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Black American Tourists in Berlin/E. Europe: Is it Safe?

New York City, New...
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Black American Tourists in Berlin/E. Europe: Is it Safe?

I'm booked for a trip to Prague in March, but am planning on a 2-day add-on to, possibly, Berlin. I'm a 30ish black guy going solo, and have recently been told to "be careful" in parts of Berlin (and Central/Eastern European capitals in general) because of violent neo-nazi skinhead attacks against dark foreigners. And after surfing the net and some research, it does appear to be a rise in racist attacks in some places.

If anyone has any info regarding this, it would help tremendously since I don't know of any non-whites who've visited Central/Eastern Europe.

(Also, it's possible that I might drop the Berlin idea for either Vienna, Bratislava, or Munich anyway.)

So... Is it relatively safe for someone like me (alone) in any of those cities (Prague included)?

Bath, United Kingdom
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1. Re: Black American Tourists in Berlin/E. Europe: Is it Safe?

Although I'm not black, I'm not white either. My family has its roots in India and thus my skin is a light-brown 'tanned' colour. I have travelled extensively in Berlin, Germany and Europe as a whole and have never encountered racial hatred or violence.

Berlin is a very tolerant city and its population is a mixture of people from many different racial and religious backgrounds. If anything, possibly the greatest ill-feeling towards 'outsiders' by the Germans is in the direction of the extensive Turkish community within their capital, which moved to Germany as 'Gastarbeiter' or 'guest workers' during the 1960s and 70s. They were supposed to stay for a limited time only to assist in the rebuilding of Germany's economy during the 'Wirtschaftswunder', but many remained and also relocated their families.

I honestly think you have overreacted to a few minor incidents involving the so-called neo-Nazis. Berlin is a wonderful city and a safe city. As in any sizeable city, just remember to have a bit of awareness of what's happening around you. Keep valuables such as cameras, mp3 players, expensive watches and wallets hidden from view so as not to invite pickpockets. Also, try to avoid empty carriages of trains at night where possible.

Given the choice of the four cities you mentioned, I'd say definately go for Berlin and enjoy it!

Bremen, Germany
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2. Re: Black American Tourists in Berlin/E. Europe: Is it Safe?

I don't know about Prague, but Berlin is a safe place to visit.

As a tourist, you will probably walk around the city center and don't have any problems.

There are lesser safe areas in Berlin, more on the outskirts, that I (white + woman) would avoid at night too...But these areas aren't attractive for tourists at all ...these recommendations apply for Munich too.

When you have more informations about your visit (hotels and other things), we can give some more advice here.

Berlin, Germany
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3. Re: Black American Tourists in Berlin/E. Europe: Is it Safe?

Hi,

Berlin is a multicultural city. Around 15% (~500.000 people) of the city's population are immigrants from more than 160 countries. It's true that there have been bad news in the past about racism in Berlin and it's certainly the truth that there are areas in Berlin that foreigners should avoid. These "no-go"-areas are mainly limited to the eastern outskirts. As a tourist you'll hardly go there anyway because there is absolutely nothing that may be interesting for tourists. The interesting parts incl. the whole city centre is just as safe as a huge city can be.

Perrysburg, Ohio
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4. Re: Black American Tourists in Berlin/E. Europe: Is it Safe?

kar1969,

My husband (who is black) and I (who am white) spent a week in Berlin and a week in Prague this past August. We had absolutely no problem in either city. We didn't even encounter any hostile looks (that we noticed). I think that in general people in Europe are much less racist than folks in the US. Be aware, however, that Praguers are very reticent and much less forthcoming than Berliners. Berliners are lots of fun, whereas Praguers are very reserved. Don't take it personally or think it's a racial thing...it's the way they are with everybody. I hope you have a great time in both cities....Berlin is vibrant, exciting and my favorite city in Europe. Prague is fairly tale beautiful and has such spectacular architecture you'll be amazed. Neither city should be missed, so please don't drop Berlin.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Black American Tourists in Berlin/E. Europe: Is it Safe?

Thanks to all of you for your valuable input. I'll definitely steer clear of eastern Berlin and enjoy the sights, culture and nightlife of both cities.

If anyone else has any additional input (or even opposing views), I still would love to hear them. Any and all other related info., anecdotes or suggestions concerning this issue about other nearby cities such as Munich, Vienna or Bratislava would be welcome as well.

Amsterdam, The...
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6. Re: Black American Tourists in Berlin/E. Europe: Is it Safe?

You will be fine in Berlin, my friend who is black lived in Berlin for 5 months and he was OK, the people in Berlin are really friendly and it is a great and clean city (and not so expensive as a lot of other European capitals!) just don't go to the eastern outskirts, but there is not a lot to see there anyway.

Prenzlauerberg and Mitte are former East-Berlin neigbourhoods but they are in the city center and they will be really safe to go to, you hardly will see that they used to be East-Berlin.

u.k.
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7. Re: Black American Tourists in Berlin/E. Europe: Is it Safe?

Just got back ..and I don't think you will have a problem..Berlin is a bit of a cultural mix really..one thing stood out for me was two young white (german) lads helping a black lady with her cases up the steps to the s-bahn at Hackescher Markt.she had two young kids in tow and the lads went out of their way to make sure she was alright and on the right train.

I am Deaf and did have a few problems getting around..but the German people were great and looked after me when I needed assistance. Have a great trip!

You can advise me actually...how safe is New York for a family trip...what time of night is it really not safe on the streets..say around Times square if we want to see the night life?

u.k.
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8. Re: Black American Tourists in Berlin/E. Europe: Is it Safe?

Back again to say ..isn't life a bugger that we should have to worry about race and religion every where we go. We should all live and let live. Life is too short!

Berlin, Germany
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9. Re: Black American Tourists in Berlin/E. Europe: Is it Safe?

As said before you don't really need to worry. Berlin is a fairly safe city whatever colour or nationality you are. Berlin has like most other bigger cities its "no go areas" but these are areas where tourists hardly go as there is nothing much to see really. These are also areas where I (white and female) don't like to be at night times.

Berlin, Germany
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10. Re: Black American Tourists in Berlin/E. Europe: Is it Safe?

A good friend of mine who is black visited me in Berlin and she had a good time and didn't experience any problems.