Is Paris Safe to Visit in 2023 (And Can You Travel to France Again?)
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic– and following isolated terrorist attacks and occasionally-violent street demonstrations in recent years– many people are wondering whether Paris is still safe to visit. A quick look at Google’s search statistics confirms that the anxious question is one on thousands of travelers’ minds. It’s an understandable one, too. Yet in the absolute, Paris remains a safe destination, and with some precautions in mind all visitors should feel comfortable traveling to the capital.
Read on for the latest information on travel advisories and precautions to take when visiting France, and for my full safety tips for anyone planning a trip to Paris.
I start by covering some of the topics most likely to be on travelers’ minds, followed by more long-term safety issues and concerns. You can use the “Explore This Article” tab below to directly navigate to the information of most immediate interest and use to you.
Explore This Article
Current Safety Advisories for Paris & France
The US State Department currently shows a Level 2 travel warning for France, corresponding to the advice “Exercise increased caution” and citing risks including Covid-19, terrorism and potential civil unrest. See the full advisory here .
To see current safety advisories for your country of origin and specific safety tips from your Embassy or Consulate in France, see this page.
Covid-19 Cases & Deaths in France & Current Travel Safety Regulations
In France, according to updated data from the French government, there have been over 36.8 million confirmed cases since January 24th, 2020. On October 31, 2022 there were over 20 million active cases of Covid-19 in the country, most driven by the more contagious Omicron variant and its subvariants. The vast majority of these were rated as “mild”.
As of October 30th, 2022, over 156,000 people have died from COVID-19 in France. Most patients were elderly and/or had pre-existing conditions, although in recent months hospitals have seen higher numbers of younger patients.
Daily hospitalizations and deaths have remained relatively low compared to previous waves of outbreak– owing in part to high vaccination levels, an ongoing booster-dose drive in the country, and potentially milder infections from the Omicron variant. Nevertheless, hospitals have been pressured by a surge in patients since late autumn 2021.
After implementing a raft of restrictions in late 2021 in response to the surge in infections, France relaxed many of these restrictions in February. Prime Minister Jean Castex said France was “entering a new stage of the pandemic” and announced that nightclubs, stadiums and other venues would be allowed to re-open.
Requirements for International Travelers Entering France (As of November 2022)
The French government has implemented many public health and safety measures throughout the pandemic, ranging from strict lockdowns and vaccine passes to the widespread administration of Covid vaccines and boosters. Currently, most restrictions have been relaxed due to fewer cases circulating, widespread immunity in the population, and the dominance of the milder Omicron strain.
On August 1st, 2022, France lifted most Covid-related restrictions on travel and travelers. There are no longer any paperwork or formalities to complete to arrive in mainland or overseas France, and no Covid-19 certificates or proof of vaccination are required at this time, irrespective of country or area of origin.
However, should a dangerous variant become of major concern, France reserves the right to reinstate health measures such as vaccine certificates or passes for travelers from at-risk countries.
You can find updated information on current entry requirements and restrictions for France at this page on the France Diplomacy website. Please do consult that site in addition to this page for the most recent guidelines; while we do endeavor to update this page as frequently as possible, the regulations have been changing frequently.
The French “Vaccine Pass”: What You Need to Know
Recently re-elected French President Macron announced a controversial new set of safety measures and restrictions in July 2021, requiring all residents and visitors in France to show “Covid-19 vaccine passes“ (passes vaccinales) before entering many public spaces indoors, including restaurants, bars, museums, shopping centers, sports events, theatres, long-haul train and airline services, and more.
But as of March 14th, 2022, such passes are no longer required for entering most public spaces. Exceptions are hospitals, care homes and other health care settings.
How Many Vaccines Has France Administered so Far?
It has administered over 54.5 million first vaccine doses– out of a population of roughly 60 million. Nearly 54 million people in France have received two doses and are fully vaccinated–over 79% of the total population.
The government began rolling out “booster” vaccine doses to all adults over 18 in the late autumn 2021, in response to rising cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
What’s Now Open? Is the Pandemic Essentially Over in France?
After months of strict lockdown measures and closures in 2020 and early 2021, France has almost entirely eased Covid-related restrictions, with restaurants, cafes, museums, monuments, cinemas, theatres, and other cultural institutions re-opening May 19th, 2021. Outdoor service also resumed at restaurants and cafes that month.
While it may feel as if the pandemic is essentially “over” in France, regulations and restrictions might change quickly in the event of a new variant of concern or hospitals becoming overwhelmed in response to a spike in cases. Make sure to watch the situation carefully if you plan to travel to France in the coming weeks and months, including from within Europe.
Do I Have to Wear a Mask in France?
As of March 2022, masks are no longer required in outdoor and indoor spaces and settings in France, with the exception of hospitals, care homes and other health care settings (where “vaccine passes” are also still required; see more above).
Masks are nevertheless still required in public transportation (Metro, bus, tramway etc) in Paris and elsewhere in France. They are no longer required on long-distance trains such as Eurostar and TGV trains (assuming you have a vaccine pass).
