Choosing a summer destination these days isn’t just about sunshine, flights, hotels and the best travel insurance policy.
Uncertainty in various parts of the world can swiftly turn an idyllic beach resort or a historic city into a no-go zone. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) gives advice on visiting 225 countries on its website and currently warns against travel to 15 countries, as well as parts of a further 40.
While some destinations to avoid may seem blindingly obvious – known war zones such as Afghanistan, Libya or Syria – there are places people visit in huge numbers that have faced terror attacks and unrest in recent times. So what are the safe – and unsafe – destinations to travel this summer?
The Global Peace Index (GPI) in 2017 ranked the country of geysers, glaciers and the Northern Lights its safest destination for the seventh consecutive year. Its egalitarian society and general air of lack of conflict make it a great place to visit, and with mixed saunas for all ages and the magnificent Blue Lagoon keeping everyone in a peaceful frame of mind, it’s hardly a surprise that it’s a good spring destination.
Positioned nicely in central Europe, spring and summer in Croatia has sunshine, relatively cheap hotels and restaurants, and a magnificent living history that is ancient, medieval and in many places very recent.
It has a relatively low terror threat, and although there are still areas with landmines, its narrow layout gives it a laid-back coastal mentality that makes it a peaceful destination for a summer holiday.
Chile is continually ranked as the safest country in South America, with political stability and a growing economy, a low terror threat and the highest on the Global Peace Index. Its narrow coastline stretches all the way down the Andes mountains, and it enjoyed record tourist numbers in 2017, with English visitors up 6% to a record 54,714.
You’re so safe in Japan, that if you accidentally leave your camera or laptop on a bench, you’re likely to come back a few hours later to find it there and untouched. Japan is perennially ranked as the safest country in the world.
Even better, it’s also the cheapest long-haul holiday value destination, where your pound will go further. Spring in Japan has the magnificent Hanami cherry blossom season, while summer is a beautiful time to visit the many holiday islands.
One holiday island in the FCO regards as safe is the jewel of the Mediterranean, the rugged, historic beauty of Malta. Its capital Valletta is the European Capital of Culture in 2018, and while it may not have sandy beaches, it is compact, walkable and is a living history of Europe and a safe place to travel for families and enjoy the year-round sun.