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The safest holiday destinations around the world

A drone shot of Reykjavík, the capital city of Iceland
Reykjavík in Iceland is considered to be one of the safest capital cities in the world | Image: David Mark / Pixabay

We’ve told you about the most dangerous cities in the world. We’ve clued you to the most treacherous holiday destinations too. But before we here at Crime+Investigation can be accused of scaremongering, we’d like to bring you the other side of the criminal coin.

These are the safest holiday destinations in the world. Where you can feel free to stroll around freely, within reason of course.

1. Iceland

Statistically, historically, or anecdotally… whatever way you consider the question of the safest place to enjoy a trip abroad, Iceland is almost always the answer.

The Land of Fire and Ice is free from conflict, has an incredibly low crime rate, and operates a system of fairness and equality that leads to a - mostly - satisfied and stable society.

2. New Zealand

Whether you visit the North or South Islands (or any of the smaller ones), you’re unlikely to witness or experience any kind of danger in New Zealand.

Violent crime exists, but at minuscule levels and it is rarely targeted at tourists. Disease, natural disasters, terrorism, war - there is not too much to concern yourself with should you pick this friendly spot for a holiday.

3. Denmark

Scandinavian countries tend to rank highly on any list of ‘the safest nations’. Low crime, a strong welfare state, excellent education, equality, and low unemployment, all topped off with a sunny outlook, Nordic countries like Denmark prioritise happiness. As such, they create peaceful communities and well-run, conflict-free countries.

Petty crime such as pickpocketing exists in the larger cities, but holidaymakers can rest assured that a trip to Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense, or Aalborg shouldn’t cause too many worries.

4. Portugal

While very few people would suggest Portugal as a particularly dangerous nation, it may come as something of a surprise to learn that it’s the fourth safest in the world.

The Iberian country has impressively low violent crime rates and regularly ranks much higher than neighbouring Spain in all metrics of safety.

Okay, maybe there are a few neighbourhoods in the bigger cities like Lisbon to avoid after dark, but that’s true of any urban area.

5. Slovenia

Nestled in between Croatia, Austria, Italy, and Hungary, Slovenia doesn’t have a huge touristic appeal. At least not compared to its neighbours. It’s a shame, though. It’s a beautiful country that ranks much higher than the nations surrounding it in terms of safety.

The former Yugoslav country only has one major city, the capital Ljubljana. Violent crime isn’t too much of a concern there or anywhere else in the country. Of course, bag snatching and pickpocketing aren’t unheard of, but if you take the usual precautions, you won’t have many issues. Altogether, Ljubljana is one of the safest capitals in the world.

6. Austria

At various points during history, Austria wasn’t the safest place to hang out. Central to the start of World War I and a federal state of Germany during World War II (and being Hitler’s home nation) didn’t help its reputation. Nowadays, though, Austria is the picture of peace and tranquillity.

There are less than 100 murders a year, with Vienna a mostly crime-free city. Organised crime isn’t much of a problem either, nor is any real violent crime.

In terms of human rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and press rights, Austria excels. This kind of progressive and liberal attitude appears to lead to harmony which is reflected in the overall happiness and peacefulness of Austrian society.

Honourable mentions

Switzerland, the Republic of Ireland, Czechia, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Australia, and Croatia.

How was this list curated?

We poured over the Institute for Economics and Peace's Global Peace Index. It's a study of more than 160 independent nations that account for some 99.7% of the world’s overall population.

The index analyses which countries are the most peaceful/least dangerous using 23 separate criteria that are sorted into three distinct areas: militarisation, general safety and security, and domestic/international conflict.

The information is combined and a Peace Index Score is formed. The scores are then compared and an effective league table is created.