Peaceful Portugal: #4 in the world

Lagoa do Fogo (Lake/Lagoon of Fire) on Sao Miguel island, Azores

Every year, The Institute for Economics and Peace report on their annual finding of peace around the world. There were 163 countries studied and ranked in the most recent report in June of 2018. The award for fourth most peaceful country in the world, and third most peaceful country in Europe goes to Portugal. This is quite impressive in itself, considering 36 out of Europe’s 50 official countries were scrutinized and scored on 23 indicators. But the nation hasn’t always scored so high on this exam.

Portugal has made an exceptionally rapid ascent on the list from its 18th position just four years prior in 2014. The country’s economic improvements are clearly noticeable. They received high marks in areas of security, political stability, and internal and external conflict, among others. This small nation of about 10 million has people rapidly taking notice. Work-life balance and environmental quality were some of the categories it scored above average in.

“Peace exudes everywhere in Portugal. From the village squares and church chimes to the cobblestone streets and the sadly sweet people.”
Bruce Joffe, resident

Iceland remained in the first position of most peaceful country, holding down its title for the 10th year in a row. Other countries in the top ten were Austria, Australia, Denmark, Canada, the Czech Republic, Singapore, Japan, and Ireland.

Caldeira Velha Waterfall on Sao Miguel island, Azores, Portugal

What makes a peaceful place

Talking about peace in the little coastal country, I wanted to see if the residents truly felt the same. Nuno Lourenço, a resident of Madeira island and founder of the new app iDocpassport absolutely does. “Portugal is an outstanding and super friendly country. We have amazing weather with lots of sunny days, beautiful beaches, extraordinary gastronomy, good wine, and a past that increases our hearts with all our conquers and bravery. I feel blessed to live on Madeira Island, Europe’s Leading Island Destination.”

Madeira island, Portugal

With so much praise coming from native Portuguese, its no surprise that the number of expats moving to the country has skyrocketed. Bruce Joffe, author of the book Expat: Leaving the USA for Good (to be released Spring 2019) chose Portugal as his new home over Spain. Even though Joffe has owned a vacation home in the neighboring country for 10 years, he says he found Portugal’s friendly, outgoing locals a huge draw. The town of Castelo Branco is now his home since 2018. “Peace exudes everywhere in Portugal– from the village squares and church chimes to the cobblestone streets and the sadly sweet people.”

So often we hear about the bad news and negative things happening in the world. If we start focusing on the good, maybe life would be a bit more enjoyable. For the Portuguese, it seems that they already have a few things figured out. If you need a slice of peace for yourself, perhaps Portugal would be a good place to start.

Originally published at on February 9, 2019.