The United Nations 2018 report on World Happiness, which measures ‘subjective well-being’ reveals the Nordic peoples are the happiest.Destinology investigates the top 3 happiest places to live and why a visit to them will make you happy too.
Beaches - Denmark has over 5,000 miles of coast and beaches including some islands to hop! Sand between your toes, salt in your hair - the Danes love to swim in the ocean during the Summer months and, with average sea temperatures between 17°C to 22°C, they are sure to bring a brusque smile to your face.
History - Home to the Vikings – to whom many of us are related – there are Unesco World Heritage Sites to explore including castles and Viking camps. A visit to the relatives is always a joy!
Denmark’s towns and cities are filled with historical buildings, architecture and monuments. Enjoy a slow and simple ramble through Copenhagen to immerse yourself in Danish culture – museums, music and of course the Mermaid.
Denmark’s charm and happiness lies in its laidback attitude and hospitality.
Most of Norway is situated above the Arctic circle and in the Summer the sun barely sets – known as the Midnight Sun. We associate the Sun with being happy, hip, hip, hip hooray, so 24 hours of it is sure to make us grin.
Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights can be witnessed in Norway and one of the best sites is Tomsø where you can book an “aurora chasing” tour. A natural phenomenon to make you beam!
Oslo is the perfect mix of modern and traditional, and is home to the largest sculpture park in the world with over 650 bronze, granite and iron exhibits. Fresh air, trees and open spaces to relax amongst. A visit to Oslo should include the Ice Bar. Tables, chairs, walls and glasses made of ice, chilly at -5°C – but a warm welcome awaits with coats and gloves provided to keep you happy.
Norway won the title in 2017 and stands firm in second place so happiness here is not fleeting.
Saunas are an essential part of Finnish culture. This bathing ritual has been popular in Finland for thousands of years. The vapour produced by the water being thrown over hot stones is known as ‘loyly.' Within minutes of it being cast every pore on your body opens up and sweat covers your body - a plunge into a suitably nearby lake or sea is required to complete the ritual, no matter the weather.
Basic sauna rules include no eating or drinking and if you speak do not discuss work or religion. Jarmo Lehtola, head of the Finnish Sauna Society says “Sauna helps you to calm in a modern society where it is never quiet.” Is this the key to happiness?
If you are of a certain age you will remember The Moomins, they are the most adored Finnish icons created in the 1940’s by Tove Jannson. At the Termpere Art Museum, you can experience these hippo-like creatures in a multi-sensory way and Helsinki is home to a Moomin Café. If you didn’t love them in your childhood, they are sure to amuse you and your children now.
Helsinki, Finland’s capital city, is a green city with 2,400 miles of cycle lanes. Get on your bike and breathe in the clean air whilst enjoying this Unesco City of Design. Remember, exercise produces dopamine and endorphins that make you happy.
As if this isn’t enough to make Finland the happiest place to live and visit it is also home to Santa!
We recommend happiness in 2018 so get yourself a city break in the Nordics.