Are you as ready for summer vacation as we are? If you haven’t chosen your destination yet, you may want to trek somewhere that evokes joy. The 2015 World Happiness Report is out, and it lists the 10 happiest countries in the world. The ranking came from polling residents on areas related to quality of life including salary, access to education and health care and their satisfaction with their living standard. Other factors such as the average life expectancy for each country were also taken into consideration.
While happiness might have been measured by economics and health of its residents, we couldn’t help but notice all the countries on the list have some other things in common. They each boast breathtaking landscapes and cities rich with cultural history. No wonder their residents are so happy.
10. Australia: This Oceanic continent is known for its varied environments. From the Great Barrier Reef to the Outback, there is an adventure waiting for everyone in Australia.
9. New Zealand: By now you’re aware that the diverse landscapes of New Zealand doubled as Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. If you’re a devotee of the films and books, look for tours of the locations that were captured in the movies.
8. Sweden: With incredible art, food and nature, Sweden has it all. If you can swing a visit in the summer, check out the many music and sports festivals throughout the country.
7. The Netherlands: Beyond windmills and tulips, The Netherlands has a lot of must-see sites. If you make it to Amsterdam, check out the Van Gogh Museum to take in the largest collection of paintings from the famed Dutch artist.
6. Finland: With castles and cathedrals galore, Finland is a history buff’s dream. Aside from the wonders of Helsinki, you can also escape to the country to see the northern lights in all of their splendor.
5. Canada: Our neighbor to the north made the cut. With amazing landscapes from Vancouver to Nova Scotia and cosmopolitan cities like Toronto and Montreal, there is something for everyone in Canada.
4. Norway: Ah, the land of picturesque fjords. If you want to go off the beaten path, head to the northern region of the country known as Lapland, which is home to many reindeer and, some even say, Santa.
3. Denmark: While all of Scandinavia made the list, Denmark slightly edged out her sister countries. Why not visit Hans Christian Andersen’s former home of Copenhagen? And check out The Little Mermaid statue while you’re at at.
2. Iceland: There are more and more flights from the US to Reykjavik every year, and it is easy to see why Iceland is becoming an increasingly popular destination. Whale watching, natural springs and ice caves are just a few of the reasons this could be the trip of a lifetime.
1. Switzerland: Stunning lakes, wondrous mountains and boundless natural beauty — what’s not to love about Switzerland? If you want a truly memorable experience, try riding The Aerial Tramway across the Alps.
Which one of these happy countries is on your bucket list?