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Safest Places to Travel 2023

Each year, regardless of what’s going on in the world, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection produces its list of the safest places to travel. And over the years, US consumers have seen travel threats from A (Hurricane Andrew) to Z (Zika) impact their travel plans and their perception of travel safety, and influence where they travel.

A couple years ago it was the pandemic. Then it was staff and equipment shortages. Now it’s inflation and global warming.

Assuming we can clear these final hurdles, it’ll be all systems go for travel, and the only thing we’ll have to worry about is which travel insurance plan we want to protect our flights and cruises .

With that thought in mind, let’s dive into the 2022-23 version of the Safest Places To Travel.

Here are the 15 countries around the world that we believe will be safest for travelers in 2023:

The Safest Places To Travel

1. Netherlands
2. Denmark
3. Iceland
4. Australia
5. Norway
6. Canada
7. Germany
8. Sweden
9. Switzerland
10. New Zealand 1 1. Spain
12. Ireland
13. United Arab Emirates
14. United Kingdom
15. Belgium

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

What You Need To Know About The World’s Safest Countries


After years of doing this, it’s clear that travelers think that Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden, Iceland, and Canada are pretty safe countries, and their perceptions are reinforced by other measurements.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t movement in our rankings. Over the last year:

  • Australia crept up to fourth overall from sixth.
  • Because of the number of new countries on the list, more countries fell than rose. For instance, New Zealand fell from second to 10th, Canada dropped from third to sixth, and Ireland fell from eighth to 12th.
  • Some of the biggest fallers were Japan (down from fifth to 19th), Costa Rica (down from 15th to 31st) and Brazil (down to 42nd from 25th).

Just for comparison (and in case you’re keeping score at home), here is last year’s list:

1. Iceland
2. New Zealand
3. Canada
4. Sweden
5. Japan
6. Australia
7. Switzerland
8. Ireland
9. Germany
10. United Kingdom 1 1. Spain
12. France
13. Italy
14. South Korea
15. Costa Rica

History and methodology

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection has a long history of asking travelers where they’re going, why they’re traveling, and what constitutes a safe destination to them. We conducted our first traveler research in 2016 and have been doing studies ever since.

In our survey, we ask people where they’ve traveled in the last five years, and only the people who have visited specific countries are allowed to rate those countries on safety.

We then augmented those ratings with other indices and information, including the Global Peace Index and the State Department’s own travel safety ratings . We also average the GeoSure Global scores of the major cities in each country.

From there, we calculated a weighted score that reflects each country’s overall safety.

The beauty of this approach is its balance. No one score tips in balance in favor of one country over another, and each score contributes to the overall score.

Photo by Tsunami Green on Unsplash


These ratings aren’t predictive – that is, just because we say Canada is safe that doesn’t mean it will rank in the Top 10 in the future.

It also doesn’t mean that any given country is safe right this moment.

For instance, several years ago, our survey respondents named Australia the world’s safest country, and by the time the findings were released the country was being decimated by forest fires … in the middle of a pandemic.

Like any other measurement, you need to balance our rankings with what’s going on in the world as you’re booking your travel.

Let’s learn a little more about the safest countries for travelers.

Photo by Gaurav Jain on Unsplash

The Top 15 Safest Countries in the World

1. Netherlands

Rank Last Year: Not ranked

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Spoiler alert: Amsterdam is one of the world’s safest cities, according to the American travelers we surveyed. If Amsterdam is a super-safe city, it would make sense that it’s located in a really safe country.

What You Need To Watch Out For

Demonstrations, maybe? Honestly, the State Department’s country information page for the Netherlands struggles to come up with anything beyond the usual amorphous threats of terrorism and pickpocketing.

Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

2. Denmark

Rank Last Year: Not ranked

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Like the Netherlands, Denmark is home to one of the world’s safest cities in Copenhagen. Beyond that, Denmark is a famously mellow destination without the occasional discordant note struck in Sweden or Norway.

And like the Netherlands, good beer and good cheese go a long way toward mollifying a population.

What You Need To Watch Out For

Drugs. According to the State Department , “Freetown Christiania, located in the Christianshavn area of Copenhagen, is known for illicit drug activity. Drug enforcement efforts have resulted in clashes between the police and Christiania residents.”

Best to just keep your distance.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

3. Iceland

Rank Last Year: 1

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Iceland has always been considered one of the safest places on earth. The only question is where in the top of the list it will fall.

What You Need To Watch Out For

Leaving your bag on the floor in a nightclub. Honestly – that’s all the State Department’s got.

Actually, driving can be treacherous. Less than one-third of Iceland’s roads are paved, and many roads outside the capital are impassable from October through April – and then mud makes many roads impassable in July.

Know the road conditions before you set off on an Icelandic road trip.

Photo by Ondrej Machart on Unsplash

4. Australia

Rank Last Year: 6

Why It’s Ranked Highly

It’s a long way from anywhere – in a good way. The people are friendly, everyone speaks English, and there are long stretches where you can be absolutely to yourself.

What You Need To Watch Out For

Bar fights. Australia has a bit of a reputation as a hard-drinking country, and sometimes that drinking can get out of hand. Keep your wits about you, duck out when things take a turn, and you’ll be fine.

Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

5. Norway

Rank Last Year: Not ranked

Why It’s Ranked Highly

It’s Scandinavia, so people don’t go out much in the winter – and the winter can last a long time. And when it’s not winter, everyone’s so happy to be out and about that they don’t think about getting into trouble.

What You Need To Watch Out For

There aren’t too many other countries where the State Department is reduced to warning travelers about office burglaries, but that’s its red flag on Norway.

You should also be a particularly careful driver. As Jalopnik notes, Norway does not look kindly on speeders.

check out our Travel Insurance Plans

Photo by Eugene Aikimov on Unsplash

6. Canada

Rank Last Year: 3

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Another cold-weather country, Canada is so expansive that crimes stemming out of overcrowding are never an issue. And then there’s the whole “Canada nice” thing, which is 100% real.

What You Need To Watch Out For

Thefts from unlocked vehicles. But, hey, if you leave your car unlocked and someone steals your Timbits ® , that one’s on you – no matter where you happen to be.

Photo by Rachel Davis on Unsplash

7. Germany

Rank Last Year: 9

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Germany has all the good stuff: It’s orderly and clean, with one of the best transportation systems in the world, and it’s populated by a whole lot of rule-followers.

