Bloomberg released its Global Health Index in early 2017 and the results certainly provide some food for thought.
The survey ranked 163 countries, assessing variables like life expectancy, the availability of clean water, and causes of death. Among the array of interesting things uncovered was the fact Chile is the healthiest country in Latin America, and that Israel’s ranking makes it the highest in the Middle East.
But what about the ones that came out on top? Well, because we care about you, your health and your travels, we’ve collated a list of the 8 official healthiest countries in the world below.
Not just this, but there’s some information about why their way of life is so wholesome, in addition to suggestions for how best to emulate it when visiting. Enjoy.
Not content with being one of the most livable countries in the world, Sweden is also full of tall, happy, and healthy people. And the Swedish lifestyle is an enviable one – full of constant cycling and consuming a ton of fatty fish, rye bread, and root vegetables. All in all, this wholesomeness is great, but it’s also conducive to some pretty sweet activities to partake in: hiking, camping, fishing, and even foraging for berries and mushrooms are all common Swedish past-times.
It’s probably not new news that raw fish is good for you, but it’s heartening to know that a sushi-packed visit to Japan is almost an obligation for health reasons. And it’s not just eating habits that make the Japanese a healthy bunch – it’s also their (green) tea drinking habits, their (public) bathing habits, and maybe even the fact they have a genuine national holiday dedicated to mountains. They’re one health-conscious nation, and that’s just one of a 100 reasons why you might want to visit this fascinating, diverse country.
How to visit: Explore Japan on this 12-day trip from Kyoto to Tokyo. Inclusions include a tea ceremony, day trip to Miyajima Island, sake brewery tasting and boat trip.
Read more: 7 destinations you simply have to visit in Japan, from Nara to Hiroshima.
The Mediterranean diet strikes again. Spaniards are one of the healthiest people around, and we’re thinking it might have something to do with the sun and siesta-filled lifestyle as much as the fresh food. Or even the flamenco dancing? Whatever the reason, people in Spain are doing it right. And if you want to live like them, then we fully encourage you to fill up on tapas and stroll a while round beautiful cities like Barcelona, Madrid and Seville.
How to visit: Cruise through Spain, Portugal and Morocco on this 8-day adventure. Spanish highlights include an excursion to the Nerja caves, an exploration of Granada’s cuisine and a full-day tour of Seville with a local guide.
Read more: Even wondered what it’s like to walk the Camino? Here‘s one traveller’s account.
So, it turns out the laid-back surfing lifestyle is not just fun, but healthy too. Aussies are doing pretty well for themselves, as their position on the survey demonstrates. Their life expectancy is one of the highest in the world, and not only is that thanks to their healthcare system, but an outdoorsy lifestyle that’s gotta be a direct result of the beautiful country. The killer brunch and coffee scene are an added bonus for visiting food fanatics…
Yep, there’s so much more to Singapore than rushed layovers and shopping in glitzy malls. The Southeast Asian powerhouse has a tropical climate, incredibly diverse food scene, and some of the world’s healthiest people. Visit the gorgeous Botanical Gardens in the early morning and you’ll figure out why – people of all ages will be busy doing tai chi, jogging, and walking round. So, enjoy the fine cuisine then work it all off how the locals do. Now that’s a healthy AND authentic Singaporean experience.
The Swiss are clearly doing something right. Their people are often voted the happiest in the world, their economy is one of the strongest in the world, and their country is also one of the healthiest in the world. Maybe it’s all that fresh mountain air… or maybe it’s their exceptional health care system, who knows? What we do know, however, is that exploring the stunning Swiss Alps, or visiting cities like Zurich or Geneva (as clean as they are beautiful) will make you feel happy, healthy, and full of appreciation for the Swiss way of life.
How to visit: This limited edition 10-day Alpine Journey is one to watch. Taking travellers through Italy, Switzerland and Germany, it’s an incredible picturesque trip. We love the town of Zermatt, the night spent in Lucerne and the stopover in Zurich.
Read more: In our feature on five of Europe’s best walking trails, we cover everything from Switzerland’s Eiger Trail to Italy’s Cinque Terre.
Iceland came number two in the survey, and we’re not surprised. Why? Well, two reasons: fresh fish is a massive delicacy there, and the landscapes are so awe-inspiring that why wouldn’t locals want to spend all their free time enjoying them? Seriously. The Icelandic people are really into both hiking and fishing, and it’s paying dividends health-wise. Book a trip there and you’ll find yourself indulging in these habits and more. Guilt-free eating and exploring – what could be better?
How to visit: For an all-encompassing summary of this magnificent country, check out this 9-day Highlights of Iceland trip. Alternatively, this Icelandic cruise takes you through the lesser-known West Coast. Visit the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, see waterfalls aplenty, explore Reykjavik and gaze in awe at the red-coloured Raudasandur Beach
Read more: Here’s a pretty definitive guide to spotting the Northern Lights. We detail both the best times to go and the best countries to visit (spoiler alert: Iceland is one of them).
Italy comes out on top – for having both the world’s healthiest people and, in our opinion, having some of the most beautiful scenery on earth. But if you thought Italians simply feast on carbs and wine then you might want to think again. As the survey revealed, that good old Mediterranean diet is a winner for all the fresh food it involves: fruit and veg, lean meat, fish, and a generous serving of extra virgin olive oil. Yep, locals have good health and a life expectancy well into their 80s; what better incentive do you need than to live (and eat) like one when traveling there?
How to visit: You can’t get much better than this 10-day Secrets of Italy tour. Included activities include a boat ride in Venice, a pesto class in Levanto, a wine tour in Agriturismo and an orientation walk in Rome.
Read more: If you book the above tour, you can stay in this rustic Tuscan hotel. Surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards, it’s pretty much the Italian dream.
Don’t miss out on these countries that have so much to offer. Book a Peregrine trip and experience the magic.
(Note: This post was originally published on Peregrine’s sister company Intrepid’s blog.)
(Images all c/o Peregrine Adventures.)