Minority Travelers' Forum
Have any guidebooks been particularly helpful? Are there any places in Europe you'd discourage other minorities from visiting? How do you deal with stares or "special" treatment in areas that rarely see a minority or mixed-race couple? Please share your minority-related European travel tips and anecdotes here.
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African American Europe travel
I am planning my fourth trip to Europe next month and I just stumbled upon this forum. I always like to be aware of the cultural and racial climate when I am traveling. I am a little surprised to hear so many reviews about racism in Europe, especially Spain and Italy. The first time I went about 10 years ago with my older brother and we had no problems. That trip was to London, Paris, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Hungary. The only time we got stares was in Budapest, as we were the only black people around. It seemed that people were more curious than hostile. My friend also experienced this in Turkey ( many people would touch her skin and her hair out of curiosity).
My second trip was w/ my mom, and brother. That was to Brussels, Italy, Spain, Paris, and South of France. We only encountered one rude cab driver ( pretty good considering I live in NYC and many cab drivers are rude).This was around the time Barcelona won a huge soccer match n 2009 and people kept running up to my brother and chant "Thierry Henry", taking pictures with him and some guys actually tried to kiss him on the cheek. People seemed to love me in Italy and France. I got a lot of warm looks and smiles from both men and women. They also seemed to admire my long hair. My third trip was to the Greek Islands last summer. This was probably my favorite European trip. The friendliness and hospitality was really great. A family with children saw us waiting for a bus in Santorini and offered to give us a ride to town. The only time we experienced anything unpleasant was on the subway in Athens when people stared a lot and people not in the hospitality industry were a bit rough around the edges.
My motto on travel is the same as my general outlook on life. I never want to put myself in a dangerous situation, but I am not going to let some unfriendly or racist attitudes keep me from living life to the fullest. Just like when Im at home I carry myself well, dress well and am respectful and pleasant when on vacation. In return, I am usually treated well, but when I encounter unpleasant attitudes I dont let that kill my vibe. (I wont give a random rude shop keeper, cab driver, waiter, ect. the power to treat me poorly b/c my self worth is too high) . I make it my business to have a good time when I spend good money on a vacation. So my advice is to do your research, be smart and go enjoy yourself.
New York, New Yo USA 05/17/2013
Portugal right wing???! (veronica)
I am surprised at Veronica's assertion that Portugal is right wing and that she suffered racist treatment over there. I am mixed race and Portuguese (in fact if there was a country that brought mixing of races to Europe was Portugal), if anything Portugal is among the countries that best receives blacks particularly if you are a tourist. Number 2 (maybe should have been number 1) where have you seen or read that Portugal is right wing, boggles me. I have been to Cyprus and yes, there I felt racism and most greeks and eastern Europeans I deal with in London are very racist too, but Portugal? It's the first time I hear this. Not to say that there isn't racism, there's racism everywhere but I have never had any of my black friends complaining about Portugal.
London, USA 05/14/2013
Italy is still full of fascists like in the Mussolini era, be careful if you' re black
As someone who have lived in Italy for 7 years I have to warn blacks that Italy is not that changed since the 30s and 40s era of the fascist and white supremacist dictator Benito Mussolini. In Italy there are a lot of fascist nostalgics and a lot of fascist-white supremacists groups and when I say a lot I really mean a lot! Many Italians still hold negative and hateful view towards black people so if you' re black pay attention where you go. If you decide to go to Italy as a tourist if you pay attention you shouldn' t have any problem, just stay in the touristic part of the cities. If you' re black and you' re thinking about living in Italy I strongly not raccomend you to do it.
Lisbon, Portugal 05/12/2013
Not too fond of Spain
I'm mixed race, half black and half white, 18 and female. I have travelled to France a few times, England, Spain and Italy. England was lovely. Kind and open people. In France I've been to southern France and Paris. Southern France was lovely. Paris was OK, I did notice some people (mostly older 40+ women) giving me mean stares. But this never happened with younger people. People were generally friendly. Italy was great for the most part, people were really kind to us, with a few exceptions. The guardians at the airport pointed at my hair (at the time very curly and a bit big) and laughed, making moves with their hands over their hands to demonstrate how big my hair was. It was also a few swastikas painted around the city. Nasty, I have never seen anything like it. But in general people were friendly.
