Although happiness is highly subjective, the United Nations publishes an annual World Happiness Report which ranks countries based on the level of happiness their residents enjoy.
The report takes into consideration things like income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust, and generosity. But what do these countries offer to tourists wanting a slice of happiness?
You may not be able to buy happiness, but you can purchase a plane ticket to enjoy a holiday in one of the following happiest countries in the world. Note that you may wish to plan your holiday during the north’s summer months as many of the countries topping the list are Nordic locations, unless of course you love the snow and winter chill.
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First off, if you enjoy the sun you must book your holiday to Finland during the summer months as you won’t find much daylight during winter. Winter, however, does have its fair share of fun activities such as experiencing the northern lights, riding in a sleigh led by Huskies, sleeping in an igloo, and meeting Santa Claus.
Summer on the other hand allows you to hike the dozens of beautiful national parks scattered around the country. Summer may be fleeting in the country but the days are long when the heat does finally arrive. Take in massive music festivals, explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Fortress of Suomenlinna, and relax on the country’s beautiful beaches.
Nature reigns supreme in Norway, with breathtaking landscapes and rich wildlife around every forested corner. One of the best ways to see the country is to take a summer cruise. Witness the stunning fjords, waterfalls, charming villages, and even one of the world’s northernmost inhabited areas. Svalbard, with its arctic climate, is home to the midnight summer sun and polar bears. Accommodation and food prices can be quite pricey in Norway, making a cruise sometimes a much more affordable option to seeing this stunning part of the world.
Visit the many museums of Oslo and learn about Viking history. Make your way to Bergen to take in the colourful houses and dramatic natural landscapes. Coming in 2019, visitors can experience the largest underwater restaurant, situated 5 meters below the ocean’s surface in southern Norway’s Lindesnes region.
While you may not be able to take advantage of Denmark’s excellent health, education, and welfare systems simply by visiting, you can have fun along its 7,000km of coastline and across hundreds of its islands. In addition to possibly spotting Tasmania’s beloved Princess Mary, you can visit the famous Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen. Bring out your inner child by visiting the top two oldest theme parks in the world, Dyrehavsbakken and Tivoli Gardens.
Find a lovely outdoor cafe in the historic 17th century Nyhavn waterfront, with its colourful buildings and numerous moored wooden ships. Sail a Viking long boat, hunt for fossils and check out giant migrating sand dunes. Whether you’re looking for culture, nature, history, or elegant cities, Denmark has it all.
It’s hard to not be happy in Iceland. This fairytale-looking country offers some of the most impressive natural landscapes on earth. While there may be a number of great outdoor adventures to be had during the winter months, summer brings vibrant green hillsides, wildflowers, breeding puffins, and easy access to most of the country’s top attractions.
Relax in the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa after a day of checking out incredible waterfalls, glaciers, and geysers. Drive the famous Golden Circle tourist route near Reykjavík or make your way around the whole country to take in even more impressive natural sights such as Jökulsárlón, the wildlife rich glacial lake with floating icebergs, and stunning waterfalls such as Kirkjufellsfoss, Goðafoss, and Gullfoss.
While Canada may not rank quite as high as Switzerland or the Netherlands when it comes to happiness of its citizens, it is still in the Top 10 and may prove to be a happier place for Australian travellers due to the fact they can enjoy a much more favourable exchange rate than across Europe.
A massive country with a population of around only 10% of what is found in its neighbour to the south, Canada offers a place of solitude surrounded by natural beauty. A range of national parks are home to wildlife such as moose, wolves, bears, caribou, bison, and musk oxen. Enjoy a wide range of beautifully modern and multicultural cities such as Toronto, Québec, Montreal, and Vancouver all of which are set to a backdrop of pure rugged wilderness. Winter can bring extremely chilly temps in certain areas of the country so summer travel may be your best bet for experiencing the Canadian Rockies or Niagara Falls.