What You Need To Watch Out For

Romance scams. Per the State Department , “Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help.”

Photo by Patrik Carlberg on Unsplash

8. Sweden

Rank Last Year: 4

Why It’s Ranked Highly

It’s Scandinavia. No telling where Finland would have ranked had it been in our ratings.

What You Need To Watch Out For

Hotel-lobby thefts. The State Department claims that well-dressed individuals hang out around hotel lobbies and snatch unattended luggage.

Photo by Andreas M on Unsplash

9. Switzerland

Rank Last Year: 7

Why It’s Ranked Highly

You hear about Swiss banks, Swiss watches, Swiss chocolate – but never Swiss crimes. There’s a reason.

What You Need To Watch Out For

Alpine hazards. The State Department notes that avalanches, rock slides, blizzards and other hazards are common throughout the year and can strand skiers and hikers without warning. Have a contact system in place before setting out.

What They’re Saying

“Switzerland is a wonderful place to visit. As a young adult traveller, I found it very safe, clean and so beautiful! People could be reserved but generally were very welcoming, helpful and respectful.”

Ali Malcolm, Editor at Bookmundi

Photo by Aneta Foubíková on Unsplash

10. New Zealand

Rank Last Year: 2

Why It’s Ranked Highly

It’s like Australia, but more remote and even more beautiful.

What You Need To Watch Out For

Sheep. There are a lot of them in rural areas, roads are narrow, and Americans may not be used to driving on the left side of the road.

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

11. Spain

Rank Last Year: 11

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Its cities are some of Europe’s safest, and any place not named Ibiza has a laid-back Mediterranean attitude.

What You Need To Watch Out For

Sexual assaults, particularly against students. The State Department has quite a detailed description of how it happens, what you should do if it happens to you, and the difficulties in getting justice.

Photo by Andrew Ridley on Unsplash

12. Ireland

Rank Last Year: 8

Why It’s Ranked Highly

It’s lush and green and incredibly hospitable. In Ireland even the drunks are happy.

What You Need To Watch Out For

Rental-car break-ins. Rental cars are easy to spot in Ireland, which makes them ready targets for smash-and-grab thieves. Never leave valuables in plain sight in a rental car.

Photo by Wael Hnieni on Unsplash

13. United Arab Emirates

Rank Last Year: Not ranked

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Being unsafe is against the law – and you don’t want to break the law in the UAE.

What You Need To Watch Out For

Terrorism. While high-profile terrorist attacks are relatively rare in the UAE, it’s not unusual for a political or religious terrorist to stage an attack on an individual, especially if they’re readily identifiable as an American tourist. The State Department has the details.

Photo by Jack Anstey on Unsplash

14. United Kingdom

Rank Last Year: 18

Why It’s Ranked Highly

They may have a new monarch, but it’s the same old safe-as-milk U.K.

What You Need To Watch Out For

Northern Ireland during the “marching season.” “The troubles” can still be troublesome, especially when rival religious groups conduct their annual marches. Things get particularly tense around the Protestant celebrations on July 12.

Photo by Elijah G on Unsplash

15. Belgium

Rank Last Year: Not ranked

Why It’s Ranked Highly

Belgium is a country where the chief tourist activity is biking from brewery to brewery. That’s how chill Belgium is.

What You Need To Watch Out For

Pickpockets. The State Department recommends you be particularly vigilant “in public areas such as restaurants, the Brussels metro at night, buses/trams, and all train stations.”

Photo by Jordan Opel on Unsplash

Travel Safety Has Multiple Dimensions

Because people who had actually visited specific countries do our safety ratings, we felt comfortable asking them about multiple aspects of travel safety, including safety from crime, terrorism, and disease, and safety for groups such as travelers of color and LGBTQ+ travelers.

We used an average of six sub-category scores as the basis for the Safest Places calculation employed above. Here are the top-10 lists for the sub-categories.

Safest Places To Travel – Safety From Violent Crime

1. Germany
2. Netherlands
3. Denmark
4. Canada
5. Australia
6. Norway
7. Japan
8. Iceland
9. Ireland
10. Sweden

A perennial top-10 safest country, Ireland finally cracks the top 10 here.

Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

Safest Places To Travel – Safety From Terrorism

1. Netherlands
2. Australia
3. Canada
4. Iceland
5. Japan
6. Sweden
7. Denmark
8. Norway
9. Germany
10. Ireland

Same names, slightly different order, all fairly safe from terrorist activity.

Safest Places To Travel – Transportation Safety

1. Australia
2. Netherlands
3. Denmark
4. Canada
5. Germany
6. Japan
7. Sweden
8. Iceland
9. Spain
10. New Zealand

Despite the presence of sheep-forward countries at the top and bottom, these are countries with either well-developed road and transportation systems (everywhere but Iceland) or a limited need to travel far (Iceland).

Photo by Atoms on Unsplash

Safest Places To Travel – Health Measures

1. Netherlands
2. Denmark
3. New Zealand
4. Sweden
5. Germany
6. Iceland
7. Australia
8. Canada
9. France
10. Japan

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France makes its first appearance in a top 10, but not its last.

Safest Places To Travel – Women/LGBTQ/People of Color Safety

1. Australia
2. Netherlands
3. Denmark
4. Sweden
5. Canada
6. Iceland
7. Germany
8. Spain
9. France
10. New Zealand

Outside of the Aussies, Kiwis, and Canucks, a clean sweep for Europe.

Photo by Jordan Opel on Unsplash

Rankings By Age, Gender, And Income

Like last year, survey respondents had wildly different perceptions of the world’s safest countries depending on their age, gender, and income. After we broke apart the responses, here are some of the categories with the biggest deviation from the overall scores:

Millennial Survey Respondents (ages 25-44)

1. Canada
2. Denmark
3. Belgium
4. Australia
5. China
6. Japan
7. Germany
8. Greece
9. Italy
10. Jamaica

Jamaica? Based on our article on safe travel in Jamaica , we’ll let you make that determination for yourself.

Respondents With A Household Income Of More Than $100,000

1. Canada
2. Denmark
3. Japan
4. Australia
5. Belgium
6. Ireland
7. Germany
8. Iceland
9. France
10. Italy

Normally higher income travelers travel overseas to exotic destinations – so why the love for our neighbor to the north? Maybe the grass really is greener in Moose Jaw.

