Nuclear war is no laughing matter and it’s had the world terrified for well over half a century. What is so terrifying is the idea that multiple nuclear bombs will be deployed by multiple nations. If one goes off then they all go off. This concept, called mutually assured destruction (or M.A.D.) has kept countries from using nuclear weaponry. While it may be a long shot, being prepared with a game plan is never a bad idea. While the vast majority of the planet will be uninhabitable for many years in a post-nuclear world, there will still be some places that will most likely be liveable.
Keep in mind that some are more comfortable than others. I think it probably goes without saying that if a nuclear war were to break out, life as we know it will change drastically and comfort will definitely take a backseat to survival. There are a lot of challenges to getting to these places, including having a head start to leave. Getting there will be tricky and once there, hopefully there are people willing to accept you with open arms.
But the following 15 locations in the world would definitely be the best place to go to have a shot at surviving a nuclear apocalypse. If need be, they would be the best chance to survive and potentially thrive. After you pick your top destinations, you may want to sharpen your survival skills. They’ll definitely come in handy.
15. Easter Island
A couple of thousand miles off the coast of South America in the Pacific Ocean, lies this historic island that is home to the Moai statues that have been a mystery of humanity. Unfortunately, because all the trees were cut down so the stone statues could be moved, the ecosystem was essentially ruined. But Easter Island is inhabited today and what better way to survive than with some amazing ancient statues.
Today, the island is a territory of Chile, but in the nuclear holocaust, I believe the “everyone for themselves” mentality will prevail when it comes to entry visas. Easter Island is currently inhabited by about 6,000 people, but is a very long way from other inhabited islands. So this little area may just make it out of the danger zone. Getting there is another story, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.
This is a vast wasteland of ice and snow that is mostly uninhabitable due to the extreme temperatures and a complete lack of infrastructure. But the entire continent is pretty much safe during a nuclear fallout, due to the Antarctic Treaty which establishes the area as a peaceful area for research. Hence, no nuclear detonation can occur on the continent.
You might consider the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station located in the center of the continent. This is a pretty large permanent facility operated by the United States. Getting there will be quite difficult though, so you could try any number of other stations that exist on the continent, operated by a variety of countries. You may check out Paradise Harbor, which has the best weather on the continent and actually hosts tourists in the summer months.
13. Tristan da Cunha
Welcome to the most remote inhabited archipelago! Tristan da Cunha has just a few hundred people living on this island, located in the South Atlantic. The island is gorgeous and fishing is very abundant. This is an amazing place to ride out the end of the modern world. You’ll want to know a little something about how to fish, or at least be a pretty fast learner.
The island has a doctor, a school and a permanent settlement. This is the perfect location for reestablishing humanity (or at least it’s a start). Tristan da Cunha is a little more than a stone’s throw from any continental land (1,500 miles to be exact). It’s closest to the coast of Africa and should pretty easily avoid any nuclear contact. Good luck and happy fishing!
12. Puncak Jaya, Indonesia
Home to the world’s largest gold mine, Puncak Jaya is located in the mountains of Indonesia. Not exactly situated in the most comfortable place in the world, it is certainly safer than most places in a post-nuclear war world. Areas in mountainous regions are generally more favorable and will not be a target site for a nuclear weapon.
There is also a huge copper mine located on Puncak Jaya. With these mines and the resources provided by the mountain, finding safety is more likely in this location. Consider that survival will definitely be the goal here beyond comfort. This would be a location where you’d need to make sure you could hunt, gather and do whatever is necessary to stay alive. It will be a beautiful place to stay if nothing else.
11. Tierra del Fuego
This archipelago (set of islands) is located perfectly to survive a nuclear war. As a result of the wind patterns in the area, it is more protected that other areas. It rains a lot here and stays cold all year long. But in nuclear war, we’ll all accept less than ideal temperatures. Tierra del Fuego is at the extreme end of South America and the province is controlled by two different countries, Chile and Argentina.
Tierra del Fuego is very close to Antarctica and as we learned before, Antarctica will be just fine in a nuclear war. So it stands to reason that areas close to the icy Southernmost continent shouldn’t be too bad either. Tierra del Fuego also has the benefit of an established population and infrastructure. There are homes, businesses, roads, etc. and for this reason, it would be very habitable.
10. Marshall Islands
Surrounded by three quarters of a million square miles of beautiful ocean, the Marshall Islands have the perfect buffer between nuclear disaster and safety. Keep in mind that in the event of climate change resulting in rising sea levels, all bets are off for islands. But this is nuclear war we’re talking about! So to that end, look at the Marshall Islands for a beautiful and safe destination.
Located in the Pacific Ocean near the equator, the Marshall Islands are an independent nation with only about 53,000 people inhabiting the country. They use the United States dollar as their currency, so make sure you take your wallet. It’s a wonderful location for scuba diving and the weather is absolutely gorgeous. Sounds like a pretty great way to “survive” for sure!
9. Capetown, South Africa
Capetown feels a little more like a beach bum paradise compared to the rest of South Africa. While there’s nowhere that is a guaranteed safe spot, Capetown is much less likely to have to deal with nuclear fallout. This city has a very large population, but has managed to go throughout its history calmly and without much foreign influence.