Rules on Masks in Public Transportation
Public transportation services in Paris and elsewhere are currently running normally. Masks are no longer required to ride on the Metro, buses, tramways or RER (commuter-line trains) and fines no longer apply; however, wearing them remains strongly recommended “en cas d’affluence” (in case of crowding).
Travelers on Eurostar trains are also no longer required to wear masks, but they remain recommended.
How to Lower Your Health Risks While Traveling?
All travellers can take sensible precautions to lower their risk of acquiring the virus (or any others) and spreading it to others. In addition to considering wearing a face covering when in crowded public spaces and/or when experiencing any cold or flu symptoms, wash hands frequently with soapy water for at least 20 seconds; if soap is unavailable use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol solution.
Do your best to avoid touching your face, especially before thoroughly washing your hands.
Keep a good distance from those who are coughing or otherwise appear ill, and avoid shaking hands or giving “bisous” (French-style kisses on the cheeks).
“Gilet Jaune” (Yellow Vest) Protests & French Transport Strikes
Starting in late December 2018, smaller groups of “gilets jaunes” (yellow vest) protestors staged demonstrations in the capital, almost exclusively on Saturdays. Some saw demonstrators throw rocks, burn cars and break store windows. But starting in late May 2019, the protests simmered out, in part due to a much heavier police presence.
Since late 2019, the protests have occurred sporadically and at a much smaller scale. They are not currently a concern for travelers to the capital or elsewhere in France. Even when civil unrest was at its peak in 2018 and 2019, you should know that tourists have not been injured or otherwise endangered by these protests.
General Safety Concerns: Putting Your Risks Into Perspective
With what seem to be frequent reports of violent incidents in the capital over the past few years, it can indeed feel scary to be a visitor these days. But as I detail at length in my piece on why you shouldn’t fear coming to the city since the terrorist attacks of 2015 and earlier, there have been exaggerated accounts in some media outlets about the dangers tourists face when visiting Paris.
But in a modern world where there are many complex risks to weigh and negotiate all the time, it’s important to put those risks into perspective. It’s not about discounting potential danger. It’s about recognizing that life must go on– and that living in fear shrinks your world and its possibilities.
So before you cancel your trip or decide on another destination out of fear that you may be the victim of a terrorist attack or some other form of violent crime, read through my advice below.
As I’ve said elsewhere, Paris greatly depends on tourism to thrive as a city. It would be catastrophic to its livelihood to see too many people stay away and renounce all the capital has to offer out of a disproportionate sense of fear.
The Reality: Statistically Speaking, Paris Remains Very Safe
While Paris has admittedly taken a significant knockdown in world city safety ratings due to recent terrorist attacks, violent crime is still generally uncommon in the capital. OSAC, the US Bureau of Diplomatic Security, notes that tourists are generally safe in the city, and that street crime such as pickpocketing remains the primary concern.
To break it down a bit: The violent crime rate in France is roughly on par with Canada’s, and is three times lower than rates in the US.
According to French government statistics, even when taking into account deaths from terrorist attacks, the homicide rate in Paris per 1,000 inhabitants between 2015 and 2017 was only 0.019 (0.014 if you exclude the attacks).
You get my drift. Violent crime, and especially the sort that threatens lives, is relatively rare in Paris. Gun violence there is astronomically lower than it is in comparably sized cities in the US.
And while the US State Department website advises that tourists remain aware of their surroundings and exercise caution due to potential terrorist threats, take note: they don’t recommend cancelling your trip or avoiding the city.
My conclusion? Yes, there are some risks that can’t be denied. Most large metropolitan cities, including London and New York, carry similar risks in our globalized world. Should you avoid setting foot in these places altogether?
Everyone has to make choices that they feel comfortable with, but from my perspective, you’d be greatly overestimating the dangers you face by doing so.
Pickpocketing is the Most Common Crime Affecting Tourists
I’ve talked about the unlikelihood of tourists becoming victims of violent crime in Paris. However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t risk being targeted for petty street crimes that can still make your trip a nightmare.
Pickpocketing is by far the biggest threat to visitors, so you should learn how thieves operate and take all the precautions necessary to avoid being targeted.
How to Avoid Pickpockets in Paris?
Pickpockets operate in predictable and often highly organized ways, targeting tourists in crowded and popular areas. Often, they get away with your wallet or purse so quickly that you barely feel a thing. To keep this from happening, take these steps:In any crowded place (busy lines, congested metro cars, open spaces full of tourists snapping photos), take extra care with your belongings.
It’s best to carry a bag or purse that you can wear crisscrossed around your chest, with pockets and valuables hugged to your front and in plain view. If you wear a backpack, don’t leave wallets, cash, passports or other valuable items in the front compartments.
Only bring as much cash as you’ll likely need for the day, and maybe even less. 100 Euros or so is a good limit to aim for. Traveler’s checks can easily be exchanged for Euros at the American Express office on Rue Scribe (Metro: Opera).
