The word ‘friendly’ might not instantly come to mind when you think of some of the busiest cities in Europe, but with all those people comes a lot of good. We asked our social audience of 1.5 million people “where you would find the friendliest cities in Europe?”
From how easy the city is to navigate or strangers helping you find your way when that pesky roaming data doesn’t work to making new best friends in a local bar, these are the cities across the continent where you’ll be made to feel the most welcome.
Eastern European cities rated highly overall, with more than one UK, German and Spanish cities also making it into the Top 10. As for the most friendly city? You’ll just have to read on…
The friendliest cities in Europe 2019
Parisians might seem a little gruff at first, especially if you don’t speak French, but don’t take it personally. Tourists might feel a little cast aside here (despite it being a hugely popular tourism destination).
Another French city in the bottom scorers, Marseille has a different reputation to its neighbouring South of France cities. While the main tourist areas have their charm, visitors noted that wandering off the beaten track is ill advised for non-locals.
Italy makes it onto the Top 50 list thanks to Rome, but it’s still counted as one of Europe’s least friendly cities. The city is a tourist hotspot however, so you can understand if locals aren’t always thrilled when asked for directions the hundredth time that day.
While the city might have a reputation as being too cool for school, Berliners are actually welcoming and the city is very accessible for first time visitors. We’re guessing the low scores came from people rejected from Berghain…
Cardiff is a friendly place if – and emphasis on if – you’re local. While that’s all well and good for Welsh residents and their good neighbourly vibes, it can mean that visitors might feel like they don’t quite fit in and are unwelcome.
Having become somewhat of a must-visit destination in recent years, Valetta is a charming city to visit. Locals are friendly – if not overly so – and helpful towards tourists. The city is also becoming more LGBTQ+ inclusive.
Pickpockets aside, Barcelona is a generally tourist-friendly city with an easy to use metro system. Locals working in the tourism industry are welcoming to visitors, while those who aren’t will simply leave you to it. Overall, locals won’t go too far out of their way to help a stranger.
While a lot of people can pass Warsaw by on their way to see other parts of Europe, this city is a cultural hub with a vibrant food scene. Locals are quite keen to share their traditions and city highlights with newbies, so expect to be shown all the best places.
Sofia is a popular newcomer on many tourist itineraries and has the potential to be a consistent winner for city breaks. Its developing tourism industry means that locals are eager to practise their English and will chat away to visitors.
The Costa del Sol and Malaga in particular are fantastic places to visit, live, work and play. The laidback holiday vibe is made even better by the warm and friendly people you will meet here.
While Edinburgh doesn’t rate as highly as Glasgow, Scots are still holding their own in this easy-to-navigate city. Our readers ranked it highly in terms of helpfulness from strangers. Look lost? Chances are a good-natured Scot will help you out.
Don’t make eye contact with anyone on the tube here, say ‘sorry’ a hundred times and you’ll fit right in. London can seem stand-offish on first impressions, say our readers, but locals are also very polite – at times!
Vilnius is a city that has plenty of things to do and see, yet still feels like a cosy small town. Residents here are genuinely warm and friendly, with a great hospitality scene. It’s no wonder it’s been voted one of the friendliest cities in Europe.
There’s no mistaking Rotterdam for having overt friendliness, but locals are generally mellow enough. It’s not the sort of place where strangers will strike up a conversation when waiting in line, but people will help you out. It’s more of a friendly indifference towards others.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how warm and friendly the people of Riga are. The entire city is more like a small town. You won’t be invited into someone’s home for tea, but they’re nice. There’s light-hearted banter between locals, with a positive attitude towards tourists and other visitors.
Right from the moment travellers arrive, Antwerp exudes a welcoming atmosphere that continues everywhere in the city itself. It’s modern and is a safe city for travellers. Plus, with many people speaking English and friendly locals, it’s simple to make connections with people here.
You might not think of Kiev as being one of the friendliest cities in Europe but it’s up there – kind of. People might not instantly become your best buddy here, but the younger generation are especially warm to strangers.
One of the best cities to live in the UK for social vibes, Liverpool has a cosmopolitan vibe with a large community of locals and expat residents who make the city welcoming for all. Liverpudlians are generally some of the friendliest people in the world, with our readers certainly agreeing.
Bergen locals are some of the most welcoming and friendly people you’re likely to meet on your travels across Europe. There’s a chilled out pace of life here that lends itself to a warm atmosphere.
Residents of Bucharest can often have a reputation for being aloof, but underneath that is a warm and kind attitude towards visitors. Its openness to outsiders means that it’s a vibrant and social place to spend some time. You’ll easily find yourself making new best friends in a bar in Bucharest.
Geneva’s multicultural vibe makes it a brilliant city to either visit or live in as a foreigner, as you’ll be welcomed with open arms. Its excellent transport system and multi-language ethos means you’ll be able to navigate the city with ease as you meet friendly residents.
Like other cities in Portugal, Porto is very family-friendly and is a charming city. Our readers scored the city highly on its community vibe. In general, people here have a good sense of humour and are easy-going.
Moscow can be daunting for the inexperienced traveller, but brave it out and you will see that while some locals are famously unhelpful, others go out of their way to assist. You’ll be knocking back vodka and caviar with your new friends in no time.
Madrid is easier to navigate than other cities in Spain and is super LGBTQ+ friendly. Its party atmosphere with tapas evenings and wine bars means that it’s easy to make friends here.
If you’re friendly, then everyone you meet in Vienna will be friendly to you. Stick to that golden rule and you’ll see that Vienna is one of the friendliest cities in Europe. In fact, Vienna is one of the most ‘liveable cities’ in the world, so it’s no wonder people are nice as pie.
