The friendliest - and least friendly - countries in the world

Posted by
Tom Victor

If you’re considering moving out of this godforsaken country amid all the doom and gloom of Brexit, advert breaks on The Great British Bake Off and the continued existence of Piers Morgan, you’re probably trying to figure out a plan.

You probably can’t just get on a plane with a suitcase and a pocket full of dreams, as fun as that sounds.

It generally helps to find out a bit about where you’re going to be moving first, and thankfully there’s now a pretty easy way.

InterNations’ ‘Expat Index’ has collected the wisdom of those who have relocated from their home country to get an idea of which nations are the most and least friendly, among other things.


The most and least friendly countries have been revealed in a new survey

Out of the 65 countries assessed, the United Kingdom ranked 52nd for friendliness, 44th for ease of settling in, 37th for feeling welcome, 49th for finding friends and 35th when it comes to how easy and important it is to speak the local language.

Pretty rubbish all in all, then.

But you’re not here for that – you’re here to find out where’s best to move to if you’re leaving the UK.

If friendliness is high on your priorities, Portugal leads the way, while Costa Rica and Mexico are right up there if the most important thing is finding new friends.

At the other end of the scale, expats claim Kuwait is the worst place you can move to if you want to feel welcome or surround yourself with friendly people, while the language barrier is worst in Russia and it’s tough to settle in if you move to Denmark.

But the best country overall – with a top-10 ranking in all of the four categories – is Bahrain.


Bahrain is a solid all-round option

According to InterNations, the criteria were as follows:

“Survey respondents had to rate several factors on a scale of one to seven, including the friendliness of the local population, how easy it is to make friends, how welcome they feel in their country of residence, and how easy and important it is to speak the local language.”

The rankings, carried out by at least 75 respondents per country, produced the following results:

Ease of settling in (overall ranking):

Top 10:

  1. Bahrain
  2. Mexico
  3. Costa Rica
  4. Portugal
  5. Malaysia
  6. Oman
  7. Philippines
  8. Uganda
  9. Cambodia
  10. New Zealand

Bottom 10:

  1. Denmark
  2. Austria
  3. Kuwait
  4. China
  5. Switzerland
  6. Finland
  7. Hungary
  8. Japan
  9. Saudi Arabia
  10. Germany

Portugal can call itself the world's friendliest country

Friendliest countries:

Top 10:

  1. Portugal
  2. Mexico
  3. Taiwan
  4. Cambodia
  5. Costa Rica
  6. Colombia
  7. Oman
  8. Philippines
  9. Bahrain
  10. Vietnam

Bottom 10: 

  1. Kuwait
  2. Austria
  3. Czech Republic
  4. Finland
  5. Switzerland
  6. Saudi Arabia
  7. Denmark
  8. Hungary
  9. Qatar
  10. Sweden

Mexico: one of the easiest places to get settled

Feeling welcome:

Top 10:

  1. Portugal
  2. Bahrain
  3. Mexico
  4. Malta
  5. Costa Rica
  6. Spain
  7. New Zealand
  8. Malaysia
  9. Ecuador
  10. Colombia

Bottom 10:

  1. Kuwait
  2. China
  3. Saudi Arabia
  4. Qatar
  5. Denmark
  6. South Korea
  7. Myanmar
  8. India
  9. Switzerland
  10. Nigeria

Malta makes its way into the top five here

Finding Friends:

Top 10:

  1. Costa Rica
  2. Mexico
  3. Argentina
  4. Uganda
  5. Malta
  6. Bahrain
  7. Oman
  8. Cambodia
  9. Philippines
  10. Colombia

Bottom 10:

  1. Sweden
  2. Denmark
  3. Norway
  4. Switzerland
  5. Kuwait
  6. Qatar
  7. Germany
  8. Austria
  9. Finland
  10. Saudi Arabia

Costa Rica is the easiest country in which to make friends


Top 10:

  1. Bahrain
  2. Malaysia
  3. Singapore
  4. Kenya
  5. UAE
  6. Oman
  7. Philippines
  8. Uganda
  9. New Zealand
  10. Cyprus

Bottom 10:

  1. Russia
  2. Hungary
  3. China
  4. Japan
  5. Poland
  6. France
  7. Ukraine
  8. Czech Republic
  9. Myanmar
  10. Germany

Russia is the hardest country to adapt to the language

The full rankings can be found below:


(Images: Matheus Ferrero/iStock/InterNations)