The Top 10 Happiest Countries in the World in 2020

As we slowly enter spring, today marks the International Day of Happiness around the world. On cue, the World Happiness Report revealed its latest findings this morning and once again, the Nordic countries prevail! The organisation suggests that their superior well-being is a result of traits including trusting their fellow citizens more, increased social cohesion, and a smaller gap between the rich and the poor. While living there sounds blissful, Northern Europe also makes for some joyful alternative city breaks and holidays. Here, we’ve listed the top 10 happiest countries in the world in 2020 and included some of our favourite parts of them.

10. Austria

 

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Austria enjoys the crème de la crème of culture, with its sensational ornamental architecture, opera performances, exquisite cafes and invaluable art collections – and we’ve only got so far as Vienna. In contrast to this great city, you’ll find rustic wooden chalets dotted around the alps, from which skiers and snowboarders can slide around the powder-soft snow. The country might not be commonly lauded for its cuisine, but its sweet, flaky strudel and its sticky Sachertorte chocolate cake is certainly enough to keep us happy.

9. Luxembourg

 

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Luxembourg is nestled in a small pocket of Europe between Belgium, Germany and France. It was ranked the richest country in the world based on GDP per capita in December 2019. The small, sylvan nation undulates with gorges and rivers and hides fairytale castles amongst its verdant woodland. Luxembourg City’s old town is particularly intriguing – a UNESCO World Heritage site no less – and is home to the magnificent Bock. The Bock encompasses the fortress built by Count Siegfried in the 10th century and the raised rocky mound it’s built upon, and is full of secrets – including dungeons, prisons and miles of tunnels.

8. New Zealand

 

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Here we have another entry that is celebrated for its impressive natural assets. New Zealand’s rolling green landscape – peppered with lakes and mountains – can make you feel like you’re the only person for hundreds of miles. It’s not all about the countryside though, the buzzing capital of Auckland has a trendy waterfront area and quirky Queenstown is the home of extreme sports – plus some unusual bars and eateries. Oenophiles will want to tour some of the acres of abundant vineyards, where you can taste some of the finest wines in the world.

7. Sweden

 

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Sweden probably made it into the top ten because of fika alone. Fika is a tradition wherein Swede’s take time out of their day to drink excellent coffee and eat scrumptious pastries (cinnamon bun, please!) while chatting to their friends, families or co-workers. The country is also praised for its generous parental leave and gender equality. Add to the mix its ice-cool fashion scene, azure archipelagos and photogenic red cottages and we’re wondering why we haven’t moved there already.

6. The Netherlands

 

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The Netherlands might be infamous for some of its hedonistic ways, but the reasons why Dutch teenagers are said to be happier than those from other countries is not because they partake in grown-up activities earlier, but because they are allowed more freedom growing up. The nation’s capital of Amsterdam might offer a wild night out, but it is also home to uplifting blossoms, a rich art collection, romantic canals – and, of course, charming windmills.

5. Norway

 

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Norway is regarded as one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and what brings more serenity than a picturesque landscape all around you? It’s home to the Flam Railway, which is one of the steepest railway lines in the world, and considered one of the most spectacular too, winding past glacial waterfalls and through mountain tunnels. Its modern capital of Oslo was named European Green Capital of 2019 in light of its sustainability efforts and you’ll find lots of cheerful locals and tourists exploring its streets by bicycle.

4. Iceland

 

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The land of ethereal nature claims a spot in the top five. While Iceland only sees a few hours of daylight during winter, it boasts mystical fjords, surreal geysers, natural hot springs and a prime position from which to experience the northern lights. A famous Icelandic proverb states, ‘Better to go barefoot than without books’, and I think we can all agree that getting completely lost in a juicy tale is much better for our happiness and well-being than scrolling through our smartphones!

3. Switzerland

 

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Switzerland usually floats somewhere around the top of this list, and this year it has settled in third place. A melting pot of its European neighbours, the nation often arouses cosy images of snow-sprinkled alpine lodges, elaborate architecture and creamy chocolate. It might remind you of Christmas – a time of worldwide jubilance and togetherness. Aside from the obvious, Switzerland ranked as the second richest country in the world in December 2019. Money might not buy you happiness, but apparently it can help!

2. Denmark

 

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As one of the most well-known Northern European countries, Denmark has unsurprisingly come second in the stakes. An aesthetically pleasing place, its capital of Copenhagen is a particularly popular alternative for a romantic city break, featuring neat, bright architecture and the enchanting Tivoli Gardens. Akin to its Nordic neighbours, Denmark is renowned for its environmental efforts and elite restaurant scene. Plus, it boasts a magical literary background – the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kronborg Castle, is said to be Shakespeare’s inspiration for Hamlet, and the bronze statue of the mythical Little Mermaid is one of its most popular attractions.

1. Finland

 

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Finland has stolen the crown for the third year in a row, and its capital of Helsinki has also been named the happiest city in the world. Here you’ll find cool minimalist concept stores and hundreds of secluded islands to hop around – Suomenlinna is a UNESCO-protected sea fortress that spans six of these islets. While Finland may not be the most tropical of locations, its steaming saunas provide relief from the often bracing weather. A popular invigorating activity is ice dipping – in other words, plunging the body into freezing water – and combining this madness with a hot sauna is said to encourage feelings of euphoria (the Ancient Greeks were a fan of this ritual, after all…). Finland is also committed to sustainability, a virtue that often brings with it a sense of satisfaction – and exceptional local fare.

 

And the rest…

11. Canada, 12. Australia, 13. UK, 14. Israel, 15. Costa Rica, 16. Ireland, 17. Germany, 18. US, 19. Czech Republic, 20. Belgium.

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About Marianne
Marianne

When Marianne isn't writing about all the wonderful places you can visit through dealchecker, she enjoys exploring London, visiting scenic spots within the UK and adventuring further afield whenever possible!

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