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What Is The Safest Place In The World to Escape Nuclear Holocaust

Back in the 80’s Matthew Broderick could teach a computer that global thermonuclear war brought about no more winners than you would get playing tic-tac-toe, a game notorious for ties. While humans are allegedly smarter than machines, some people who have their finger on a giant red button that could annihilate all life on the planet for a few million years still haven’t played enough tic-tac-toe to get the message.

Though the international arms race may be over and the days of ducking and covering when we see a mushroom cloud are long behind us, the threat remains that a madman could start a global holocaust. Which means you should know where to go should the big boom take place.

Determining Where Is Safe During Nuclear War

Due to the extensive nuclear arsenals that were amassed by the United States and the former Soviet Union, as well as many other industrialized nations to varying degrees, the estimated destructive capacity of current nuclear weapons on the planet is sufficient to obliterate life on Earth many times over.

Luckily, moves toward disarmament as well as time, budget, and changes in leadership have largely reduced the number of active and operational nuclear arms to a slightly more manageable level of wanton destruction.

Further, the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) established in 1987 severely restricts the spread of the weapons along with the information and technology used to build them. This too has altered the nuclear landscape.

Safest Places In The World in case of Nuclear Holocaust

Using this data, as well as blast radius and fallout information for the bombs, along with weather patterns and the current global climate, both governmental agencies, as well as private organizations, run computer drills and simulations to determine the most likely course a nuclear war might take.

These projections add in millions of variables, run through various launch scenarios, and attempt to ascertain valuable targets so as to determine where strikes are most likely to occur. It is through the results of these simulations that the scientific community has gathered information about the safest – and the most deadly – places in the world, should the bombs drop in spite of Bob Dylan’s urging to “Go away you bombs.”

1. Underground

The uber-wealthy tend to prefer this strategem, since it allows them to keep their shelter close to home without requiring travel during a time when, presumably, multiple nations are trying to wipe out everything that walks or crawls. Like the days of the Cuban missile crisis, digging a deep hole and filling it with concrete is likely the best way to assure that you can actually get to your safety. Here, the deeper you go and the thicker you pour your concrete, the better. Maybe some lead lining wouldn’t hurt, either. Tiny House Design has some suggestions if you’re thinking of building your own nuclear fallout bunker.

The issue with digging down is if you do live in a high-risk area, you could still be looking at a lifetime spent as a mole person, assuming you managed to get down far enough to avoid radiation. You’ll only have about 10 to 15 minutes between when the bombs hit (if you’re anywhere near ground zero, you won’t have time to do anything) and when the radiation reaches you. Keep your mouth open if you see an explosion to keep your eardrums intact and RUN to your shelter. Then you have to think about contaminated groundwater and food supplies. Really, you’re better off moving somewhere that the nukes aren’t likely to find.

WWIII Helpful Hint! Head to the southern hemisphere. There are fewer valuable targets, fewer major, industrial nations, and fewer nuclear weapons.

2. Iceland

The small, sparsely populated nation of Iceland is largely divorced both from most major international politics and from physical contact with another country. The combination of physical isolation, neutrality on the governmental stage, and an inhospitable climate make it a tremendous place to stay safe from nuclear issues.

3. New Zealand

New Zealand is a lovely agricultural country that feels like a small town, no matter where you go. Bearing no nuclear arms themselves, having almost no military, lots of space to spread out, and being far from everywhere except Australia, this even has a warm, enjoyable climate to spend your end of days in comfort.

4. Guam

Countries that have long been major bases for the United States military typically rank high on the list of Places Nuclear Bombs Will Destroy. In the case of Guam, the fact is that no one really wants it. It’s a nice land, but isolated, with few resources and no threat to anyone. 

5. Antarctica

An obvious choice, it’s a good place to avoid bombs, but a terrible place to live. You’re going to need to pack enough supplies, because you aren’t living off that land, and you’d better pray the nuclear apocalypse happens during summer in the southern hemisphere.

