Nordic countries score top-ten hits on new United Nations report
It’s official – Finland is, according to a new United Nations report, the happiest country on earth. And why wouldn’t it be? For one, it’s the year-round home of Father Christmas – arguably the jolliest gentleman of them all. Then, when you take into account all those sparkling lakes, snow-dusted forests, design-savvy cities and wonderfully inventive hotels – glass igloo anyone? – you’ve got a winning combination that could bring a smile to even the sullenest of demeanours.
A happy family at Santa's Village, Rovaniemi (image: Visit Rovaniemi)
The report itself was based on a number of determining factors – economic strength, social support, life expectancy, freedom of choice, generosity and perceived corruption – with Finland scoring an impressive 7.6 out of 10. What’s more, it’s Nordic cousins weren’t far behind, with Norway, Denmark and Iceland occupying the next three spots. Sweden, too, ranked highly, with a top-nine finish.
Happy views across Iceland
But what about the UK? With a ranking of 19th, one behind the United States, we’ve clearly got some work to do. And our solution? Increase your happiness in 2018 with a holiday to Scandinavia and the Nordics, of course. Below are some of our top recommendations, or why not call our specialists today for some happy holiday inspiration?
Holidays to make you happy
1: Finland – Santa in Lapland Harriniva
Nothing says happy quite like an excited child at Christmas. And what better way to treat the kids than with a trip out to Finnish Lapland to meet jolly St Nick himself? There's plenty for grown-ups, too, with an included snowmobile adventure showcasing the magic of the Lappish wilderness.
2: Norway – Sognefjord, Nordfjord & Geirangerfjord
To many, there's nothing as fulfilling as time spend in the great outdoors, and this comprehensive summer itinerary is the perfect introduction to some of Norway's most spectacular natural wonders. Over six happy days, you'll explore dizzying mountain passes, take a cable car to the summit of a mile-high peak and relax with an ultra-scenic fjord cruise, all included in the price.
3: Iceland – Snaefellsnes & the Golden Circle in style
Hopping across to Iceland, this short but super-scenic trip knits together the Golden Circle's volcanic icons with a designer stay in Reykjavik and the chance to explore the cragged coastline and rich wildlife of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Along the way you'll stay at some of the island's most happiness-inducing accommodation, including the ION Adventure Hotel – a modernist masterpiece complete with indulgent spa and floor-to-ceiling national park views.
4: Denmark - Viking Trail Self-drive
One for the history buffs, this weeklong trip across Denmark's bucolic interior takes in some of the country's most important Viking sites. Beginning with a stay in trendy Copenhagen, you'll then drive out across the countryside to encounter ancient fortresses, visit fascinating museums and even try traditional brew at a Viking re-enactment. It's pure happiness from start to finish.
5: Sweden - Autumn Adventure: Brändön Lodge & Treehotel
Ok, so it came in a number nine on the UN's list, but we've promoted Sweden to number five based purely on the strength of this fabulous, and ever-so-happy, autumn itinerary. You'll take in the very best of Swedish Lapland's delightfully traditional and daringly cutting edge over five action-paked days, beginning at cosy Brändön Lodge. Here, pretty hikes and bike rides pave the way for delicious full-board dining and an included wilderness skills tour and Northern Lights walk. You'll then head north to Harads for a stay at one of Scandinavia's true accommodation icons - the ultra-stylish Treehotel.