If you must carry larger amounts of cash, consider wearing a money belt.
It’s always preferable to leave passports, large amounts of cash and other valuables in a hotel safe, if possible.
Never leave your bags or suitcases unguarded, even for a minute or two. Not only do you run the risk of them being swiped up by thieves between two blinks of an eye: they can also be legally confiscated and destroyed by security forces, under current safety regulations in public spaces.
What About ATM Thefts and Other Scams?
In addition to pickpockets, tourists are often targeted by scammers and thieves in other ways. ATMs/cashpoints are particularly vulnerable spots. Never allow anyone to linger nearby when you take out cash, and guard against prying eyes.
Never let anyone “help” you with a transaction at an ATM, or otherwise interfere with it. Ask the intrusive person to back off, and if they refuse, find another place to take out cash.
Around popular tourist attractions including the Sacre Coeur, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, merchants operating illegally are known to aggressively “persuade” tourists to buy their wares.
This often involves putting an object or trinket in your hand or inviting you to “try on” a bracelet.
Once you give in, a demand for payment often follows. Avoid this by refusing all advances from such “vendors” and not allowing them to place any items in or on your hand.
Protecting Your Health While in Paris
No one intends to get sick or suffer from an accident while traveling, but preparing for such unfortunate events will give you peace of mind and save you from outlandish medical costs.
Many international travel insurance policies cover up to millions of dollars in medical costs and liabilities, and are reasonably priced (about the cost of a nice meal out for one, or even less, depending on your age and pre-existing conditions). You can compare and purchase travel insurance policies here (via World Nomads).
Emergency Numbers to Keep With You
If you run into a medical or other emergency, call one of the toll-free numbers below from any phone, and contact your embassy. It’s wise to print out these numbers and keep them with you at all times:
- Medical Emergencies & Accidents: 15
- Fire brigade: 18
- Police: 17
- SOS Médecins (on-call doctors): 01 47 07 77 77
- SOS Dentaire (dentists): 01 43 37 51 00
- SOS burns: 01 58 41 41 41
Note that in most cases, calling “15” is the best thing to do in a medical emergency. If you have been the victim of a violent crime or other crime, it will be necessary to both inform the French police and to file a report with your embassy.
If you need a pharmacy in Paris, identify them by their green flashing crosses. Most neighborhoods in the city have at least one pharmacy within a few blocks’ radius. These pharmacies are open late or 24 hours a day, in case you need to seek advice from a pharmacist or purchase medical supplies late at night.
Safety for Pedestrians in Paris
While Paris is generally a very pedestrian-friendly city– the local government has been working to increase the number of car-free zones around the capital in recent years– drivers can be aggressive, posing a danger to walkers.
My advice? Take a defensive approach when crossing streets and busy intersections, checking for cars even when the light is green and/or when you have the right of way.
In areas that appear to be pedestrian-only, watch out for cars and aggressive motorcylists: some areas that are “car-“free” still allow motorcyclists, service vehicles and cyclists.
What About Driving?
I strongly advise against trying to drive in Paris. Parisian drivers can be aggressive and unpredictable (by many standards), and traffic conditions are often congested and unpleasant.
If you have to drive, your international driver’s license and insurance must be up to date. Also make sure you understand the local rules of the road.
And you should avoid, at all costs, driving around nightmarish traffic circles such as the one at the Place de l’Etoile on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées.
If you do opt to take a taxi, whether within the city or to the airport and back, make sure you only use reputable companies. Never accept a ride from a taxi that doesn’t have an official “Taxi Parisien” sign atop its roof and a visible meter inside. You may be overcharged or otherwise scammed, if you do…
Why to Register & Keep in Touch With Your Embassy
It’s always wise to register with your embassy ahead of your trip and to keep their contact details with you at all times.
In the event that your passport is lost or stolen, you experience a medical emergency or a crime, or are in the city at the time of a dangerous event, registering will ensure that you’ll be able to get in touch more quickly with your embassy and to receive help from them. This is a good list of world embassies and their contact details.
Once at your embassy’s site, read through any relevant travel advisories for Paris and France and find out how to register as a citizen traveling abroad before your trip.
Are There Dangerous Places in the Capital to Avoid?
I wish I could argue that Paris is entirely safe in all circumstances, but sadly, there are a few places that you’d probably be best off avoiding at night, especially for women and solo travelers.
Gangs are known to operate in some of these areas, and hate crimes have been reported around them in the past.
Take special caution late at night around the following metro stops and surrounding areas (and perhaps avoid altogether when traveling alone after dark): Chatelet les Halles, Les Halles, Pigalle, Couronnes, Belleville, Place des Fetes, Porte de St Ouen, Porte de Clichy, Gare du Nord, Stalingrad, Jaures, and Crimée. Please note that this is not a definitive list: you should probably be cautious in all areas of the city after nightfall, or when crowds disperse.
Also note that this is NOT a list of so-called “no-go” zones in Paris. From my perspective (and it’s one shared by most locals), these simply don’t exist within the city limits.
