Top 10 Friendliest Countries in the World

Like a warm welcome when you travel? Check out this list of the top 10 friendliest countries in the world and feel the foreign love!

Irish Shamrock

I got caught in the rain today and a man gave me his umbrella. Not a cheap, plastic one but a nice one with colors and a wooden handle.

It made me feel warm and fuzzy. It’s nice when strangers are friendly for no reason.

Even nicer when you’re thousands of miles from home and maybe feeling a bit lonely and fed up.

Want to feel warm and fuzzy when you travel? Check out Lonely Planet’s list of the Top 10 Friendliest Countries in the World,* and stay dry across the globe!

1.    Ireland
2.    USA
3.    Malawi
4.    Fiji
5.    Indonesia
6.    Vietnam
7.    Samoa
8.    Thailand
9.    Scotland
10.  Turkey

Who’s been to Ireland? Got more friendly stranger stories? Disagree with this list? Post up your comments below, we want to hear from you.

If you liked this you might also like: Top 10 Happiest Countries in the World

*List taken from the Lonely Planet Bluelist: Best in Travel 2008

78 thoughts on “Top 10 Friendliest Countries in the World”

  1. Of the places I’ve been to, I think that is a fairly good list. In the US, I think it depends on where you go. You certainly don’t get an overwhelming sense of friendliness in New York or Los Angeles. I’d add Denmark to the list.

  2. Yes I noticed the people in Ireland were quite friendly (at least coming from England where nobody will even look you in the eyes). However I’m pretty shocked Australia didn’t make it into the top ten. Along with Americans they have to be the most outgoing people out there!

  3. The irish are certainly not number one… never met such a bunch of idle, drunk, witless, idiots in all my travels. More likely to punch you than be friendly. Americans are your friends only so long as you have money in your pocket and the onyl people who truly deserve to be on the list – Australians – are not there!! This list sucks….

  4. Japan ought to be up there too. I’ve been living here for 4 months and I never get tired of the amount of smiling faces and cheerful greetings I get on a daily basis. It’s a great place to visit

  5. We Irish are better at the fake friendliness than the Americans, its harder to see through us lol. American friendlyness is like a pain of glass.

  6. I had an Assault Rifle pointed at me last time I was in Northern Ireland.
    Not quite that friendly if you ask me. ;)

  7. I live in America, and I think it is a good country. Lots os friendly people. I don’t believe ireland is a friendly country, since they have state-sponsered terrorism.

  8. It’s amazing how traveling with kids makes just about any place friendly. (Maybe the same could be said for dogs.) That being said, I’d go with Indonesia or Vietnam.

  9. I think the friendliest people in the world are the ones who come to America from third world and war torn countries, leave their hostilities and hatred at the border and assimilate to American culture, work hard and continually raise their standard of living and help one another. They are polite, honest, and always have a smile on their faces. I REALLY LOVE AND RESPECT THEM.

    If you have a comment on my statement contact me at:

  10. I’ve travelled through 17 countries… but I have so much more to see and learn. I found the Americans to be wonderful people. And it wasn’t just to get a better tip or push their own business, either. They were genuinely friendly and honest and kind. Especially Phoenix! God bless Arizona! Wonderful, wonderful, kind people. The British upper middle class are sensible and efficient and courteous but Heaven help you if you try to be one of them and aren’t… whereas the ‘ordinary’ folk are brilliant! Jolly and funny and full of energy and fundamental decency. Germans..? Same as the English, although both would resent the comparison. I found Scots to be strong, calm and sentimental. The Welsh are charming – and their women are amongst the world’s most beautiful. Italians? Romans are pushy, loud and full of themselves – Florentines are the epitome of grace and elegance. Japanese – you’ll never find a more polite people, but they are so reserved until you ‘break the ice’, so to speak. After that, they are sensational! The Swiss think they’re better than anyone else, and the only people more snobbish than them were the French. Their men are detestable – I don’t know what their women see in them! How such a people made such magnificent cuisine and art is beyond me.
    Most friendliest? While I’d love to say it’s we Australians (and we really are a pretty friendly bunch) I have to go with Wes’ claim: It’s people … people everywhere… who’ve done it tough and want to make a better life in a new country who are the kindest, most decent and ‘friendliest’ of all.

