- Costa Rica: Welcoming locals, expat-friendly towns, tourist-oriented economy, wide variety of activities for all. Friendliest city: San José.
- Finland: High standard of living, welcoming to contributing members regardless of background, more outgoing population (relative to other Nordic countries). Friendliest city: Helsinki.
- Greece: Welcoming locals, strong cultural heritage, tourist-oriented economy and businesses. Friendliest city: Athens.
When it comes to travel, visitors to new countries are often looking for a chance to immerse themselves not only in the sights of a location but in the culture of the region as well. One of the most important aspects of getting that cultural experience is interacting with the residents of the country.
Of course, that can be easier said than done. Not all countries are equally excited about welcoming throngs of tourists into their borders, which can lead to some uncomfortable interactions. Thankfully, the most friendly countries in the world are full of engaging, kind locals willing to work through language barriers and social differences to help visitors feel at home in their country.
Comparing findings from the US News Ranking for Friendliest Countries and the World Population Review Friendliest Country Rankings, both of which survey global travelers and pool data from various online forums to determine rankings, these are the ten friendliest countries in the world, perfect for a weekend away or a long-term relocation.
In addition to data from the US News and World Population Review Surveys, additional information about the friendliness of specific major cities (listed in the entry itself) was used to finalize the ranking of these countries. Regardless of trends, every travel experience is unique, and visitors should always follow best practices and local customs to the best of their ability to ensure the most positive experience.
Ranked #9 on World Population Review Friendliest Country Rankings
Jaco Beach in Costa Rica
Costa Rica in Central America has built a reputation among visitors as a place where locals are eager to share their culture and country with everyone. Costa Rica’s strong tourism industry also helps non-residents find their place in the town, even if they don’t speak the language.
World Population Review found comments from all around the internet about Costa Ricans going above and beyond towards expats. Additionally, the variety of beautiful things to see in Costa Rica are accessible to even the most out-of-place traveler, making it clear why Costa Rica is one of the friendliest countries in the world.
- What Makes Costa Rica So Friendly: Welcoming Locals, Expat-Friendly Towns, Tourist-Oriented Economy, Wide Variety of Activities for All
- Friendliest City in Costa Rica: San José
Ranked #9 on US News Friendliest Countries List
The Power Plant Museum in Helsinki, Finland
Europe is home to some of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, but that doesn’t mean that they are always the friendliest. The naturally reserved nature of many European residents can come off as cold to those unfamiliar with the cultural climate.
Fortunately for those hoping for a warmer European welcome, Finland is ready with open arms. Like many of the other friendliest countries in the world, Finnish residents self-report a high quality of life and sense of purpose. These qualities make it one of the most desirable European countries for longer-term visitors, particularly those looking to contribute to the workforce in their new home.
- What Makes Finland So Friendly: High Standard of Living, Welcoming to Contributing Members Regardless of Background, More Out-going population (relative to other Nordic Countries)
- Friendliest City in Finland: Helsinki
Ranked #8 on US News Friendliest Countries List
Night view of Athens from above Monastiraki Square and the ancient Acropolis, Athens, Greece
Scenic coastal towns and unique Mediterranean islands (one of which is considered the most beautiful place to visit in the world in 2024!), there is no doubt Greece is immensely popular with travelers all over the world. This country is even more alluring once tourists realize that Greece is one of the friendliest countries in the world.
One of the few countries that made the top 10 list for both US News and the World Population Review, Greece welcomed over 17 million tourists in just the first six months of 2023. Much of the friendliness is attributed to the strong cultural heritage of the region, which locals continue to take great pride in. Their eagerness to share their history continually impresses travelers and has inspired many repeat visits over the years.
- What Makes Greece So Friendly: Welcoming Locals, Strong Cultural Heritage, Tourist-Oriented Economy and Businesses
- Friendliest City in Greece: Athens
Ranked #7 on World Population Review Friendliest Country Rankings
People near water fountain in Plaza de la liberacion, Guadalajara, Mexico
Mexico is a beautiful and diverse travel destination, so much so that many tourists choose to make their vacations permanent. Mexico is considered one of the friendliest countries in the world, not just for travelers but for expats looking for a forever home away from home.
Safe cities like Mérida, the best city in Mexico for retirees, are more than willing to make room for guests of any kind. Meanwhile, the major city of Guadalajara is one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly towns in the world. Mexico’s welcoming environment truly knows no limits, making it a friendly destination for tourists of every kind.
- What Makes Mexico So Friendly: Welcoming Locals, Expat Friendly Towns, Tourist-Oriented Economy, Strong Cultural Heritage, LGBTQ+ Friendly Towns and Activities
- Friendliest City in Mexico: San Miguel de Allende
Want to test out the friendliness of the people in Guadalajara, Mexico? Asking for food recommendations is a great way to connect with locals in this major city that prides itself on having some of the top-ranked eateries in the world (according to The World’s Best Restaurants Top50).
Ranked #6 on US News Friendliest Countries List
Happy traveler in Porto, Portugal
Portugal may be smaller than many of its European neighbors, but Portugal manages to make a statement in a number of ways, including with its friendliness towards visitors. Making the top 10 list for both US News and the World Population Review, Portugal has been hailed by travelers for its kind and helpful locals and easy-going atmosphere. That kindness welcomed over 22 million visitors in 2022, drawing in crowds with a sense of belonging and comfort.
