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24th August 2014, Skogafoss, Iceland: people admiring the beautiful and amazing Skogafoss waterfall with rainbow during a sunny summer day. That's one of the most famous icelandic falls
Photograph: iacomino FRiMAGES /

The safest countries in the world have been announced for 2023

The Global Peace Index is back for 2023, revealing the countries with the least crime, violence, corruption and more

Ed Cunningham
Liv Kelly
Written by
Ed Cunningham
Liv Kelly

When you’re off on your travels, there are very few things quite so important as simply feeling safe. Whether you’re travelling solo or as a member of a marginalised community, you don’t want to be stressed about your wellbeing – if you do have to worry about that kind of stuff, it can be really, really terrifying.

All of which makes the Global Peace Index, an annual ranking of the world’s safest countries by the Institute of Economics and Peace, always worth a look. The GPI ranks countries on a huge range of factors, from levels of violence and crime to terrorism and international conflicts.

So which country came out on top of this year’s GPI? Well, that’d be Iceland. Any readers who’ve followed the GPI over the years won’t be particularly surprised: Iceland has topped the poll every year since all the way back in 2008. Thanks to its low crime rates but also low military spending and low rates of international conflict, Iceland is, once again, the safest country in the world.

Second in the list was Denmark, in part due to its low levels of government corruption, whilst third was Ireland, which has jumped up five places since 2022’s poll. Australia came 22nd, the UK came 37th and the USA came 131st.

The top ten safest countries in the world right now

  1. Iceland
  2. Denmark
  3. Ireland
  4. New Zealand
  5. Austria
  6. Singapore
  7. Portugal
  8. Slovenia
  9. Japan
  10. Switzerland

Why is Finland the safest country in the world?

While Iceland came out on top in the overall ranking, according to the Global Peace Index’s 'safety and security' category – considered one of the three indicators of peace – Finland would technically be considered the world’s safest country. The safety and security of a place is evaluated based on stats such as the number of homicides per 100,000 people, and the number of people in jail. Finland ranked specifically as the safest and most secure country in the world, followed by Japan, Iceland, Singapore and Norway. 

Though this differs from the ranking above, Iceland’s crowning as the safest country includes the evaluation of 'ongoing conflict' and 'militarisation', making it the most peaceful overall across all three pillars. 

What about the most dangerous countries?

Not every country in the world is blessed with low crime rates and low levels of corruption. At the other end of the spectrum, there are countries that are suffering through war, extensive violence and political instability, making them incredibly unsafe. 

Ongoing conflicts such as the civil war in Sudan, plus the aftermath of others such as the situation in Iraq, can lead to prolonged instability. According to the Global Peace Index, these are the 10 countries at the other end of the spectrum, which ranked as the most dangerous in the world for 2023. 

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Yemen
  3. Syria
  4. Russia
  5. South Sudan
  6. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  7. Iraq
  8. Somalia
  9. Central African Republic
  10. Sudan

You can read more for yourself and take a peek at the GPI’s interactive map on the official website here. Then take a look at the best airlines in the world right now, which also takes into account safety in the air.

Did you see that you’ll soon need to have your fingerprint scanned to get into Europe?

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