All 20 arrondissements in Paris (city districts) are generally safe, as long as you take some precautions in the areas mentioned above, and do so everywhere at night. Remember, “posh” areas can be remarkably empty after dark, so paradoxically you may be more vulnerable in these.
Unfortunately, I also advise against traveling to the Northern suburbs of Paris after nightfall. Violent crimes and hate crimes are more frequent in these areas, as is gang activity.
It pains me to advise this as I don’ t wish to stigmatize any communities or places, but from a standpoint of tourist safety, these areas are probably best avoided at night.
While Paris is generally a tolerant and diverse place that is welcoming to people of all colors, creeds, sexual orientations and gender expressions, there are occasional cases of harassment or even assault.
Women, especially when traveling alone or in small groups, should take extra care at night, especially when alone. Avoid places with poor lighting and few people roaming the streets. Safety is in numbers.
Also, be aware that French men sometimes read smiles or extended eye contact as permission to flirt or make sexual advances. With strangers, it’s best to assume a neutral stance that clearly says “I’m not interested”.
If a man makes unwelcome or aggressive advances in the street or in other public places, firmly say “non”, refrain from smiling, and walk away. Call the police if you are followed or the harassment continues, and retreat to a public cafe or other crowded place if necessary.
People of color generally have nothing to fear in Paris, a city with remarkable ethnic diversity. Nevertheless, hate crimes are not unheard of.
If you are a victim of an attack that you feel is racially motivated, report it to the police, your embassy, and if necessary to French watchdog SOS Racisme: + 33 (0)1 40 35 36 55
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and non-binary visitors are generally safe and welcomed in the capital, which harbors a large and vibrant LGBT community. That said, there has sadly been a spike in reports of homophobic attacks in Paris over the past couple of years, and in the areas I mention above as being potentially less safe after dark, it is advisable to be extra cautious.
Read my guide on homophobia in Paris over at TripSavvy for tips on staying safe, including for LGBT couples. If you are attacked, report it to the police and to your embassy, and state clearly if you believe the attack was a hate crime.
Advice for Jewish and Muslim Travelers
Jewish visitors may have read that Paris has become unsafe for them. It can’t be denied that antisemitic attacks have been on the rise in recent years, with targets including synagogues, places of business and Jewish individuals.
These attacks have been met with increased police protection of Jewish schools, places of worship and other sites important to the Jewish community.
While safety concerns are warranted, I want to stress that Paris has one of the largest Jewish communities in the world: one with a deep history that’s very much part of the cultural fabric of the city.
The vibe is generally welcoming and you shouldn’t fear visiting the city. It’s also important to know that there have been no recent reports of attacks against tourists of Jewish faith. Nevertheless, take precautions, particularly in the areas I mention above.
While I regret advising it, it may be best, late at night and in quiet areas, to remove visibly religious symbols and clothing items. Always report it to the police and to your embassy if you are a victim of an antisemitic attack. SOS Racisme can also help.
Muslim visitors may also fear attacks from Islamophobic individuals. Since 2015, there has been, according to numerous organizations, a sharp rise in attacks on Muslim places of worship and individuals.
Tourists of Muslim faith should not fear visiting the capital, however. Again, there is a large community here and most people are welcoming.
As always, though, if you experience harassment or violence make sure to report it to the police, your embassy, and perhaps to SOS Racisme (+ 33 (0)1 40 35 36 55).
While attacks on tourists of Muslim faith are exceedingly rare, it is important for victims to be heard, have their experience accounted for, and to seek the help they need.
*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you book products or services though this site, it comes at no cost to you, but will help fund more free, in-depth content here at Paris Unlocked. Thank you.
11 thoughts on “ Is Paris Safe to Visit in 2023 (And Can You Travel to France Again?) ”
can one travel a few days bw 16-23 dec 2019, flying from paris to nice, then flying back to paris without too much trouble or expense?
Yes, that’s entirely feasible. The flight is only about an hour long and many low-cost carriers offer very good fares if you book in advance. Check Easyjet, Iberia, and even Air France for sales on that route. Bon voyage!
This is positive news. Thanks for the update. Hopes are high that things return to normalcy soon. I love to travel to France during the summer, and I think it will be easier by then. I do go through travel blogs to understand the precautions we need to take enough steps to travel safely.
Considering that I want to travel to Europe one day this really helps me. Who doesn’t want to save money especially when you’re already on a trip. Thanks for the tips.
The topic of this blog is a question in my heart right now. I am eager to know this since I am getting bored at my home. Finally I came to an answer that yes it is safe to travel to France now. I will know find the list of best places to visit in France and after that I will start the process of online France Visa UK so that I can get it one time for my travelling with my kids and family.
I am from Singapore and am considering visiting France with my wife and 2 toddlers (ages 2 and 4) at the end of this year 2021 for Christmas. Thought it would be nice to let me kids experience a winter Christmas for a change. However I am concerned with how French people or Parisians view Asian tourists. Do they stigmatise them given how COVID-19 has been dubbed the “China virus” in the US? And are there any safe distancing measures in place for restaurants or museums in France (e.g. dine in no more than 2 pax at a table etc)? Are there any other pointers I should be aware of if we want to explore visiting beyond Paris to other parts of France during December? Thanks!
