Safety is something that often comes to mind when making plans to travel. But it rarely supersedes how the destination will look, the hotels you want to stay in, and all the activities you would like to add to your itinerary.
But safety is an incredibly crucial aspect of travel. From violent crime to political instability and acts of terrorism, these are all things that can either make or break your trip. That’s why it’s important to know the safest countries in the world to go on holiday or relocate.
As an avid traveler, I know that reading pages of data and researching the countries with the lowest crime rate isn’t as fun as reading a blog on the most beautiful countries in the world. So I’ve narrowed down the top 100 safest countries to 21 that you should remember.
How Is Safety Measured?
Table of Contents
- How Is Safety Measured?
- 21 Safest Countries in the World
- 1. Iceland
- 2. New Zealand
- 3. Ireland
- 4. Denmark
- 5. Austria
- 6. Portugal
- 7. Slovenia
- 8. Czech Republic
- 9. Singapore
- 10. Japan
- 11. Switzerland
- 12. Canada
- 13. Hungary
- 14. Finland
- 15. Croatia
- 16. Germany
- 17. Norway
- 18. Malaysia
- 19. Bhutan
- 20. Slovakia
- 21. Netherlands
- Safest Countries In The World: FAQs
- What Is the Number 1 Safest Country?
- Which Country Has the Least Crime in the World?
- What Is the Safest Country in Europe?
- What Is the Safest Country in Africa?
- Which Is the Safest City in the World?
- Where Is the Cheapest and Safest Place in the World?
- Safest Countries To Live In The World | Wrapped Up
Before we dive into the nitty gritty, let’s first determine what measurement of safety is used to rank the safest places to live in the world. The Global Peace Index (GPI) is the most commonly used safety measure.
The GPI is a report that ranks the safest and most peaceful countries in the world using a data-driven analysis of global trends in peace and economic stability. It is rated as a score between one and five, with five being a high degree of violence or non-peacefulness in a country.
This annual report is presented by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), which looks at 23 key indicators to determine the safest and most dangerous countries in the world. Some indicators worth mentioning include the number of homicides and military expenditures as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
21 Safest Countries in the World
If you’re looking at solo travel, are on the road with young kids, or want to find work in a foreign country for a few months, being in a safe country is critical. From low crime rates to well-functioning infrastructure, a reliable healthcare system, and rapid public transport, the safety of a country plays a crucial role in determining its livability.
As we explore some of the safest countries to live in, I will highlight their exceptional safety standards, quality of life, and measures taken to ensure the well-being of their residents and visitors.
Whether you are considering relocating or planning a trip, these countries offer a sense of security that can significantly enhance your daily life.
Now that you’re all clued up with how safety across the world is measured, look at this list of safest countries in the world.
With a GPI score of 1.11, Iceland is considered the safest place in the world as of 2022. This Nordic country has been at the helm of the safest countries in the world for 13 consecutive years. So you won’t have to worry about violent crimes or acts of terrorism when visiting.
Iceland’s safety level spreads across the country’s length and breadth. It has a stable democratic government, ensuring a peaceful environment for its citizens and visitors. If you’re thinking about spending five days in Iceland or possibly relocating, you’ll be happy to know that the country values transparency, the rule of law, and human rights.
There is so much to explore in Iceland. Whether you’re looking for attractions to fill up a three-day itinerary or a month-long vacation, Iceland has it all. From soaking in the Blue Lagoon to trekking through the Thingvellir National Park or marveling at the incredible Gullfoss Falls, you’ll find something for everyone in the “Land of Fire and Ice”.
2. New Zealand
Photo by Bence Kondor from Pexels
New Zealand’s GPI of 1.27 makes it the second safest country in the world. And while many travelers may not think to visit this small island nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, the “Land of the Long White Cloud” has lots in store for you.
New Zealand enjoys a relatively low crime rate compared to many other countries. Violent crimes are rare, and the country is known for its safe cities and towns. However, taking common-sense precautions, such as being aware of your surroundings, securing your belongings, and avoiding isolated areas at night is always prudent.
While its neighbor, Australia (and its landmarks), often gets all the attention, New Zealand boasts a wide array of attractions, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant culture. A few great ways to spend your time here include visiting the fairytale-like Hobbiton™ Movie Set and strolling the white-sand beaches of Abel Tasman National Park.
