Is Bari safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide
Bari is a coastal city and the capital of the Puglia region, Southern Italy. It is nestled on the Adriatic Sea, with a population of over 320,000, and receives hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It has a fascinating and complicated history dating back to the Bronze Age.
Though not a major tourist destination in Italy, Bari has much to offer historians, art enthusiasts, and nature lovers. You can tour a local museum or an art gallery in the city center, head to one of the scenic beaches, explore historic sites, and lose yourself in the winding streets of the Old Town Bari Vecchia. For foodies, Apulian cuisine is a must-try with simple ingredients with rich flavors, like tiella and focaccia barese.
Satisfy your wanderlust during the peak tourist season from June through August, though April and early fall are often considered the best time to visit Bari if you’re looking for cheaper flights and accommodation and fewer crowds. But whenever you decide to come, be a smart traveler and protect your belongings by entrusting them with Bounce luggage storage in Bari. It’s a convenient way to enjoy everything the capital has to offer without your heavy bags.
Is Bari safe to visit right now?
Italy is one of the world’s most peaceful cities, based on the 2021 Global Peace Index, with a safety score of 1.65. And as part of Italy, Bari is a safe city to travel to. You’ll unlikely become a victim of violent crime, and you’ll be safe in most parts of the town.
Like other cities, Bari isn’t perfect and has its share of petty theft and minor crimes, like pickpocketing. Drug abuse and gang violence used to be major issues in the city, but not anymore. There are still baby gangs, which are groups of teenagers and young people committing crimes like mugging and drug dealing. However, there’s no reason to be afraid because there’s a slim chance you’ll meet them, especially if you stick to safe neighborhoods.
Keep in mind that your well-being and the safety of your belongings should be your utmost priority. We’ll provide you with essential travel tips and advice, but still do additional research and use your common sense when visiting Bari, especially if you’re an inexperienced traveler. We also recommend that you read your government’s official travel guidelines for the city or country you decide to visit to help you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
Top petty crimes and scams in Bari affecting tourists
Italy is one of the most famous European countries, and most cities here, including Bari, receive many tourists. They are an easy target for thieves and scammers, so if you’re also visiting the city, be wary. Although Bari is still considered safe in general, there are petty crimes and scams here and there. Look at these Bari safety tips to be well informed.
While walking around Bari, a local may approach you, asking that you take a picture of them. It may seem like a harmless request and doesn’t require much from you, but this may actually be a scam. After you take the photo and hand the camera back to them, they purposely drop it and demand that you pay for the damages. To avoid this scam, it’s best to refuse any offer to take a photo of you unless you’re confident they’re also tourists. Then you can return the favor by taking their picture.
Tourists are the main targets of ATM scams in Bari. When making a purchase or withdrawing money, there’s a local bank fee, and scammers take advantage of this. They coerce their victims into giving their credit or debit card details in the pretense of helping them avoid the additional costs.
There’s another ATM scam in Bari where you encounter an issue with the machine, and a local will offer to sort it out for you but steals your bank details in the process. If you encounter these people on your trip, politely refuse the stranger’s help. Try getting a credit card with no foreign currency fees and cover the number pad when typing your pin code.
Pickpockets operate around famous tourist destinations, public markets, and other high-traffic areas. They use sneaky tactics and distraction methods, like throwing white paste on you to make it look like bird droppings. Someone will offer to help you clean yourself and, in the process, steals your possessions while you’re distracted. Beware of pickpockets and keep your personal items close when you’re in crowded areas. Leaving your belongings with Bounce will also relieve the worry.
Bari has the second-highest number of motor vehicle theft in Italy. If you’re renting a car and driving on your trip, park it in a location with reliable security. You’ll also want to always keep it locked and avoid leaving your valuables unattended inside.
Is Bari safe to travel alone
Bari is a safe Italian city for tourists from around the world, whether you’re traveling as a couple, with friends, or alone. Solo female travelers can also leave their worries behind, as Italy is one of the most peaceful countries for women, with a Women’s Peace and Security index score of .842 and ranking 23rd among the best female safety travel destinations in the world on the Bounce Women Travel Safety Index.
