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At first this article was supposed to be called “Is Eastern Europe safe?”. But slowly, this blog gets more and more readers (yesss! :D), and now I get messages on occasion from people I don’t know. Lately, the messages I got were among those lines “Hey! What you’re doing right now, that’s cool! It takes courage to travel alone in Eastern Europe. I’m about to travel around Eastern Europe, I’m black and I’ve never been there. I was wondering… You don’t have any problems? Is it safe? Are they racists towards black people? It’s not dangerous? I hear things about this or that country in the area, so I don’t really know…“
Hmmm… I understand the fear of racism. I also heard a lot of things about Eastern Europe, and a few people around me also made comments before my trip “Why are you going to Hungary? Their government is run by their far-right party, and they have an anti-immigration policy. You’re gonna have problems.” “Heard about the Belgrade football club? Their suporters are all hooligans. If you run into one of them, you’ll get in trouble so avoid going to Serbia.” “Don’t be fooled by a beautiful Romanian girl. She’ll flirt and hit on you just to go to your hotel with you. There, she’ll put drugs in your drink and before you know it, she’s gone with all your stuff…“
Yeah and I’ll also be locked up in a basement by a Czech gay rapists gang. As you might imagine (especially if it’s not the first article of this blog you’re reading), yes it’s safe to travel in Eastern Europe when you’re a black person. And I’m travelling solo… I wanna say people watch TV a little bit too much. Sensationnalism draws attention and of course, it sells! And those who think they know better than everyone else usually don’t travel at all, or rarely, they’ve never been in the area…
I left Paris and I started my long term trip in Eastern Europe exactly because it was an area I already knew. Before this trip, I’ve already been to Prague, Bratislava, Budapest three times, Belgrade and Bucharest. Oh, and I’ve also been to Croatia and Montenegro. Therefore I started knowing where I was going.
There’s no (actually there are very few) black guys in Eastern Europe. Therefore inevitably, when you walk around in the streets, most people will stare at you. Especially little kids! Yeah, that’s what it’s like to be traveling while black! People will point at you, friendly wave at you, some of them will smile at you. As for the adults, they’ll watch with surprise, and then they’ll keep doing whatever they were doing. Some of them will ask for a picture, but it’s not common.
A girl from Hungary told me “Everyone is free to think what they want about this music, but hip hop is very popular in Eastern Europe in general, and this music had a huge positive impact on the way you guys are perceived here. We’re glad to see you’re visiting our countries. It was a lot different 15-20 years ago. To us, black people are cool, bon vivant, funny, etc…“
And also good dancers, sporty and of course womanizers huh? I can’t tell you how many times I was asked if I was a footballer on holidays (seriously it happened in almost all the cities I’ve been to!). I can’t tell you how many times someone in bar grabbed my arm in a bar and said “Come on! Go to the dancefloor! You know how to dance!” Lemme sip my drink… And all those guys in the streets asking me if I wanna go to a strip club, if I wanna get cheap girls, or the ones asking me where are the hottest girls in the city, etc…
This hip hop thing, I think the Hungarian girl is right. I often heard “Wassup bro?“, “Wassup homie?“, people spontaneously coming at me just to shake hands, or “High five!” with a big smile. But I also heard “Hiii my nigga!“. The intention is clearly not bad but I have to explain them not to use this word, it’s full of meaning, etc… “But… Don’t you call each other that way? I don’t get it…” So I have to debate, but they end up understanding “All right I’ll stop using this word, I don’t want to hurt you.“
And what about a black girl traveling solo? I met three black solo female travellers. One in Moldova, she was from the US. After spending a few months in Southeast Asia, she decided to travel around Eastern Europe, by herself (Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, etc…). She had absolutely no problems. Some local guys she met made lewd comments, she was being fetishized. But that’s it. Same for the two other ones. I met the first one in Bratislava, and the other one in Bucharest. They also both met some smooth-talkers trying to flirt, but they were safe.
A few clarifications : it’s safe to travel around Eastern Europe as a black person BUT I haven’t been to Russia, where you hear the worst stories regarding racism towards black people. And I wouldn’t say Ukraine (especially Kiev) is completely safe. At times I didn’t feel like I was welcome in the city.