Photo by John T on Unsplash

Respondents Spending More Than $10,000/Year On Travel

1. Australia
2. Canada
3. Japan
4. Belgium
5. Italy
6. Denmark
7. Germany
8. France
9. Costa Rica
10. Jamaica

Virtually all the destinations on our top-10 lists are northern-tier, European or English-speaking countries – except for Costa Rica and Jamaica, which are evidently safe destinations for big travel spenders.

Mature Survey Respondents

1. Hungary
2. Australia
3. Ireland
4. Canada
5. Japan
6. Brazil
7. Denmark
8. Germany
9. Bahamas
10. Iceland

Hungary? Hmmm. One possible explanation for its high ranking: older river cruisers who stop in Budapest.

1. China
2. Canada
3. Belgium
4. Greece
5. Australia
6. Japan
7. Italy
8. Germany
9. France
10. Israel

China has not usually been thought of as a family travel destination, but based on this, maybe it’s time to rethink that perception.

Final Notes

Remember that the top-10 lists above only show survey results. They don’t include the additional data from GeoSure, the Global Peace Index, and the State Department that are factored into the overall top 10. And survey results can be variable.

Regardless of when you feel able to visit the World’s Safest Countries, be sure to choose travel insurance from Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection to cover all your travels. Discover what makes our coverage special here .


Check out our online guide, “What Is Travel Insurance All About?” We’ve provided in-depth answers to all your travel insurance questions, starting with the basics.

18 SAFEST Countries to Travel Right Now in 2022 (According to GPI Rank)

Safest Countries in the World to Travel during COVID

Basic travel wisdom includes an awareness of the dangers and risks inherent in any destination. Countries with historically high terrorism, crime, and violence rates are less likely to be candidates for your next vacation.

The Institute for Economics & Peace is a non-profit international think tank dedicated to shifting the world’s focus to peace as a positive, achievable, and tangible measure of human well-being and progress. It has recently released the latest report in which they rank countries worldwide as the safest according to the Global Peace Index.

The index considers political and social stability, personal safety and security, public health, economic strength, and access to essential services.

The rankings from many public safety surveys are based on data collected over the past ten years. These surveys are conducted by IEP’s network of over 350 experienced researchers in the public, private and civil sectors. These researchers conduct the world’s most extensive surveys on global conflict, terrorism, militarism, organized crime, weapons proliferation, and corruption. To calculate the GPI, the researchers consider 23 indicators that cover the issues mentioned above.

The results are then compared to previous years’ results to identify and measure any critical changes in these indicators.

Here are the top 15 safest countries to visit according to IEP Global Peace Index Report 2022.

1. Iceland

Reykjavik the capital city of Iceland.

Reykjavik the capital city of Iceland.

This tiny island country in the North Atlantic Ocean is a favorite vacation destination for many Europeans.

Its capital city, Reykjavik, is geothermally active and is a popular tourist hot spot, especially among golf enthusiasts.

The country has a functioning and well-organized democracy. Its economy depends on fisheries, tourism, hydroelectric power generation, and aluminum smelting. Iceland has very low crime rates and high rankings in personal safety surveys.

Tourists can visit the famous Blue Lagoon geothermic spa or take advantage of the many hiking trails available. The northern lights are a popular attraction for star-gazers and photographers. Iceland also has a rich cultural heritage and hosts many festivals and concerts.

The people are friendly, easygoing, and welcoming.

2. New Zealand

New Zealand has a strong economy, with a small but growing population and a high standard of living.

Tourism is a significant contributor to the country’s economy. The number of visitors during the summer season is expected to increase significantly in the next few years. Personal safety is high in this country.

People feel safe even in urban areas. While its islands are secluded and beautiful, New Zealand can also be accessed by ferry or plane. It is a favorite vacation destination for many Australians and English couples.

The government is dedicated to protecting the rights of its citizens. Work is being done to improve the country’s infrastructure and prevent terrorism.

3. Ireland

This western European country’s history dates back to the early Christian era. It has played a significant role in Western civilization. It has a stable democracy and high rankings on the Global Peace Index.

The country’s economy is among the fastest growing in Europe, thanks to its expanding technological sector, which includes pharmaceuticals and life science. Ireland’s main tourist attractions are the many castles dotting the landscape and historical sites like Newgrange. A passage tomb was built 5,200 years ago. T

ourists who enjoy the outdoors can hike in the Wicklow Mountains or view more than 1,000 plant species at the world-renowned Gardens of Ireland.

The friendly people and communities are havens for artists and musicians.

The crime rate is low, and the country has no history of internal conflict.

4. Denmark

In Denmark, life is comfortable and peaceful. The country abolished its army to focus on developing social welfare programs, education, and cultural heritage. It has many protected national parks where you can enjoy scenic views or go hiking or biking.

One of its major attractions is the Scandinavian Contemporary Museum in Roskilde, which offers modern art and furniture exhibits.

Denmark also has a steady supply of fresh water and electricity. Law enforcement is effective, and there are few violent crimes, making it very safe.

5. Austria

This central European country is known for its diverse tourism options, including skiing, hiking, and horseback riding, as well as historical sites like the Great Alp Pipeline War and Salzkammergut Residency Palace. Its capital, Vienna, is a popular destination for European travelers.

According to the World Bank, people in Austria enjoy an excellent standard of living. The country has a modern infrastructure, including highways and a new high-speed rail line connecting Vienna to Berlin.

The country also has low crime rates, corruption, and economic control measures. The head of the state is the Federal President. The government has high rankings in personal safety and transparency.

6. Portugal

Portugal‘s rich and diverse history dates back to the Ice Age. It is located in the West Europe region.

Portugal’s economy has recently been growing due to its expanding telecommunications, technology, clean energy industries, and functioning democracy.

It also has low levels of corruption and good political participation rates. Its main tourist attractions include the religious sites of Lisbon, a UNESCO world heritage site built by the Northern civilizations, such as crusaders and royal families over centuries.

Crime rates in the country are low, and people feel safe traveling in urban areas. There is no threat of terrorism, and the country is known for religious tolerance.

7. Slovenia

Slovenia has a vibrant society and an excellent quality of life. The economy is robust and has many financial institutions. Several universities with arts and sports facilities are free and open to the public.

The country has a strong record of respecting freedom of the press, religion, and political rights.

The capital is Ljubljana, a rich cultural hub that attracts tourists all year round. The city has been undergoing significant changes in terms of urban development. It is also a major center for research and development.