Ireland has a GPI score of 1.29, making it one of the world’s top three safest countries to visit and live. The “Land of Saints and Scholars” is jam-packed with stunning natural attractions and eclectic museums, not to mention the abundance of picturesque Norman and Anglo-Irish castles that will fill up your itinerary.
The country’s infrastructure, healthcare services, and emphasis on community safety contribute to a sense of security in Ireland for both locals and visitors. Additionally, Ireland benefits from a strong rule of law, ensuring a stable and secure environment. The Irish authorities maintain effective emergency services, such as police and healthcare, to promptly respond to any safety concerns.
So you can enjoy all the famous Ireland landmarks — from the Cliffs of Moher to the Giant’s Causeway and St. Patrick’s Cathedral — with ease. Among the many other things Ireland is known for, the country is famous for its location for several Game of Thrones scenes, St. Patrick’s Day, and being the birthplace of Guinness beer.
Along with Austria and Portugal, Denmarks has a GPI score of 1.3. This makes it one of the most peaceful countries in the world, thanks to its low crime rate, strong economy, and welfare system. But that’s not all that contributes to Denmark’s level of safety. The Scandinavian country also boasts a relatively homogeneous population, making it easier to maintain law and order.
Denmark’s well-developed infrastructure and reliable transportation networks ensure safe and efficient travel. Additionally, Denmark strongly emphasizes social welfare and healthcare, providing residents and visitors with access to high-quality services.
Denmark is home to numerous attractions suitable for every traveler. You can spend your days here browsing through art, history, and culture at the museums, going on thrilling rides at the Tivoli Gardens, and strolling along Nyhavn, a waterfront entertainment hub in Copenhagen.
Austria’s 1.3 GPI score makes it one of Central Europe’s safest countries to visit. This landlocked nation has a low crime rate, with very few violent and property crimes. The country’s strong economy means most people have a stable income, hence lessening the probability of criminal activity.
Austria’s competent government and political system also contribute to the low crime rate by ensuring that the country is well-run and there’s little corruption. So you can take your time strolling the cities and marvelling at the country’s incredible castles, cathedrals, and palaces.
A few must-adds to your Austria itinerary are touring through Vienna, visiting the Schönbrunn Palace, and heading up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress for amazing views of Salzburg. Other places to visit in Austria are Innsbruck – the heart of the Alps, wonderful Graz, Vorarlberg and Wachau Valley, where you’ll enjoy vineyards, medieval castles, and charming towns dotted along the Danube River.
Portugal is famous for its stunning architecture, signature terracotta roofs, pleasant Mediterranean climate, and friendly locals. The country boasts a low crime rate, with a 1.3 GPI score. This is reflected in the strong rule of law and human and property rights protection.
Portugal is also known for having one of the lowest levels of income inequality in the world. This means the income gap between the rich and poor is not significant enough to cause civil conflict or unrest. Hence, many of Portugal’s cities and towns are well-policed, and emergency services are reliable.
You can spend time here admiring the most popular landmarks in Portugal, from the Dom Luis Bridge to the white-washed Belem Tower and the vibrant Pena National Palace. Alternatively, you can explore the more laid-back side of the country by visiting Portugal’s vineyards.
Photo by Greenvalley Pictures from Pexels
Slovenia has a GPI score of 1.32, making it one of the most peaceful countries in The Balkans. Although it is small and almost land-locked, Slovenia, or “Little Europe”, boasts a staggering number of natural wonders and clifftop landmarks that everyone should visit at least once.
To give you some perspective on the level of safety in Slovenia, the nation had 1.4 homicides per 100,000 people, compared to a global average of 6.2 per 100,000 people in 2020. Similarly, the petty crime rate, which looks at theft and vandalism, is also relatively low.
This makes Slovenia a secure destination to explore and a must-add to your European bucket list. You can explore Slovenia’s lush countryside and unique landscapes, from touring the Postojna Cave to admiring one of the most beautiful castles in Europe on Lake Bled.
8. Czech Republic
Like Slovenia, the Czech Republic or Czechia has a GPI score of 1.32. The country’s long history of peace and political stability has led to low crime rates that allow citizens and visitors to feel safe anywhere in the country.
Although it’s always good to take safety precautions, the Czech Republic has a well-maintained public transportation system constantly monitored by security cameras and the police. The nation also has strong gun control laws, so the prevalence of violent crime is quite rare.
