How Safe Is Essen for Travel?

Updated On January 29, 2024
Essen, Germany
Safety Index:
77
* Based on Research & Crime Data

In Western Germany, in the North Rhine-Westphalia state, Essen has a population of 590,000 residents.

As the ninth-largest city in Germany, Essen is best known for its industrial past, specifically in the steel and coal industries.

Recently, Essen has become a center for the creative and cultural industries due to the several museums and multiple green spaces.

The city’s mass transit is excellent and well-connected to other locations nationwide, with major airports, highways, expressways, and train stations nearby.

Although Essen is considered a safe destination for tourists, even at night, crime statistics show increasing crime levels over the past three years, with a 72.53 / 100 rating (with 100 being the highest crime level).

The overall crime level is 47.19, considered moderate, mostly due to petty theft and other non-violent crimes.

If you’re considering visiting or relocating to Essen, keep reading to learn more!

Warnings & Dangers in Essen

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

Essen is a highly safe destination for visitors who want to experience the cultural and historical aspects of Germany. Like most other European cities, non-violent scammers and pickpockets are the greatest risk. If you use common sense and apply typical precautionary rules, the risk of an issue will be minimal.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

Taxis are honest and safe in Essen, even when hailing them on the street. Also, ridesharing apps and cars are readily available for pickup across the area. Public transit is also safe, but it's important to be vigilant for pickpockets, especially when crowded at rush hour, as this is where they operate the most.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM

Like most European cities, pickpockets are abundant at popular tourist sites and crowded areas. Always keep your wallet and mobile device in your front or zipped pocket, as it's easy for a pickpocket to grab from your back pocket. Just remain vigilant and use common sense in crowded areas to avoid issues.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW

Essen has no threat of major natural disasters, so this is not a risk to be worried about. The area receives minor earthquakes occasionally, but they are not devasting. Also, the local lakes and rivers can flood close to the banks, which is not a concern for visitors.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

Most crimes in Essen are non-violent, so the chance of being kidnapped or mugged is low. It's still essential to avoid deserted and poorly lit streets and abandoned areas so you don't put yourself in a precarious situation. If you end up in one of these areas, calmly turn around and return the way you came. In the rare instance that you're mugged, hand over your belongings without resistance.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM

Unfortunately, Germany has experienced terrorist attacks in recent history that have resulted in some casualties. Although these attacks have not been in Essen, there is a medium risk of occurrence, so it's best to report suspicious activity to the local authorities, even if it turns out to be non-threatening.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM

Like any city, Essen has plenty of tourist sites, so the risk of being scammed is medium. Pay special attention to those that distract you by asking questions or being extra friendly and chatty, as you don't know who is behind you. That doesn't mean friendly locals attempt to scam you but be cautious. Also, double-check the change you receive at a bar or restaurant and negotiate services in advance.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

Essen and Germany are safe for female travelers, even those visiting solo. It is important to follow basic precautionary guidelines like being around strange companies at night, not walking alone down alleys or poorly lit areas, and using ridesharing apps or taxis late at night. Essen is a female-friendly city, so there is little to worry about if you use common sense.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

Essen's tap water is among the highest quality and safest in the world. The quality checks and purification standards make it suitable for tap consumption. A good money-saving tip is to bring a water bottle and fill it up at the tap, so you don't need to purchase tap water.

Safest Places to Visit in Essen

Although Essen is one of Germany’s lesser-known cities, it’s becoming a popular option for domestic relocation, so there are plenty of safe places to visit and stay.

All the city’s tourist attractions and historical sites are safe to visit during operating hours with excellent police presence.

The best neighborhoods in the city include:

  • Innenstadt – a great neighborhood for center city living, exploring restaurants and bars, and seeing the sights.
  • Altendorf – the best neighborhood for being a residential area and raising a family, but the Turkish food is worth heading to this district for.
  • Sudviertel – this neighborhood is excellent for experiencing the local culture and bar, café, and eatery-hopping.
  • Nordviertel – the best neighborhood for outdoor activities and the student population.
  • Ruttenscheid – a fantastic area for those who enjoy coffee shop varieties.
  • Bredeney – an ideal destination for enjoying the riverside and related outdoor activities.

Places to Avoid in Essen

Essen is a safe place to visit; a few areas have higher crime rates than the rest of the city.

These include Altenessen, Altendorf, and Vogelheim, which have parts occupied and controlled by criminal gangs.

As a visitor, there are no tourist attractions in these areas, so there’s no reason to visit.

Otherwise, avoid dimly lit and secluded streets, dark alleys, and abandoned buildings, especially at night.