Hi Eric, thanks for reading and for your comment. While prejudice does sadly exist in Paris/France, tourists are very rarely the subject of attacks and harassment, and you can be rest assured that with some sensible precautions, you will feel safe and secure traveling there. I do understand your anxiety, but please know that Paris in particular is an incredibly diverse, cosmopolitan city, and again, as long as you follow some essential safety tips and guidelines, you have nothing to fear.
As to your second question, yes, there are currently safety measures in France to prevent the spread of coronavirus. “Health passes”, or vaccine passports, are required to enter most public spaces (or visitors must show proof of negative tests). Masks are also still required in all indoor public spaces including public transportation, shops, museums etc. You’ll find all the relevant, updated info in the link above.
Have a wonderful, safe trip, and thanks again for reading!
This article is so helpful and thank you for your time in writing this. I am from the US and traveling to Paris with my boyfriend February 2022. We both are fully vaccinated and may get booster shots if recommended to travel Paris. However, friends are telling me that France might go in lockdown again. What are your thoughts?
So glad to know you’ve found this helpful, Jessica. I wish I could predict what might happen next, but the Omicron variant of the virus is a real wild card. I don’t think anyone knows what might happen in the coming weeks and months in terms of travel restrictions. If you’re not comfortable with the uncertainty of that, I do recommend delaying your trip. Typically, since the pandemic began winter and spring have proven tough, with a reprieve in late spring through early fall. Perhaps if at all possible it would be best to try to reschedule your trip for that period? All the best!
My husband and I are visiting France in late March/early April 2022, spending time in Paris, Bordeaux, and the Dordogne. Your site has been so helpful as we plan our trip.
We are both fully vaccinated against COVID and received our boosters in mid-October. As I understand the current vaccine pass requirements, we are okay to travel to France (we’ll need to get the vaccine pass either before we leave or when we arrive). Is that right?
Thanks for your help.
I’m sorry to bother you as I know you yourself asked a question you would like answered….my husband and I are traveling to Paris late May. We are fully vaccinated and boosted, what is the “vaccine pass” you are referring to? Thank you in advance for your reply
Is It Safe to Travel to Italy?
Elizabeth Heath has lived in the Umbria region of Italy since 2009 and has been writing for TripSavvy since 2017. She has also written for Frommer’s, The Washington Post, Travel + Leisure, and more.
Jillian Dara is a freelance journalist and fact-checker. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, USA Today, Michelin Guides, Hemispheres, DuJour, and Forbes.
Italy was one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe at the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic, and made international headlines not just for the high rates of infection but also the strict lockdown that ensued. After months of strict limits, the government began to ease restrictions throughout the summer, possibly making way for the second wave that hit the country—along with the rest of Europe—in November 2020.
While thousands of travelers have already been forced or encouraged to cancel or reschedule their Italy travel plans, others are looking ahead and wondering: When will it be safe to travel to Italy?
When Will It Be Safe to Return to Italy?
As of December 31, 2020, many tourists from outside of the EU are still banned from entering the European Union, including those from the U.S. However, the EU began to slowly open up borders to nationals from certain countries beginning in October. However, restrictions are rapidly changing and the most up-to-date measures can be found directly through the Italian Ministry of Health.
With cases rising and the uncertainty of what’s to come after the winter holidays, travelers are advised to wait before planning a trip to Italy. Even international tourists who are allowed to enter the country are required to sign a declaration promising to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival, so it’s still not an ideal time for a vacation. The Italian government is preparing to start vaccinating residents, meaning that travel restrictions may start to ease throughout the spring of 2021. If all goes well, it’s possible that tourism will start to bounce back by that summer, but it’s still too soon to tell.
Until more is known about the country’s recovery and when you can visit again, keep researching the best places to visit in Italy and planning that dream trip.
Coronavirus in Italy
The first case of COVID-19 in Italy was reported in late January. Soon after, a cluster of cases was reported in the northern Italian region of Lombardy, where Milan is located, and the disease quickly spread, first in the north and then to other regions and neighboring European countries. A strict national lockdown brought the number of cases down to a controllable level by the time summer arrived, and restrictions were slowly lifted but on a region by region basis. Cases started to rise again throughout the fall and by November, a new second wave had hit the country with even more daily cases than in the spring. As of December 31, 2020, Italy had over two million cases and over 70,000 deaths, one of the highest number of cases and highest death rates in the world.
The relatively high death toll is mainly due to Italy’s large population of senior citizens. More than 20 percent of Italians are age 65 years and over, and that age group is the most vulnerable to serious illness and death from coronavirus. At first, the government of Italy attempted to contain the virus in a handful of northern regions but when those efforts failed, the entire country was ordered into lockdown in a drastic effort to slow or halt its spread.