Another thing : people usually stare at you with surprise BUT as a black man, if you walk in the streets with a local girl, looks won’t be the same. People will not stare at you, but they’ll stare at the girl walking next to you. From head to toe, they’ll look hard at the girl… It happened in Prague, Budapest, Belgrade and Bucharest. I’m not sure they like when you hang out with one of “their” girls…
Anyway, we are safe, even in remote places like Cricova, and as I said earlier, I’m travelling solo. Just like everywhere, follow the rules and don’t do silly things and you’ll be fine. If that doesn’t bother you being stared at on a regular basis, it will be ok. Some people will make comments between them, not discreetly at all, when they’ll see you passing by, smiling or even laughing sometimes. If that doesn’t bother you ignoring them, you’ll have no problems!
Eastern Europe travel tips
- Traveling soon? Check my travel resources page! This list of travel accessories can also be useful!
- Please, do NOT leave home without a travel insurance! Here’s why you should buy travel insurance!
- Want a tailor-made trip to Eastern Europe? Get a free quote here!
- There are many beautiful cities in Eastern Europe. If you’ve never been there, I suggest you to start with Prague or Budapest. You can go by yourself, with your special one, with friends or with your family, you’re gonna love those cities. Those are two very beautiful cities, and it’s easy to get there by plane, or by bus if you’re already in Europe. Bucharest is also a beautiful city, but it fails to win unanimous support.
- Always use a VPN when you’re traveling. I use ExpressVPN and I love it! Here’s why you should use a VPN when traveling!
I was shocked into reading this post. The activist on me was ready to come out in full force upon seeing your title. I mean, I was fired up…
I’m glad I took the time to read this and that my inner activist can go sit down somewhere.
I loved reading your post and it made me want to experience these places for myself. I hope one day, I will be able to. Fantastic read!
Thank you very much 🙂
J’adore.Merci pour ce post
Merci à toi pour ton commentaire!
I am glad you feel safe traveling to Eastern Europe! But, to be honest, I am not so sure about Poland. I am truly terrified of how much it has turned to the right in the recent two-three years. We hear daily about attacks on people who look “different”, most of it is the result of anti-immigration fear mongering and people who look vaguely “Arab” can and are attacked (including Poles with darker complexion). Recently there was a vicious attack on Polish couple in France committed by a few Africans and the scale of disgusting hate speech that flooded the air against ALL non-Europeans is just horrifying.
To clarify – I am from Poland, I live in Warsaw. I want to see my country get to normal, but at the moment it does not seem to be a safe place for anyone considered “other”, based on race, faith or sexual orientation.
Happy – and safe – travels!
Ioanna (A Woman Afoot)
Hi Ioanna! Oh wow you’re the first one telling me Poland is unsafe for anybody looking different. And to be honest, Poland would be one of the last countries I’d be thinking about, when talking about unsafe countries in Eastern Europe. I’ll probably go there next year, so I’ll see by myself how it goes.
You said the country is unsafe for anyone consiedered different based on race, faith or sexual orientation. I just checked your blog… Is it unsafe even for someone like you?
It is potentially dangerous – although gay guys are in more danger as they are more hated by the homophobes. I don’t go out much and I don’t’ have a girlfriend to check if holding hands in public could bring some unwanted attention. I know it could for guys. It really wasn’t that bad just three, four years ago. All those nazi-sympathizers were hidden on the fringe. But now they feel it’s OK to be out and loud. There were cases where people are verbally abused for speaking a foreign language in a bus or so. Arab-run restaurants are often attacked or sprayed with vulgar and racist messages. I really hope it’s just some bad dream we got into because Poland seemed to be the poster child for positive change and Westernization after the ’89.
Oh wow! Ok didn’t know that! I always heard very positive things about Poland, you’re the first one telling me such things. I’ll keep that in mind once I go there next year. Thanks for your comment!