6. French Polynesia

More than 400 islands, French Polynesia is too scattered to really warrant an attack, and far enough from any shore that the water should sink nuclear fallout before it drifts in on the tradewinds. Also very pretty and sustainable.

7. Perth, Australia

Australia’s eastern coast is likely to suffer, since there’s seats of government, major cities, and political players on a global level. On the west side, there’s desert. Then, there’s Perth. While there’s other cities that might work, Perth is place away from anything else, so should someone get trigger happy and start hitting anything that looks viable, it’s deep under the radar.

8. South Africa

Though Apartheid may have caused many to stir against South Africa, the nation doesn’t otherwise bear many international political problems, has solid infrastructure from English occupation, and isn’t a threat to anyone. As a bonus, English is commonly spoken there, the people tend to be very welcoming. 

9. Easter Islands

Easter Island

If you want to shelter from the initial bomb drops as well as consider the ability to cultivate the land and try to rebuild a life, then the Easter Islands would be a solid choice. 

These islands, located off the coast of South America are largely unpopulated and so remote they would surely be the last place to fall victim to nuclear attack. Their location should also help reduce any exposure to fallout making them a remarkably safe and sensible idea of your new post-apocalypse life. 

10. Denver

Instead of going out to get away from the blast, living in the mile high city means you’re going up to save yourself. Though nearby Cheyenne Mountain is a major target, thanks to the NORAD installation, Denver itself is not. Being up where the air is thin reduces the ability of fallout to travel, and being close to a target, but not a target itself allows Denver to remain blissfully forgotten. A bit of a gamble, the proximity to NORAD is actually helpful since there’s few places the government works harder to protect from all attacks.

11. Tristan da Cunha

Tristan de Cunha

The most remote place on earth, yet it is perfectly inhabitable for humans. Sounds like a great place to escape from the threat of nuclear extermination. It’s a wonderful fishing hotspot too which means you will have access to some means of sustenance also. 

When looking for somewhere to live in a post-apocalyptic landscape, you can’t really afford to be picky. However, with Tristan de Cunha you win on all fronts. It’s located around 1,700 miles off the coast of South Africa (Cape Town) which means you would be safe from at least the initial blasts and early fallout. 

12. Yukon

While the dense forests and lush wildlands help diffuse any nuclear fallout, you’re also going to be coping with extremely limited infrastructure and plenty of bears who are happy to kill you without any fancy codes or red phones. Plus moose, which are far meaner than any bear. They’re mothers-in-law with antlers.

Final Thoughts

This list is of course, largely subjective. It depends on a great many factors, not least of all your ability to travel to and access some of these remote locations. However, if we allow ourselves to entertain the idea that each of them is just as easy to find as the rest, where would you choose? 

For the list, we made some tough choices, which, at first glance may seem a tad strange. Yes, there are busy trade routes up and around Iceland, but the country itself is remote and offers plenty of shelter spots. The same for adding Denver, Colorado. It’s a calculated risk, but every list deserves a dark horse or two. 

The comments are open, so don’t be shy, let us know where you would want to restart your portion of civilization, and why. Perhaps you feel as if we have overlooked a key location. Tell us, we’re nothing if not open to correction.

55 comments
  1. Agree , the higher the mountain and deeper you can deep , with stairs 40 ft from 2yd. Thick solid iron door , the better . Plus the little air thing , food , your life living med ‘s enough water , a powerful hand crank radio , that may or may not work , a place to get rid of ALL your waste , that could go down a tunnel at least 50 ft down and away from your living space and that’s just a start … you would still have to live in an area , far enough away from the projected poisons , and have a tester gage gaget, above tossed how much radiation was in the air and ground above …. one breath may kill you ! Much of life , anything living , from trees to animals , fish , birds etc …would probably be dead or full of poison , oceans , rivers , streams the air and dirt ….there just are not a lot of options , with power hungry dictators , and leaders who have no morals or conscience to speak of and are LIARS AND NARCISSISTS. Study up and be ready. Unless you live in NORWAY OR SWEDEN ( the top countries ) or 5 others mentioned on line , you’re own your own.