“Bohemia”, as the nation is historically known, boasts various architectural styles. From Romanesque and Gothic to Renaissance, Baroque, Art Nouveau, and Classicist, you’ll find plenty of buildings and structures to admire in the Czech Republic.
Some things you can do here include walking across the Charles Bridge, hiking in the Šumava National Park enjoying the Czech spa towns, drinking Czech wine in south Moravia, and marveling at the architecture of St. Vitus Cathedral and Prague Castle.
Best known for being a global financial hub with a world-class transportation system and one-of-a-kind infrastructure, Singapore is one of the Four Asian Tigers worth visiting. The country has a GPI score of 1.33, placing it among the safest countries in Southeast Asia.
Singapore also has strict laws and punishments for criminals. The government’s zero-tolerance approach to crime helps to deter would-be criminals from partaking in illegal activities in the first place. There is also a strong emphasis on public safety, with a visible police presence and strict enforcement of laws. That way, visitors can explore the vibrant city-state with confidence.
Whether you only have one day in Singapore or have permanently relocated to the “Lion City”, there are a few must-do activities you cannot miss out on. These include strolling through the scenic Gardens by the Bay or Botanical Gardens. You can also visit Universal Studios theme park and spend some time at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
With a GPI score of 1.34, Japan wraps up the top 10 safest countries in the world. The “Land of the Rising Sun” is known for having one of the lowest crime rates in the world. This is evident, considering lost wallets and/or cash are typically returned to the owner with everything intact.
Japan’s high levels of safety can be attributed to the country’s well-maintained infrastructure, which ensures a safe and comfortable travel experience. In terms of natural disasters, while Japan is prone to earthquakes, typhoons, and tsunamis, it has a highly advanced disaster preparedness and response system in place. This minimizes risks to residents as well as travelers embarking on a Japan itinerary.
You’ll also be happy to know that Japan’s landmarks, from Geisha temples and shrines in Kyoto to the snow-capped Mount Fuji, offer a serene escape into Asia. Other intriguing things that Japan is famous for include anime, cherry blossom season, and sushi.
Known for its long-standing neutrality in world affairs, Switzerland has a GPI score of 1.36 and is one of the safest places in the world. The country has not been involved in a war since 1815, following Napoleon’s demise at the Battle of Waterloo.
The Swiss government places great importance on safety regulations and compliance. Their building codes and safety standards are strictly enforced. While the Swiss police force is highly professional and proactive, ensuring public safety and maintaining law and order.
With its low crime rate, travellers and residents can enjoy a sense of security throughout the country. The country’s robust public transportation system, including trains, trams, and buses, ensures safe and convenient travel within and between cities.
Spend time exploring the country’s stunning landscapes, including the Alps, which offer many outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and mountaineering. The country’s authorities prioritise safety in these areas, with well-marked trails, safety protocols, and rescue services readily available. You’ll also find one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, Rhine Falls.
Canada’s 1.39 GPI score makes it the country with the lowest crime rate in North America. Known as the “Land of Maple Leaf”, Canada offers a secure environment for residents and travelers thanks to its low rate of violent crimes providing a sense of safety and peace of mind.
Law enforcement agencies nationwide are professional, well-trained, and responsive, ensuring the well-being of communities. Emergency services are also readily available and efficient.
However, while Canada is generally safe, it is still important to exercise common-sense precautions. Stay away from places like Surrey in British Columbia and Lethbridge in Alberta, which are two of the most dangerous cities in Canada.
Canada offers a diverse range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. If you’re a nature enthusiast, you’ll love visiting the majestic Rocky Mountains or exploring the pristine beauty of Banff National Park in some of Canada’s most beautiful cities.
You’ll also find plenty of stunning lakes in Canada, where you can enjoy outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, kayaking, and fishing. I suggest you also take some time to experience some of the best landmarks in Canada, like the CN Tower in Toronto.
Photo by Szabolcs Toth from Pexels
With a GPI score of 1.41, Hungary is one of Central Europe’s safest places to live. This landlocked country boasts a relatively low crime rate, with petty theft being the most common concern in busy tourist areas.
Hungary’s stable political atmosphere provides a well-functioning rule of law, where police presence is visible and emergency services are readily available. The country’s infrastructure, transportation networks, and healthcare facilities meet high standards, ensuring safe and convenient travel experiences.
