GOING SOLO? TRAVEL TO SOME OF THE HAPPIEST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD

Every year, the UN releases a list of the world’s happiest countries, which is determined by the experts who look at economics, psychology, health and public policy of each country. After they get all the statistics out, there is a list of supposedly happiest countries in the world where maybe all that joy is infectious. Interestingly, you’ll want to pack a sweater, because almost all of these happy countries are in the northern hemisphere and include more mountains and rural landscape than tropical beaches. From the beaches of Australia to the fjords of Iceland, you’re sure to find your “happy place” at these wonderful countries.

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1. Switzerland

With cobblestone streets, medieval architecture and stunning scenery, you’ll be smiling the minute you step out of the airport. Take the train to the Swiss capital Bern or make your way to the Swiss alps for some of the best ski conditions to be found in Europe.

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Image via Wikicommons

2. Iceland

Culture and nature blend together effortlessly in this happy country. Enjoy a soak in a healthful thermal pool, be amazed by the Northern lights and enjoy some of the freshest seafood around.

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3. Denmark

The Danes have a tradition of “hygge” which translates to mean the need for “coziness.” No matter where you travel in Denmark, you’re sure to be greeted with a friendly community.

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Image via Wikicommons

4. Norway

During the summer, the sun stays out for 24 hours meaning you can explore all night long under a midnight sun. If you’re a foodie, head to Oslo, a gastronomic heaven where several restaurants have won awards. Kick back in a fisherman’s cottage or chase the Northern Lights to truly experience one of the most naturally beautiful countries on earth.

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Image via Wikicommons

5. Canada

Canada is a fun blend of European style with the incredibly natural beauty only to be found in North America. Head to Quebec for a unique French experience and enjoy a bit of history that you won’t find anywhere else in North America. If nature is more up your alley, take the ultimate Canadian road trip and explore ice fields, archaeological sites and the stunning Banff National Park.

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6. Finland

Whether you want to pet reindeer or catch a sighting of the rare Saimaa ringed seal, Finland is the place to be. There is no bad time to visit Finland, since winter here is downright magical and the summers are temperate and perfect for exploring both bustling cities and isolated islands.

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7. Netherlands

Walk and bike your away across the country to really enjoy the most beautiful spots. There is even a town in the Netherlands that has banned cars, so if you’re looking for a place to unplug and do a digital detox, maybe it’s time to head to the cheery tulip fields of the Netherlands.

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8. Sweden

Just twenty minutes away from Stockholm are about 30,000 islands that offer endless opportunities for happy activities. Swimming, hiking, cycling, horseback riding- whatever you want to do, Sweden is the place to do it. Plus, there’s regular crayfish parties. Oh, and IKEA originated here.

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Image via Wikicommons

9. New Zealand

If “happy” to you means jumping off bridges and exploring dark caverns, New Zealand is the place for you. New Zealand is heaven for adrenaline junkies and its stunning scenery makes it the perfect place to rent a car and explore the pristine national parks.

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10. Australia

From the magical underwater world of The Great Barrier Reed to one of the last surviving temperate rain forests in the world, Australia has a lot of be happy about. Besides the well-known friendliness of the Aussies, this is one of the only happy countries where you can work on your tan at a postcard-perfect beach.