The country has excellent public services, including public health and education. Crime is low, and there are few reports of theft or personal violence.

8. The Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has a stable democratic government with a strong economy. It has many students and boasts the highest percentage of the OECD countries for tertiary enrollment.

The country has many natural landscapes to enjoy, including mountains and forests. Popular tourist destinations include Ostrava Salt Mines, Prague Castle, Karlovy Vary Spa City, and Cesky Krumlov Castle.

Prague has recently been voted one of the most livable cities in the world due to its low crime rates and modern infrastructure. It is also famous for its beer. The communities and societies in the country are safe, with social acceptance and high levels of personal freedom.

The best way to see this country is on foot or by bicycle.

9. Singapore

Singapore’s economy is one of the most diversified in the world. It has a modern infrastructure and facilities, including clean water, electricity, and reliable Internet connectivity. You can access online media and participate in online activities without restrictions or censorship.

The economy is growing rapidly because of its growing business sectors, especially technology-based service industries such as software design, management services, and digital.

The country has a very efficient government and excellent strategic management. Singapore has outstanding institutions of higher learning, with many internationally-recognized educational programs.

The government boasts a high standard of personal freedom, and people can make their voices heard. Terrorism is practically absent from the country, and there is no threat of war.

10. Japan

Japan has low crime rates, especially when compared to other Asian countries. The economy is also one of the most stable in Asia, with relatively low unemployment rates.

Tokyo is one of the most densely populated cities. The city has many museums and exhibitions, and its many international film festivals held annually also attract tourists worldwide.

The culturally rich cities of Kyoto, Nara, Nagoya, and Osaka are famous for their ancient shrines, UNESCO world heritage sites, and traditional Japanese gardens.

11. Switzerland

Switzerland is renowned for its wealth and high standard of living. Its population is a little over 7 million. Its economy centers on banking and finance investments in business services and management consultancy.

Switzerland is also famous for its jewelry and watch-making industry. Its major tourist attractions include the Alps, lakes and waterfalls, museums of science and technology, and several castles.

The Swiss people are often regarded as very friendly, open-minded, and easygoing. Financial services are among the best in the world, and the country is famous for its excellent treatment of workers.

It has a progressive society, with female executives and a diverse religious community.

12. Canada

Canada is a developed country with modern facilities, including clean water and electricity. It is one of the most powerful democracies in the world, with a well-developed legal system. Its population is over 35 million, and it has low unemployment rates.

Canada has some of the largest gold deposits and petroleum and natural gas reserves.

The government ensures a free press, education, and religion. Ottawa is the capital of Canada, while Toronto and Montreal are the primary tourist destinations. The country has a health care system that is free and accessible to everyone, with public education and welfare.

Canadians are considered polite people who are welcoming to outsiders.

13. Hungary

Hungary is a small country with a population of about 10 million people. The government has several towns and settlements from ancient times, considered one of the most beautiful places in Europe.

Many places of interest, including castles and palaces, are located near Budapest. Budapest will likely remain the capital for many years because it is conveniently situated between Prague, Vienna, Munich, and Berlin.

Hungary is a safe country with low crime rates and violence, partly because of its strict gun control laws. You can also access online media without restrictions or censorship.

14. Finland

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is the world’s northernmost capital. Finland has an advanced education system, high literacy rates, and public health service coverage for all residents.

Helsinki has a modern infrastructure and impressive tourist attractions such as the Olympic Stadiums, which host sporting events during the summer months. Communities and societies in Finland are safe, with low crime rates.

The economy of Finland is substantial and diversified, with a high standard of living for its residents.

The country is a member of the European Union and has been actively involved in the European single market since 1995. It has very low unemployment rates and often features among the top ten best countries in the world to live in.

15. Croatia

Croatia has a population of over 4.5 million and is a developed country. The nation’s economy is primarily driven by service industries such as financial services, tourism, and manufacturing.

Tourism accounts for over 5% of the entire economy. Tourism in Croatia mainly focuses on the Adriatic Sea’s coastal areas, especially along the Istrian peninsula, where visitors can enjoy historical architecture and the area’s natural beauty.

Zagreb is a safe and very modern city. Croatia is respected for its progressiveness, democracy, and freedom of speech.

The GPI report is one of the most reliable indices used to rank 99 % of the population in the world. The indices used are based on measurable and objective data from various authoritative sources like UNESCO, the CIA, and other statistical agencies. Research is ongoing to compile the best data that include a more direct approach to achieve a personal and sustainable estimation of human development.

16. Germany

winter germany

Germany is a fascinating country with a lot to offer! The combination of old-world beauty and modern cosmopolitan centers makes it a great travel destination. With a diverse range of food, lodging, and beverage options, Germany is traditionally less expensive to visit than its European counterparts.

Germany is one of the world’s top travel destinations, with an interesting and rich history narrated through its old-fashioned and colorful architecture, castles, palaces, cathedrals, and monuments, as well as beautiful landscapes, mountains, and forests, wonderful food, and beer.

Germans enjoy celebrating. From Oktoberfest to Christmas markets to Carnival and the world-famous Rhine in Flames, Germany has a fair for every occasion!

Germany is a risk-free destination. While there are always parts that are more dangerous than others, Germany is a safe country overall. The crime rate is minimal, and the German government takes precautions to protect its inhabitants and visitors.

17. Norway

There are numerous reasons to travel to Norway. Mountains, fjords, the Northern Lights, Sami culture, whale watching and much more await you in Norway, and the people are eager to welcome you. When you visit Norway, you will have once-in-a-lifetime experiences and the opportunity to cross something off your bucket list.

The country of Norway is renowned as the Land of the Midnight Sun. It is known for its breathtaking lakes and enchanted skies. Norway is also known for its languages, Vikings and folklore, environmental friendliness and oil production. In addition, many Norwegians are well-known skiers, frozen pizza lovers, and Tesla drivers!

Norway is widely considered one of the safest countries in the world. Even in major cities like Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger, the crime rate is extremely low. As in any other urban area, you should be careful, but there is not much to worry about.

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18. Malaysia

Malaysia’s diversity is what makes it so fascinating. In the same country, you can visit vibrant modern cities and colonial buildings, relax on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, and climb through lush green jungles.

For the curious traveler, there is never a dull moment in this historically and culturally rich city.

A natural retreat is never far from exciting metropolises, fashionable hotspots and innovative cuisine. A vacation at one of Malaysia’s many spas or rural resorts, whether on sandy beaches or in the rainforests of the highlands, is a must.