  2. I Know 🤦🏻‍♀️
    Why can’t people just get along and work together. Quit trying to take over the world, be happy with what God have you.

  3. Easter Island isn’t the fat land you suggest. Once, the island was covered in forests. Now it’s just scrub weeds in grainy cinders that don’t retain moisture or provide much nutrient to plants. The Rapa Nui people cut down all the trees, with the last of the deforestation happening in the 1500s. Why?

    To make and place the moai (the stone statues with the grotesquely oversized heads.)

    They squandered their ecologic foundation for the sake of their vanity and now there are scarcely any Rapa Nui around, and we’re looking at centuries to millennia to remediate the island to what it was.. With the trees gone, their root systems didn’t retain the complex topsoil structure above the volcanic cinders. This topsoil was what retained the moisture in the ground. Once it eroded away and the underlying clays dried out, the fines in the soil (tiny particles of mineral such as kaolin, AKA china clay) blew away into the sea, leaving crumbly, puny soil that barely sustains weeds, much less crops. Good luck with that.

  4. I’m thinking somewhere with high altitudes. But Yukon, New Zealand or Antarctica. Maybe I’ll become someone extraordinary and win the lottery like in the 2020 movie “Greenland”. The irony of this world may come to that !

  5. Bible text: Psalm 46 says God (the Creator of the Universe and everything in it) is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Let us acknowledge that there is God who is greater than all. He is wiser than all and He has a day and time to respond to this fearful evil threat( of nuclear war/merciless bombing). Somehow, divine wisdom (that we have never known before) shall be revealed and will prevail against evil threats of those who hold the power to do so. Since time immemorial, many evil threats have been planned to wipe out human race from the face of the earth but the Almighty God has always prevailed by divine wisdom and power. Let us all have hope in divine help from the one who created the universe and everything in it for our good. May God bless the earth for the sake of humanity.

  6. Don’t forget Tierra Del Fuego at the southernmost tip of South America, and really MOST of South America should be a safe bet cause no military targets, except maybe Brazil just because they have a military and are friendly to Western interests. So that’s a HUGE amount of landmass that’s likely to survive.

    And for someone who said Alaska wouldn’t be safe because of its military bases, don’t forget that these are located in just a few places and Alaska is HUGE, twice the size of Texas, and with vast ranges of tall mountains, I’m certain that some of the more remote regions are going to be safe as well.

  7. There is a military base at Exmouth West Aus and a few others in that state and Communications bases too. Think Tasmania would be a far better spot surely. North and central Australia are out too with Bases in Tindall and near Humpty Doo and the Port of Darwin being Chinese leased. Pine Gap at Alice Springs is in conjunction with USA and another facility 30 km north west of Adelaide

  8. Life would be very difficult for survivors. A large percentage unable to work. Lack of medical facilities and food. War / crime gangs. No transport, no public services. A lucky few will escape to the safer Countries but these Countries would be affected with imported items, air and water contamination, risk of invasion from rogue nations like Russia or China. It would be very unsettling.

  9. My thoughts
    There will be no place safe if nuclear attacks.
    Wy we even have nuclear.
    The mordern world we living in today and nonsense war around us.
    The world destroy itself my prayers are if that happens let it be over with fast .
    And no suffering.

  10. ALBERT EINSTEIN is often quoted I know not with what Weapons WW III will be fought, but WW IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

  11. I grew up in the era of the Cuban missile crisis. I practiced drills to duck and cover in the classroom. I read dozens of books and stories about WWIII and Post Apocalyptic life. In “On The Beach” (1959) after a nuclear war in the northern hemisphere, the last scene is the deserted streets of Melbourne Australia, due to winds carrying the radiation to every corner of the Globe.
    The idea that anyone can wage a nuke war without threatening the end of humanity is insanity.

  12. Unfortunately, nuclear war is inevitable. It’s not IF…but WHEN. We as humans are destined to destroy one another. It’s our fate. Hate is easy! Love takes work! Praying that those that come after us do better!