The coastal city of Porto, in particular, has made a name for itself as a friendly destination in Portugal. Porto is a fantastic destination for solo female travelers and other more vulnerable groups, largely because of its friendliness. Porto and a number of other towns, create a welcoming environment in Portugal that makes it one of the most friendly countries in Europe and the world.
- What Makes Portugal So Friendly: Welcoming Locals, Expat-Friendly Towns, Tourist-Oriented Economy, Wide Variety of Activities for All
- Friendliest City in Portugal: Porto
Ranked #4 on World Population Review Friendliest Country Rankings
View of the Metro Manila Skyway System and high-rise buildings in Manila, Philippines
The Philippines is already known for being wallet-friendly, with a number of cheap, budget-friendly places to visit around the country. According to visitors, that is far from the only reason to add this island country. Regardless of which beach tourists decide to dip their toes into, they can consistently plan to interact with friendly locals eager to enhance their overall experience.
Despite being a non-English speaking country, over 92% of Filipinos speak English, making interactions easier and adding to the sense of friendliness and comfort throughout the country. This especially adds to the level of perceived friendliness among expats, who feel comfortable setting down more permanent roots in the Philippines thanks to its friendly atmosphere.
- What Makes the Philippines So Friendly: Welcoming Locals, Tourist-Oriented Economy, English-speaking Local Population, Wide Variety of Activities to Enjoy
- Friendliest City in the Philippines: Manila
Ranked #4 on US News Friendliest Countries List
Toronto skyline at sunset over the water
A country so friendly it has become part of its stereotype; it’s hard to imagine a list of friendliest countries without Canada. Behind the soft and apologetic local population is a high standard of living and overall satisfaction with life. Canadians seem eager to share this personal satisfaction with everyone they meet, whether they are fellow locals or not.
Toronto, Canada, in particular, is frequently considered one of the friendliest cities in the world. In fact, the language-learning site Preply ranked Toronto as the friendliest city based on its Community Spirit Index. Friendly to foreigners, non-native speakers, the LGBTQ+ community, and anyone else who wanders into their borders, the people of Toronto are ready to include everyone in the local activities.
- What Makes Canada So Friendly: Welcoming Locals, High Standard of Living, Inclusive Community, Strong Sense of Community
- Friendliest City in Canada: Toronto
Ranked #2 on World Population Review Friendliest Country Rankings
Bangkok, Thailand, cityscape at night
Called the “Land of Smiles,” much of Thailand’s economy is related to the tourism industry, so visitors may expect there to be a fairly commercial relationship between locals and tourists. Despite this relationship, however, non-natives regularly feel genuinely welcomed by the people of Thailand, receiving guidance and recommendations for their adventures.
Chiang Mai is particularly well-known for its friendliness, being named the Friendliest City in the World in 2020 by Condé Nast. Visitors say that those who travel here can expect to feel like a local within a few days, with “regulars” quickly learning names and order preferences.
- What Makes Thailand So Friendly: Welcoming, Personable Locals, Tourist-Oriented Economy, Wide Variety of Activities to Enjoy
- Friendliest City in Thailand: Chiang Mai
Ranked #1 on World Population Review Friendliest Country Rankings
Night view of Qinbi Village at Matsu, Taiwan
Taiwan is a relatively small, densely populated island off the coast of mainland China. Despite the major language barriers that can occur between locals and non-native visitors, Taiwanese residents are eager to help however they can. Despite its location in East Asia, Taiwan’s culture has a number of parallels to its Western counterparts, helping reduce culture shock and making it feel more welcoming to travelers.
Survey respondents offered stories about locals using Google Translate or phoning friends to share information with lost visitors, helping establish Taiwan as one of the friendliest countries in the world.
- What Makes Taiwan So Friendly: Helpful Locals, High Standard of Living, Public Transportation, Unique Cultural Experiences
- Friendliest City in Taiwan: New Taipei
Ranked #1 on US News Friendliest Countries List
View of Melbourne, Australia skyline at dusk
When it comes to taking a laid-back approach to the world, Australia tops the list. Visitors to any part of Australia, from major cities to minor stops, notice that Australians are more than willing to strike up a conversation or lend a hand when a tourist looks a little lost.
This is particularly helpful considering just how big Australia is. As a popular country for road trips, like the coastal Sydney to Brisbane road trip, it is much easier to commit to the trip with the comfort that Australia is one of the friendliest countries in the world.
While all of Australia has received high marks for its friendliness from visitors, there is one city that stands out in particular. Melbourne, Australia, was ranked as the friendliest city in the world in December of 2022 by TimeOut. Sydney has similarly ranked at the top of friendliness rankings, tying with Toronto for the friendliest city in Preply’s Community Spirit Index. The thriving, happy population, welcoming atmosphere for minority groups from around the world, and highly-rated attractions and hotels all helped establish both cities and, by extension, Australia as a whole as a uniquely friendly destination.
- What Makes Australia So Friendly: Helpful Locals, English-speaking Population, High Local Personal Satisfaction, Wide Variety of Activities to Try, Numerous Top-Ranked Friendly Cities
- Friendliest City in Australia: Melbourne