Ioanna: I’m sorry but you sound like an activist or social justice warrior. I could too go on about being robbed by Arabs in Marseilles or blacks in Jo’burg. “Hate speech” towards me included. I come from Slovakia which is a neighboring country to Poland. I can tell with confidence that no one would ever attack a tourist. I think Eastern European countries are generally safer than Paris or London. Violent crime is almost non-existent. Occasionally though, there’s some petty theft (just like in other parts of the world). You have to separate political issues from leisure or work visit. Obviously, no one likes his or her home being forcefully flooded by foreigners, but for me that would be as much true about Ukrainians just as it’s true about Moroccans. We treat our home as our home, we value our traditions and our way of living and there’s nothing wrong with that. I too don’t ask Japanese people to leave Japan or Tswana people to forsake Botswana. We have a long history of living with gypsies and unfortunately, because it’s mostly them who commit crime, it’s no wonder that local people tend to be suspicious if anyone looks similar (this affects mostly Arabs). If you force local people to accept something they don’t want to accept, of course there will be resentment and strong reactions. But if people come as guests, they are most welcome.
Roobens: Don’t worry about being stared at. It’s just not common to see foreigners here, although Asians are now becoming relatively common. As a white person, I too got stared at in China etc. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just curiosity.
Yeah no worries Marian, I know they’re not used to see a black person, they’re just curious.
Tina Gleisner says
Love, love your photos. You’re showing all different perspectives not just the touristy things which are boring. For example the lovely Hungarian parliment building followed by a wall of grafitti (yes, in memory of Lennon).
Haha thank you very much!
Hi! Would like to have a personal conversation with you. Prolific messages that you are writing about and it’s inspiring!
Mikki Donaldson says
Wow… you’re making your rounds, aren’t you? Such an adventure and to stumble upon people who welcome you and those who don’t. I was sooo surprised to read people in parts of Europe have never or hardly ever seen a Black person before. I suppose it’s like that for a lot of foreigners, but it’s different when you’re actually hit with the reality. Smh at the people, too, who stopped looking at you only to look at the girl funny. Reminds me of an article telling how women of color feel when traveling to far places and stereotyping nightmares. Traveling is a beautiful thing – discovering magic – but we are always subject to some form of ignorance from someone no matter where we go.
Exactly! When you go to places with very few (or no) black people, you never know how people are going to react! Most of the time, it’s just surprise! Otherwise it can be admiration, or ignorant people with prejudices about black people in general!
Mikki, I’m a white person coming from Eastern Europe. I got stared at in most remote places of Asia, how is my experience any different? The kids touched my forearm, pulled my beard etc. It was very fun and genuine. It never even occurred to me that I should feel sensitive about it. Compared to countries where people just don’t give a damn it was actually somewhat refreshing. It seems to me that blacks particularly are overly sensitive and stigmatized about this. If you visit places where there’s usually not much strangers, and if it’s immediately obvious that you’re a stranger, you’ll be stared at no matter what.
The reason blacks are “overly sensitive” as you put it, is because if you are black there is a greater risk of the staring being hostile rather than merely curious, and there is a greater risk that it will be followed by a physical assault. From my experience living in Asia, if you are a white person in Asia you will be treated more politely than a black person, and if you are stared at it is mostly likely to be just curiosity not hostility. If you are a black person in Europe, yes, the staring may just be curious, but there is a greater risk that it may be hostile. That is why black people need to be more wary than you need to be. I have travelled in both Asia and Europe with black friends and the treatment I got was quite different from the treatment they got. Perhaps you should stop making everything referable to your own limited personal experience and consider that other people’s experiences are different from yours.
Hey there! I’m a Hungarian traveller and just couldn’t resist to click to your blog after I’ve seen the title of your article. I’m so happy you enjoyed your travels in Eastern Europe – and in my city, Budapest. 🙂 And I have to agree with the Hungarian girl mentioned in your post, black guys have always reminded me of hip-hip. 😀
Anyway, I just wanted to tell you I’m glad you visited and I hope the people you met made a much better impression than all the troublesome news about our goverment lately.
I looove Budapest! Haha thank you, I don’t judge a country or its inhabitants based on what’s said on the media, or the politics. I just go, and interact with the locals. Best way to know more about a country (and see if you really like it!).
