The world’s safest travel destinations

The Zurich skyline, Switzerland (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The Zurich skyline, Switzerland (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Switzerland has topped a list of the safest places to take a holiday, due to its political stability, low rates and violence and good healthcare.

A new report by Which? Travel using data from consultancy firm STC has assessed countries around the world based on risks from natural disasters, road traffic fatalities, homicide rates, terrorism, health infrastructure and safety for women.

Almost all destinations in the top 10 are in Europe, with Nordic nations particularly well represented.

In second place is Iceland, followed by Norway, Portugal and Slovenia.

At the opposite end of the scale is Jamaica, which has a homicide rate of around 60 times higher than Switzerland.

Brazil, South Africa and Mexico all rank low for safety based on high homicide rates, while the Philippines is near the bottom due to a increased risk of natural disasters.

Statistics show that dangerous driving is a bigger risk than terrorism, and while mid-table countries, such as Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Jordan and Tunisia have relatively low homicide rates, they rank highly for traffic fatalities.

Non-European exceptions in the top 10 include New Zealand and Singapore.

Report authors note that while the southeast Asian republic has an excellent health system and a low risk of natural disaster, it has “an authoritarian streak”, with anti-gay laws only being repealed this year.

In assessing the safest countries for solo women travellers, the data used an index produced by travel agency the Sole Female Travellers Club.

It labelled Egypt as the least safe holiday destination for women, taking into account warnings from US and UK government authorities, and also its own survey data, while Iceland was listed as the safest country.

The UK missed out on the top 20, coming in 24th place. It has the distinction of having one of the lowest rates of road traffic fatalities in the world, with 2.9 deaths per 100,000 (only Sweden is better). Homicide rates are reasonably low at 1.3 per 100,000, but below France, Spain and Italy.

And when it comes to cross-Atlantic relations, the UK beats the US on both counts: the US’s homicide rate is 5.3 per 100,000, while its traffic mortality rate is 10.6 per 100,000.

The findings mirror a July 2022 report by the Institute for Economics & Peace, which listed Iceland, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark and Austria in its ranking of the most “peaceful” countries.

The Global Peace Index (GPI) ranked 163 of the world’s nations on “peacefulness”, stating: “In the past 14 years, peacefulness has fallen [overall], with the average country score deteriorating by 3.2 per cent.”

It added: “Europe remains the most peaceful region in the world. The region is home to four of the five most peaceful countries, and only one country in Europe is ranked outside the top half of the index.”

The top 20 safest holiday destinations in the world

  1. Switzerland

  2. Iceland

  3. Norway

  4. Portugal

  5. Slovenia

  6. Finland

  7. New Zealand

  8. Denmark

  9. Singapore

  10. Austria

  11. Germany

  12. Sweden

  13. Australia

  14. Canada

  15. Spain

  16. Belgium

  17. Czech Republic

  18. Netherlands

  19. Italy

  20. France