The only country I disliked a bit was Spain. People were just a bit cold to us and a bit unfriendly. Too bad since it's so beautiful.
Northern Europe 05/10/2013
Black people traveling in Europe
I am black-british-caribbean, I was born in the UK and live in Southeast London. Having read some of the posts here I have decided to re-think my holiday plans for this year. I was thinking of going to Moroco, Tunisa or Turkey so I am very glad for the information you have provided. Living in Europe we see a lot of the news on other european countries and we have known for years to avoid anywhere east of France because they are still living with 1930's mentality. Remember these countries were invaded by and often supprted the Nazis in WW2 and are still ant-semitic and racially backward. Then they were cut off from the world by the Cold War for decades. They are very, very poor economies and we have a big problem in UK with a mass of Eastern European immigrants bringing organised crime and drugs to the UK. They are mainly from Hungary, Czech Republic, Estonia, Romania, Poland, Croatia and by next year they will start coming here from Bulgaria. They are very racist to the black people here in the UK, and we see the UK as our home so there is lots of tension between us. Even alot of white brits have big problem with them. Be cautious of Greece and Cyprus, Portugal, etc they are right wing countries under financial crisis. I will have to save really hard and go to the Caribbean where I will feel more at home. If a country is so uncivilized to make me unwelcome because of my colour they don't deserve my hard earned money. I suggest any non white person wishing to come to Europe get on the internet and check out the news for the country you want to visit or at least check the UK papers, like the Gaurdian Online, or the Dail Mail websites for an insight on Eastern Europe. The BBC News and Channel 4 News are all availble on line and will be a mine of info about racism in Europe. If you'd like to come to the UK you won't have any major problems as long as you are friendly... we kinda have a soft spot for Americans. Also check out Wales, Southern Ireland and Scotland, I'm sure you won't have many, if any problems.
london, UK 05/05/2013
Todd P from Pittsburgh, I was in Italy several months myself and not as a student. I go to help English speaking foreigners learn about the Bible. It is like missionary work. The last time, I was in Florence. I was there long enough to notice if I was treated with racism or not. As I stated in my other comment, there is racism anywhere you go but I have not experienced it in Europe and if I did, I still would not want to discourage other minorities from traveling there. I think everyone should have their own experience to determine for themselves. As you yourself stated Todd, the Italians are friendly and approachable. I am returning in June. I will let you know how things go.
Pittsburgh, PA USA 04/26/2013
Ashly from Pittsburgh, if you traveled to Italy as a student chances are you weren't there long enough to pick up on the subtle racism which is surprising but understandable when you have a country effected by the economic crisis consequent to the austerity. In short, when you return, not to say that one should be looking for racism - that's no way to travel, one will see mark difference in treatment. As an African-American male from Pittsburgh (originally from the Hill) who stayed there for six month recently, I found the majority of Italians as kind, friendly and approachable.
Pittsburgh, PA USA 04/22/2013
Im a black American and I spent a week in Prague over the Christmas holiday and didn't experience one lick of trouble. Talked to girls in the pubs with no problems, even on the fringes away from the tourist areas. People in one bar were kinda aloof (more aloof that most Czechs that is, haha) but I wasn't uncomfortable. One older gentleman in Cesky Krumlov even bought me a beer and we sat in a beer garden talking blues and jazz music.
pittsburgh, USA 04/22/2013
Spain & Italy
Spain and Italy were full of racist grafitti when I was there last week. People there will not look you in the eye. The racist tension is very thick in those two countries. They have no interst in being multi-cultural.
Atlanta, GA USA 04/19/2013
Spain might be evolving!!
Not that many years ago this forum quite often warned travelers of color to be careful when traveling in Spain. That doesn't seem to be the case now. It would seem that Spain is slowly evolving into a country that accepts tourist regardless of ethnicity. You can travel to the main metro cities in Spain and be greeted as a paying customer that deserves to be catered to with all underlined and appropiate good service. Do any of you also feel that Spain is evolving?
Raleigh, NC USA 04/12/2013
Architect in Sevilla
Hello all im new to blogging but I'm a british born of Caribbean heritage black female working as an architect in Sevilla. I have discovered alot of interesting things both visiting and working in and around Andalusia. I will share some thoughts with yourselves soon. Not to scary most of the time.