Foreigners rarely become victims of violent crime. Petty crime such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and robberies are common, especially in tourist areas and at airports.

What are the safest international places for americans to visit

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Home > Destinations > The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Any country can be good to visit. At RoughMaps, we’re not in the habit of saying “good country, bad country.” It’s really more like “different county, differenter country.”

That being said, there are some countries that make especially favorable destinations for American travelers right now, and others that might be best left for another day.

So let’s take a look at 15 of the best countries for Americans, and 15 of the worst.

Oh, a quick note first: We’ve left out countries that are obviously super dangerous to visit right now. So if you were wondering whether it’s safe to take your kids to Syria or celebrate your anniversary in North Korea… the answer is “no” and that’s all we need to say.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

1. Best: Ireland

Why go to Ireland? As if we need to ask! Ireland is rich in both natural and manmade wonders. Its green, rolling countryside is punctuated with ancient cities and towns, its people are hopelessly friendly, and its pubs have many delicious brews on tap. Whether you like to explore culture and history or just prefer a quiet rural retreat, Ireland won’t disappoint.

Why is it great for Americans? One of the things you notice right away, especially in Dublin, is how proud the Irish are of their 1916 rebellion against the English. In fact, the way they celebrate its leaders is not so dissimilar from the way Americans view the founding fathers.

You can tell how close Ireland and the U.S. are from the fact that the American ambassador lives in the same park as the Irish president, right across the lane, in fact.

Finally, as we said, the Irish are friendly, love guests, and mostly speak English (albeit with a charming brogue).

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Ring of Kerry, Republic of Ireland. Photo by Nils Nedel on Unsplash

2. Worst: Honduras

What’s the deal with Honduras? Thanks, Seinfeld. Honduras is the second-largest country in Central America. It’s stunningly beautiful, with colonial hamlets, warm temperatures, rippling highlands, and access to both the Pacific and the Caribbean.

So why should I think twice? The State Department has issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory, encouraging Americans to reconsider visiting at this time. The main reason is the activity of notorious gangs such as MS-13, as well as the limited ability of the government to maintain order. Especially in urban areas, tourist safety cannot be guaranteed. Foreigners have been robbed, kidnapped, and even killed.

It may be possible to visit certain regions with a greater degree of confidence, but you should really do your research before you go.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Roatan, Honduras. Image by Michelle Maria from Pixabay

3. Best: Georgia

Why go to Georgia? To be clear, we’re not talking about Atlanta, but the former Soviet Republic in the Caucasus.

Georgia is not the country that first springs to most travelers’ minds when they’re planning a holiday. But there is much ancient history in the country, as well as stunning mountain vistas and valleys clustered with wineries. In fact, wine could well be a selling point in itself, since Georgians have been making wine for at least 8,000 years.

Why is it great for Americans? Despite (or maybe because of) the fact that Georgia was part of the USSR, the country now enjoys close relations with the United States. There is extensive trade, and a warmer attitude toward Americans that you’ll find in many other places. Indeed, there’s even a street named after George W. Bush in Tbilisi, the capital city. So… there’s that.

Also, despite stereotypes of former Soviet Bloc nations, Georgia has relatively little crime or corruption.

Americans (and most everyone) can enter the country visa free and stay for up to a year.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Tbilisi, Georgia. Photo by Jaanus Jagomägi on Unsplash

4. Worst: Burundi

What’s the deal with Burundi? Burundi is a small East African country just to the south of Rwanda. It’s an off-the-beaten-path sort of destination with a friendly people who are committed to preserving their ancient ways. It is one of the least developed countries in the world, so it would appeal mainly to intrepid travelers who aren’t afraid to get a little dirty and see the “real” world.

So why should I think twice? Political instability, mainly, as well as recurring concerns about malaria. While tourists are not the main targets of internal political violence, it’s very easy to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is compounded by the fact that borders often close without warning, medical facilities are poor, and the United States government has almost no ability to aid travelers who get into trouble here.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Burundi Image by quentcourtois0 from Pixabay

5. Best: Japan

Why go to Japan? Asked no one, ever. Whether you like hypermodern cityscapes or forgotten temples, Japan has you covered. The Japanese people are unfailingly helpful and will go out of their way to offer hospitality. The food is insane — even 7/11 mals here are five-star affairs. You’ll also be blown away by how clean and efficient everything is. When it comes to organization, the Japanese are streets ahead.

Why is it great for Americans? It’s kind of counterintuitive. After all, Japan and the U.S. were mortal enemies during WWII, and the death toll of that conflict was devastating for both sides. You would think some animosity might linger.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and the former rivals became surprisingly fast friends after the war. One reason is that the Japanese cheerfully incorporate foreign influences they admire into their own culture, creating an amazing synthesis. As a result, the Japanese have much in common with Americans, even while they remain distinct. If you’re visiting, you have to go see Japanese baseball, for example!

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Matsuno, Japan. Photo by Sora Sagano on Unsplash

6. Worst: Haiti

What’s the deal with Haiti? It pains us to say, because Haiti has a great and fascinating history. It is, in fact, the only country in the world that was founded by slaves who revolted against their masters. Visiting Haiti can be very rewarding, especially if you know a local who can shepherd you. Unfortunately, only the brave will venture beyond the richest enclaves around the capital, Port-au-Prince.

So why should I think twice? Massive government corruption has sparked violent protests over the past year. These can be ferocious and unpredictable, and can make it very difficult to get around. The authorities have limited capacity to respond, and in some areas you won’t even be able to get an ambulance if you need one.

Crime is also a problem. According to the State Department:

“Travelers are sometimes targeted, followed, and violently attacked and robbed shortly after leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport. The U.S. Embassy requires its personnel to use official transportation to and from the airport, and it takes steps to detect surveillance and deter criminal attacks during these transports.”

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Citadelle Laferrière, Haiti. Image by Welcome to all and thank you for your visit ! ツ from Pixabay

7. Best: Canada

Why go to Canada? Abundant hockey, good beer, natural vistas, and free healthcare. What more could you possibly want?

Canada is the second largest country in the world, so you can really take your pick of which Canada you want to visit. The east coast, with its coves and lighthouses? Quebec, with its history and poutine? Ontario with its big, phallic tower? The badlands in Alberta? The rainy inlets of British Columbia? Go nuts.

