Visiting Finland – the “happiest country in the world”

Finland has been named the “happiest country in the world” for the fourth year in a row.

Finland has yet again been ranked 1st  in the annual World Happiness Report published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a global initiative for the United Nations – retaining this prestigious title for the fourth consecutive year. Many Finns credit the title to their connection with nature and the outdoors with over 90% of Finland covered in either forest or water.  

“Finnish happiness isn’t skin-deep and immediately visible – it’s deeply engrained in our being. Sustainable happiness means we tend to take life as it comes – a trait which helps through challenging times. We appreciate the small things in our daily lives, such as sitting quietly on a bench and staring at an empty lake after a relaxing sauna session or taking a morning dip in the sea before starting the working day,” explains Heli Jimenez, Senior Director, International Marketing at Business Finland. 

Tips to reach a “made in Finland” happiness

Tourist authorities are glad to share their happiness secrets with travellers:

  • Reconnecting with mother nature, as 75% of Finland is covered by forests. Finland has 40 national parks and with its Everymans’s Rights, anyone living or visiting Finland has the freedom to roam in nature and enjoy outdoors, regardless of who owns or occupies an area. During the summer, Finland is perfect for swimming, hiking, biking and camping, whilst in the winter, visitors can try cross-country skiing and even the new trend of woolsock running!
  • Foraging is a state of mind. Forests are perfect for exploring nature for the discovery of fresh wild food. This includes berries, mushrooms, wild herbs and vegetables, while fishing is a popular year-round activity. Furthermore, Finland’s burgeoning restaurant scene and use of fresh ingredients and delicious flavours is placing Finland high on the global gastronomic map. 
  • Some 188,000 lakes mean visitors can enjoy the beauty and serenity of the Finnish landscape, for example, by paddling across the lakes in a canoe or kayak. One can explore Lake Oulujärvi by steamship or from the shore on an Icelandic horse, or experience Lake Saimaa, home to the Saimaa Ringed Seal – one of the most endangered seals in the world. 
  • And one mustn’t forget the Finnish tradition of saunas or ice swimming to energise the body. Sauna is indeed a Finnish word and is a world on its own. The country has three million saunas, which are a way to connect with friends and families. The sauna is so deeply Finnish that it has been added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.