Sevilla, none USA 04/10/2013
Racism in Europe--hit and miss
I am a Black woman married to a Czech citizen and have traveled to Europe sevaeral times with our two children. Every time we go, we spend some weeks in Western countries and then stay 3 weeks at my in-laws in the Czech Rep. We get looks everywhere we go,even in the states so I am used to being on the receiving end of curiosity looks frompeople. Imust say the most rude stares have been in Slovakia and CZ Rep. where I was told to get out of here in a public park walking with my mother-in-law. The most welcoming to me and my family have been the French,Austrians, Germans,Swiss,Dutch and Belgians. I truly enjoy travel and attempt a few phrases in each country I visit.I find that when I try tocommunicate in the customary language, I earn good will. I am fortunate to be able to travel to Europe as frequently as I do so I just use all my years of Spanish to translate as best I can in the romance language countries.
SF Bay Area, CA USA 04/06/2013
It' s not a problem of immigration in Italy
As a black man who lived in Italy for 3 years, I want to answer to the johnmacklorry post who said that racism against blacks in Italy is because the mass immigration from Africa and crime. That' s not true, Italy is the Western European country with the lowest number of black population. In country like England, France, Holland, Belgium, Spain there are much more blacks than in Italy but there is not as much anti blacks racism as in Italy and blacks are well integrated in those countries not like in Italy. Most of the immigrants in Italy are White immigrants from Eastern Europeans countries (former USSR countries) and some of them are criminals but there is not racism against them. Immigration is just a pathetic excuse. The problem with Italy is that in Italian society there are still the signs of the massive racist propaganda made during the fascist period of Mussolini. Try to walk down the streets of Rome and Florence and than try to walk down the streets of Paris, London, Madrid, Amsterdam, Bruxelles, Barcelona and than you will see there is no one black invasion in Italy. That' s just a problem of culture.
Caracas, Venezuela 03/31/2013
Traveling to Europe
Gee I am reading all the comments and I am really amazed at what is happening in this world. Negativity towards people of color has risen in few European countries since the financial crisis. That is a fact. Racism, left wings unemployment etc are all contributors to more acts of aggression and behavioral nastiness. I have been living in Ireland then France where you feel the tension in the air. I am traveling to Croatia and Russia in a month and being a brown person I am ready to deal with issues like that. There will always be stupid narrow minded people and that comes up in times of crisis and instabilities. Hope it will pass and we are all humans regardless of our skin color. Happy travels, Maria
Dublin, Ireland 03/27/2013
I was recently in Madrid Spain for an overnite stay prior to my departure back to the USA and had no problems being an African American female. People tried to help me find my hotel which was not far from Atocha train station. Navigating Atocha was difficult since it is so large and there are so many exits.
San Diego, CA USA 03/26/2013
Italy is suffering immigration woes that's why
I went to Italy along with several friends who were African American and witnessed on countless occasions a stark disparity between how I was treated, being blue eyes and dirty blond haired Caucasian and my African American friends. This held true from Florence, to Rome, to Naples and Bari. Italy is experiencing surges and surges of Nationalism based on a perceived tidle wave of African on Italian crime. The result was the black members of our group being looked at like literal dogs and white members being treated extremely well. I would not want to be African-American traveling at night in a place like Naples that is for sure. Italy is probably the most majestic place on earth in terms if food, art, language, architecture, but its immigration woes have polarized its populace and I watched 3 out of 4 of my friends when I was there leave prematurely as it just was not a comfortable experience.
New York, NY USA 03/26/2013
Italy and Spain are NOT RACIST!
I am a black american female. I have been to both Italy and Spain twice and I have not experienced racism once. Yes people do stare espceially the men, but it is one of curiosity and awe, not one of hate or prejudice. I know what those stares are like, and I dont get them in Italy or Spain.
In Italy I have been all over the country. From North to South all of the Italians I have encounterd have been very sweet to me. I get smiles and a sweet "ciao!" from both the men and women. They are helpful when you ask them for directions and they are happy to offer their help. I even get playful yet respectful flirtations from the men. Back home, I work with an Italian woman and everytime I return home and tell her how much I enjoyed Italy she just gets a big smile on her face. I even tell her how I feel very welcomed and comfortable there as a black American even more than I do in my own home city.
