For years, Denmark was considered the world's happiest country, but now it's Finland's time to shine. The European nation has been named the happiest country in the world for the fourth year in a row in the United Nations World Happiness Report.
"Finnish happiness isn't skin deep and immediately visible — it's deeply engrained in our being. Sustainable happiness is our superpower, and it means we tend to take life as it comes — a trait that is helping us through these challenging times," said Heli Jimenez, senior director of international marketing at Business Finland, in a press release.
Published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a global initiative for the United Nations, the 2021 World Happiness Report looked a little different from previous years, as it focused on the effects of COVID-19 and how people around the world have fared.
"Our aim was two-fold: first, to focus on the effects of COVID-19 on the structure and quality of people's lives, and second, to describe and evaluate how governments all over the world have dealt with the pandemic. In particular, we try to explain why some countries have done so much better than others," the report stated.
Despite the trials and tribulations of 2020, Finland still ranked as number one in the world. For travelers looking to experience some of that happiness, Visit Finland, the country's tourism organization, points to a few key activities: reconnecting with nature (75% of the nation's land is covered in forests); spending a relaxing afternoon foraging for fresh fruits and vegetables, followed by a tasty meal; exploring one of the 188,000 beautiful lakes in the country, whether via kayak, canoe, or a horseback ride along the shore; and partaking in the Finnish tradition of sitting in a sauna.
"We appreciate the small things in our daily lives, such as sitting quietly on a bench and staring at the empty lake after a relaxing sauna session, or taking a morning dip in the sea before starting the working day," Jimenez explained.
Iceland Denmark, and Switzerland followed Finland in the list of the world's happiest countries, respectively. The Netherlands came in fifth on the list, while Sweden landed in the sixth spot. See the full list here.
Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but she's always on the lookout for her next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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