How safe is your holiday to France, Spain and other places?

Following recent terrorist attacks in France, Belgium and Tunisia – along with the military coup in Turkey – you may be wondering about how safe it is to travel to countries in Europe and the rest of the world on holiday.

Here, we have provided you with guidance from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the risk levels at popular holiday destinations. At home, the threat level is currently “severe” – meaning an attack on UK soil is “highly likely”.

1) France

The lorry terror attack in Nice.

Risk level: High

France is the most popular tourist destination for British people – a staggering 17 million of us travel there each year.

While the vast majority of visits are incident-free and with pick-pocketing the major source of crime against Brits, the nation is under high alert from the threat of terror attacks. Three separate but shocking attacks have rocked France in the past 18 months. A total of 84 people – including 10 children – died in the terror attack in Nice on Thursday, while the city was celebrating Bastille Day. Many remain in a critical condition in hospital.

Meanwhile, 130 people were killed when suicide bombers and gunmen carried out a series of horrific attacks in Paris last November, targeting the capital’s Bataclan theatre, cafés and restaurants.

At the time, France was already on a “high” alert following the shooting at the Charlie Hebdo offices in January last year. The nation remains at a “high” risk of terrorism and a state of national emergency has been declared.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office says on its website: “Due to ongoing threats to France by Islamist terrorist groups, and recent French military intervention against Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL), the French government has warned the public to be especially vigilant and has reinforced its security measures.”


2) Turkey

The military coup in Turkey.

Risk level: High

Turkey is the chosen holiday destination for more than 2.5 million Brits each year. While it is generally considered safe to travel, the nation has recently experienced an upsurge in terror incidents.

At Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul on June 28, 41 people were killed after an attacker sprayed the departures hall with an automatic rifle, before three people blew themselves up in the arrivals hall a floor below. Then on Friday night, an attempted coup saw reports of gunfire and explosions in Ankara and Istanbul, with military on the streets. Brits were advised to stay indoors and avoid public places.

There were previous terror attacks this year in January, February, April, May and June.The UK’s Foreign Office warns against all but essential travel to parts of Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Kilis and Hatay provinces as well as Siirt, Tunceli and Hakkari.

It strongly advises Brits elsewhere in Turkey to stay indoors, avoid public places, in particular demonstrations, and remain vigilant. A spokesman said: “It’s generally safe to travel but you should take additional safety precautions. You should be alert to your surroundings and remain vigilant in crowded places popular with tourists.”


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3) Egypt

All but essential travel to Sharm el-Sheik is advised.

Risk level: High

Egypt’s tourist economy has been rocked by a number of terror incidents – including the horrific attack on a passenger jet flying out of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The plane, carrying 224 passengers and crew, was brought down by a bomb and crashed in the Sinai desert, killing everyone on board. As a result of this, the British Government has advised against all but essential travel, by air, to or from Sharm el-Sheikh.

This does not include the resort itself – which has increased security in place – but only air travel to or from it. The Foreign Office has warned against travel to certain parts of Egypt. Aside from bomb or machine gun attacks, there is also the threat of kidnapping in Egypt – particularly in remote desert areas.

Last summer, a Croatian man was kidnapped and murdered in the country. A terrorist group has claimed responsibility for his murder and the FCO has warned that Britain does not negotiate with hostage-takers. It says on its website: “The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage-takers.

“The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage-taking.”


4) Spain


12 millions Brits head to Spain every year.

Risk level: High

With its beautiful sandy beaches of Menorca, Ibiza, Majorca and the Costa del Sol, Spain is a popular choice for holidaymakers – with more than 12 million Brits travelling there each year.

The country has recently managed to avoid the troubles of other Mediterranean countries. However, the FCO still deems the terror threat in Spain “high”, with a suspected ISIS collaborator arrested by police in Majorca earlier this year.

The Moroccan-born man – who was detained by officers in Palma – is accused of promoting terror attacks in Europe. On its website, the FCO remarks that there has been a number of deaths as a result of people falling from balconies while on holiday, noting: “Don’t take any unnecessary risks, especially when under the influence of drink or drugs.”


5) Germany

Increased security in Germany.

