The number one spot for the Adult Gap Year Index was awarded to Spain.
Spain has a staggering 47 UNESCO sites over its relatively small surface area making it a country rich with culture. These include a range of cultural sites including monasteries, churches and ancient towns along with 3 expansive national parks. Barcelona is known for its unique art and architecture and is the home of the most widely renowned UNESCO World Heritage sites in Spain, the Works of Gaudi. Gaudi constructed seven buildings in Barcelona in his unique style; Casa Vicens, the La Sagrada Familia nativity façade, Parque Guell, Casa Mila, Palacio Guell and the crypt in Colonia Guell.
Spain also scored highly thanks to its top marks for adventure which is essential when finding a destination that can provide gap yearers with a place they can explore and experience new cultures.
Following Spain, the full top 10 countries are:
France ranked 2nd due to its great number of hotels and activities, scoring closely with Singapore but coming out on top with its high adventure score. France also has a long list of UNESCO sites at 44, just 3 less than Spain.
Italy ranked in 4th place with its cuisine coming in above all other countries, ranking above popular favourites France and India. Italy also has the most UNESCO World Heritage sites in the entire world as the birthplace of the Roman Empire with Venice, Pompeii, Rome and Verona all in the beautiful country. However, the counties sustainability efforts have dragged its score down which could be attributed to over-tourism.
We were delighted to see that Croatia made the cut and ranked at number 35. Croatia ranked in the top 20 in the world for adventure thanks to its pleasant climate, the natural beauty of the landscape, and how friendly the locals are. The country’s high safety score due to its political stability, level of trust and low crime rates, also means Croatia is definitely a good option for adults looking to take a fun and safe gap year.
The typical gap year hot spot for youths, Thailand, ranked much lower coming in at 18th place. This could be attributed to its lower sustainability, accommodation and safety scores which are regarded as important factors for adults, whereas youths might not take these issues as seriously.
The results by continent are as below:
Best country for an adult gap year in Europe: Spain
Best country for an adult gap year in Asia: Singapore
Best country for an adult gap year in Oceania: Australia
Best country for an adult gap year in North America: Canada
Best country for an adult gap year in South America: Argentina
Best country for an adult gap year in Africa: Morocco