In Spain I have been to Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona. I can say that in everyone of those cities the Spanish were very friendly like the Italians. In Madrid they would call us "chicas bonitas" (beautiful girls). When my sister and I took the train to the airport we forgot to buy the right ticket, the inpsector forgave us by letting us off with a warning. She understood even though we tried to explain in our broken Spanish. If she was one bit racist she would've fined us big time! In Seville I gave up my seat on the tram for an old Spanish woman and her husband. She was so happy she gave us her beautiful vintage Spanish fan as a gift. In Barcelona when we ate in a small cafe the waiter was so kind. And everyone who would walk past us to go to the bathroom would smile and say "Hola!"
Yes there are racist people in the world but you will find them in every country. And yes I am sure some of you had some bad experinces but please do not down grade a whole country and its people becasue of your experience. Every person should have the right to check out the country for themselves and not to be discouraged by someone elses comments.
I believe if you go to Europe with an open mind and be willing to emmerse yourself in that country's culture (you don't have to be a fluent speaker of the language, just a few words shows them you are trying) than you will have an awsome experience regardless of what color you are.
Hope this helps some people :-)
Pittsburgh, PA USA 03/20/2013
Italy was by far the racist capitial of my trip and Croatia is no better. Very closed and nationlistic people. Stay away if person of color.
NYC, NY USA 03/18/2013
"It's all an experience. But why does there seem to be more racial bias issues in Eastern Europe ?"
That is true and very odd. Usually, people who have no experience with those of another group, race etc. tend to have no opinion of said group, good or bad, as they have no experience with them. It is only AFTER being around large numbers of people of a different race, nationality or group and having a lot of experience with them, that people will have an opinion on them, good or bad, based on experience with them.
Eastern Europe travel
Been reading a lot of the posts. I definitely more of a get out and see it type of traveler. Whether a grand city like Rome or merely a back alley on the other side of the world. It's all an experience. But why does there seem to be more racial bias issues in Eastern Europe ? I'm not speaking from experience, I'm reflecting the sentiments of the posts I've read. Is this a cause for fret or simply an odd stare to expect should I choose to travel to these regions. I guess it's not so weird. I'm sure there are plenty of places where Caucasians stand out too. But again, are these don't not travel here signs or simply be prepared for a cold welcome signs?
Los Angeles, Ca USA 03/11/2013
Rome and Paris
I have been to both Paris and Rome. I am a black American female. I did not enjoy Paris very much. It was not about racism. Me and the city just did not mesh. Americans are open and will have a conversation with anyone. I did not find that to be true with the Parisians I encountered. I had to visit a local store three times before the owner admitted she spoke English and understood me every time I went to purchase chicken from her store,but just was not comfortable speaking English. Too uptight. Rome is my spot. Loved every second of it. Took the train from Rome to Venice. No problems at all. You need to plan your trips, know where you are going and be civilized. Speak the language! Just a few words. Become a part of the scene. Let their culture become yours even if it is only for a few day. Supplement Rick's books with you own research. I googled my hotel in Rome and Venice and was able to virtually walk the streets nearby. I knew where I was going by familiarizing myself with the area. There are places I will not travel to, but not out of fear, but because I have no interest in being there. Go, Go, Go. The world awaits you!
Summerville, Sc USA 03/09/2013
Paris and Rome
Forgot to add that regardless of the comments about Spain, I am going to the Running of the Bulls next July. See you there!!
Summerville, Sc USA 03/09/2013
Non Europeans hitchhikers guide to euro galaxy
First of all thanks for making this forum, I'm a Panamanian Afro Hispanic with mixed west African, Amerindian and Jewish Sephardic, living in Amsterdam for 15 years and still loving the vibe of this great city. As an artist I been around the world and there is lot to say about Europe. I'm not writing an academic paper or a long paper in here, so I just go to the point , and this is for all of you traveling this summer to Europe .
Little towns all over Europe can be a hassle but since you will be doing the grand cities tour I will advise the following:
If you go to spain limit yourself to madrid and the great city of barcelona and the Catalonian province. However I travel all spain and encounter different reactions all over. Granada and Sevilla was fine. Valencia the same. But bare in mind spain still is divided with right and left wing, Franco isolated spain for decades. So they are lots of fascist around like in italy.