Why is it great for Americans? Canadians love to grumble about Americans in private and hate being mistaken for Americans when abroad. But you would have to intentionally provoke most Canadians to get them to say something rude in public. People here are generally happy to help you out, whether you’re lost or just need a recommendation — even in big cities like Toronto.

Also, the Canadian Dollar typically trades lower than the USD, so you can make your budget go farther. (That said, it kind of depends on how you spend your money; many things are more expensive in Canada, though they also tend to be of higher quality.)

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Toronto, as seen from Lake Ontario. Image by David Mark from Pixabay

8. Worst: Burkina Faso

What’s the deal with Burkina Faso? It’s a smallish, landlocked country in West Africa. Although it’s one of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso has generally had a reputation for being friendly and welcoming. It also has a great music scene, so it’s a great place to absorb West African culture. Until fairly recently, it was also known as a safe destination as well.

So why should I think twice? Burkina Faso is sadly now the subject of a Level 3 Travel Advisory, which means the government is strongly encouraging travelers to reconsider visiting. Unfortunately, the country has proved vulnerable to the strains of terrorism spreading in other West African countries like Mali, which lies just to the north. Kidnapping and terror attacks are a serious concern here, and U.S. government personnel are forbidden from working in whole swaths of the country. So if you get into trouble, help could be very hard to find.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Burkina Faso. Image by marclou from Pixabay

9. Best: Taiwan

Why go to Taiwan? Taiwan is an island off the coast of mainland China that’s roughly the shape of a sunflower seed. The status of Taiwan is extremely controversial: the Taiwanese claim they’re an independent country, while the Chinese government considers it a breakaway province with no claim on its own sovereignty.

Setting that mess aside, Taiwan is densely populated, with very modern cities like Taipei that you will want to check out. But it also has mountains and verdant forest waiting to be explored.

Why is it great for Americans? Although everyone is eager to avoid having the uncomfortable conversation about who really owns Taiwan, the U.S. has long been the country’s principal defender. In the Formosa Resolution of 1955, the United Stated pledged to defend the Taiwanese against invasion, which is one of the reasons they’ve been able to keep their de facto independence.

For this reason, you might find you get a warmer reception than you would in mainland China.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. Photo by Thomas Tucker on Unsplash

10. Worst: Turkey

What’s the deal with Turkey? Where to begin! Turkey is a repository of so much history and culture — from the Romans to the Ottomans and everyone in between. Turkey straddles the Bosphorus Straits, the dividing line between Europe and the Middle East, as well as the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. In so many ways, Turkey is where all these cultures and influences meet.

So why should I think twice? Turkey is bordered to the south by Syria and Iraq, two countries where things… aren’t going so great right now. That threat of terrorism has spread into Turkey, so you should definitely stay alert and avoid straying too far south toward active war zones.

Moreover, the current Turkish government under President Recep Erdoğan is very authoritarian. According to the State Department:

“Security forces have detained tens of thousands of individuals, including U.S. citizens, for alleged affiliations with terrorist organizations based on scant or secret evidence and grounds that appear to be politically motivated. U.S. citizens have also been subject to travel bans that prevent them from departing Turkey.”

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Istanbul, the city formerly known as Constantinople. Image by Konevi from Pixabay

11. Best: Thailand

Why go to Thailand? Gee, I don’t know. Do you like temples? Elephants? Amazing food? Night life? Beaches? A friendly and open people who will welcome you, feed you, respect you? No, you’re not interested in any of that!

Why is it great for Americans? The Vietnam War blackened America’s reputation with many countries, but in Thailand it had the opposite effect. Thailand was fighting off its own insurgencies, and the U.S. stepped in to help. This was the beginning of a friendship between the two peoples, a sort of phoenix from the ashes of a terrible war.

Also, Thai people are famously friendly to LGBTQ travelers, and trans people in particular are traditionally respected. Pretty cool, huh?

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

The beauty of Thailand. Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

12. Worst: Pakistan

What’s the deal with Pakistan? Pakistan stands between India, China, Afghanistan, and Iran. As you can imagine, it is therefore home to part of the old Silk Road. But its history stretches back father than that, into the mists of time; Pakistan was home to the Indus Valley people, one of the earliest known civilizations. From lush river valleys to daunting peaks, this land boasts great beauty. But also great danger.

So why should I think twice? The problem, as you may guess, is terrorism. Per the State Department:

“Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Pakistan. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls… airports… tourist locations… Terrorists have targeted U.S. diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past, and information suggests they continue to do so.”

Pakistan also has very rocky relations with its neighbor India, and both countries have nuclear weapons. Not a good look.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Hunza Valley, Pakistan. Photo by Mehtab Farooq on Unsplash

13. Best: Belize

Why go to Belize? Belize is a lesser-known destination in Central America, but people are starting to realize how awesome it is — so go now before it blows up! The country has a long Caribbean coastline, so you can bank on great fishing or diving, and superb beaches for all you bums to lounge upon. For the more adventurous types, there are also jungles and Mayan ruins just waiting to be explored. You will also be amazed by the diversity of the population.

Why is it great for Americans? Belize and the U.S. have a good deal in common because they’re both former British colonies. In fact, Belize is the only country in Central America that has English as its official language. Dollars will also gladly be accepted here (although that’s true almost anywhere).

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

You want beaches? Belize has beaches. Image by hat3m from Pixabay

14. Worst: Nigeria

What’s the deal with Nigeria? Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with more than 190 million people. It is correspondingly diverse, both in terms of its people and its geography (tropical bays and inlets in the south, hills in the interior, arid plains in the north). There are more than 500 languages spoken here, and although English is the official one, only the elite speak standard English in casual conversation.

So why should I think twice? Can you guess? It’s one of the sad themes of this list: terrorism. Nigeria is (very generally) divided between the Christian south and the Muslim north. Combined with latent ethnic tensions, this is a combustible mixture. Boko Haram operates out of the northeast of the country, but terror attacks are by no means limited to that region. Violent crime and even piracy are also distressingly common.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Photo by Ovinuchi Ejiohuo on Unsplash

15. Best: Australia

Why go to Australia? Yes, there are lots of things down under that want to kill you — jellyfish, funnel-web spiders, Russell Crowe. But there is also spectacular beauty, from Sydney Harbor to Uluru (AKA Ayers Rock) to Tasmania. And, of course, there’s the Outback, that vast expanse of wilderness and desert that seems to go on forever, daring you to test her breadth.