  13. Perth is not a target for russian ICBMs, but China recently threatened Australia with “non-nuclear” ICBMs. And Denver.. I disagree – every major city in the US is a potential target. Guam is a strategic target as it is home of the the Andersen Air Force base. Same goes for Iceland, at least Reykjavík – Iceland is part of the NATO since decades and – like Guam – a strategic outpost for US forces.

    My choice would be south america (Chile, Argentina). Or the center of any major city in europe or the US – at least it’s over then within seconds.

  14. The only problems with islands are if a nuclear strike causes extreme temperature
    Shifts and the ice melts in the south and North Pole regions wouldn’t that cause higher sea levels and islands all over the world would be endanger of the sea claiming them
    At least inland on a mountain 5500 miles from the nearest atom detonation area you have a better chance of survival

  15. I watched a you tube video saying South America
    Was more safer then anywhere to be if nuclear war
    Broke out Since it is over 4,000 miles from any target
    And with wind directions the nuclear fallout would
    Be lower in count by the time it reached that far it might not
    Affect crops and you could live a fairly normal life
    Down in Argentina or Chile and the mountains would
    Be a shield to block some of the fallout from reaching you
    I am not sure but I know there are no countries down there
    That pose a threat to. Russia or anyone else or have military
    Targets worth to directing a icbm missle at

  16. It wouldn’t be miserable everywhere. If it’s a country/islands with rich soil and great year round tropical climate, there would be plenty to eat. French Polynesia for example has a summer and a winter opposite of North America’s (FP is now between their summer and winter, or “Fall.”) But their seasons don’t swing in temps more than 5-10 degrees either way all year. The average temp there yearly temp is around 80°. And the humidity is actually not bad at all. We were there in June. It’s a place that everyone should get the chance to at least see once.

  17. I’ve been to French Polynesia, namely the Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora Islands. Now… while it would be nice to have a little island all to my family’s self, I would want in close proximity to French Polynesians…to learn how to fish and farm, (they also produce the largest amount of vanilla beans in the world, grow pineapple, mango, and bananas, not to mention they are famous for black pearl farms). Tourism helps them too, but more people actually visit the Hawaiian Islands in ONE DAY than they visit FP in ONE YEAR. Most likely because it is a longer distance away from anywhere (8 hr. Flight from LAX).
    The people who live on the inhabited Islands (other than Tahiti, it’s very commercialized) are kind, helpful, and live very simple lives. Some of them live in shacks. But believe me… they are CLEAN shacks. All homes and yards are kempt. They work hard for what they have and they are grateful to have it.
    We Americans could learn a lot about the attitude of these people and their way of life. Family is a BIG deal to them.
    So, there you have it… the reasons why this would be my choice ( IF I had enough advance notice to get there!)

  18. I live in Vancouver Canada unfortunately I’m not sure if would be a target or not…we do have the biggest port for goods and Victoria just across on the island with government office parliament and very close to USA border….plus big population the lower mainland almost quarter of British Columbia’s population lives in the lower mainland Vancouver area

  19. I Live in N.Y. So, that doesn’t bode well for me. But, maybe it’s for the best to go out with the initial blast instead of a slow torturous death.

  20. An underground bunker with a way to grow food and filter water would be the only way to survive.

    3D Concrete Bunkers are the fastest and cheapest way to build one.

  21. You should have included the island of Mauritius on your list. A tiny island in the Indian Ocean with a population of 1.5 millions. Too small and insignificant to be of interest to the superpowers. Best place to survive a nuclear holocaust.

  22. I am in Lithuania and I would probably pick Iceland or New Zealand. I hope this madness will end soon, we are jus a few hundred kilometers away from the war epicentre and obviously not feeling safe :(

  23. I would love to go to South Africa that would be nice. But if the bombs were to come I want to go immediately and my whole family too. No need in suffering thru it.
    The thing about nuclear war tho … there is no winners…so it just doesn’t make sense to me at all…. the leaders that would order it would all be killed..so what’s the point?

