The world is a mosaic of cultures and landscapes, each with a unique allure. Amidst this diversity, certain countries stand out for their exceptional peace and calmness. These 13 most peaceful countries offer more than just breathtaking scenery; they are havens of stability, safety, and serenity. From the serene fjords of Scandinavia to the vibrant communities in the heart of Asia, each destination promises a journey through picturesque landscapes and a peaceful way of life. This guide invites travelers to explore these calm bastions, where modern life's hustle gives way to a soothing harmony.
Iceland, renowned for its extraordinary natural wonders like vast glaciers and active volcanoes, consistently ranks as the most peaceful country globally. This serenity stems from factors like minimal military spending, the world's lowest, and the sparse prison population, with only 33 inmates per 100,000 people – the least in Europe and eighth globally.
Tourists flock to Iceland, attracted by its stunning landscapes and the cultural richness of Reykjavik. The low crime rate, pleasant weather, and clean air are contributing to its peaceful status, all fostering a close-knit community vibe reminiscent of a small, friendly town.
2. New Zealand
New Zealand, once the fantastical battleground for Middle-earth in “The Lord of the Rings,” has emerged as one of the most peaceful countries globally, ascending to the second spot this year from fourth previously. Notwithstanding the fictional conflicts depicted in the film series, New Zealand's real-world peace indices have improved across nearly all categories.
The country's commitment to peace is evident in its consistently high rankings in various peace-related metrics. This serene nation, known for its stunning landscapes that served as the backdrop for epic battles between orcs and elves in the movies, now stands as a beacon of steadiness and stability.
Ireland, renowned for its verdant landscapes and historical richness, stands proudly among the most peaceful nations. Its well-preserved castles, breathtaking coastline, and the warmth of Irish hospitality contribute to its charm as a tourist destination. Irish people lead a relaxed lifestyle, focusing on work-life balance and socializing in pubs and restaurants.
The nation boasts a higher quality of life and environmental standards than many European countries, leading to healthier and happier citizens. Ireland's security and political stability are commendable, with reliable police services, known as “An Garda Siochana,” ready to assist at 112 or 999 in emergencies.
Denmark, consistently ranking as one of the world's most peaceful nations, showcases its stability in minor fluctuations in its rankings. From holding the second spot for five consecutive years between 2011 and 2016 to being fifth from 2017 to 2020 and rising to third last year, Denmark now proudly stands in fourth place.
This Nordic country is famous for its stable government, respect for human rights, and free press. Additionally, its high income inequality contributes to its reputation as one of the happiest countries globally, making it a safe and appealing destination for both visitors and residents.
Since the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the conclusion of World War II, Austria, which is situated in the center of South Central Europe, has been renowned for its commitment to peace. In addition to its amiable stance in global affairs, it is presently known for its abundant cultural legacy, dynamic way of life, and elevated quality of life.
Austria presents an exceptional fusion of historical splendor, upscale retail, and ecological integrity, in addition to a vibrant economy and a landscape adorned with the majestic Alps and cultural hubs such as Vienna. Its scenic landscapes, cultural diversity, and security substantiate its reputation as a tranquil nation-state.
Portugal, with its population nearing 10 million, has swiftly ascended the ranks of the Global Peace Index, soaring from 18th in 2014 to a top 10 position, reflecting its commitment to security and peace. This rise mirrors the country's high quality of life, which surpasses the average in several domains, including housing, work-life balance, personal security, and environmental standards.
Portugal offers a peaceful and secure environment and remains one of Europe's most affordable destinations, making it an attractive choice for expatriates and budget-conscious travelers. This combination of affordability and quality of life makes Portugal a sought-after destination for those seeking a vibrant lifestyle.
Slovenia, often overshadowed in tourism by its larger European neighbors, boasts a rich tapestry of history and ethnic diversity as it has been a confluence point for various empires. This tiny nation has carved a niche with a thriving economy and is an active member of key international bodies such as the European Union, NATO, and the Schengen Area.