Risk level: High

Germany is the latest European country to have its terrorism risk rating upgraded to “high” by the FCO. Around two million Brits visit the nation every year and increased security has been put in place at German transport hubs, public buildings and major events “as a precaution”.

The FCO says: “There’s no requirement to carry your passport with you, but the police are currently carrying out more frequent ID checks.If you’re asked to show your passport and you don’t have it with you, the police may escort you to wherever your passport is being kept so that you can show it to them.”


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6) Belgium

Belgium at high risk following attacks.

Risk level: High

Belgium is now ranked as a “high” risk from terrorism following bombings at a Brussels airport and metro station.The explosions, which were the deadliest act of terrorism in the country’s history, claimed the lives of 32 people.

A further 300 people were injured in the attacks, which happened at Zaventem Airport and Maalbeek metro station on March 22. The FCO warns on its website that terrorists could target Belgium indiscriminately.

It says: “Belgians assess this to be a serious and real threat. Police operations are ongoing and there have been a number of police raids and arrests, including on 17 June, relating to past and potential terrorist attacks.

“Security operations are likely to be carried out at short notice. You should remain vigilant, stay away from crowded places and follow the instructions of the Belgian authorities.”


7) Tunisia

A Chaddesden man died in a terrorist attack in Tunisa last year.

Risk level: High

A state of emergency is currently in place in Tunisia following a suicide attack on a police bus last November. There was also a terrorist shooting at a hotel in the tourist resort of Port El Kantaoui, near Sousse, last June.

The attack killed 38 people – 30 of whom were British and included Derby man Scott Chalkey 42, of Chaddesden, and his partner Sue Davey, 43.

The FCO advises against all travel to the Chaambi Mountain National Park area, the Tunisia-Algeria border crossing points at Ghardimaou, Hazoua and Sakiet Sidi Youssef, the militarized zone south of, but not including, the towns of El Borma and Dhehiba, and within 5km of the Libya border area.

It adds: “Further attacks remain highly likely, including against foreigners. Security forces remain on a high state of alert in Tunis and other locations. You should be vigilant, avoid crowded places and follow the advice of the Tunisian security authorities and your travel company.”


8) USA

There’s a earning to holidaymakers visiting the USA about crime.

Risk level: General

Almost four million Brits visit the USA each year and, aside from a “general” threat of terror, holidaymakers are also warned to be wary of the weather and crime.

The FCO says: “Crime associated with the illegal drugs trade is a major issue in Mexican states bordering Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. Some foreign nationals have been among the victims of crime in the border regions, but there is no evidence to suggest they have been targeted because of their nationality.

“Research your destination before travelling, be vigilant, and follow the advice of local authorities.”


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9) Italy

Italy has isolated cases of terrorism.

Risk level: General

Currently, Italy has a “general” threat from terrorism. However, the FCO says most attacks are carried out against “official Italian targets”.

It says: “There are isolated cases of domestic terrorism. Attacks carried out by the extreme left-wing and secessionist groups have generally been aimed at official Italian targets, mainly in the form of small bombs and incendiary devices.”


10) Greece

Greece has seen a number of explosions and shootings.

Risk level: General

There is a “general” threat from terrorism in Greece, with Brits warned that attacks could happen in tourist hotspots. The FCO says: “British nationals aren’t normally considered a specific target, but attacks could happen in places visited by foreigners.”

In recent years, there have been a number of explosions and shootings at Greek shopping malls, public buildings and government offices.


11) Croatia

Here is the general advice on Croatia.

Risk level: Underlying

The FCO says: “Attacks, although unlikely, could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.”


12) Portugal

There’s an underlying risk in Portugal.

Risk level: Underlying

The FCO warns there is an ‘underlying’ risk of terrorism. It also advises holidaymakers to be aware of street thieves looking to steal money and passports.


The Foreign Office also advises against travel to the following countries: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Palestinian territories, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen.

And it also advises against travel to parts of: Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar), Cameroon, Colombia, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Haiti, India, Iran, Israel, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of the Congo, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uganda, Ukraine, Venezuela, Western Sahara.


*Read more of today’s top Derby and Derbyshire stories here.


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