These are the top 10 countries which ranks the highest for sober travel adventures

Exhilarating views of mountain and sea. Picture: Unsplash

Exhilarating views of mountain and sea. Picture: Unsplash

Published Jun 25, 2024


A GROWING number of travellers are seeking experiences without alcohol. Some countries have a heavy drinking culture, while others are more sober-friendly.

While South Africa is regarded as a widely appealing adventure destination with a range of sober-activities, the nation has also recently emerged as a country with heavy drinkers.

Premium cognac maker, Hennessy, revealed that South Africa is its third-largest market for the product. For those in recovery, travelling to such destinations could be triggering.

According to Lantana Recovery, the growing interest in sober travel is part of broader trends like the “sober curious” movement and the pursuit of wellness-focused vacations.

“Younger travellers, particularly Gen Zs, are leading this shift, but many older adults are also choosing to reduce their alcohol intake and embrace healthier travel experiences,” the US addiction treatment centre explained.

As part of the organisation’s efforts to support travellers in recovery, they conducted a study which ranked countries on several metrics.

This included sober-friendly activities, alcohol consumption rates, the prevalence of alcohol dependence, alcohol laws, public safety and overall health.

As a result, the study discovered that these are the top 10 countries which are the best for sober travels:

1. Iceland

2. Italy

3. Norway

4. Denmark

5. Japan

6. Switzerland

7. Australia

8. Singapore

9. New Zealand

10. Netherlands

The research found that Iceland ranked first with a sober-friendly score of 84.1 out of 100.

“Iceland tops the metric for sober-friendly activities with 541.45 per capita,” said Lantana Recovery.

“Known for its breathtaking landscapes, hot springs and the Northern Lights, Iceland stands out as a premier destination for sober travellers.”

Meanwhile, Italy came in second with a sober-friendly score of 74.7.

“The country is celebrated for its rich cultural heritage and ranks second in sober-friendly activities per capita. Italy also has a relatively low prevalence of alcohol dependence,” they said.

Norway, Denmark and Japan round out the top five.

“Norway is recognised for its stunning natural beauty and strong public safety. Denmark is known for its charming cities and excellent public safety. Japan offers unique cultural experiences and strong health measures,” said the health recovery experts.

Commenting on the findings, Lindsay Richerson, the executive director at Lantana Recovery, said that travelling can be an incredibly enriching experience, but it also presents unique challenges for those in recovery.

“It’s essential to approach your trip with a proactive mindset,” she said.

“By setting clear intentions for an alcohol-free journey and planning your activities ahead of time, you lay a strong foundation for maintaining sobriety.”

Richerson added: “Visualising positive experiences and being mindful of your goals can make all the difference in enjoying a fulfilling and sober travel experience.”