  24. It scares me that ice even googled where is the best place to survive a nuclear war. I live in hull uk noth east coast we would be wiped out but not from the blast here but from radiation fallout from manchester leeds etc being hit. It does scare me and honestly if I won the lottery I would be moving to New Zealand they are very unlikely to be hit and the ground will be great to grow crops and far away from fallout. Can live off the grid there and build a society

  25. Here in Roswell NM there is nothing of military significance. However a few decades ago there was a major air base (closed) and numerous ICBM silos (removed). It would be my luck someone launching weapons would be using a very outdated map that shows us as a point of interest.

  26. I live in Thailand and am in the northern part so I’m away from Bangkok. I’m close enough to the equator that we should be safe from too much fallout or any bombs. We have a few acres to grow plenty of food and water is about 20 feet down. Now the question is, do I want to live in a post nuclear world? In case I don’t I have plenty of pain pills that will let me go to sleep and I will just wake up dead.

  27. If altitude is the safest place wouldn’t Bolivia be the best place to avoid fallout from a nuclear missile.

  28. Well, Alaska and Yukon theritory isn’t good places for survival, there are a lot of US military basis…

  29. Most Pacific Islands would be nice. They have a much warmer climate than cold windy New Zealand. New Zealand’s people are friendly and nice. It is best for meat eaters and not vegetarians/vegans.

    Fiji is a tropical paradise with reefs for protection, a lot of fresh fish and fruit to eat. I think it has more reefs and fish than French Polynesia. But native Fijians like to control their country. They may not like outsiders. It wasn’t long ago they used to kill their enemies and eat them!

  30. I live in Perth Western Australia we have a place called Garden Island I think the US use as a submarine base might be a problem but the odds are by the time they get around to Perth they would have run out of nuclear Warheads so I’m quite happy to be here I have to brush up on my gardening going to be something all my love from Perth

  31. If you look at the vastness of many lands, it’s ridiculous to think that Nuclear war is not survivable. It very much is survivable. And many people would survive and continue to live on fine (many parts of Africa where tribes live for example). Unless there is a strategic reason to attack an area, it simply wont be attacked. What wasn’t mentioned also, is that if you are a sailor (or on a cruise somewhere), then as long as you are far enough out at sea, then you wont be affected. I’m not aware that there is any plan to attack the sea. Unless there are strategic reasons. Just search on this subject and you will find that based on maths alone, there is not enough nuclear weapons to wipe out civilisation.

  32. No place is safe if we get struck by nukes in a full scale war with Russia. Some people will die immediately as a result of a direct attack or die slowly as a result of radio-active air/food/water…or as a result of famine due to nuclear winter…etc

  33. Denver itself is a major target! The Federal Center is the largest site of government control as a backup to Washington DC. Proximity to Cheyenne Mountain and Warren AFB in Wyoming…. Known to house Nuke weapons. Additionally, just Northeast of Denver sits large tracts of Nuclear missile silos. Sorry, Denver is going to fry.

  34. I kind of agree with you. “Surviving” is all we would be doing and where’s the point, if you’re not living and enjoying life! It would be such a miserable existence. You’d be wandering around looking for food and shelter, developing radiation poisoning, not forgetting that people would form gangs and go around attacking others for their food supplies etc. I really don’t think I’d manage to stay alive for long. I’m not tough enough, so I think it would be best to get wiped out in the initial conflict.

  35. Curious about why Kansas City is not a viable Target. You seem to think that it would be a terrible place to live. If you are talking about Kansas City Missouri, I would go there just for the Chiefs and the ribs. Actually I believe Kansas City is one of the places that is recruiting people to come and work

  36. If things get bad enough in this world that we resort to nuclear attacks and our country his hit, I will not seek shelter. I am not a suicidal person but I’ve always said, “If I had a catastrophic illness or there was a nuclear war that hit our country, my pill arsenal is my go to.” Lots of blood pressure medicine stocked which would be a simply and permanent fix.