Portugal is definitely amazing all from South to north the only problem encounter was with Spanish tourists.
Greece: don't go there. The north use to be cool but with the crisis maybe change . Still to say that I really like Thessaloniki and the islands.
Italy : I did not encounter trouble. I made friends who gimme tours in Rome And milan was amazing. Still due to the crisis there is nationalism around, bare that in mind.
France is worth every penny of your trip, same as England and the Netherlands .
In germany is all good except in the old east and south, I will never go there but I have artists friends that live there and like it. Not for me do.
Sweden is good if you are in Stockholm . Norway is fine. In Norway the norther u go the friendly the people.
Denmark will not be your cup of thee if you are color, first place I saw rascists hipsters. Still They sponsor my projects for a while, so I do have my connection to the country but I will not travel around there so much.
Austria: just don't go there. If you are mad about architecture and old euro glory and Klimt or schiele go but just for a limited time , no one will be friendly, only in museums and some bars. But you will feel the hostility specially from other east Europeans living there and east European tourists.
The rest of east Europe I haven't visit and I'm not planning to visit so I hope you don't go that direction. Is just not done. ( Maybe sarajevo) If you are looking for trouble and you are a bit of a masochist go. still to say that I have friends that went to Prague and love it.
Geneva Switzerland was fine, no troubles.
Well that's it folks ! Happy travels and keep fighting for equal rights.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands 03/07/2013
Horrible racist experience in Italy
I was in Europe during my holidays and I' ve been in France, Spain, England and Italy. I can only say good things about France, Spain and England, wonderful countries and wonderful kind people, unfortunately I can' t say the same things about Italy where I had an absolutely horrible experience. I was in Rome with my husband, I' m white and he is black we were walking down a street when two young men and a young women approached us, they stopped in front of us then one of the men spat in my husband' s face, the woman loooked at me then she pointed at my husband and she said to me in Italian "non ti vergogni?" Then they left. I didn't understand what she told me because I don' t speak Italian so when we came back to our hotel I asked to the receptionist what was the meaning of the phrase the woman said to me, the receptionist told me that the meaning in english was "aren' t you ashamed of that?" and of course it was refered to the fact that my husband is black. That was the worst experience I had during my lifetime
Orlando, FL USA 03/03/2013
Please Stop Saying Italians Do Not Like Blacks
It saddens me to hear that some people make blanket statements about Italians not liking blacks. I don't doubt that some people have been treated badly, and I don't doubt that it could have been racist, but to sterotype an entire country of people based on one's personal experiences is beyond me.
As a black female (and NOT a light skin one either), I have found Italy to be nothing but my second home. I have spent a total of 5-6 months there over the past few years, being everywhere from Milan to Salerno, in major cities and small countrysides. And I have never, ever, not once encountered rascism. In fact, just the opposite for me. People grab my hands and pinch my cheeks (the face cheeks), old men tell me "they like my color" and old ladies tell me "they want to be black" (in broken English). Shop owners encourage me to try on items and model for them. Market sellers love to give me a "chocolate discount". It is always so refreshing to be among them, and a bit of an ego boost. I don't consider myself as pretty and in fact I am short and rather pudgy, so I am positive it's not the body lol. I don't know...
But I have 2 wishes: that those who were racist in Italy stop giving their countrymen a bad name, and also that those who were victims of racism not dampen the zeal of anyone who wants to travel to Italy. Do it! You will not regret it, but if you go with the mentality that "Italians are racists" then every little incident you will intepret as racist when in reality, color wasn't even a factor.
Pittsburgh, PA USA 03/01/2013
Minority Travelers' Forum
Wow! Really surprised to hear about the racist attitudes in Spain and Italy. Glad to know of it beforehand as an African American female planning to visit Paris and its surrounding territories in February 2014 or earlier.
