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The World's Most Peaceful Countries to Explore

The recent pandemic rocked the entire world and took its toll on everyone's emotional health. If you find yourself dreaming of getting away from it all, you are not alone. Although there's no way to know when the threat of covid will end, there is hope and plenty of places to relax.  For you, it might start with finding a destination where you know it's safe to let your guard down, to feel at ease, to actually rest. These are some of the most peaceful countries in the world based on the Global Peace Index. Countries are ranked on a scale of 1 to 5; the lower the score, the more peaceful the country.

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01Iceland

People at the Blue Lagoon, Iceland Tim E White / Getty Images

Population: 3.4M Global Peace Index: 1.07

Iceland continually earns top honors as the most peaceful country in the world. Although the standard of living in Iceland is high, taxation is pretty low. If you're a fan of natural wonders, Iceland has a lot to offer. Take a trip to the Blue Lagoon; with its milky blue waters painting the landscape, you will feel otherworldly as you bask in its beauty against the contrasting black lava. As the most peaceful country in the world, Iceland doesn't have an army, navy, or air force. Instead, the country has a Crisis Response Unit to call if the need arises.

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02New Zealand

Girl hiking at Roy's Peak Matthew Micah Wright / Getty Images

Population: 4.8M Global Peace Index: 1.2

Of course, New Zealand ranks highly among the most peaceful countries in the world. The nation is the backdrop for many epic films, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy. You can actually pay a visit to the Shire in Hobbiton Village. Located on New Zealand's North Island, go on a guided tour and immerse yourself in the daily life of those wonderful, peace-loving halflings. Most experts consider New Zealand the least politically corrupt country, and crime rates per capita are also very low.

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03Denmark

Sunset at the harbour mammuth / Getty Images

Population: 5.8M Global Peace Index: 1.3

According to a United Nations study, Denmark is not only one of the top five most peaceful countries globally; its citizens are also ranked as the happiest people in the world — earning it the title of "happiest place on earth." Although tax rates are higher in Denmark than in other countries, its citizens get free education and healthcare in exchange. The best time to visit Denmark is in the winter months, between November to February. With some luck, you can spot the Northern Lights in the Faroe Islands. Even if you aren't lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis, the scenery of lush green grass and crashing waterfalls against the blue skies and clear waters are enough to make the trip worthwhile.

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04Portugal

People walking by Lisbon Cathedral borchee / Getty Images

Population: 10.1M Global Peace Index: 1.27

Portugal is the oldest European country, and there's tons to see and explore in terms of old-world architecture. Marvel at the powerful fortresses and castles such as Torre de Belem and Castelo de Sao Jorge. There are over 100 towers and forts that you can tick off your list. Portugal is also a world leader in sustainable energy, with 70% of its energy source attributed to renewable resources.

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05Slovenia

Female hiker overlooking lake in Slovenia NataliaDeriabina / Getty Images

Population: 2M Global Peace Index: 1.35

Slovenia is home to historic castles and some of the most picturesque lakes in the world. Such are the sights available when you visit the most popular attraction in Slovenia, Lake Bled. Take the most Instagram-worthy pictures against the serene lake and the 17th century Church of the Assumption in the background. If you want to go inside the church, you have to be ready to put in some serious effort as the only way you can get across is through a rowboat. Besides being one of the most peaceful countries to live in, Slovenia is also known to be one of the most eco-friendly countries with many sustainable energy sources.

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06Austria

Young Caucasian woman standing and looking at Lago di Carezza in Dolomites Oleh_Slobodeniuk / Getty Images

Population: 9M Global Peace Index: 1.29

Following the lead of its neighboring countries, Austria has been uncontested among the most peaceful countries in the world. Austria has a mountainous terrain, with about 60% of the landscape occupied by the Alps. Austria is a popular destination for ski enthusiasts, and the town of Kitzbühel is the perfect place to spend your ski trip. If skiing isn't your cup of tea, you can enjoy sipping hot chocolate in quaint Alpine villages against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains.

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07Switzerland

Young woman with long hair enjoying the sunny winter day looking at Swiss Alps and Matterhorn mountains during the ride by the scenic train Anastasiia Shavshyna / Getty Images

Population: 8.7M Global Peace Index: 1.38

Switzerland is one of the safest countries for tourists and locals alike — though it comes with a hefty price tag. The high cost of living gives great value thanks to the excellent quality of life that the locals enjoy. Military service is mandatory for all citizens; however, the Swiss Army has not engaged in warfare since the early 1800s. When in Switzerland, you have to pay a visit to the Matterhorn. The massive tooth-shaped mountain is the sixth highest peak in Europe and is home to world-class skiing slopes.

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08Ireland

Ireland, Kerry County, ring of Kerry Road. Andrea Pistolesi / Getty Images

Population: 4.9M Global Peace Index: 1.39

Ireland struggled to gain its independence from Britain and overcame social and political issues such as the Great Famine. However, in modern times, Ireland has become a model for peace and good governance. The country has been dubbed the "Emerald Isle," owing largely to its sweeping verdant countryside landscapes. When visiting Ireland, take the scenic route in the Ring of Kerry — the circuit is more than 100 miles long and has a majestic view of the Atlantic Ocean. Here you'll likely witness gigantic waves crash into the rocky coastline, plus there's many quaint villages along the way.

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09The Czech Republic

The panoramic view of the medieval historic town of Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic. d3sign / Getty Images

Population: 10.7M Global Peace Index: 1.37

Besides its renown for historic landmarks and having the most castles in Europe - about 200 listed to date, the Czech Republic is (you guessed it) one of the most peaceful countries in the world. You can spend an entire day castle-hopping and appreciate the Baroque architecture in all its old-world charm. Over half a million expatriates call the Czech Republic home. The country is a melting pot of cultures and traditions, so be prepared for a smorgasbord of experiences when visiting the Czech Republic.

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10Canada

Canoeists paddle their canoe near a dock on Morraine Lake near Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Canada. | Location: near Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. Gunter Marx Photography / Getty Images

Population: 37.7M Global Peace Index: 1.33

Canada has consistently been ranked as one of the safest countries in the world since 2009. Canada's general air of peacefulness is generally due to its openness and multiculturalism — with immigrants comprising over 20% of the total population. Canada is home to many natural attractions, one of the most photo-worthy is Lake Louise in Banff, Alberta. All of the provinces and territories in Canada are worth a multi-day visit. It truly is a shame the country is so vast that unless you've got a year or more to spend walking from coast to coast, you'll have to settle for an amazing town or two.

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