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Why is it great for Americans? Australians, like Canadians, have much in common with Americans, even if they still keep Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state. They speak English, of course, just with their own infections variations. They’re a friendly and outgoing people, respectful of guests, and generally not shy about… shall we say romantic trysts with foreigners.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Uluru, otherwise known as Ayers Rock. Image by Angelo Giordano from Pixabay

16. Worst: China

What’s the deal with China? Well, apart from being the most populous country on Earth with the most ancient and storied culture, nothing much really.

It’s absurd to tell someone “don’t visit China,” and that’s not really what we are saying here. There’s just too much to see and do. The Great Wall is only the crust of the pudding; there’s also the Forbidden Palace, the Terracotta Army, the Li River, the pandas… And who could forget the food? You definitely won’t go hungry!

So why should I think twice? As you are no doubt aware, China and the U.S. are in a trade war right now. Relations are as testy as they’ve been since the Nixon era, and China is an authoritarian country where the government will absolutely use and abuse its powers for political reasons. If you’re an American (or a Canadian) in China right now, you have a bit of a target on your back.

“Chinese authorities have asserted broad authority to prohibit U.S. citizens from leaving China by using ‘exit bans,’ sometimes keeping U.S. citizens in China for years. … U.S. citizens under exit bans have been harassed and threatened.

“[Americans] may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to ‘state security.’”

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

The Forbidden City, Beijing. Photo by Ling Tang on Unsplash

17. Best: Zambia

Why go to Zambia? Zambia is a startlingly attractive destination for lovers of wildlife and the great outdoors. It is home to some of the best safaris your money can buy, and of course the world-famous Victoria Falls. The modern Zambia is landlocked, a large conglomeration of different ethnic and language groups. It’s also quite poor. But despite these problems, which have proved insurmountable elsewhere, the Zambian people have managed to live together in relative harmony.

Why is it great for Americans? It’s really a great destination for everybody and anybody who wants to visit southern Africa. On the World Peace Index, Zambia is tied with the UK, so you don’t have to worry about safety any more than you would in London — or anywhere else, for that matter.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Victoria Falls, Zambia. Image by Simon Matzinger from Pixabay

18. Worst: Lebanon

What’s the deal with Lebanon? Lebanon is a Middle Eastern country with ancient history, pressed up against the shores of the Mediterranean. Its crown jewel is the city of Beirut — which some claim is the oldest continuously inhabited city on the planet. There are ruins and remains from half a dozen empires to be found here — from Byblos (the city from which the Bible takes its name) to Baalbek, where you will find the largest extant Roman temple in the world.

So why should I think twice? Location, location, location. Lebanon shares borders with both Syria and Israel.

Syria continues to be wracked by internal conflicts involving the government of Bashar al-Assad, Russian troops, ISIS, rebels of every persuasion, the U.S., Kurdish forces, and Russell Crowe. (Okay, that last one was just to see if you’re paying attention. The rest are real, though.)

Lebanon’s border with Israel is dangerous because the two countries have a toxic relationship. Bombings and skirmishes are not to be ruled out.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Hissa, Lebanon. Photo by Michael Yeghyan on Unsplash

19. Best: Slovenia

Why go to Slovenia? Slovenia is unspeakably beautiful, and it still has yet to emerge as an “it” travel destination. The architecture tends to be baroque and traditionally ‘European’, the food and wine are great, and the geography is varied (Mediterranean coast, Julian alps, interior plains). Slovenia packs a lot of good stuff into a very small Balkan country.

Why is it great for Americans? Slovenia is incredibly safe — one of the top 10 safest countries in the world, in fact. So you won’t have to spend your whole vacation wondering if you’re going to get kidnapped, or debating whether or not that city is safe to visit. The answer is an emphatic ‘yes.’

As we suggested, Slovenia has also yet to reach its full potential in terms of attracting tourists. Sooner or later, it’s going to become mega-popular, so you should go now.

Finally, First Lady Melania Trump is from here, so… there’s your icebreaker when you talk to locals!

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Lake Bled, one of Slovenia’s most famous attractions. Photo by Jaka Škrlep on Unsplash

20. Worst: Nicaragua

What’s the deal with Nicaragua? Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, stretching across the isthmus from the Caribbean to the Pacific. It is most famous for its many volcanoes and volcanic likes — many of which are hikeable. Until very recently, travelers had started taking notice of Nicaragua. Unfortunately, recent events have made visiting a dangerous proposition for the time being.

So why should I think twice? Nicaragua is in turmoil thanks to internal conflict between its ruler, President Daniel Ortega, and pro-democratic protestors/insurgent groups seeking to remove him from power. Anyone perceived to be in league with these groups is in real danger, with the State Department noting there have been “credible claims of torture and disappearances.” While police and para-police groups battle it out for the future of Nicaragua, it’s best for tourists to go elsewhere

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Hiking the El Hoyo Volcano, Nicaragua. Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

21. Best: New Zealand

Why go to New Zealand? As fans of The Lord of the Rings films know, New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Mountains, plains, rivers, glaciers… It’s the reason Instagram was invented (not that that’s why you’re going, of course). The people are super friendly as well, just as long as you don’t refer to them as ‘Australians who got lost’ or something.

Why is it great for Americans? Despite the tragic mosque shooting that took place there recently, New Zealand is actually the second safest country on Earth, all around. Kiwis are full of love for just about everyone, and they will give you a royal welcome as long as you’re not a jerk. It’s definitely worth the long flight!

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Roy’s Peak, New Zealand. Pictured: Roy, presumably. Photo by Paula May on Unsplash

22. Worst: Peru

What’s the deal with Peru? Peru is celebrated as the home of the Incas, that amazing civilization that built cities in the clouds and nazca lines and Machu Picchu. In recent years, its chefs have also won plaudits for their cuisine. It’s a classic destination in the Americas, somewhere most travelers dream of visiting at least once.

So why should I think twice? The State Department has issued a Level 2 Advisory for Peru, meaning Americans who are planning to visit should exercise increased caution. According to State:

“Crime, including petty theft, carjackings, muggings, assaults, and violent crime, is a concern in Peru, and can occur during daylight hours, despite the presence of many witnesses. The risk of crime increases after hours and outside the capital city of Lima where more organized criminal groups have been known to use roadblocks to rob victims.”