The nationwide lockdown was announced on March 9, 2020, and was extended until May 3, essentially requiring that Italians stay home at all times. Because the virus can spread so rapidly, even among those who show no symptoms (and therefore don’t suspect that they are coronavirus-positive), strict rules were in place to limit person-to-person contact and possible transmission. As of May 4, however, those restrictions were slowly loosened and by the time summer arrived, Italians were allowed to move around and restaurants, bars, and shops were reopened.
After the emergence of the second spike, the Italian government re-instated new lockdown measures on November 4, 2020. The new measures are in effect until at least the end of January 2021, although they aren’t quite as extreme as the original lockdown. There is a nation-wide curfew at 10 p.m. and all bars and restaurants have to close by 6 p.m. Specific regions are color-coded as red, orange, or yellow, depending on their number of cases. Red-coded regions have the most restrictive measures and are not allowed to travel outside of their region.
Travel Restrictions and Regulations in Italy
On March 16, the EU (which includes Italy) proposed a ban on all non-essential travel to its member countries for 30 days, and that was later extended to May 15. As of December 31, 2020, the EU has slowly lifted travel restrictions on a country-by-country basis, although tourists from the U.S. are still not permitted to enter. Under the ban, only EU residents, residents’ family members, or essential workers such as healthcare workers, are allowed to enter these countries.
For those who are permitted to enter, there are different entry requirements depending on the country you arrive from, ranging from a written declaration to self-quarantine to a confirmed negative COVID-19 test taken just before your flight. Make sure you know what is required of you, or you could be denied entry into Italy.
U.S. Government Restrictions
On March 11, 2020, the U.S. president announced a ban on travelers entering from Italy and most other European countries with a yet-to-be-determined expiration. Although the ban does not include U.S. citizen/resident travelers returning home, those doing so will have to arrive through one of 13 designated airports for screening and may also be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
The State Department has Italy under a Level 3 “Reconsider Travel” Advisory, for those who are permitted to enter the country.
TripSavvy uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
Best Places To Visit in Europe in September 2021
September announces the end of summer in Europe when many are forced back to work or school. There are, however, plenty of reasons why September can be a great time for a holiday. If you’re wondering why and where to go in Europe in September, you may be happy to discover that there are gorgeous destinations that are far more pleasant and inexpensive in September. Besides low prices, splendid weather, and fewer crowds, Europe in September hosts many unique festivals and events which can transform into memorable experiences.
Please note a lot of the below events have been canceled or might get canceled due to the COVID 19.
I suggest that you also read the below posts for places you could travel in September in Europe.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission. It costs nothing extra to you but helps keep my site running. Thank you for supporting me in this way.
Table of Contents
Best Places to Go in Europe in September 2021
Munich, Germany for the Oktoberfest
18th of Sep 2021 – 5th of October 2021 (to be confirmed)
A legendary folk festival, Oktoberfest attracts millions of visitors to the beautiful Bavarian city Munich for what counts as probably the largest celebration in the world dedicated to beer. Spanning a bit over two weeks, the festival begins, despite its name, in September, and takes place in a meadow outside the city center, called Wiesn, where massive tents are set up.
During these two weeks of continuous partying, fun-loving Bavarians and enthusiastic tourists consume millions of liters of beer from local Munich breweries and a similarly impressive number of traditional grilled sausages and giant pretzels. Besides drinking and eating, there is also a lot of dancing and singing involved.
The festival features bustling parades of carriages and people dressed in traditional Bavarian costumes, live folk music, and fairground rides. In addition to being the host of Oktoberfest, Munich is popular on its own, boasting a wealth of attractions, including world-class museums and art galleries, charming architectural gems, and a vibrant nightlife.
Where to stay in Munich
Hotel Excelsior: The Hotel Excelsior is located in Ludwigsvorstadt and is situated near many iconic city spots. This modernly designed hotel incorporates many historical elements into it which adds a unique atmosphere. The hotel allows pets to stay and features a restaurant that has a special vaulted roof which is designed to make you feel as if you’re sitting in a German beer hall. There’s even a wine shop where you can visit and cooking classes you can sign up for. The rooms here each have their own unique flair like the Alpine Room and JS Classic and offer spacious bathrooms and helpful amenities like Wi-Fi.
Arthotel Munich: Located in Ludwigsvorstadt, the Arthotel Munich is situated near the Munich Central Station and features creative pop art pieces throughout it. The rooms here have soundproof walls, free Wi-Fi, and minibars. The hotel also has a restaurant that serves many mouthwatering dishes you can try. You can even spend some time wandering around the hotel looking at the art exhibitions it has scattered around it. Besides fantastic art, the hotel also offers a gym and bar you can use.
You might be interested in: How to spend 3 days in Munich.
Basel, Switzerland for the Art Basel
23rd of Sep 2021 – 26th of September 2021
A week that celebrates all that is great in art. Basel has played host to this annual event where the art world gets together in the City all that time and it has grown along the way.