  11. Nonsense. I completely agree with Andy Jarosz’s post over at 501 Places (

    How can you rate countries on friendliness? Only on smiles? No way, that’s just an exterior facade. Nothing can beat breaking down the stiff barrier of say, a Soviet-era citizen to bring out that hearty grin of true enjoyment of your company.

    To quote Andy, “These are countries where, within limits, local people are most tolerant of western people behaving in their country as if they were at home.”

  12. @Thomas: What are you talking about?!

    Anyway, the list is obviously subjective but I am happy to see Ireland get the #1 spot.

  13. Not sure about the list in general, some strange omissions imho especially Canada and Australia. However we can add our support to Ireland as #1 as we were blown away by the place and its sheer beauty but most of all the open friendliness of the Irish people. What a happy bunch consideringg all they have endured throughout their history… we will certainly be going back. We also found the Welsh to be friendly and helpful in that neck of the woods.

  14. Ireland, I agree. Is a lovely country with lovely people, but USA, I really do not agree. There are a lot of countries that coud be in better positions or appear.

  15. Maybe Australia didn’t make the list because of our tendency to lock people up when they arrive by boat, or maybe it’s because in Melbourne we seem to enjoy beating up our Indian Students and taxi divers?

  16. well they say USA is the second friendly country in th world, i wonder the country that is making the world weep is at 2nd nunber???????? it should be kept in mind too, while making lists

  17. I agree with the person who said it really depends on where you go in the U.S. Big cities (especially in the North) tend to be less friendly just because that’s how they do it there. Many smaller towns are a lot friendlier. The friendliest state I’ve been to is probably Florida. The least friendly is probably Tennessee. I’ve never really been far up north but my parents have and they say people up there – mainly New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts can be somewhat rude and abrupt. This is, of course, a generalization but I have friends from those places and they tend to agree with that statement. To those who don’t like the U.S. because of the decisions our political leaders make – I beg you to PLEASE not judge the everyday person on the street based on our politicians and their decision making. I live in Virginia and there is quite a diverse selection of people and friendliness – I know some people that would give you the shirt off their back if you really needed it and I know some people that would just laugh at you. I think you will find this almost everywhere. Even within a city, the friendliness can vary greatly.

    The people in Italy are so welcoming! I stayed at a bed & breakfast there and the owners were incredibly nice and helpful. Grand Cayman, Greece (except for the island of Santorini – we got kicked out of a shop just for being American teenagers!) and Mexico would make my list as well. The people in France weren’t that nice but I have a feeling that was because we were Americans haha.

  18. Having been to 8 of the 10 places on the list and lived in 3 of them I would agree all are friendly countries. But there are many more countries that would equally qualify including New Zealand…where we are often told what a friendly bunch we are. USA is interesting. Anyone going through LA airport is not going to agree it is friendly! Americans in some places are very friendly….others are not – I have travelled through quite a bit of the States and lived there. I can’t say I found the Turkish people overly friendly. …certainly not enough to go on this list. My children both say Myanmar is much friendlier than even Thailand which is certainly deserving of being there and I think they would also put Laos on the list. Japanese people are very friendly and will go well out of their way to help you, invite you into their homes, feed you etc.

    Most people make a list based on their own experiences. Some countries will win out just because more people have travelled there. I really don’t like lists…not only are they subjective but they invariably miss out many more deserving places. It may be easier to make a list of the unfriendly places. You may find it hard to find 10 that should go on the list though.

  19. I’m sick of hearing people referring to the troubles as making ireland unfriendly, to begin with Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom and as such is an entirely different state to the republic of ireland. Anyway, having lived in Belfast I can say that the troubles were never worse than the gang crime found in most American cities.

  20. I’d also add Zambia to the list, I’ve never felt more welcomed anywhere else in the world, and I would remove America, even in the south which is famous for its hospitality, I always felt that the friendliness was just a front, as IrishK9 said, a ‘pane of glass’.

  21. where is Canada, i am very surprised there not up there. Why is america up there and not canada, this page obviously needs better facts!

  22. USA, second? I’m an American but a browned-skinned American, and I believe I have had experiences different from an American who might be fair-skinned. I don’t even think USA should be on the list, we’re not a friendly society. We might be good people in general, but we judge too quickly. As for the whole North/South divide, I find people from the North more genuine. Yea, they can be rude and mean, but it’s the way they are…their rudeness is showered on everyone no matter their religion, creed, race, etc. While in the South and certain midwest states, I find the friendliness fake, but a fair-skinned person might not feel the way I do. I think a list like this is dependent on who you are and your experiences. For example, I’ve heard that black and white soldiers in South Korea are treated differently, so a black soldier might not find SK friendly, while a white soldier might.

