If you are sea kayaking or sailing, always wear a buoyancy aid and ensure it is fastened properly
. Especially with children, who can slip out of them easily.
If you are hiking, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back
Since the end of the wars in 1995, there are still thousands of landmines in Croatia. Not in tourist areas, thankfully, and areas which are suspected to have mines are marked with mine warning signs. But do talk to a local if you are going off the beaten path.
If you have some free time in France and find yourself wandering near any signage saying ‘chaseurs’, ‘chasse gardee’, wander right back to where you came from – this indicates a hunting area. A round a dozen people (mostly other hunters) are killed, and 200 injured each year after being accidentally shot by hunters.
Cyclists in particular should be careful on roads
as Greek drivers often like to drive fast and not always in the lane you might expect. Take special care on narrow roads and corners.
Greece is home to some dangerous snakes, including the viper, coral snakes and adders
. To minimise bite risks always wear boots, socks and long trousers if walking through undergrowth in rural areas.
Look out for wildlife wherever you are
; Europe is much more wild that people may think.
Very low alcohol limits are permitted for drivers across Lapland
– just 50mg per 100ml. Attitudes to drunkenness in are also very different to the UK. You can be arrested for being drunk in public and any drink driving is likely to be punished severely.
Always check weather forecasts
and information on other local conditions (e.g. crevasses on glaciers) before setting out cross-country – hikers and skiers have died after ignoring advice. Conditions can become treacherous almost any time of the year in Lapland and Finland particularly, apart from in July and August, as well as in high mountains
such as the Alps, Pyrenees, Sierra Nevada and Picos de Europa.
Tracking bears in the wild is one of Romania’s unique experiences
. But never forget bears are large dangerous natural predators who are not there to pose for you.
If camping, pitch tents in open spots where bears can see you clearly, and keep rubbish and used sanitary material in sealed bags. And when walking through dense forest, make some noise (talk loudly, whistle, sing) so bears knows you are there.
Most beaches outside of the popular resort areas are unguarded, especially outside of the peak season, although flags are often used to indicate safety. Do not enter the water if there is a red flag, undercurrents can be extremely strong
– Portugal is particularly dangerous for this, as well as strong and unexpected waves. Keep an eye out for jellyfish as well.
The good news is that there are a huge number of blue flag beaches
where you can be confident of clean water.
For further information on health and safety across Europe, please visit the FCO
or the CDC
websites and refer to your chosen destination.