The Five Unfriendliest Cities in the World

  • 01 of 06

    France, Russia, and The United States Had the Unfriendliest Locals

    Traffic jam at rush hour on Harbor Freeway, Downtown L.A., Los Angeles, Kalifornien, USA
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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 which 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 destinations 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? 

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  • 02 of 06

    Moscow, Russia

    Red Square in Moscow at Sunset
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    Dating back to the city's formation in 1340 A.D., Moscow has seen a great deal of change over time. Today, Moscow remains very cold towards 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. Moreover, many travelers gave the local cuisine the worst marks among the cities surveyed by Travel and Leisure.

    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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  • 03 of 06

    Newark, New Jersey

    Newark, New Jersey is also known as an unfriendly destination - joined by neighboring Atlantic City.
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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 their problems with airport governance. Across several lists, Newark is consistently ranked as America’s unfriendliest city. In a survey of 46,000 travelers by Condé Nast Traveler, those who had the pleasure of commuting through the city claimed their only reason was to travel through the airport.

    In addition to political problems, Newark has also experienced an spike in crime rates: In 2013, data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation noted Newark had the third highest murder rate in the United States. 

    Not to be outdone was Atlantic City, New Jersey, which Travel and Leisure found to be the rudest city in America. Readers said 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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  • 04 of 06

    St. Petersburg, Russia

    Known as the "city of three revolutions," St. Petersburg is also known as one of the most unfriendly destinations in the world.
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    Although Moscow may be considered the most unfriendliest city in the world, coming in a close second is another historic Russian stronghold, known more for their association with the Czars than hospitality. St. Petersburg – also known throughout history as Petrograd and Leningrad – ranked as the third unfriendliest city in the world by Travel and Leisure.

    Although St. Petersburg received high marks for their 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 Vladmir Lenin in power of the nation. 

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  • 05 of 06

    Marseilles, France

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    Despite being named the 2013 European Capital of Culture and the 2017 European Capital of Sport, there are many travelers who would rather not add Marseilles as a top-tier destination. Visitors to this unfriendly city told Travel and Leisure they found the Marseilles to be “gritty” and “unkempt,” following their 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. Furthermore, The Economist notes that the unfriendly notes could simply be an interpretation of local French culture. “Every unfriendly city is unfriendly in its own way,” The Ecoomist’s travel column muses. “In some towns, aloofness is all part of the charm.”

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  • 06 of 06

    Los Angeles, California

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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. Those who ended up in Los Angeles told Travel and Leisure the people are “rude [and] unhelpful, with “…people trying to scam you for everything.”

    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 can avoid asking locals for assistance. Those who are overtly concerned about their safety during a trip may want to consider booking tours instead of wandering on their own.

    Although traveling to unfriendly cities can be intimidating, travelers who are prepared for the worst can navigate even the most hostile environments. By understanding where service may be a premium, international fliers can brace themselves for the best and worst a destination has to offer - even if their people may be the worst.