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These Are The Top 5 Friendliest Countries To Visit In The World According To A New Study  

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If you travel to meet new people, as well as to explore the world, then you want to choose a destination that’s as friendly as possible.  

The people I meet are often unexpectedly the best part of my vacations.

The bartender in Beijing who took us to sing karaoke then surprised us with his very bad Chris Martin impression.

The restaurant owner in Istanbul who invited my boys to meet his pet cats, and so many more!

Friendly people interacting on a farm in South Africa

And for people who feel the same, friendliness is sure to be high on your list of preferences for your next adventure.  

To help you choose that next spot, these are the top 5 friendliest countries to visit in the world according to a new study by Remitly:  

5. Sweden  

Sweden might not be an obvious choice for travelers looking for friendly destinations, but I think you’ll be surprised.    

Swedish people have a reputation for being reserved at first, however despite this they are incredibly warm and welcoming to travelers.  

Tourists and locals at the Fjällgatan street viewpoint, overlooking the old town, the Stockholm inlet and the Grand Hotel

In fact, Swedish people are so keen to embrace their visitors that the West Sweden Tourism Board runs a scheme called ‘Meet the Locals’ where you can connect with local residents who want to share their passions with you.  

Each local offers a different experience or perspective. You can browse their profiles (a bit like online dating!) and then meet your chosen local for the day when you arrive in Sweden.  

Some examples of the experiences available include walking around the beautiful Island of Hönö with Sarah, riding through the countryside in an Oldsmobile with Ann, or spending the day with Inger who grows then knits her own cardigans.  

Fot island Hono Ockero Sweden

What makes this scheme so unique and special is that no two travelers will have the exact same experience.

It’s an incredible scheme and one that is perfect for people who want to have authentic, local interactions on their next vacation.  

4. Mexico 

Mexico is known for its strong sense of community. The country also scores highly on happiness metrics.

These two things combined mean that Mexico is a great destination for travelers hoping to meet locals to welcome them into their private lives.  

Day of the Death parade in Mexico City, catrinas with colourful costums and confetii falling down an exciting tradition

Mexico is the most popular international travel destination for American travelers. One of the best ways to interact with local people in Mexico is to join in a local festival or celebration.  

On the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) for example, tourists are actively encouraged to join in and to interact with locals on the streets.

This falls on Saturday November 2 this year, if you want your next trip to coincide with the celebrations.  

3. Croatia  

I love Croatia for its beautiful beaches, its breathtakingly verdant natural parks, and its bustling cities.

The Plitvice National Park is a particular highlight with entry tickets costing 40 euros ($42) per person.  

plitvice lakes national park croatia

But Croatia is also the 3rd friendliest country in the world and a great place to meet local people who will enhance your travel experience.  

Croats have a reputation for being polite and generous with their time. They want to leave their visitors with a good and lasting impression.  

If you want to arrange to meet some locals in Croatia before you travel then Meetup is an app and website that helps travelers to meet up with groups of people in specific cities It is very active in Croatia, particularly in the capital of Zagreb.  

2. Greece  

The 2nd friendliest country in the world is Greece. Hospitality forms a huge part of the Greek national identity, so when you arrive in a hotel or step into a restaurant, you’re sure of a warm welcome.  

Greece would take my number one spot for the friendliest country I've visited because as well as being welcoming to travelers, the Greek people really love children.  

diners sit in a traditional Greek restaurant during summertime in the city center of Santorini island

Children aren’t seen as a hindrance on the Greek islands, they’re embraced.

Often literally: I can’t count how many times my children were hugged by strangers in restaurants.  

If you’re lucky enough to be traveling without kids then it isn’t unusual to meet someone new in Greece and be invited to their home for a spitiko (home cooked) dinner that same day.  

Athens, Greece

Many Greek people love meeting visitors and take pride in sharing stories about their towns and villages. Head into a local taverna and you’ll have firm friends by the end of the evening!  

1. South Africa  

Officially the friendliest country in the world is South Africa. 

Stories of chance encounters with exotic locals are common in the travel writing world, rarer in reality.

But there’s nowhere you’re more likely to make these kinds of chance encounters a reality than in South Africa.  

A woman enjoying the view of the Blyde River Canyon and Blyde River Dam in South Africa

It’s not uncommon for locals to greet total strangers as they pass them on the street here. And South Africans are generally social, happy to engage, and keen to show off their good humor.  

As an added bonus, English is one of the official languages in South Africa so you won’t need to learn a new language to interact with people.  

If a chance encounter seems unlikely, then you could also use a website like Showaround to make local connections.

This website has a strong presence in South Africa and allows you to find locals in Johannesburg, South Africa, who speak English and want to explore the city together, for an hourly fee.  

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