Events are held throughout the week in the City and the surrounding region with modern and contemporary art on view from all over the world. As many as 4,000 artists are represented with a selection of gallerists available in person or on video to reveal their story. It is a truly international event which art lovers should visit at least once on their travels.
Venice Italy for the Regata Storica
5th of September 2021 (to be confirmed)
If you’re searching for an authentic, unique experience, Venice is one of the best places to visit in Europe in September due to an event known as the Regata Storica. Consisting of a historical boat parade, followed by a series of rowing races, the Regata Storica is one of those traditions that Venetians hold most dearly.
In fact, regattas have always been an important part of the history of Venice, with the first records about this type of event dating from the 13th-century. The Regata Storica, however, was first organized in 1841, as an annual boat race on Canal Grande, with the goal of allowing the best gondoliers to show off their skills.
Today, thousands of boats of all types gather in St Mark’s Bay to participate in the most popular race of the event, the gondolini regatta. If Venice is on your bucket list, this is a great time to visit to immerse yourself in the magic of the city.
Where to stay in Venice
Hotel Al Codega: This hotel has been rated as one of the best over and over again and it’s a great choice if you want to immerse yourself in a little bit of art and culture. This hotel has one of the best locations in Venice and also offers normal amenities – heaters, flat-screen TV, and much more.
Hotel Rio:Hotel Rio is right in the center of Venice, so of course, you’re in extreme proximity to attractions like the Rialto Bridge and Venezia Santa Lucia Train Station. This is a perfect place to stay in if you’re in Venice to shop and the hotel has a satellite TV, WiFi, toiletries and a hairdryer.
Barcelona, Spain for the Festes de la Merce
22nd of September to 26th September 2021 (to be confirmed)
Every year around the 24th of September, Barcelona hosts its biggest annual festival in honor of Mare de Déu de la Mercè, the Patron Saint of Barcelona. Les Festes de La Mercè, as it is known in Catalan, has been the official city holiday since 1871.
A lively street party lasting five days, La Mercè features hundreds of large and small events centered on Catalan culture and heritage, and not only. One of the most interesting traditions is the parade of the Devils, which are groups of locals dressed up in various scary costumes who run up the streets with handheld fireworks.
Another highlight of the festival is the fire runs, or Correfoc. A tame version of the performance is dedicated to children while in the evening, adults can enjoy a much more complex show. There are also numerous live music shows and parades that keep the atmosphere animated at every moment. Besides the festival, there are plenty of things to explore in Barcelona, from the amazing architectural works of Gaudi to beaches and flamenco bars.
Where to stay in Barcelona
Petit Palace Boqueria Garden: Situated right in the Boqueria of Barcelona, one of the most important monuments of the city, the Petit Palace Opera Garden is a gorgeous hotel with all the amenities needed and a central location. It’s simple, beautiful and has a genuine atmosphere to it. You have an area with a buffet, a picturesque courtyard, and modern furniture.
Ciutat de Barcelona: Huge sunlit windows, a rooftop terrace, a swimming pool and all amenities you might need in a hotel, the Ciutat de Barcelona is a 15-minute walk from the beach and only 1 minute away from the Gothic Quarter. The perfect location and the best of both worlds. It even has a tapas-style restaurant where you can have all meals.
Galway, Ireland for the International Oyster Festival
24th of September 2021 – 26th of September 2021
The Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival is the second most famous Irish festival after St. Patrick’s Day and one of the longest-running food festivals on the continent. This popular festival welcomes visitors with an outstanding variety of mouth-watering events, such as oyster opening championships, oyster-eating competitions, cooking demonstrations, cooking contests, culinary tours, and food tasting in some of the finest restaurants in the city.
During the festival, Ireland’s best musicians come up on stage as well. The program includes the World Oyster Opening Championship, a Marty Grass Party, and a beauty contest, among other exciting events. The newest addition to the festival is a Seafood Trail which takes guests to the city’s best restaurants where they can serve locally inspired cuisine and various delicacies.
The festival has already a long tradition, and the number of participants who seem to love the combination of oysters and champagne grows every year. Eating delicious food while exploring Ireland’s most artistic city is a great combination as Galway is known for its amazing folk musicians and great traditional Irish pubs.
If you’re a foodie, Galway is one of the best places to experience in September. Seafood- see food, eat food.
Berlin, Germany for the Lollapalooza
4th of September 2021 – 5th of September 2021
Originally from the USA, Lollapalooza is a music festival that has been taking place in various locations in Berlin during the past few years. The festival is hugely popular and manages every year to surpass everyone’s expectations with quality acts by internationally famous bands, DJs, and solo artists.
The program is highly versatile, trying to match all preferences and there is a great selection of entertainment going on at the same time so guests can choose their favorites. Incredible dancers perform in the background. Besides music and dancing,
Lollapalooza also features art corners and creative spaces where guests get lost exploring the beautiful designs and creating things by themselves. Some of the highlights are Fashionpalooza and Lolla Fun Fair with incredible performances from acrobats and actors.