While violent crime is not an issue, there’s no point in unnecessarily putting yourself in a bad situation.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Essen

  1. Always Carry Identification. German police can request identification from visitors or citizens without cause. While this should not be cause for concern since they don’t walk around asking it from everyone, it’s important to have the proper identification, such as a driver’s license or identification card, when walking around Essen. Never bring your passport with you while exploring the city.
  2. Be Aware of Beggars. Beggars are common in most European cities and will attempt to distract you by pickpocketing or stealing your belongings, so just politely decline whatever they are asking and walk away.
  3. Be Vigilant in Public Places. Since pickpocketing is such a problem in Europe, and Essen is no exception, it’s important to be aware of your environment at all times, especially in crowded public places and when using mass transit. Keeping track of your items and being vigilant will ensure no pickpocketing issues.
  4. Contact 112 For an Emergency. If you need fire, police, or medical assistance while visiting Essen, you can call 112, which is the emergency services number, for free. Also, each state has a direct emergency phone number for each department, so it’s important to store them before traveling to Essen or write them down for each region you plan to visit.
  5. Don’t Carry Large Sums of Cash. Always take the money you need for the day and leave the rest in your accommodation. Also, only bring one credit card with you for the day. This will ensure you won’t have any financial challenges if you are pickpocketed or another incident occurs.
  6. Hold Your Wallet in Your Front Pocket. Pickpockets are experts in sliding your wallet or phone from your back pockets through distraction. Keeping your belongings in your front or a zipped pocket makes lifting and protecting yourself significantly harder for them.
  7. Keep Valuables Locked Away. The valuables and important travel documents left in your accommodation should be locked away in the hotel safe or in your luggage if a safe is unavailable. When the turndown service comes in, if you have cash, expensive items, or important documents sitting on the table, it could be an opportunistic crime, so eliminate this risk by locking away all essential items.
  8. Make Copies of Important Travel Documents. Always make digital and physical copies of important travel documents like your passport, identification card, and credit card. If your passport is lost or stolen, this will help expedite a replacement with your home embassy. While your passport should be locked away in your hotel room, you will be prepared with these documents if an incident occurs.
  9. Never Leave Unattended Bags. Leaving bags unattended in any location (crowded or not) is never a good idea since it’s easy for a criminal to walk by, grab the item, and leave. This includes bars and restaurants, no matter how high-end or safe they seem. If you get up to use the restroom, bring your belongings to guarantee they are not stolen or nobody goes through them.
  10. Wear Your Bag at the Front of Your Body. Along the same lines as having your wallet in your front pocket, wearing your bag at the front of your body ensures criminals don’t grab items without notice.

So... How Safe Is Essen Really?

Essen is as safe as other European cities of the same size.

Laws are strictly enforced, there is a strong police presence, and crime rates are low.

Pickpockets are the greatest issue, but if you keep your wallet and phone close to your body in the front pocket and remain vigilant in crowded areas, you won’t have any issues.

Violent crimes like assault, rape, robbery, kidnapping, mugging, and homicide are not an issue.

When using mass transit and in crowded places, take extra precautions to protect your belongings.

Also, avoid getting confrontational with aggressive beggars, if you come across any, by politely declining.

Some beggars are organized in groups, so being polite eliminates this issue.

The only violence the city sees is with drunken male tourists looking for a fight late at night.

As long as you stay away from these individuals, Essen is a safe and extraordinary destination.

How Does Essen Compare?

CitySafety Index
Essen77
Frankfurt74
Berlin78
Munich85
Dresden75
Dusseldorf75
Cologne83
La Paz (Bolivia)52
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

Most only require a visa for those visiting more than 90 days. If you plan to stay longer, you must get a visa through the German Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Also, ensure your passport is valid for at least six months following your return. If you need clarification about visa requirements, navigate to the German government website for more information.

Currency

Currency

Since Germany is part of the European Union, the official currency is the Euro. ATMs are scattered around Essen as part of banks or individual units, all of which are safe to use. Credit cards are widely accepted in cities but may not be accepted in smaller establishments in rural towns, so always have cash as a backup.

Weather

Weather

Essen has a mild climate without extended periods of hot or cold weather. Summers are warm; winters are cool and rainy with some snow. There is no dry season in this area of the country. The warmer temperatures arrive around the end of May and last until the first week of September. The cold season runs from the end of November to the end of February.

Airports

Airports

Essen is centrally located between Dortmund, Duisburg, Dusseldorf, Wuppertal, and Cologne a little further south. As a result, the nearest airport is Dusseldorf, which is only around 16 miles away. Other airports include Dortmund (26 miles), Weeze (38 miles), Cologne (40 miles), and Eindhoven (70 miles), so there are plenty of international and domestic options.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

When traveling out of your home country, purchasing travel insurance is important. This financial backing protects you from lost or damaged baggage, flight delays, and cancellations and covers medical expenses. Travel insurance should be built into your travel budget when booking.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Essen Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 3° C
Feb 4° C
Mar 7° C
Apr 10° C
May 14° C
Jun 17° C
Jul 19° C
Aug 19° C
Sep 16° C
Oct 12° C
Nov 7° C
Dec 4° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
56101418212323191596
Low
°C
11361012151412852
High
°F
414350576470737366594843
Low
°F
343437435054595754464136

Germany - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Berlin78
Bremen65
Cologne83
Dortmund74
Dresden75
Dusseldorf75
Essen77
Frankfurt74
Hamburg82
Leipzig78
Munich85
Nuremberg87
Stuttgart73
Wiesbaden57

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