If you haven’t yet seen the word ‘hygge’ emblazoned across shop windows, hashtagged in Instagram posts and featuring in the lifestyle sections of national press yet, it’s only a matter of time before you do.
Pronounced ‘hoo-gah’, this originally Danish concept has become the latest wellness and mindfulness buzzword to emerge here in the UK. After topping the ‘World Happiness Index’ yet again last year, the rest of us finally decided to investigate exactly what it is that keeps the Danes smiling, and now it seems we finally have an answer. Although technically untranslatable, hygge is essentially the concept of extreme contentment, cosiness, and finding joy in life’s little moments. Think roaring fires and mugs of hot cocoa whilst a storm rages outside, chatting with friends by candlelight, and snuggling under a vast, hand-knitted blanket, and you’re on the right track.
Because there’s no time of year when we all need a bit of hygge more than in the dreary, drizzly greyness of January, we’ve put together a list of the most hygge experiences you can have, in the countries that have made it a real way of life. Time to book a spontaneous weekend break, and get fully into the hygge spirit in style!
1.Sip hot chocolate in Stockholm
One of the first rules of hygge is ‘indulge indulge indulge’. No tasty treat is off limits, no matter how calorie-laden, as long as it’s in the name of hygge. Embrace this celebration of flavour by settling in for a creamy hot chocolate at Chokladkoppen in Stockholm’s Gamla Stan, a cosy little chocolate shop, surrounded by the grand architecture of the city’s old town.
2. Rejuvenate in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon
Hygge is primarily a ‘wellness’ concept, and what could be more healing than sinking into the waters of Iceland’s pride and joy – the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa? With natural clay face masks on offer, enticing, bubbling depths and stunning natural scenery rolling in all directions, you can’t help but let the stress float away…
3. Explore the fjords around Oslo
Celebrating the refreshing, grounding peace of the great outdoors, getting back to nature is an essentially hygge activity. Feel the wind in your hair and fresh air in your lungs with a fjord boat tour from bustling Oslo, and take in the glistening natural surrounds like a true hygge (or ‘Koselig’ in Norwegian) devotee.
4. Snuggle into a traditional knit in the Faroe Islands
Rugged, windswept and endlessly beautiful, you can’t image a more hygge setting than the incredible Faroe Islands. Of course, when visiting you’re going to need a traditional, hand-knitted sweater to keep the chill out. For some of the most luxurious and contemporary hand knits, try Gudrun Gudrun just outside Domkirkjan and get cosy, hygge style.
5. Cycle the streets of Copenhagen
Undeniably, hygge is best experienced in its country of origin, Denmark. Head for the the effortlessly cool capital, hop on a bike, and get your heart pumping with a whirlwind city tour. Exercise and calm are all part of the Danish lifestyle, so be sure to pedal at a leisurely pace, and take in every last bit of your surroundings as you go.