Come On Get Happy

Everyone knows I'm a fan of combining traveling with hobbies so why not design a trip around happiness. The 2017 @World Happiness Report was just released and several of my favorite travel destinations are at the top of the list. Norway (#1), Denmark (#2), Iceland (#3) Finland (#5) and Sweden (#9) are all in the Top 10 as the happiest nations in the world. According to the report - "All of the top countries rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance."

So what is it that makes them so happy and successful? According to Scandinavisk, a website dedicated to Scandinavian lifestyle, "it is in their ability to create intimacy, fellowship and conviviality around everyday moments...the magic of turning any situation into a moment of coziness." Each country has its own name to describe this quintessentially Scandinavian state of being - 'Hygge' in Danish is probably the most well known, while the Swedes like to 'mys', the Norwegians 'kose' and the Finns find their state of being in 'lӓmpöӓ.' Doesn't it sound wonderful to just BE in a "happy place" on vacation?

There are so many ways to visit Scandinavia but by boat would have to be one of my favorites. There are many options covering all budgets including Lindblad's Scandinavia by Sea, G-Adventures Norwegian Fjords & Arctic Discovery or, for a more upscale experience Seabourn's 12-Day Scenic Norway and Fjords.I have traveled the coast of Norway with Hurtigruten. The company's year-round voyages along the coast of Norway are truly memorable. The company's ships have been plying the coast of Norway since 1893 bringing freight, travelers and locals to small towns allowing passengers to experience the incredible fjords and UNESCO World Heritage sites that dot the coast. But don't worry - today's fleet of ships is thoroughly modern! As passengers on a "working vessel" we had the opportunity to have truly authentic local encounters during port stops, see incredible scenery and interact with the people.

If you want to explore by land there are countless self-drive options which allow you to stay in charming countryside hotels and manors while exploring the coast, forests and countryside. The restaurant scene in the countryside is incredibly vibrant! In the summer Backroads offers an active touring option by bike and there are also several companies that provide small group touring including Tauck and Intrepid Travel for those who would prefer to leave the driving to others!

Summertime is one of the nicest times to visit Scandinavia with plenty of daylight, sunshine, warm temperatures and countless activities both on and off the water. Whether it be sightseeing, music and crayfish festivals or heading out to a summer cabin, there is plenty to enjoy and experience. Have you been?