The Safest Countries to Visit Now
With the recent terrorist attacks and increased security measures in mind, we understand why Americans are cautious right now. But that doesn’t mean we should let fear stop us from exploring the world—after all, the chances of something happening while traveling abroad are still very small. If you are a nervous traveler, however, put your mind at rest, and book your next trip to one of these 10 safest countries around the globe.
Chelsea is Brooklyn-based travel writer, editor, and photographer. When not home eating her way through NYC, she's gallivanting across the globe, sailing the coast of Croatia or hiking the peaks of Peru. Her superpowers include booking flight deals and sleeping in small plane seats.
For the tenth year in a row, the Global Peace Index has crowned Iceland as the safest country in the world. It’s no surprise why: Iceland has extremely low crime rates and has remained relatively free from terrorist attacks. The locals are friendly; the capital, Reykjavik, is charming and easily accessible; and the country's landscape--thermal baths, hidden waterfalls, glaciers, and black-sand beaches--is unlike any you've seen before.
If having a heart attack from Queenstown’s adrenaline-inducing adventures (skydiving, bungee jumping, whitewater rafting) is the only danger here, we’ll take it. New Zealand has relatively open borders thanks to its far-out location—it takes 20+ hours, and two to three layovers to fly from New York!—and Americans can easily get a visa to live here for one or two years.
Not only is Portugal one of Europe’s most underrated and safest countries, it’s also one of the most affordable (and beautiful). There’s the vibrant capital, Lisbon, and its colorful sister city, Porto, both of which are excellent spots to indulge in free music and art, as well as budget-friendly meals of melt-in-your-mouth bacalao (salted cod) and a glass of port or _vinho verde. _If you’d rather stray from the main cities, make sure to check out the Douro Valley, home to hundreds of vineyards and wineries, and the Algarve, the country's southernmost region, known for its Mediterranean beaches and whitewashed fishing villages.
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It might come as a surprise, but this country in the Middle East, is the fourth safest on earth, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Bordered by Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E., Oman draws the region’s elites to its tropical beaches, towering Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar mountain range, and handful of glitzy resorts (including the Anantara’s new mountaintop palace, Al Jabal Al Akhdar, the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah in Muscat, the waterfront Six Senses Zighy Bay, and Alila Jabal Akhdar.
Unlike its Nordic neighbors, Sweden and Norway, Finland remains relatively under-the-radar, particularly for Americans. But its landscape is just as seductive: craggy shorelines, snowy plains, the northern lights, and the Scandi-cool capital of Helsinki (consistently ranked as one of the best places to live), are just a few highlights. Don’t wait to visit—this year is Finland's centennial, and the country is celebrating big time. There are free opera performances, light festivals and the recent debut of Hossa, Finland’s 40th national park that has 27,000 acres of pine forests and cobalt blue lakes. It's also easier than ever to stop by during your next Europe trip thanks to FinnAir’s stopover program, which lets you stay in Helsinki for up to five days during a trip to/from eastern Europe.
Ask any expat, and he'll tell you that Singapore is one of the safest cities to live in. Besides its low crime rate, the country is insanely clean and almost everyone speaks English. Go in the late summer during low season, and you’ll have the city to yourself. That means no lines to get into the high-end shopping malls, the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the Singapore Zoo, or the epic Marina Bay Sands rooftop.
RELATED: 8 Best New Hotels in Singapore
For four years running, Denmark has been named the happiest place on earth. Want to know why this land is all sunshine and smiles? Well, first off, there’s hygge, a tradition of warmth and companionship that is especially present during the holidays, when locals gather to light millions of candles around Copenhagen and drink gløgg (mulled wine) together in cozy pubs. Other highlights: the charming 17th-century harbors, the colorful blooms in spring, and the booming Scandinavian food scene, which travelers can experience at chef René Redzepi's renowned restaurant, Noma.
America’s friendly northern neighbor has a lot going for it. It's a global safe haven (no surprise, here); the locals are incredibly open-minded; the Canadian Loonie is extremely affordable; and the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, isn't so bad to look at (wink, wink). Plus, the landscapes are unrivaled, from the snow-capped peaks surrounding Vancouver to the craggy coastline of Nova Scotia and cosmopolitan skyline of Montreal.
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Switzerland has a reputation for being a global refuge. The country remained neutral during WWII, and has since stayed out of international conflict. Besides how could a country of wildflower meadows, crystal-clear glacial lakes, and snowy slopes be anything but peaceful? Spend your vacay here tasting local chocolate and checking out contemporary art and design in Zurich, hiking the Swiss Alps, and exploring Lake Geneva.
Thanks to low racial and economic tensions, tight gun laws (citizens aren’t allowed to carry weapons), and high education rates, Japan is one of the safest places in Asia. And to top it off, the efficient public transportation system and high-speed trains makes it easy for visitors to explore the country.
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