Africans are very primitive and dangerous for Europe because they are miserable not developed in the brain very backwards primitive humans living with us.They want to have thinks that we have at any price. They dont respect our culture and they are responsible for many rapes and criminal gangs.The thinks that are happening in South Africa speaks enough how stupid and not develop this black race is. They do thinks to white that have been done from the white 200 years ago to them. Guys its the 21 first century no one needs your violent now wake up. I wish Africa will be isolated and no more migrants will come. me personaly dont whant them in my country they are not welcome stay in your country’s guys and enjoy your misery dont bring it to us. Eastern Europe stand strong against black you have no place here you know it very good. I dont consider myself as color racist dont think that I dont like them because they are different is because there actions show that they have bad intentions.
I wanted to respond… But actually I won’t waste my time arguing with a moron like you!
Yikes. I would suggest that you get to know black people before making such sweeping generalizations about us. A lot of your claims about our development as a group come from Enlightenment-era pseudoscience that has long been disproven. I, for one, come from a family that takes pride in academic excellence. My father received two degrees in engineering from an Ivy League University. I graduated in the top 5% of my university, have been published in an academic magazine, was invited to be a keynote speaker at an international symposium of the top experts on a rare disease, and have been accepted into a postgraduate program at Cambridge. I strive to make a positive change in this world and try to be a good person. Race is not a biological fact—simply a silly social label we use to divide ourselves. We are far more different than we are alike. Rather than thinking of race as a Dalmatian versus a black lab, think of it as a black lab versus a yellow lab. There isn’t much difference between dark and light skin, just as we think of the relationship between green and blue eyes. I would highly recommend reading “What it Means to Be 98% Chimpanzee.” I’m sorry if you had a traumatizing experience that made you feel this way, but I hope you will keep an open mind and reconsider how you view your international cousins.
Thank you Linseigh! 🙂
Soka is right. Blacks in the United States commit 53% of murders as 13% of the population. Third world shitholers don’t belong in Europe, and our races should NOT be mixing, because the so called diversity you embrace is counterproductive as it destroys the unique elements. Frenchmen in 1200 were building the Notre Dame, Africans in 1200 had the Mali Empire which has no developed architecture or artwork left over. Genetics cannot be recovered once they are bred out of existence. And statistically, women in interracial marriages are many time more likely to be abused. Statistically, Africans are far more violent and impulsive. And Linseigh, I don’t care about your artifically created achievements, they don’t mean anything when Affirmative Action exists. I grew up around Blacks, and they are violent and low IQ. I saw too many of them when I was in Ukraine, they don’t belong in my ethnic homeland, I would not be welcome in Africa if I started trying to force my culture onto their way of life. Whites are less than 15% of the global population and we are demanded to acquiesce to everyone elses demands. We are the only race that is demanded to racemix itself out of existence. #EuropeForEuropeans
Leave whites alone in their own countries for once. You bunch of racist bigots.
You probably won the dumbest comment of the year award…
Dude, block these Nazi f****rs. They’re polluting your site with this nonsensical filth
Yeah you’re right
Nice article. You’re absolutely correct about individuals watching too much TV. If a Black person travels anywhere abroad, and as long as he/she refrains from “acting out” in someone else’s country, they should be just fine.
Even if you’re just going to Jamaica.
In other words, as Aretha would say, “Respect Yourself”.
My thoughts exactly!
Hi Roobens. Thank you for sharing your story! I am from Brazil and I am about to travel to eastern Europe. So far I have planned to go to Praga, Budapest, and Kosice. Being black myself I am carefully organizing this trip. Hopefully, everything is going to be alright!
Keep updating this blog :). Very nice initiative!
