) where helping us with directions at Piramide Railway Station in Rome and one managed to get my wallet and keys from inside a zipped section inside a closed backpack. We had been warned that they are in the area and they just take the cash and throw the wallet away. Not these two. They must have an EFTPOS machine as they took approx 2,000 AUD from credit and debit cards (all amounts less than the amount that needs a PIN number) within 10 minutes of the thief. All the card providers did give me a refund but also lost cash and licences, seniors cards, etc (Not passport thankfully!). So, from this some tips. In crowded areas carry backpack on chest not back. If you have handbag carry across shoulder with bag at front and arm over the bag. Only carry the minimum for that day ie if just doing a day trip carry a separate wallet with just 1 credit / debit card and some cash. Leave he rest in the accommodation (if it is safe). Take photos or scan copies of all your cards, licenses, passport etc and store on phone, partners phone but also in the “Cloud” ie Microsoft OneDrive. Most cards can be “stopped” via their apps so if wallet is stolen use the app to stop the cards ASAP. Report to police as you will need a report from them for the card providers and any travel insurance claim.

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