Start planning your travel to these peaceful places.
With so many sad, scary stories popping up in the news these days—from a tragic shooting in Orlando to ongoing unrest in Turkey—it can feel like travel is the last thing you want to do. That's one reason why Vision of Humanity, a project of the independent organization Institute for Economics & Peace, makes its annual chart of the most and least safe countries around the world. The Global Peace Index, whose 2016 edition came out today, takes into account factors like numbers of police or security personnel, presence of nuclear weapons, and political instability in order to reach its findings. Unsurprisingly, South Sudan and Syria are the two most unsafe countries in the world to visit right now, but these ten score high marks for locals and travelers alike.
For the sixth year in a row, Iceland tops the safety index. The Nordic nation scored low points for homicides, number of people in jail, and terror acts. Another bonus: Being an island makes it somewhat harder to have border disputes. What more incentive do you need to jump in a thermal bath already?
Denmark regularly ranks among the happiest countries in the world, and now it's also one of the safest—other than a minor conflict with Canada over an uninhabited island, that is.
Robert Frost wrote that "good fences make good neighbors," and that's true of Austria, whose neighbors (including Germany and the Czech Republic) also scored high on the index. Austria gets points for low weapon imports and peaceful elections.
4. NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand may be one of the world's best destinations for gasp-inducing adventure travel, but you're more likely to be shocked by stunning beach views than by internal conflict or violence.
Earlier this year, Condé Nast Traveler declared Lisbon the most underrated city in Europe. The Global Peace Index only underlines that point: Portugal's relative affordability and beauty combined with its safety make it a must-visit.
6. CZECH REPUBLIC
The country that was home to the Velvet Revolution gets points for low per-capita military spending and relatively few acts of violent crime. Now, won't you please start calling it Czechia?
Switzerland's famous neutrality works in its favor for the peace index, where the country was noted for its absence in both internal and external conflicts. That probably leaves it plenty of time to complete projects like the world's longest and deepest tunnel.
Despite being larger than its neighbor to the south, Canada ranks much higher for peace and safety than the United States. Try visiting one the country's most friendly cities or checking out Toronto on a stopover program.
Japan scored high marks on the peace index for having a low number of homicides and little access to weapons. Beyond safety, the country also makes it very easy for travelers to get around, with high-speed and even invisible trains part of a mission to double the number of visitors by 2020.
While Slovenia has negligible terror activity and few internal conflicts, it does have a slightly higher than average police presence, which often makes visitors to the country feel safer. That's good news for savvy travelers hoping to explore hidden European gems like Ljubljana and the Soca River valley.