Thank you! Everything will be fine! 🙂
you ve been very lucky man , i had very very bad experiences in eastern europe : i got a severe beating in ukraine , i ended up in the hospital , they stabbed me with a shard of bottle , and i got mugged and beaten in moldova , in both countries when i went to the police station they didn t want me to press charges and they even said that maybe i was looking for troubles ! i wish i had never went there , and actually why to go there ? after all it’s boring , it’s not beautiful , the weather is bad , the food is bad , the women are not as friendly with non whites as western european girls are , and actually in countries like holland , sweden , etc women are way more beautiful than these eastern european crooks . i boycott eastern europe now ! my next destination : spain 😉 sea , sex , and sun ah ah
Lucky? I don’t think I was lucky, I’ve been to Eastern Europe more than 10 times with no real problems. I’m sad to read what happened to you, but I wasn’t lucky. I know you can have problems in Ukraine, but I didn’t think it could happen in Moldova as well… About the police officers, I’m not really surprised unfortunately…
I don’t think Eastern Europe is boring and not beautiful. You have wonderful places there and beautiful capital cities (Prague, Budapest, Bucharest…). And as I said in the article, some local women love black guys, they wanna find out if what people say about us is true (I guess we didn’t have the same experiences).
You said you’re going to Spain, but Spain is notoriously famous for being a racist country, especially in the south! Hope you’re gonna have fun there!
be honest, you wants dem white womenz because your women look like fucking gorillas. Be thankful the Jews opened all off our countries to you so you can get free hand outs and rape our women to make a slave race that will be easily controllable. You don’t respect real diversity, you want to turn everyone into a mud shit along with them.
Yes, we are truly in a Dark age if “they wanna find out if what people say about us is true (I guess we didn’t have the same experiences).”
The only thing going for a man is his penis size and morals have been corrupt that low. Sad state of affairs. Enjoy your life off one night stands and hip-hop lifestyle living on the street and leaving many single mothers from your rape culture genes.
Hey G aka JW aka Thomas, I didn’t think there was morons like you still living on this planet. I won’t waste more time responding to you
Planning a solo vacation in September 2019. Glad I stumbled upon your site!!! Being a senior ( hate that word) African American female, I feel I should do my due diligence before choosing my vacation site.
So many questions I’d love to ask you… but I think I’ve decided on Budapest!!!
Never gone to Europe alone but I work in the entertainment industry in Nevada. I witness so many crazy things that visitors do here, guess follow the advice I give to guests here in Vegas and everything will be fine!!!
Again, thanks for your post!!! Helps alleviate some of my concerns!!!
Hey no worries! Glad my article helped you! Yeah Budapest is perfect for a first solo trip in Europe! Everything will be fine 🙂
You will absolutely love budapest!! Im hungarian, living in the usa for 22 yrs. I was shocked how black pple are treated in america in comparison to what my experience was at home. Hungarians are very friendly people and hospitality is amazing in general. The younger generations speak english and everyone is always willing to help or talk to you. My husband is biracial and when we went home he felt like everyone was staring but not in a bad way. He felt very comfortable and he was surprised how nicely people are dressed no matter where they go. He felt the american shorts and t shirt w sneakers was not that cool there. Other than that he had a great time. You will especially love the food. Also, visit the Lake Balaton if you go not just the capital. Very different vibe, the lake is huge and so much fun. Enjoy your travels!
Hey! Yeah I’ve been to Budapest several times already, and I love it! Yeah I noticed the young generation speak proper English, that’s cool! I visited the Lake Balaton as well, I actually went to Siofok several years ago, and I had a great time there! 🙂
I know you just replied a few days ago meaning that your sentiments haven’t shifted over the past couple of years still I would really like to hear some assurance again please.
Given the continued rise of the far-right, do you think it would be safe for a black student to come and study in one of these countries?? There’ve been attacks on minorities and I’m truly afraid that I’ll be sent home in a body bag or if not that experience a lot of isolation and discrimination (I’ve already experienced a bunch of that where I’ve grown up – I don’t want more, I’m tired).
My options are;
– Ukraine (I won’t step a foot in that place)
– & Bulgaria
Are there places you’d reccommend over others?
Honestly, apart from Ukraine where I didn’t have a good experience, you can go to all the other places peacefully, everything will go smoothly. I had a great time in Armenia, and they really like black people (I went to a hip hop club there, and I was treated like a star!). Same in Georgia and Romania, people are friendly. Bulgaria is less developed but still, it’s fine. Just use your common sense there and you won’t have any problems.
this all sounds very reassuring but my son- dual heritage (black-African/white northern-European) with a massive proper afro and his white french girlfriend are going to Poland to visit Auschwitz and goodness knows where else… and I am not very happy at all. Any advice please. I’ve noticed a few Polish speaking women with black partners in the UK- but whats it like if they visit Poland? Ps love all the photos.