Where to stay in Berlin
Hotel Johann:This charming hotel is on a quiet side street near the Landwehr canal in Kreuzberg. The rooms are comfortable, with a mix of modern and vintage décor. Great breakfast as well!
Regent Hotel:If five-star luxury hotels are more your style, then check out the Regent Hotel. This hotel has elegant furnishing, impeccable service, and a fabulous location directly overlooking the historic Gendarmenmarkt.
You might be interested in: How to spend 4 days in Berlin.
Budapest, Hungary for the wine festival
23rd of September 2021 – 26th of September 2021
The Budapest International Wine Festival is dedicated to world-renown Hungarian wines, but it’s not an event exclusively for wine lovers. People interested in gastronomy, local traditions, and cultural programs find the festival wonderful as well. Held on the grounds of the beautiful Buda Castle, with stunning views over the city, the festival quickly seduces participants with its unique historical setting.
The International Wine Festival has slowly become a prestigious event on Hungary’s cultural agenda due to its expansive program, which includes wine auctions, artistic performances, and live folk music. Guests get the chance to discover the art of winemaking and to sample excellent Hungarian wines and delicious culinary specialties. Each year, the festival focuses on a guest country’s wine culture.
The main highlight, however, is the Harvest Procession to the Buda Castle. Outside the festival grounds, it’s worth checking out the famous thermal baths of Budapest, the amazing Gothic architecture of the Parliament, and the numerous historical and cultural sights that the Hungarian capital packs up.
Where to stay in Budapest
Hotel Kempinski Corvinus: I had the pleasure of staying at this stylish hotel. It is in a great location; only minutes walk from the station. Within the hotel are restaurants and bars as well as a spa, an indoor pool, and a gym.
Hilton Budapest: Formerly an old 13 th -century monastery, this hotel is located opposite The Fisherman’s Bastion and provides full amenities including a restaurant, bar, gym, and sauna.
Due to its geographical position on the western coast of Europe, Lisbon is the sunniest capital on the continent, which makes it one of the most perfect September holiday destinations in Europe. Even though the high season is almost over, the weather remains splendid with an abundance of sunshine all throughout September.
While it does start to cool off a bit, going to the beach is still feasible until at least the middle of the month. The main advantage is that with fewer tourists, you will enjoy significantly lower prices and shorter waiting times at restaurants or at various attractions.
Sightseeing is definitely more pleasant in September and since Lisbon is one of Europe’s most vibrant capitals, you can still enjoy a lively atmosphere, especially in places frequented mostly by locals, such as Barrio Alto and Alfama.
You might want to check out: 4 days in Lisbon.
In the Greek islands, September is seen as the last month of the summer season, and if you want to avoid scorching heat, massive crowds, and high prices, this may be the perfect time to visit. At the beginning of September, crowds start to slowly dissipate and the temperatures are milder, which means that September is one of the most pleasant and serene months in the islands.
Although transportation schedules start to change around September 15, this is also the period when many cruise lines offer generous discounts before ending the European season and moving to warmer climates for the winter. Hopping from island to island can be, therefore, much cheaper in September.
Moreover, most of the islands enjoy at least 11 hours of daily sunshine, which makes outdoor activities that were impossible in the heat of the summer be an ideal option in September.
You might also like:
Amalfi Coast, Italy
September is considered the end of summer holidays in Italy, but if you want to visit the Amalfi Coast, this is great news because it means you can enjoy some relative peace and tranquility during your visit. A trip in September means far fewer crowds and reduced prices. Although towns and villages along the coast quiet down, hotels, restaurants, and bars are still open.
All the things that make the Amalfi coast so splendid, such as the scenery, the wealth of history and culture, and the delicious cuisine, can be more comfortably enjoyed in September. The weather remains pleasant throughout the month, and the water is warm.
While it does start to slowly cool off, it’s still warm enough to go to the beach and swim in the sea. Expect, however, cool evenings. The huge plus is that avoiding peak prices means you can spend more time on the trip on the same budget.
You might also be interested in:
- Where to stay in the Amalfi Coast
- An Amalfi Coast Itinerary
- The best Towns to visit in the Amalfi Coast
Castle hunting in the Rhine River, Germany
A visit to the Rhine River region in Germany will reveal an impressive range of fabulous castles that will transport you back in time. From medieval fortresses to highly elaborate architectural wonders, the surprises abound as there are more than 50 castles, palaces, and stately homes to discover in the area.
The romantic beauty of the Rhine and its castles is even more enchanting in September due to the changing colors of the landscape as autumn approaches. One of the best ways to explore the castles is to take a cruise along the Rhine.
Around each bend of the river, you will discover a new castle, surrounded by woodland, vineyards, and green hillsides. The most beautiful palaces are Augustusburg and Falkenlust, both listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Click here for the best castles in the Rhine.
If crowds and heat deter you from visiting some fabulous places in Europe, going in September is one the best solutions. A European city-break in September will always be much more rewarding and tranquil, and you won’t break the bank for it.