If you’re relocating or even just visiting for a few days, you’ll appreciate Hungary’s rich cultural heritage, historical sites, and vibrant cities like Budapest, which are generally safe to explore. You can explore the capital, known for its stunning architecture and landmarks like the Buda Castle and Hungarian Parliament Building.
Check out my article on other safe cities in Europe.
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Finland has a GPI score of 1.44. The Northern European nation is said to be the happiest country in the world, according to a World Population Review Study. The report shows most people in Finland have strong feelings of communal support and mutual trust, propelling the country to rank #1.
Finland’s infrastructure, like the transportation networks and healthcare facilities, meet high standards, which ensure safe and efficient travel and access to medical care. On the other hand, the Finnish police force is highly professional, reliable, and accessible, ensuring public safety and maintaining law and order.
There are plenty of great things to do in Finland. The country’s natural landscapes, including vast forests, pristine lakes, and the mesmerizing Northern Lights, offer a wide range of outdoor activities. Whether hiking, camping, or engaging in winter sports, you can confidently enjoy nature’s beauty, knowing that your safety is prioritized.
Photo by Luciann Photography from Pexels
Similar to Finland, Croatia has a 1.44 GPI score. This Balkan nation boasts a relatively low crime rate which results in violent crimes and acts of terrorism being very uncommon. Always make sure that you stay vigilant in crowded tourist areas, as they usually attract pickpockets.
Croatia maintains a stable political climate. The police have strong visibility in major cities and tourist hubs like Dubrovnik, so you’ll be well protected. After receiving over 15 million visitors in 2022, it’s no surprise that Croatia’s government strives to attain a functioning rule of law.
If you’re looking for things to do, Croatia’s beautiful coastline offers great swimming and sunbathing opportunities with its picturesque islands and crystal-clear waters. You can also explore historic coastal towns like Split and Zagreb, with their ancient ruins and cultural landmarks. All this while feeling safe and welcomed.
While historically, safety was not something that Germany was famous for (I’m looking at you, World War II), it has risen to be one of the countries with the lowest crime rate in the world. Today, Germany has a GPI score of 1.46, thanks to its strong emphasis on safety, which makes the Western European country a secure destination for residents and travelers.
The German police force is professional and efficient, ensuring public safety and maintaining law and order. Its government also places a strong emphasis on disaster preparedness. So adequate measures are in place to mitigate risks and respond to emergencies, whether natural disasters or other unforeseen events.
German cities, such as Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg, offer a vibrant and culturally rich experience. You can spend your time exploring historical German landmarks, museums, and memorial parks. Also, don’t forget to immerse yourself in the country’s diverse culinary offerings.
Photo by Nextvoyage from Pexels
Norwegian society places great importance on social welfare, equality, and well-being, which all contribute to a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere. The country’s 1.47 GPI score shows a stable political system, visible policing, and reliable emergency services.
In addition, the country also boasts adequate disaster management and preparedness for things such as avalanches and landslides. This, in turn, gives you good peace of mind while venturing into Norway’s wild and rugged landscape, characterized by dramatic mountain peaks and glacial fjords.
Other magical landscapes you’ll find here include expansive forests, the stunning Northern Lights, and various outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and sailing along the coast. Norway’s society is built on principles of well-being, contributing to a secure and enjoyable experience for those exploring this breathtaking Scandinavian country.
With a GPI score of 1.47, Malaysia provides one of the safest environments to live in or visit in Southeast Asia. The “Land of Beautiful Islands” is classified as one of the most developing countries in the world with a low tax rate that makes it attractive to immigrants or expats.
The country’s law enforcement agencies are proactive and responsive, ensuring the well-being of residents and travelers. And its emergency services provide prompt assistance when needed. The healthcare system in Malaysia meets international standards, with well-equipped medical facilities available throughout the country.
Malaysia’s natural beauty, including lush rainforests, stunning beaches, and vibrant coral reefs, offers a range of outdoor activities. Knowing that safety measures are in place, you can enjoy activities like hiking, diving, and wildlife encounters.
While Malaysia is generally safe, taking precautions such as safeguarding personal belongings and being aware of your surroundings is advisable. By following local laws and customs and staying informed, you can fully appreciate Malaysia’s rich heritage, warm hospitality, and diverse attractions in a secure environment.
Known as the “Land of the Thunder Dragon”, Bhutan is considered one of the safest destinations in the world. This small Himalayan kingdom prioritizes the well-being and happiness of its citizens, creating a secure environment for both residents and visitors.