  23. i think india should be at no 1 position in this list
    few facts on friendship
    friendliness is not that if you like someone and u want to be nice with them ,you try to spend time with them and you are always there for them.
    the true India even if you are enemy but you still get respect and help
    1.fluids in Pakistan India helped with man power and money.
    2. at cwg Delhi when Pakistan team came out in the stadium the crowd gave them cheerful welcome
    3. really peaceful country house to many saints in ancient and recent time like Dalia lama
    \4 most importantly after being raped on Australian media for cwg 2010 ,after too many inappropriate behaviors of Australian athletes they still got warm welcome free accommodation a security which even us president won’t get
    i must say common Aussie athletes whats wrong with you..i was thinking you have paid nothing you guys are lucky Australian govt. paid for your traveling expenses you got to stay in india for free you got to see so many parts of this beautiful plannet for nothing . instead of getting unhappy and angry you should be thankful to god grace that he has chosen you i wish i was you…

  24. 1 INDIA
    2 JAPAN

  25. for me philippines is one of the friendliest country in the world. the moment you arrive at their airport a warm smile will welcome you although the facilities of their airpor is not good but the staff and crew and the services is unmatched!

  26. why is it they did not consider the Philippine as one of the top most friendliest country in the world? Filipino are friendly people ……. but why is it they didn’t considered this country……. ?

  27. Ah helloooo, New Zealanders are very friendly, welcoming, hospitable, caring people… Why are we not on that silly list?? Someone who doesn’t like us Kiwi’s maybe?

  28. We should not be arguing over the countries that are not on there. There are hundreds of countries out there that will always have friendly people. And stop saying stupid anti american statements like ” America does not deserve to be on this list” or “I am surprised america is number 2″ Of course america is. If you look beyond your countries propaganda and media that gives a bad image of americans and portrays a bad image of the USA, You will find that many Americans are very friendly hospitable people with different cultures through out all regions of the country. USA was founded on diversity and that is why it welcomes people. Sure there IS crime, There is some racism, etc, But they also exist in European countries too and even some asian countries. So you should not single America out for things that happens all over the world because that is just hypocritical. Plus there are over 300 million people in USA. That is a lot. and they are not all the same, they are very diverse. But a large chunk of their population is very friendly. A lot more friendly then some European countries. When my friend went to Germany, she said that most of the people there thought she was crazy because she smiled and greeted them. That does not happen in the civilized areas in America. I Do not have anything against them but I was making a point. Some germans i have met are sweet people. There also are some rude people. But do you understand what I am saying? It goes both ways and if you open up your mind you should understand that there are rude and nice people all over the world. The reason why i am talking about America is because you guys are using them as the punching bag for this forum. The whole ” Everything is better then america. America is bad at this, america is bad at that” thing is getting real old. Some of you just plain do not like americans so you use them as the target and blame them for everything. American culture is all about diversity and friendliness. So just shut up and quit being bigoted and narrow minded about it. Now if you want to know my opinions about the list, I think Canada should be number 1. They are just very likable people.

  29. 1. Ireland
    2. Thailand
    3. Poland
    4. USA (south and midwest)
    5. Scotland

    No other place stands out enough to force another 5.

    Least friendly
    1. Luxembourg (hands-down winner)
    2. Spain
    Honorable Mention: Boston, MA, my unfriendly home for the past 20 years

  30. Ireland and N Ireland are both pretty friendly, but you shouldn’t group them together because NI is part of Great Britain. Which is of course the reason for the troubles. However I understand the mistake, half its population are Irish.

  31. Well to see all these posts now i realize that you never travelled to Afghanistan, because the people of Afghanistan Especially in North is famous for thier hospitality and friendliness. Try it ! you will not regret.

  32. Greece! I loved it when I was there. People took me in as if I was part of thier family.
    I am New Yorker and now live in Pittsburgh. New Yorkers Rule!. Pittsburghers may appear to be friendly but they are cold and backstabbers

  33. Pakistan is the friendliest country. You don’t really feel that you are among strangers in Pakistan. I read before someone mentioned English as jolly and blah blah. What rubbish? English are very dry and ‘to the point’ type of people and are neither friendly nor unfriendly (bit inclined towards unfriendly though ). People of switzerland are also among the friendliest and helpful in my opinion and observation.

