Travel Top 10s

The World’s Friendliest Destinations

Visiting strange lands is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it can be hard to work up the energy to leave your hotel room. That’s why it can be nice to visit a destination where friendly faces are in abundance, where not knowing the language won’t earn you a stern stare, and people go above and beyond to give a hand to someone who is excited to spend time in their country.

1 Bali

If the sunshine, beautiful beaches and cheap shopping aren’t enough to entice you into visiting this popular Indonesian island, we’re sure its population’s friendliness will! Despite decades of tourism and western influence on their island home, the Balinese people have retained their peaceful, generous spirits. Whether it’s your waiter making small talk as they bring your dinner, or a stranger stopping to help you with directions on the side of the road, you won’t forget the Balinese kindness any time soon!

2 Thailand

Thailand isn’t called the ‘land of smiles’ for nothing! The friendly faces of the Thai people offer a warm welcome wherever you are in their country – from the airport to your hotel and tourist attractions. To encounter a rude Thai is a rarity indeed. Apart from its lovely people, Thailand also boasts amazing beaches (head to islands like Phuket and Koh Samui for some of the best), tangy food and dynamic cities.

3 Budapest

It might be the relaxing baths they take on the regular in their exquisite public bathhouses, or it could be their signature comfort foods making them all warm and fuzzy (goulash and strudel for the win), but the people of Budapest aren’t short on friendliness. They’ll help you with directions when you’re lost in the street, make conversation with you at restaurants, and extend a hospitable hand should you need one. They might seem tough at first, but show the Hungarians a little friendliness, and they’ll be your pal for life.

4 Vietnam

From the rolling mountains of Sapa to the bustle and hum of Hanoi, the beaches of Hoi An and the tradition of the villages of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam is packed with years’ worth of things to do and see. It’s also full of some of the friendliest people you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting. Hotel staff are often willing to go above and beyond, booking tours and helping you navigate the city, and don’t be surprised if strangers in the street offer to help you with your luggage or a restaurant recommendation.

5 Ireland

We all know the old cliché that the Irish love a drink (or few). And if you visit Ireland, you can be sure that you’ll bump into a local or two that would love to share a tipple! Whether it’s singing folk songs in a pub in Dublin, or telling tall tales over a pint of Guinness in Cork, it’s hard to be lonely on the Emerald Isle. And while the Irish sense of humour can tend towards the dark, they can sure tell a joke – we have a feeling that the phrase ‘side-splitting’ might just have been invented by someone who’d spent a lot of time amongst the Irish!

6 New Zealand

We all know that New Zealand is a beautiful place – its wild, untouched landscapes have been drawing visitors in for decades. But its people are also some of the friendliest you’ll meet anywhere. The Kiwis have the uniquely Antipodean ability to not take themselves seriously. It doesn’t matter if you’re the Queen of England or Joe Blow from down the road, New Zealanders will treat you with respect and kindness.

7 Canada

Canada has many things in truckloads - natural beauty, poutine, and unfailing friendliness. Canadians are exceedingly polite, without ever seeming overbearing or disingenuous. From their service to the people you’ll rub shoulders with on public transport, Canadians are warm and kind people. Much like the British, they’ll apologise for almost anything – the only difference is that they will actually mean it!

8 Spain

Maybe it’s the perennial sun causing them to be constantly cheerful, or perhaps it’s the hearty food and drink shared during a late-night dinner, but there’s something happening in Spain that makes them some of the friendliest people you’ll encounter in Europe – and the world! It doesn’t matter if you’re soaking up the Gaudi masterpieces in Barcelona, hitting the sand in Majorca, or sampling tapas in Madrid – the Spaniards’ hospitality stretches across the country, ensnaring unwitting – and grateful – travellers in a web of friendliness.

9 Iceland

In 2013, the World Economic Forum named Iceland the world’s friendliest country. You’d think the lack of sunshine, and sub-zero temperatures would be a bit of a drain on the Icelandic peoples’ moods, but this doesn’t seem to be the case! Don’t be surprised if a local offers to take you on a hike, or home for an Icelandic feast. Smart, curious, and effervescent, the population of this tiny, magnificent country more than hold their own in the international friendliness stakes!

10 Amsterdam

Step away from the ‘coffee shops’ and red light district of Amsterdam, and you’ll find a city of extraordinarily friendly people. Need directions? They’re often happy to help you out. Ordering a coffee? It’ll come with a smile. The people of Amsterdam will happily go above and beyond for guests in their country, and for that, we have to give them some massive kudos! Do the right thing by the Dutch, and you can be sure they’ll do the right thing by you.

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