As Canada’s cruel winter draws ever-closer, Canadians across the country are planning to take a trip overseas to escape from the snow. While most of Europe will also be chilly during the winter season, tens of thousands of Canadians flock towards the continent each year for an idyllic, winter getaway to Europe’s Christmas markets. This year, however, there are several European countries with Canadian travel advisories, and they’re not where you'd expect!

When booking a holiday abroad, it can be wise to check the Government of Canada’s latest travel advisories, to make sure your vacation-destination is a safe one. That said, travel advisories are known to regularly change, and sometimes an advisory can be just that - simple advice.

While it is perhaps no surprise that Canada’s government advises against travel to countries like Syria and Afghanistan, due to ongoing conflict, some of the European countries that have government warnings and advisories may surprise you, including the United Kingdom and France.

Whether you’ve already booked your winter vacation, or you're looking for European-getaway inspo, the Government of Canada has given the following seven European countries advisories and warnings, and here’s exactly what you need to know …

United Kingdom

The Government of Canada urges Canadians to “exercise a high degree of caution” when travelling inside the United Kingdom, predominantly due to the threat of terrorism.

The advisory explains, “In the United Kingdom, previous incidents  [of terrorism] have resulted in casualties. They include random violent incidents in public areas, such as knife and vehicle attacks as well as explosions. These incidents have occurred mainly in the London area but have also happened elsewhere.”

France

Like in the UK, Canadians who are travelling to France this winter are advised to “exercise a high degree of caution due to the current elevated threat of terrorism.”

The advisory goes on, “In France, separate [terrorist] attacks causing multiple deaths and injuries have taken place. The attacks, whether opportunistic or premeditated, targeted public spaces, including an entertainment venue, restaurants and tourist sites.”

Netherlands

As with both the U.K. and France, the Canadian Government has issued warnings for the Netherlands due to an increased risk of terrorist activity in the country.

Similarly, their advice states, “There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant if attending sporting events and during religious holidays and other public celebrations, as terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.”

Ukraine

For Canadians travelling to Ukraine, the government advises exercising a high degree of caution, due to the prevalence of crimes of opportunity, and ongoing political situations in specific areas.

In particular, Canadians are urged to avoid all travel to both Crimea and to Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. The government warns, “Canada does not recognize Russian control over Crimea. Our ability to provide consular assistance to Canadians in Crimea is extremely limited.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Canadians are warned to be especially careful when travelling in Bosnia and Herzegovina, due to the risk of unmarked landmines and unexploded ordnance in rural and isolated mountainous areas.

Travellers are urged by the Canadian Government to stay on main roads and paved surfaces, avoid abandoned houses and buildings, travel only during daylight hours and do not touch war relics and unknown items.

Russia

In several parts of Russia, Canadians are advised by the government to avoid all travel. In particular, these areas include districts of Rostov Oblast that border Ukraine, republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, republics of Kabardino-Balkaria (including the Mount Elbrus region), Karachai-Cherkessia and North Ossetia.

The Government of Canada states, “If you are currently in one of these areas, you should leave. The ability of the Canadian embassy in Moscow to provide assistance is severely limited or non-existent.”

The full list of no-go zones can be found here.

Belgium

Similar to other places in Europe, Canadians travelling to Belgium are urged to exercise a high degree of caution in Belgium due to the current elevated threat of terrorism.

The statement reads, “In Belgium, separate attacks causing multiple deaths and injuries have taken place. The attacks were indiscriminate and targeted public places. While the deadliest attacks occurred in Brussels in 2016, the likelihood of an attack elsewhere in Belgium cannot be ruled out.”

While the Government of Canada’s advice is well-informed and well-meaning, it is not compulsory. Their travel advisories explain, “The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your own personal safety abroad.”

Additionally, the Government of Canada writes, “This content is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied.”

If you've got plans to visit any of these beautiful European countries in the upcoming months, do plenty of research to ensure your safety, but don't be discouraged.

Many of the listed countries are, in fact, extremely safe, and they simply require Canadians to be a little extra careful. Wherever you decide to jet off to this winter, stay safe and happy travels!


There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.


 

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