It’s popular on the tourist trail, so the tourism industry here is strong, with residents making the country proud with their attitude towards visitors. Their openheartedness towards strangers makes the city such a beautiful place to visit.
The crown of the friendliest city in England for 2019 goes to Manchester, thanks to its exuberant vibe and a multicultural mix of residents. It’s an easy city to find your way around, with plenty of bars and social spots where you will find yourself chatting to locals.
Munich is full of vibrant, forward-looking communities filled with engaged and friendly people. Its progressive atmosphere makes it an enjoyable city to visit, with some of the friendliest people in Europe to boot. We have a feeling the annual Oktoberfest helps its rep greatly!
A beautiful city full of history and charm, the people in Budapest are also what makes it stand out as one of the must-visit cities in Europe. Locals have a great sense of humour and you’ll be greeted warmly wherever you go.
While it’s well known that Amsterdam is one of the world’s top bike-friendly cities, it’s also one of the overall friendliest cities in the world. Dutch people are genuinely helpful and will give you directions, tips for local places to eat and more. Just stay out of the cycle lanes!
With Portugal as a country consistently voted among the world’s friendliest places to visit, it makes sense that Lisbon is also friendly. The Portuguese are incredibly warm and the hospitality here is unbeatable. You’ll ask for directions and end up being personally shown there.
Locals are quick to offer assistance to tourists and the community vibe makes socialising in Helsinki simple. Whether you’ve been born and raised here or are just passing through, locals will treat you with the same kind attitude. Finns have a particular kind of friendliness that will make you want to move here immediately.
Regions such as Provence and its tourist-friendly initiatives are helping France big time, but overall its reputation has some catching up to do. Bordeaux and its exciting cultural scene gives the city a cosmopolitan edge as well as natural charm.
York locals go above and beyond to make you feel welcome here. People here greet you with smiles and warmth everywhere, from grocery stores to the street. Our readers ranked it highly in terms of helpfulness from strangers. Look lost? Chances are a good-natured local will help you out.
Scandinavian in general are friendly cities to visit, and Stockholm is no different. Strangers treat other strangers with warmth and respect here, so visiting as a tourist is a great experience. Expect to make new friends in every bar you go to.
You’ll see people helping each other out everywhere you glance in Tallinn, with a strong community feel. Locals are open-minded and will eagerly share their favourite place to eat or drink with out-of-towners.
Reykjavik’s low-crime rate and general friendliness of locals make it a popular city to visit, and our readers seem to agree. Living among such beauty must do something good for the soul, as you’ll be greeted with a warm smile from everyone you meet here.
You’ll feel right at home as soon as you land in Copenhagen, with helpful and open locals who are proud of their city and more than happy to recommend their favourite spots. It’s a compact city with great transport, making it extremely visitor-friendly.
People here are always keen to strike up conversation and will look after their own community no matter what. They’re equally nice to visitors, too. The city’s rich history and gourmet offerings make it a must-visit in Italy. Families will appreciate the warmth shown towards little ones, too.
Ireland may be a small country, but its reputation of friendly locals is known worldwide, so it makes sense that not one but two Irish cities were voted onto this year’s list. Cork is a charming and compact riverside city, where the chances of a stranger saying hi to you on the street are likely.
Oslo’s locals are full of life and warmth and instantly welcome visitors to the city. It’s a safe city for travellers (once you explore with some common sense!) with a diverse mix of locals and an exciting energy. Our readers scored it highly on first impressions, putting it firmly as one of the friendliest cities in Europe.
It’s family-friendly and safe, with heaps of culture and makes visitors soon feel like locals. The atmosphere in Seville city and beyond is hard to match, with a homey feel and locals who go the extra mile to welcome tourists.
Athens has a longstanding reputation for warm hospitality and a genuine openness towards strangers. Nothing is too much here – whether it’s a local personally walking you to your hotel or sharing their secret spot for a sundowner.
Bratislava might be quiet-ish city, but the people here make it a fun and vibrant place to spend some time. There’s a real sense of community, where it’s common for a stranger to help you unstick your car from the snow or carry your groceries.
Scandinavians are naturally friendly and nice to strangers, and Gothenburg is a great example of this. The easy-going temperament of locals and their friendliness towards visitors means that it’s easy to make friends here. Gothenburg is a top spot for both tourists and expats.
Consistently voted one of the friendliest cities in the world, Glasgow makes Scotland proud with its attitude towards strangers and tourists. Its warm and welcoming community add a real buzz to the city, making it a popular city break destination.
For such a small city, Dublin packs a serious punch when it comes to friendliness. People here are good-natured, with a good sense of humour. Whether you’re lost or just looking for a chat in a pub, Dubliners will be on hand to help out. Locals even thank the bus driver – the perfect example of classic Irish warmth!
Residents of Hamburg are open and accepting of strangers, so Hamburg is an ideal city for tourists. It’s family-friendly and safe, with heaps of culture and makes visitors soon feel like locals. Although not as popular as other German cities, it has its own special charm.
One of the friendliest cities in Europe is Bruges, a fairytale place in Belgium. The charming atmosphere is hard to match, with a village feel and locals who go the extra mile to welcome tourists. From walking guides to the waiter who serves your hot chocolate and waffles, the people here make Bruges stand out.
And the winner out of all the friendliest cities in Europe? Prague takes top spot thanks to its lively locals, engaging social scene and ease of access for first time visitors. Prague is a wonderfully vibrant and social place to be, and is also rated one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly major cities in Europe.