Besides the usual caveats of avoiding dark corners or walking alone at night, you can explore the city without experiencing any threat to your safety in Bari. Tourists aren’t at risk of being a victim of violent crime. But when it comes to your belongings, newcomers are often a primary target of petty theft and scams, so have your wits about you.
If you’re traveling solo, it’s best to wrap your Bari tour up by the afternoon and resume the following day. If you want to take advantage of the city nightlife, avoid reckless behaviors that might put you in danger, like going back to your hotel room under the influence of a few drinks.
Safest neighborhoods in Bari
In terms of overall crime rates, Bari ranks 27th in Italy, according to the Il Sole 24 Ore Crime Index 2022. But don’t let the statistics scare you. As long as you’re careful and mindful of your surroundings, you’ll be safe in Puglia’s capital. If you’re looking for a place to stay, here are the safest Bari neighborhoods and a few areas you should avoid.
A quiet neighborhood is a place to be if you want a safe stay in a city. In that case, head to the Palese district. It’s more of a local spot than a tourist destination, so there’s not much in the way of crowds, and thus, fewer safety risks overall. However, this doesn’t mean Bari-Palese doesn’t have anything to offer. In fact, there are several attractions, local shops and restaurants, and beaches in the area for you to enjoy.
Another quiet neighborhood in Bari is the Carassi district. It’s not as crowded as it’s away from the city center, but you can quickly get there via public transportation. Also, Carassi may be quiet but offers several nightlife options, ranging from pubs to bars and clubs. Here, you can have fun without being too worried about your safety.
The Murattiano or Murat district is a renowned neighborhood in Bari for its entertainment options, many attractions, and proximity to the city center. Compared to the other two, it’s more crowded, but it’s not any less safe. In fact, because of its wide streets and many stations, it provides a safer way to explore the city.
Bari is safe to visit, though there are moderate risks of pickpocketing, scams, and car theft. Stay away from Madonella, Liberta, and Japigia because some of the streets in these neighborhoods are unsafe for tourists. Also, take extra precautions when visiting Fesca, San Paolo, and San Pio-Enziteto, as crime prevails in these areas.
Is Bari public transportation safe?
It’s not necessary to rent a car when getting around Bari, and some areas are hard to get into because of the narrow streets. Going by public transportation like the train is also not ideal for the same reason and due to their limitations. In contrast, traveling by two-wheeled vehicles is more accessible, but theft is a common problem, so you wouldn’t want to leave your bike or motorcycle unattended. Preferably, get around Bari by taxi or on foot.
When it’s dark, avoid the narrow streets because of the lurking threat. Stay in well-lit areas if you’re waiting for your taxi or ride-share driver. Many restaurants are open until late at night and can provide light and security for that. Also, if you inevitably have to walk around alone, be more careful by hiding your jewelry and keeping your valuables close.
Important emergency numbers in Bari
It is always a good idea to plan for any emergencies that may occur during your trip. So before heading off on a Bari adventure, be sure to have the number of proper authorities saved on your phone. You should also be aware of your embassy number because you never know when you’ll need it.
- Italy country code: +39
- Bari area code: 80
- Medical Emergency Service: 118
- Police: 113
- Carabinieri: 112
- Fire Department: 115
- Local Tourism Authority: 080.5589745
Staying safe in Puglia’s capital
While this stunning Italian city isn’t dangerous for tourists, the answer to the question “Is Bari Safe?” depends on every individual. Sure, there are neighborhoods to avoid and petty crimes to be aware of, but if you exercise caution and situational awareness, you can have an exciting and safe trip to the lovely capital of the Puglia region.
If you need help navigating the city, check out our tips on How to Get Around Bari. You might also find valuable information in our guide on Where to Stay in Bari: The Ultimate Guide before booking a hotel room in the city.