Another issue has nothing to do with safety at all: Machu Picchu has become something of a tourist trap. The sheer number of visitors has led the authorities to reduce the number of people who are even allowed on the site in a day, mostly because the foot traffic is doing structural damage.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Rainbow Mountain, Peru. Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash

23. Best: Chile

Why go to Chile? Chile is the longest, thinnest country in the world, with more than 3,000 miles of Pacific coastline. The diversity in the landscapes is incredible: mountains, fishing hamlets, vast expanses of Patagonia, wine country. There truly is something for everyone in Chile. If you’re looking to explore some of South America, it’s a great place to get started.

Why is it great for Americans? Chile is the safest country in South America. In larger cities, such as Santiago, English is widely used and understood, although Spanish is the dominant language. Chileans are also eager to help tourists, too eager in some cases.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Just a little taste of Chile’s Patagonia region. Image by David Mark from Pixabay

24. Worst: Egypt

What’s the deal with Egypt? Well, you see, a few years ago, a couple of Egyptian guys decided to build some giant triangles in the desert. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Everyone wants to go to Egypt. Everyone.

So why should I think twice? The first problem is terrorism. For this, we go back to our old friends at the State Department:

“Terrorists have conducted attacks in urban areas, including in Cairo, despite the heavy security presence. Terrorists have targeted religious sites, to include mosques, churches, monasteries, and buses traveling to these locations.”

But that threat is actually more in hand than it was a few years ago.

Of more concern is the frequency of pickpocketing, as well as the level of abuse female and LGBTQ travelers can expect to experience. We could say the same about many, many other countries, but Egypt is one of the worst.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Hieroglyphs , AKA Egyptian emojis. Image by Souza_DF from Pixabay

25. Best: Singapore

Why go to Singapore? Singapore is one of the most important ports in the world, an island, a city state, and a nation all in one. You will be amazed at the modernity of the city and its many amenities. Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences intermingle to create a unique atmosphere, and street food stands “hawkers” will serve you meals fit for a king.

Despite being incredibly densely populated, half of Singapore is preserved as green space, leading many to refer to it as a “garden city.”

Why is it great for Americans? If all that doesn’t make you want to go, consider that Singapore has the best airport in the world. I know what you’re thinking, but it literally does. Changi airport has gardens, art installations, gourmet restaurants, entertainment arcades, and even a rooftop pool! It definitely makes coming and going that much more of a treat.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay. Pixabay

26. Worst: Iran

What’s the deal with Iran? It’s so unfortunate. This country has a lot to offer, and in the last couple years they’ve been trying to attract more tourists — with some success. Iran (formerly known as ‘Persia’) is a treasure trove of ancient wonders and relics. Ancient settlements like Yazd, Persepolis, and Pasargadae underline the thousands of years of history that make Iran so unique. On top of all this — despite perceptions encouraged by the media — Iranians are very warm and generous people.

So why should I think twice? Politics, always politics. Because of the obvious and never-ending tensions between the U.S. and Iran, it’s impossible to really visit and explore independently. Americans are allowed to visit Iran, but while you’re there you will be accompanied and supervised by tour guides at all times. That will severely limit who and what you can meet and discover.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Azadi Tower, Tehran. Photo by Alireza Heydarifard on Unsplash

27. Best: Costa Rica

Why go to Costa Rica? Costa Ricans believe in living la pura vida — the simple life, or the pure life. Costa Rica is one of the safest places in Central America, and (according to studies anyway) the happiest place on Earth. Take that Walt Disney!

Costa Rica’s main attraction is its natural beauty. Almost a quarter of the country is taken up by national parks; with less than 0.1% of the land on earth, this tiny country contains about 5% of the biodiversity. If you’re conscious of the environment, this is a great place for ecotourism.

Why is it great for Americans? Hiking, biking, surfing, scuba diving, golfing, sailing, or just plain chilling on the beach — all these activities and more await you. And the emphasis on caring for the natural world means you can go as green as you please while doing it.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

The natural beauty of Costa Rica. Image by JanBartel from Pixabay

28. Worst: Saudi Arabia

What’s the deal with Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia covers about 80% of the Arabian peninsula (duh), and contains the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. All able-bodied Muslims are expected to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lives. The result is the Hajj, an annual journey to Mecca; more than 2 million Muslims come to Saudi Arabia every year to participate. Unfortunately, non-Muslims cannot participate or enter the sacred places.

So why should I think twice? It’s extremely difficult to gain access to Saudi Arabia in the first place. The country has just recently introduced a new tourist visa in an attempt to open up somewhat, but it’s still a slog to get the necessary permission to enter the kingdom. From what we hear, it would probably be easier to get a job teaching English in Arabia than to book a trip.

Of course, once you do enter, you will be subject to all sorts of rules that don’t sit well with those of us who believe in gender equality.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Al Baha, Saudi Arabia. Photo by Kemo Sahab on Unsplash

29. Best: Portugal

Why go to Portugal? Portugal’s popularity with tourists has exploded in the last decade. Portugal boasts medieval architecture; geographic diversity; a long, languid coastline; a clement climate; and some of the best food in the world. Lisbon, Cintra, and Porto are three cities you can’t miss if you’re passionate about architecture.

Why is it great for Americans? Portugal has all the glamor and history you could want, but not at the same prices you’ll pay elsewhere in Western Europe. Despite its popularity, you can still make your money go a long way here. Plus, because it’s a fairly small and self-contained country, you can get around without too much difficulty.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Porto, Portugal. Photo by LEMUR on Unsplash

30. Worst: Brazil

What’s the deal with Brazil? Brazil is one of the most important and vibrant countries in the world. So many great things come to mind when you think of it: the Amazon rainforest, Christ the Redeemer, butts. Brazilians are passionate and outgoing, with a festive culture and lively cities that will make you wish you never had to sleep. It’s no wonder so many people dream of paying a visit.

So why should I think twice? As we write this, the Amazon rainforest is burning at a record rate. Smoke is streaking across the sky, leaving an ominous stain, portending the poison that weakens the people below with every breath. Meanwhile, Jair Bolsonaro, the fascistic president of Brazil, is refusing aid from the international community to fight the fires, acting like none of this is a big deal.

The Brazilian government’s lack of concern for the Amazon, which provides 20% of the oxygen we all need to survive, is serious enough to warrant a tourist boycott for the time being.

The 30 Best And Worst Countries For Americans To Visit

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Agustín Diaz on Unsplash




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