The World’s Friendliest Countries

Canada
Canada

For many travelers, the warmth of the welcome they receive in a foreign country can make or break their trip. After all, who wants to travel halfway around the world only to be met with hostility? Feeling appreciated by the people of your destination can help you forget long flights, stomach complaints and all of the other horrors of journeying abroad. But how to find friendly people?

Enter a survey released by InterNations, a global network for people who live and work abroad. The organization polled its membership, hailing from over 180 countries, to find out which countries are the most welcoming to expats and, by extension, to travelers as well.

 

The World’s Friendliest Countries

 

10. Canada

Canada
Canada

No surprise here: The United States’ famously courteous northern neighbor is particularly welcoming to outsiders. As one French expat noted in the survey, Canadians are “open-minded, tolerant and benevolent.”

There are hundreds of worthwhile destinations to explore in this large country, from Vancouver’s mix of urban and nature in the West to Prince Edward Island’s beaches and charming lighthouses in the East. A pinch of British and French cultures throughout only adds to the charm.

Canada’s populace is so friendly and polite that it’s become a long-standing joke but isn’t it nice to know that a civil welcome awaits you?

  • 81 percent of expats say the country has a friendly attitude towards out-of-towners
  • 43 percent say it’s easy to make local friends
  • 45 percent say it’s likely they’ll stay forever

 

 

9. Vietnam

Vietnam's Family
Vietnam’s Family

A trip to Vietnam is fraught for many Americans, who recall or have learned about the Vietnam War. But the country has largely recovered from that time period, and the people there are used to welcoming Americans. Expats from the U.S. and elsewhere praise the country’s “friendly vibe” and “nice and gentle” locals.

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) are modern destinations with a warm feel. This is a particularly safe country as well, making it a good choice for solo travelers.

  • 83 percent of expats say the country has a friendly attitude towards out-of-towners
  • 56 percent say it’s easy to make local friends
  • 16 percent say it’s likely they’ll stay forever

 

 

8. Colombia

Colombia
Colombia Soccer Event

the idea of visiting Colombia may give you pause, but significant portions of the country are perfectly safe to travel within. Those regions include the city of Cartagena and its surroundings, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and the country’s convivial coffee region.

Travelers who love music should consider a trip here, where folk music is a strong tradition; Colombians enjoy sharing their musical heritage. Plus, they’re all-around good people — survey respondents called locals “open, warm and friendly” and said they “are always willing to help.”

  • 87 percent of expats say the country has a friendly attitude towards out-of-towners
  • 62 percent say it’s easy to make local friends
  • 33 percent say it’s likely they’ll stay forever

 

 

7. Oman

Oman's Traditional nomadic muscians
Oman’s Traditional nomadic Music

Perhaps the most surprising entry on our list is Oman, a relatively little-known country on the Arabian Peninsula. Oman splits its attractions between cities, where ancient and stunning mosques invite tourists to visit, and the Wahiba Sands area, a sand dunes region.

Tourism from the West is increasing in Oman, which made significant efforts to modernize in the first decade of this century. Travelers can expect a modern, bustling destination and people who will go out of their way to embrace outsiders. Indeed, 73 percent of expats describe the locals specifically as “welcoming.”

  • 86 percent of expats say the country has a friendly attitude towards out-of-towners
  • 60 percent say it’s easy to make local friends
  • 12 percent say it’s likely they’ll stay forever

 

 

6. Costa Rica

Costa Rica Dance
Costa Rica Dance

A more traditional travelers’ destination, this Central American country borders Panama and Nicaragua and boasts the capital of San José and its many cultural destinations. But most people come to Costa Rica for the beauty of its scenery, from volcanos to beaches to rainforests.

Costa Ricans are, generally, very welcoming to tourists and love sharing their stunning country’s treasures. Out of all the countries on the list, this is the number one destination when it comes to making local friends, and more than four in five expats say they feel at home in the local culture.

  • 87 percent of expats say the country has a friendly attitude towards out-of-towners
  • 78 percent say it’s easy to make local friends
  • 48 percent say it’s likely they’ll stay forever

 

 

5. Bahrain

Bahrain
Bahrain – entry Serbia visa regime

This country is actually a series of more than 30 islands in the Arabian Gulf, making it a surprising mix of desert and water. It also boasts a very old culture, as it was the center of ancient trade routes.

Bahrain’s capital is Manama, where a national museum showcases its history through involving exhibits. While the majority of tourists who visit the country are from other Arab countries, American tourism is increasing, and the Bahraini people are welcoming to them and others.

Survey respondents singled out Bahrain for being accessible to those who don’t know Arabic, the local language. And, as one respondent noted, the country is “a beautiful melting pot of many different cultures.”

  • 86 percent of expats say the country has a friendly attitude towards out-of-towners
  • 55 percent say it’s easy to make local friends
  • 11 percent say it’s likely they’ll stay forever

 

 

4. Cambodia

Cambodia
Cambodia

Another country which may be hard to place, Cambodia is a Southeast Asian nation west of Vietnam. The ruined temple complex of Angor Wat, in the northwestern part of the country, is a must-see for any world traveler, but getting there takes time and patience. Luckily, the Cambodian people are happy to help. Locals particularly appreciate tourists who are interested in their strong tradition of artistic expression and creation.

Fun fact: 39 percent of respondents felt at home in Cambodia nearly right away, the highest share of all the surveyed countries and more than twice the global average.

  • 92 percent of expats say the country has a friendly attitude towards out-of-towners
  • 59 percent say it’s easy to make local friends
  • 23 percent say it’s likely they’ll stay forever

 

 

3. Mexico

Mexico people
Mexico people

The United States’ neighbors to the south are doing something right, as Mexico ranks third on the friendliest countries list. Whether you want a beach vacation, to explore ancient ruins or to spend time in a cosmopolitan city, Mexico has what you’re looking for — and the friendly people there will make sure you enjoy your trip.
One U.S. expat echoed many when they commented on “how easy it is to adapt” in the country, and praised its “incredibly friendly” people.

  • 87 percent of expats say the country has a friendly attitude towards out-of-towners
  • 73 percent say it’s easy to make local friends
  • 39 percent say it’s likely they’ll stay forever

 

 

2. Taiwan

Happy Taiwan Family
Happy Taiwan Family

Many travelers have heard of Taiwan, but aren’t quite sure where it is. The answer? It’s an island off the Eastern coast of China…and it has a complicated history. While China claims it as a part of the country, Taiwan considers itself independent.

Visiting Taiwan almost surely means a trip to its capital city, Taipei. Many Taiwanese are proud of their openness to foreign visitors, seeing it as a difference between their country and China. From skyscrapers to temples, Taiwan offers many similar sites to China, but in a smaller, particularly open environment.

One U.S.-expat survey respondent put it succinctly: “The people are wonderfully friendly and welcoming to foreigners.”

  • 86 percent of expats say the country has a friendly attitude towards out-of-towners
  • 61 percent say it’s easy to make local friends
  • 30 percent say it’s likely they’ll stay forever

 

 

1. Portugal

Portugal
Portugal

Surprise: The only European country to crack the Top 10 is also No. 1 on the list. Portugal famously borders on Spain, a better-known destination that lands at number 17 on the list of friendliest countries. The destination offers distinctive cuisine, historic culture, stunning islands, and coastal destinations, and thriving cities.

Add to that strong a tradition of neighborliness  “people look after each other here,” noted one survey respondent andyou’d be foolish not to visit.

  • 94 percent of expats say the country has a friendly attitude towards out-of-towners
  • 58 percent say it’s easy to make local friends
  • 47 percent say it’s likely they’ll stay forever