Educationally, Slovenia stands out in Europe and globally, with nearly all adults in the country being literate, showcasing its commitment to education and intellectual development.
8. Czech Republic
Since its emergence from Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic has focused on developing a robust capitalist economy and fostering a stable investment climate. Its inclusion among the most peaceful countries is backed by low crime rates, declining access to firearms, and minimal political pressure on its citizens. The country is safe for residents and tourists alike and boasts impressive environmental practices, except in industrial areas like Most and Ostrava.
Additionally, the Czech Republic offers quality European education and ample employment opportunities with competitive salaries. Its capital, Prague, is famed for its beauty, drawing global tourists to its serene environment.
Singapore, renowned as a major global commercial center, is among 13 most peaceful countries. Famed for its low crime rates, Singapore combines vibrant history, safe streets, and warm hospitality with stunning landscapes. Key attractions like Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Zoo enhance its appeal as a tourist hotspot. The city-state's commitment to security is evident in the strict law enforcement and general order maintained across all areas.
As one of the wealthiest nations, Singapore's market economy flourishes with minimal corruption, business-friendly policies, and a favorable tax environment. It's a magnet for those seeking exotic and oriental experiences, boasting the highest living standard in Asia and ranking 11th globally, according to the World Economic Organization's Quality of Life Index.
Ranked as the tenth most peaceful nation, Japan has made a significant shift from its 20th-century history of war crimes to a position of non-engagement in active conflicts today. This change is partly due to its constitution, which restricts the country's military capabilities and bars the government from declaring war or participating in foreign military conflicts.
Japan excels in various aspects of societal well-being, including personal safety, income, education, employment opportunities, housing, and environmental quality, contributing to its high peace ranking.
Switzerland, recognized for its neutrality in global politics, is lauded for its effective governance and open political culture, factors contributing to its status as one of the world's most peaceful countries. This reputation is further bolstered by its low levels of violent crime and minimal risk of strikes, political unrest, or terrorist threats. Moreover, Switzerland's commitment to the environment is notable, with negligible industrial pollution leading to a top-three ranking by Yale University in environmental friendliness.
The nation's prosperity and excellent diplomatic relations, rooted in its longstanding policy of neutrality, have made it a peaceful nation, a hub for international negotiations, and a haven during global crises.
Canada has an exceptional standard of living despite having a relatively small population of about 33 million in contrast to its vast geographical size. Ranking higher in peace metrics than its neighbor, the United States, Canada is a top choice for those seeking safety and stability in North America. It excels in low conflict involvement, crime rates, and political stability.
Famous for its welcoming attitude towards expatriates and a culture that embraces outdoor living, Canada's settlements are rich in forests and green spaces, contributing to a high-quality environment and above-average life expectancy for its residents. Its clean, safe cities, stunning natural beauty, and friendly populace make Canada an ideal, peaceful living destination.
Hungary attracts more than one million international visitors annually with its verdant forests, breathtaking landscapes, tranquil lakes, and impressive cathedrals, castles, and museums that are out of the ordinary. The country is also famous for its hospitable citizens eager to share its splendor. Hill Hill, St. Stephen's Basilica, Matthias Church, and the Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden are well-liked tourist attractions.
Hungary has experienced a notable shift from its previously turbulent history to being regarded as one of the most placid nations globally. Elevated wages, accessible and high-quality products, and a favorable ecological milieu are all contributing elements. Attractiveness as a tranquil destination is augmented by Hungary's hospitable disposition toward tourists and migrants and its provision of outdoor pursuits such as hiking, bicycling, camping, and skiing.
Peaceful Countries to Visit
Delivering exceptional cultural encounters, breathtaking natural scenery, and a secure, hospitable atmosphere, these thirteen nations personify tranquility and harmony. These locales are beautifully serene and are ideal for vacationers in search of respite from the world's troubles.
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I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.