The 5 Unfriendliest Cities in the World

Teenage girl rolling her eyes while wearing earphones.

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Many destinations are known for their cultural and historic contributions to the world. While London, Paris, and Berlin are filled with monuments to the events and situations that shaped humanity, other destinations are marred with more serious issues that affect international travelers. From pickpocketing across Europe to nations dealing with massive governmental corruption, some places have the ability to make guests feel very unwelcome.

While most locals are proud of their hometowns and are excited to share information with visitors, others have a reputation for being cold and guarded. More importantly, some residents simply won’t talk to strangers and consider striking up a conversation on the street or in a subway a major social faux-pas. Are you prepared to visit the unfriendliest cities in the world?

Although traveling to unfriendly cities can be intimidating, if you're prepared for the worst, you can navigate even the most hostile environments. By understanding where service may be a premium, you can brace yourself for the best and worst a destination has to offer—even if their people may be the worst.

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Moscow, Russia

Red Square in Moscow at Sunset
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Dating back to the city's formation in A.D. 1340, Moscow has seen a great deal of change over time. Today, Moscow remains very cold toward visitors, and not just for the freezing temperatures year-round.

In addition to having incredibly strict and expensive visa requirements, travelers are often subjected to notoriously terrible traffic and poor attitudes from residents.

Those who are planning a trip to Moscow should carefully plan their trip to the city before arriving. Experts suggest joining a tour group to see all the sights and applying for a visa once their trip is formalized. For this reason alone, having a duplicate passport may be a good idea.

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Newark, New Jersey

Newark, New Jersey
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Not all of the unfriendliest cities in the world are difficult to get to. Two of the worst-ranking cities came in the United States.

Although the argument could be made for the entire state of New Jersey, the unfriendliest city in the United States can be found in a location better known for its problems with airport governance. In addition to political problems, Newark has also experienced a spike in crime rates.

Not to be outdone is Atlantic City, which travelers claim to be the rudest city in America. They state the former eastern seaboard gaming capital is full of rude, fast-paced people, with casinos that paled in comparison to Las Vegas.

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St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg russia
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Although Moscow may be considered the unfriendliest city in the world, coming in a close second is another historic Russian stronghold, known more for its association with the Czars than hospitality. St. Petersburg—also known throughout history as Petrograd and Leningrad—ranks high as one of the unfriendliest cities in the world.

Although St. Petersburg received high marks for its historical significance and incredible architecture, visitors found the residents of St. Petersburg to be aloof and disinterested in helping guests get around. However, one could make the argument that St. Petersburg has a history of being unfriendly towards everyone. St. Petersburg also bears the historic nickname: “the city of three revolutions” after the October Revolution in 1917 ultimately put Vladimir Lenin in power of the nation.

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Marseilles, France

Boats docked outside Marseille
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Despite being named the 2013 European Capital of Culture and the 2017 European Capital of Sport, Marseilles is a city that many travelers would rather not visit as a top-tier destination. Visitors to this unfriendly city claim that they found the Marseilles to be gritty and unkempt, following its tradition as a high-volume trading port throughout history.

While Marseilles didn't rank high on the hospitality scale, those who made the trip to the second-largest city in France noted that it still had a much more relaxed vibe than the capital of Paris.

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Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles skyline intermixed with smog.
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Despite being the inspiration for the Beach Boys' "Endless Summer," travelers have no shame ranking Los Angeles one of the unfriendliest cities in the world.

Although shopping scams and taxi scams can be the most prevalent threats targeting travelers, there are ways to combat the rudeness in Los Angeles. By researching maps prior to a visit and planning routes that avoid dangerous or traffic-congested areas, you can avoid asking locals for assistance. If you are overly concerned about your safety during a trip, you may want to consider booking tours instead of wandering on your own.