Located at the extreme end of the African continent, Capetown is further proof that the extreme areas of a particular continent have a little more safety. So grab a tropical drink and soak up some rays (well, maybe don’t soak up too much of anything post-nuclear war) when you need a safe place to stay. Capetown may just make it through the end of the modern world without any trouble.
8. Yukon or Nunavut Canada
The Yukon of Canada consists of some of the most remote reaches of the world. Peppered throughout this territory is small communities, villages and towns, but nothing that’s really on too much of a radar in terms of war. This territory is abundant in natural resources and its prime for hunting. These will all be very valuable resources to have in this awful new world.
Also worth considering might be Nunavut, which is Canada’s newest territory. Nunavut has barely over 30,000 people in the largest land mass territory of Canada. It has the northernmost inhabited city on the planet, but it’s certainly not likely to draw much attention in nuclear war. Take your long underwear though, because it’s going to be incredibly cold in the winter and will be somewhat chilly in the summer months.
Another island nation in the Central Pacific Ocean is Kiribati, which is composed of 33 separate islands. Over 100,000 people live here and it’s the perfect place to lay low. Kiribati is not overly developed though and natural resources are not as abundant as they were at one time. But with a boat, it should be pretty easy to hop from island to island as necessary. Remember, we’re talking survival here, so go where you need.
But again, with these islands being very much off the beaten path, they are highly unlikely to incur nuclear wrath. Getting there will be very difficult though, but certainly not impossible. Another advantage to living in Kiribati is that the temperature stays pretty much the same all year long. Watch out for hurricanes and typhoons, but it certainly beats dying of radiation poisoning.
6. New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the most developed countries on this list. It is a small nation close to Australia. New Zealand has a strong and well developed infrastructure, but is neutral to any nuclear conflicts. New Zealand has nearly 5 million people living there with an active culture and local identity. A positive about hanging out here in a nuclear catastrophe is that just about everyone speaks english.
New Zealand is small and out of the way. They pride themselves on their neutrality, much like Switzerland. Unfortunately, Switzerland is right in the middle of Europe, which will be a hot zone in nuclear conflict. So hop on a jet to Auckland, New Zealand and scope out the perfect place to ride out the storm so-to-speak. Who knew survival could be so cool?
5. Perth, Australia
In the same neck of the woods as New Zealand comes Perth, Australia. With about 2 million people living in this Western Australian city, Perth has a wonderful reputation and a solid location. Australia is like New Zealand, in that it is nuclear neutral. In other words, they’d prefer to stay out of the whole thing.
It never gets overly cold in Perth and the temperature also doesn’t get as sweltering as in other places of Australia. The Australian people on the whole are kind and polite with a welcoming spirit. That’s going to be very helpful when people come seeking refuge from nuclear radiation. Hopefully Perth and many of its outlying communities will be ready and willing to accept some outsiders.
Another island nation in the Pacific Ocean is Tuvalu. You may be seeing a trend here… and for good reason. Island nations like Tuvalu are off the radar and often very remote. Their remote nature helps them to avoid having to get involved as intensely in international politics. There aren’t a lot of people living here, which also keeps the target off of its back.
While beautiful, Tuvalu is much more likely to have natural disasters such as cyclones and typhoons. These can be quite deadly, but again, it’s a trade-off compared to the rest of the world being torn to bits by nuclear bombs. People in Tuvalu speak English, so the language barrier is pretty non-existent. Keep in mind that there are only about 10,000 people living here, so there may not be as much going on as in some other places. But it should be pretty safe and secure from war.
Malta is another one of those island nations. It’s location is in the Mediterranean Sea, meaning it’s much closer to a continent than some of the other island nations. Throughout history there have been many attempts to capture Malta and each time failed. This small country is resilient if nothing else. A nuclear incident however would be another story. But Malta’s small size and location doesn’t indicate that it would be a target, making Malta a potential safe zone.
It could be a wonderful place to live as well. The island is beautiful and abundant with lots of different resources. Malta maintains itself as a neutral nation and even hosted the meeting which officially ended the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Hopefully it will continue to be a stronghold and overlooked as a nuclear hot zone.
Officially known as the Republic of Fiji, this group of 330 islands could be one of the best places to hide out and survive. The country is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and like several other archipelagos on this list, it would be an unlikely target. There are some other island nations (including New Zealand) on this list that are neighbors to Fiji, so you may have some company around you.
The temperature there stays very agreeable year round and there are a fair amount of natural resources to maintain a thriving society. Scuba diving is also quite good there, so make sure you take your equipment. Tourism is a huge part of the economy in Fiji, so they are used to having visitors. Hurricanes and typhoons are a problem though, so be prepared.
Greenland is part of the Danish realm, but has become more autonomous in the 21st century. Much like Nunavut, Canada, Greenland is pretty much at the top of the planet. It is home to the magnetic north pole and is considered the largest island in the world. It will be very cold, so you’ll need to adapt to that. Approximately 70% of Greenland’s used energy comes from renewable resources, so this makes it far more sustainable if the modern power grid goes down.
The island is huge, but only has around 56,000 people living there, so there’s plenty of room for everyone. The capital city of Nuuk, is also the most populated city, with about 17,000 inhabitants. Greenland is probably not going to catch a nuclear missile based upon it’s out-of-the-way location in the world. Now good luck getting there!