With a GPI score of 1.48, Bhutan’s crime rate is remarkably low, and instances of violent crime are rare, providing a sense of peace and tranquillity. The country’s law enforcement agencies are diligent and responsive in their work, ensuring the highest form of public safety and maintaining order.
Nature enthusiasts will fall in love with Bhutan’s natural landscapes, including pristine mountains, lush valleys, and serene monasteries, which offer a sanctuary of safety and peace. There are many incredible things to do in Bhutan. Whether it is embarking on a trek to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery or exploring the vibrant streets of Thimphu, you can immerse yourself in Bhutan’s cultural richness with ease.
Photo by Rudolf Kirchner from Pexels
With a 1.5 GPI score, Slovakia is known for its safe environment, making it an attractive destination for travelers. The country maintains a low crime rate where violent crime is relatively rare, contributing to the overall safe atmosphere.
Another great safety feature is that Slovakia’s public transportation is quite reliable, making it easy for you to explore the country’s charming cities and picturesque landscapes. You’ll also enjoy the heavy police presence and rapid response time by emergency services.
Slovakia’s natural landscape is dotted with majestic mountains, serene lakes, and enchanting caves, offering a wide range of outdoor activities. From hiking and skiing to cave exploration and water sports, you can enjoy these adventures without worry.
Photo by Shane Aldendorff from Pexels
The Netherlands, or Holland, as others call it, is known for its high safety standards, with a GPI score of 1.52. The country maintains a low crime rate, with acts of terrorism and violence being quite rare. This can be attributed to the professional police force, which is reliable and visible, ensuring public safety and providing assistance when needed.
Holland has a well-developed infrastructure, including transportation networks and healthcare facilities. And the country’s commitment to safety is reflected in its well-maintained public spaces, well-lit streets, and comprehensive safety regulations. Pedestrian and cyclist-friendly infrastructure further enhances safety and encourages sustainable modes of transportation.
The Netherlands offers many exciting activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. One of the top destinations is Amsterdam, where you can explore the city’s charming streets and visit world-class museums like the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum.
Take a scenic canal cruise, and experience the vibrant nightlife. Another must-visit spot is Keukenhof, known for its stunning display of colourful tulips and other spring flowers in the world-famous Keukenhof Gardens.
Safest Countries In The World: FAQs
To help you plan and prepare for your trip, here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about the levels of peace and safety in the world’s safest countries.
What Is the Number 1 Safest Country?
According to various safety rankings, including the Global Peace Index, Iceland consistently ranks as the number one safest country in the world. This is due to its low crime rates and well-functioning social and political systems.
Which Country Has the Least Crime in the World?
Singapore. But based on crime rate statistics, countries like Iceland and Switzerland are often also considered to have the least crime in the world. Each of these three nations offers a safe and secure environment for residents and visitors.
What Is the Safest Country in Europe?
Iceland. However, countries like Switzerland and Austria are also often considered the safest in Europe, offering a secure environment, low crime rates, and reliable infrastructure and services.
What Is the Safest Country in Africa?
Mauritius is often regarded as one of the safest countries in Africa — although it doesn’t quite make it onto our top global list. It boasts low crime rates, a stable political climate, and a strong rule of law, making it an attractive destination for travellers.
Which Is the Safest City in the World?
Results for the safest city in the world may vary depending on the criteria used for assessment, but cities like Tokyo, Singapore, and Copenhagen often rank among the top in terms of safety. So you can choose to visit the safest country that best suits your travel plans and itinerary.
Where Is the Cheapest and Safest Place in the World?
Although it does not make the top 21, Bulgaria is one of the safest and cheapest places to live in the world, especially if you’re looking at moving to Europe. The country boasts a 1.54 GPI score and comes in at #24 on the list.
Safest Countries To Live In The World | Wrapped Up
Choosing a safe country to live in can provide peace of mind and a high quality of life. From Iceland’s low crime rates to Switzerland’s well-established infrastructure, each of the safest countries mentioned in this article has its unique advantages.
Whether it’s the secure social and political systems, efficient emergency services, or the emphasis on public safety, these nations have prioritised the well-being and security of their residents.
By considering these safe havens, you can make an informed decision when planning a move and enjoy the benefits of living in a country that values safety as a fundamental aspect of its society.