New York, NY USA 02/23/2013
Living in Spain
I recently came back to the US from 4 months of study abroad in Granada, Spain as a hispanic/indian mixed race female. While I was in Spain, I traveled extensively throughout the country, especially the region of Andalucia, and also had the fortune of traveling on shorter trips to Portugal and Morocco - both extremely welcoming countries. Portugal especially surprised me with the diversity of its residents - though I was in Lisbon, the major city. After reading this forum, I am surprised to hear that so many minority travelers have had problems in Spain. Granada, the city that I spent most of my time in, is a very conservative Spanish city, and I did not have any serious problems. I did attract attention from young men as well as elderly men, but nothing more than the usual cat-calling. Oftentimes people (mainly young men) would address me as "Morena" because of my dark skin tone, but I learned from locals that while it may seem offensive to American travelers, the word does not have a negative connotation - it is more affectionate.
I walked home at late hours of the night and felt safe in this city, and never had any serious problems traveling throughout other parts of Spain. However, I do think that an argument can be made that if you are a young male of color, especially of a brown/black skin color, you may receive more negative attention than a female of a similar background. I did notice that the young African men who stood on the corners selling contraband items did receive negative attention, especially when they walked into bars and tried to sell their merchandise. I also had a friend who was black who lived in Granada, and had an incident at a soccer game where a young spanish man spit on his head after arguing with them for taking our seats at the game (long story, but we were sitting in a section that was unofficially reserved for the "die-hard" fans). It was a confusing moment, but race unquestionably had something to play in the matter.
This being said, Spain is not an enlightened country on race by far, but I do not see it as being an unsafe destination for minority travelers. If you are ok with being stared at, I would not skip this country for fear of racism. Unfortunately, our burden is that there are people in the world who are not comfortable with people of color - but to have this as a reason to avoid places in the world seems wrong to me. I believe that you will regret not going to a dream destination like Spain or Italy more than the regret of going and perhaps experiencing a little bit of uncomfortableness.
Prove them wrong by dispelling the negative stereotypes and popular media assumptions of people of color, and get out the door.
(Note: I am only speaking from my first-hand experience, and do not mean to diminish or undermine the severity of the few who have had serious problems with racism in these countries.)
Seattle, WA USA 02/13/2013
I travelled to Paris, Rome, Frankfurt, the Hague and Amsterdam with a 3 of my female friends. Paris and the Netherlands were the worst when it came to being harassed for being coloured people. Certainly have no desire to ever go back there again, people's attitude ruined perfectly nice cities which surely should be more used to seeing all kinds of travellers.
so lonely in italy.......
I live in italy with my husband who is italian. Im a different race and a foreigner. Italy is not an easy place to live in. There are also problems of unemployment, poverty, corruption. Italians love people that are loud and give a senseless conversation just for the sake of hot air. Most italians like other races, they are very friendly but also can be quite nasty if they sense you have lack of confidence or dont speak their language. Italians are only used to seeing indians, africans and other non-white races as immigrants in their country struggling to survive on their streets. They are very large hearted but also very closed minded because of lack of exposure to other races being seen as a normal humanbeing with their own sense of character and personality. There are alot of racist italians-its more the older generation, especially the older woman. Personally i have to live with the odd stares everyday of my life over here. I miss my home country so much. Italy is a beautiful country. You just have to be very strong and believe in yourself. Dont show them that you are afraid or ashamed of your skin or race. Be proud of who you-and to hell with racists, we all know that theyr going to burn in hell anyway.
No problem even in Iceland!
I've lived in Italy, Iceland, England and Japan. I've never experienced anymore racism than what I usually experience in the U.S. I vacationed in Belgium and people would come up to me and speak French thinking I was from Congo. I've traveled with my sister and by myself as well. We've been to China and was a little nervous after hearing how they dislike blacks, but we had no problem. My sister who is 6'4 was mistaken for WNBA so people kept coming up to her asking for photos and autographs. I guess it just depends on individual cases.
LaDawn J White
Mather, CA USA 01/27/2013
Minority Travelers' Forum
Been to Croatia. Hotel and cafe service was good. However, I was told that if I am seen talking to Croat Girl I will be sorry. I also saw a small group of skinheads but they did not bother me. Country is pretty but you need to be careful.