  34. I think iraq, afhganistan, somalia are suppose to be on the list specialy somalia they are taking care of your ships :D

  35. My first trip to Ireland, in Winter, I complimented a woman on her wool hat and asked where I could get one like it. She said a friend of hers had made it, and she wanted to give it to me!
    Stationed in Belgium for the past six years, I’ve gone all over Europe and have been impressed with the friendliness of people everywhere, from Scandinavia to Gibraltar. Yes, including France.
    The Dutch are really dear people. I was so sorry to hear about the tragic shooting in Holland today: I always feel so safe over here, and this breaks my heart. This kind of news is devastating anywhere it happens. I go into shops in Belgium, and the Belgians apologize because they can’t speak English. I tell them, “I am in your country, I should speak your language, but I cannot hear well, so I cannot learn!” and proceed to point and smile: “Je voudrais la!” (“I want that!”)
    The Italians made me feel like part of the family.
    Swedes are my cousins, and a barrel of fun!
    Some of my best friends here are from Romania, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, England, Canada, Norway, Denmark and Canada. Wow! Talk about diversity! Haven’t visited all their countries, but if they’re examples of the people there, I’d be glad to go!

  36. I’m a little surprised that the U.S. is on the list of friendliest places. I’ve lived in the southeast of the US, and I find Georgia to be prejudice. I am if mixed decent, American and Latino, and I speak both English and Spanish. Since living in Georgia, I’ve experienced the most rude people here when I speak Spanish. However, when I speak English, the prejudice is not as visible. I feel one must be born and raised here to feel some kind of comfort here. The US is supposed to be a melting pot of ethnicities yet many southern states don’t accept different nationalities. North Carolina was a little more diverse; however, I still have received static from white Americans when I speak a different language. Florida is more acceptive toward Latinos, maybe because a large population of Hispanic people live here. With that being said, I don’t think USA should be #2. I’d like to see China on the list. I visited there, and was greeted with hospitality. Panama as well.

  37. pretty much, and know this is a b.s. survey if Canada isn`t in the top 3 in this, always ontop of the U.S.A. in manners, politeness and in hockey.
    Go Canada.

  38. My list will have Canada as #1. I have been to nearly every region and found people to be genuinely friendly and helpful. I have heard that Australians are similar. The Midwestern USA is also a very friendly area.

  39. I agree that us Irish are very friendly and you can tell because if you come here we will do our best to make you feel welcome but at the same time we are going through a crisis that seems to keep getting worse and worse.
    All that crap saying Ireland is not friendly because of the troubles is a load of bull because every country has there problems and most Irish people just want peace.
    I dont think you can say that the USA should not be there because there is all different parts of it which are like different countrys to one another and I dont think you can judge a country on being friendly because the hotel owner there was friendly. Come on do you honestly think that the people at the hotel are not going to be nice to you because they have to be because all they want is your money from you.
    Every country is has good people and also bad people.

  40. Well poles are said to benice but I think Thais are the nicest in general, even argentineas who are said to comit suicide jumping down from their ego in two ocassions I´ve been there, I¨ve found them friendly.

  41. Mexico should be one of the countries on the list. They are very friendly everywhere you go.

  42. It is hard to judge in other countries, but I guess that all countries have friendly as well as unfriendly people. I had been to Switzerland, and I found that most of them were friendly there. Like one instance, I bought french fries at McDonalds, and I spilled some of it (accidentally). I wondered what to do while others watch me with glaring eyes. Then, the manager came, took the packet containing the fries, and disposed it. Then what happened, I could not believe. He took another packet and gave it to me (without bothering that I had eaten some part of it). But that was not all, since I thought its my job (after eating) to clean the floor. But further to my surprise he cleaned it up himself.
    I appreciate that person, and even today, I remember his nice gesture.
    Apart from that, most of the motorists there stop near the pedestrian crossings without signals when we want to cross the road.

  43. Vietnam? It’s my number 1 for unfriendliest country.

    I thought Malaysia was the friendliest.

  44. Sorry, not a good list. Because it is just based on the lonely planet experiences and countries they have actually just spent time in. And also just based on individual experiences. For example one poster is right of experiences in the U.S. – different for one who is a white skinned person to a brown skinned person. A more accurate list would be on the Forbes Mag., where there is actual research, interviews and statistical data behind it with travelers around the world.

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