The world is considered less peaceful this year than last, according to a new report. Here we highlight 10 of the most peaceful countries in which to find a tranquil escape.
“The country’s greatest single attribute is the Slovenes themselves: quietly conservative, deeply self-confident, remarkably broad-minded, especially tolerant and very, very hospitable,” describes Telegraph Travel’s Slovenia expert Steve Fallon. So it comes as no surprise that Slovenia was ranked one of the most peaceful nations in this year’s Global Peace Index.
“Tiny Slovenia has a store of attractions and activities – from Venetian coastal towns to white-water rafting – to rival a country many times its size. The incredible mixture of climates here brings warm Mediterranean breezes up to the foothills of the Alps, where it can nonetheless snow even in summer,” says Fallon. “And with more than half of its total area covered in forest, Slovenia really is one of the greenest countries in the world.”
From the snow-capped Mount Fuji to the ancient city of Kyoto (pictured), with its temples, colourful shrines and tranquil zen gardens, there are plenty of ways to experience peace in Japan.
The world’s second largest country is a place “where expectations are exceeded by reality – where the mountains are grander, the lakes bluer, the cities more compelling, the people friendlier,” describes Telegraph Travel’s Tim Jepson.
“Switzerland has not been involved in a war since 1847, doesn’t spend billions of pounds on the military and is widely considered the closest any nation has come to a direct democracy, where ordinary citizens can propose constitutional changes,” says Telegraph Travel’s digital editor Oliver Smith.
6. Czech Republic
Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution – the uprising that ended 41 years of Communist rule in the then-Czechoslovakia. This landlocked nation has come a long way since the revolution and it is considered one of the most peaceful countries in Europe.
Peaceful and pretty, there’s much to discover in Europe’s most westerly country. “While golfers and sunseekers flood to the southerly Algarve, swathes of the rest of Portugal remain unexplored,” says Telegraph Travel’s Portugal expert Mary Lussiana. “Regions vary enormously in their weather, cuisine, architecture and wines, so a journey from north to south yields a rich bounty of different experiences.”
4. New Zealand
“New Zealand is a remote and geologically dynamic country bestowed with diverse, often unique landscapes and wildlife,” describes Telegraph Travel’s New Zealand expert Sarah Bennett. Suffice to say the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’ deserves its reputation as one of the world’s most peaceful destinations.
The mountainous home of the Alps, the Sound of Music and Mozart was found to be the third most peaceful country in the world. “This tiny landlocked European country is often overlooked by tourists,” says the Telegraph’s Ben Fogle. “But it always amazes me how picture-postcard perfect the Austrian countryside is, with its immaculate farmhouses and flower boxes oozing with colour.”
The Scandinavian nation was declared the ‘world’s happiest country’ earlier this year, knocking Switzerland off the top slot in the annual World Happiness Report. Its stylish capital, Copenhagen (pictured), is “one of Europe’s great capital cities” and “a design-lover’s dream where copper-spired churches blend happily with sleek newbuilds.
“The land of fire and ice is awash with glaciers, towering volcanoes and geothermal pools. Add to that Reykjavik, its hip capital, and you have a destination that provides not just otherworldly sights but also plenty of culture.