Atlanta, ga USA 01/22/2013
I know this is about Europe but I'll taking this world wide - I'm a Black African-British Woman with a high profile job in the USA and this is the most racist, bigoted, ignorant country I've had the misfortune to be in. I can't wait until my contract ends so I can leave this nasty country. Apart from the fear of being shot dead because a lot of people carry guns especially racists, I'm also stressed by the high level of racism I've experienced in the USA. I've world travelled and my best experiences apart from my lovely City of London have been in Berlin, Zurich, parts of Austria. Hate Italy, Spain, Romania - nasty, uncivilized people in these parts of the world. The warmest in terms of welcome and cultures have been to many parts of Africa. They warmly treat people as people. I can understand why Caucasians got away with invading Africa because they're very welcoming people. I would suggest to Blacks to stay away from Italy, Spain and the uncivilized part of Europe (especially Eastern Europe), Stay away from China (very uncivilized people but they will kiss your butt if you're White). I love travelling and experiencing culture but I will stick with places where people act in humanely manner not like bunch of animals who want to kill you because you're a different skin color to them.
NY, NY USA 01/15/2013
Spain, Italy, UK
In Spain, it depends on the city. I lived in Madrid for a few years while "studying abroad" and as a very mixed race woman I never experienced anything truly horrifying. I was mistaken for a prostitute fairly often when I would go out at night (in spite of relatively conservative dress), often approached by elderly Spanish men, wanting to buy me a drink. My black male friends were stopped by the police every so often when walking at night in groups, so that's another thing.
In Cordoba, I felt some hostility at a couple cafes and shops, which was surprising. In general, customer service in Spain is pretty bad, particularly when compared to the US, but these instances were seething with some sort of extreme dislike.
Barcelona was fine, as was Granada, but when I travelled to Toledo with my girlfriend (who is Mexican-American) we were treated badly and followed around the shops in a very obvious way.
Overall, Spain wasn't bad - Spaniards are sometimes overtaken by the need to stare - this would also happen to my white classmates.
Italy was somewhat different. I was constantly harassed by Italian men while I was there. While I am not 100% sure that this was because of my "ethnicity", other brown girlfriends of mine have reported similar treatment, while my white friends did not have as dramatic of a problem. At one point, a man was following me around, and I had to hop into a taxi to avoid him. On another occasion, I was felt up on the train. It is a beautiful country, but I do not advise brown/black women to travel there alone.
The UK has always been extremely safe and pleasant and I've never consciously experienced any form of racism.
Minneapolis, MN USA 01/11/2013
I am Han majority living in London and went to Tunisia for 1 week holiday around 2003. I found it VERY racist in Tunisia for orientals and a lot of catcalls to white women. I heard of friends who had the same experience!! Not sure for the rest of North Africa. Most of UK is great and London is friendly. I be very weary of Eastern Europe, Italy, Russia and Grease. Any EU country with high Right wing votes!
London, UK 01/10/2013
Italians don' t like blacks
Dear Solange, I can understand how you feel because I' ve been in Italy and I had the same terrible experience as you had during your journey. I' m an african-american man and I' ve been in France, Spain and Italy with my girlfriend, I had a wonderful time in France and Spain, those countries are marvelous and people were very kind and helpful but I had an horrible time in Italy. Italians were extremely rude to me and to my girlfriend but they were very nice and warm to other white tourists. They were very rude to a couple of Indian tourist too. Rome is where I met the worst people. Maybe we must say Italy is perfect and Italians are wonderful people even if that' s not the true? I tought this was a site were minority can share their REAL experiences. I will go back to Europe because I really enjoyed France and Spain, I' d like to visit England and the Netherlands but I will never go back to Italy, NO MORE. Bella Italia? Yes....if you' re not black.
Cleveland, Ohio USA 01/08/2013
Anti-blacks racism in Italy
I' m a black woman from Brazil, I' ve been in England, Italy, Spain, France, Holland and Russia. I really enjoy all of this countries with the only exception of Italy, that' s the only country where I faced problems for beeing black. I could see how different they treated White, Japanese and Chinese tourists and how they treated black tourists. Italians where warm and kind with Whites and Asians (China, Japan) but they were extremely rude with me and my husband. I speak a little of Italian so I could understand what they were saying to me when they spoke in Italian because they didn' t suspect I spoke Italian. In the Italian language we got called monkeys couple of times and they use maybe 5 or 6 times the N word for us. I reall enjoy my trip in Europe and I will go back, but I will never go back to Italy.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 01/05/2013