I’ve never been to Poland but I heard good things about traveling while black there. I know a lot of black people who went there (men, women, solo, with their partner, with friends, young, old…) and they had no problems at all! Moreover, your son’s white girlfriend will be with him! Don’t worry, he will be fine there!
I’m Croatian and to be honest we don’t owe you anything. If you visit be polite or you may wind up in the Adriatic Sea.
We don’t owe you anything either 😀
be honest, you wants dem white womenz because your women look like fucking gorillas. Be thankful the Jews opened all off our countries to you so you can get free hand outs and rape our women to make a slave race that will be easily controllable.
c jo says
And here we have a lovely example of Eastern European racism folks.
Yeah… It’s so easy to act tough behind a screen. Fortunately most of them are not like this moron over there
I’m British and I would love to say that to the Croatians and East Europeans in Britain. Be polite or you’ll wind up in the English Channel.
R R says
You are safe in Hungary because people are afraid of the police. The majority of Hungarians don’t want to have issues with the police. But I can assure you, this is the only reason you are not getting beaten up in Hungary. Most of the Hungarians don’t like blacks.
Maybe, but I met friendly locals there and I had a good time with them!
Maybe you should make Africa safe for black people.
Curious traveler says
Hi ! Interesting blog, I find it curious that you ascribe interest in black woman as a fetish but you seem to believe eastern European women “love” black men. Your follow up comments about then wanting to find out if the rumours were true are quite unsavoury and point to a fetish unfortunately! I don’t think BM should be encouraging or proud of this , as if this all they to offer! Sadly this eagerness from some bm to welcome fetishization empowers racists (who have commented here too) to suggest bw are therefore unattractive.
I’m not proud nor encouraging this, just stating facts. And this is definitely not all we have to offer. And having given it a lot of thought, I still don’t understand why it suggests black women are therefore unattractive
Robbens, cool journey.
I’m a mixed raced dude – light skinned black, call it what you will. It seems to me that, with regard setting up the foundations for building permant residencies and getting a good woman outside of the West, Asian countries night be best. What are your thoughts?
Being hyperbolic, there’s nothing more angering to a white guy than to see a black guy with a beautiful white woman from his country. Living daily with open tension isn’t ideal.
It can be the same for black guys having an innate reaction when they see bm’s with white dudes.
Keep your response bluntly honest rather than idealistic please.
I might live in a black country, checking out Brazil this year but I don’t expect the city of sex to be suitable culturally. My eye is on burgeoning African countries that aren’t corrupt and violent.
I’m not mad when I see a black woman with a white dude, I’m actually happy for her is she’s in a fulfilling relationship! White guys I hang out with are also happy when they see a white girl with a black guy, as long as she’s happy with the guy! I don’t get why we should be mad when we see someone with the same color of out skin with “someone else”. Regarding where to go to get good women, I can’t help!
*bw not bm
Farouq Omaro says
People everywhere are generally nice. Thanks for sharing.
Yes people are usually nice there!
Hi Rooben I like your post in Eastern European I m an African American who has always wanted to visit other countries reading your post inspired me to visit and listening to some of the bloggers clearly let’s me know that racism is alive and well hearing some of the most dumbest things about blacks, We are more than just hip hop or degrees we’ve earn while in school or who wants us to speak at a conference our intelligence is far more sophisticated than thats everything we do is either copy or duplicated from invention, heart surgeon, NASA,,President yes first President of the US was a black man John P..Hanson,Dancing, Music,Rap and the list Goes on. People must wake up and start embracing one another removing racism from you heart don’t judge a person by the color of there skin but by their character. I’m sorry to disappointed some of you but we are all from one RACE go back to school and you will find the answer to this. Remember Love,Joy,Peace,and Happiness
Amen to this.
Lara Mujagic says
Omg shut the fuck up seriously, budala si fuj fuj fuj