Is travel a cure for the blues? Maybe!
We’re not saying that travel will fix all your problems if you're feeling low, but it has been proven that a holiday is the best way to boost your mood. Even booking something and having it to look forward to can make everything seem brighter. So we went in search of the world’s happiest places to give you a few ideas.
The World’s Happiest Country
It’s time to head to Denmark! While it might not be top of your bucket list, the World Happiness Report deems it the happiest country on the planet.
It certainly has a lot to cheer up any visitor: Copenhagen is a modern, trendy capital city, the food is amazing (especially seafood and hotdogs), there are Viking recreation shows with actual Vikings (sort of), and outside the cities there’s a captivating landscape of fjords, heaths, bogs, and coastline to discover.
Switzerland came a close second in the poll, followed by Iceland; apparently sunshine isn’t so important after all.
The UK could only limp into 23rd place. All the more reason to escape.
Europe’s Happiest City
Remember that awkward moment when we recommended Denmark? Yeah, it’s Denmark again. In fact, it takes both first and second place.
Little-known industrial city Aalborg claims the title of happiest city in Europe. Its lovely waterfront, symphony orchestra, and world-class university ensure its residents stay chipper.
Copenhagen is second, with only 5% of residents saying they’re not happy with their life. Imagine asking that in Croydon! The earliest UK entry is Newcastle upon Tyne at number 10. Denmark’s not looking so bad now, eh?
If hot and sunny with incredibly friendly locals is a must, look no further than Thailand – it’s nicknamed the Land of Smiles for a reason.
There’s the debauchery of Bangkok and Pattaya (if that’s your kind of thing), the beaches and adrenaline activities in the likes of Krabi, Phuket, and Koh Lanta down south, or you can head north to meet elephants, visit temples, and trek in the jungle.
Thailand is almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Yeah, okay, cool travellers don’t go to Disney World. Whatever. According to Disney it’s the Happiest Place on Earth, and they have no reason whatsoever to lie.
Disney parks have sprung up all over the globe, so you can go all the way to Florida to visit the flagship Disney World (which covers an area the size of Manchester), or pretend you have some class and spend a weekend at Disneyland Paris.
Either way, your frown better like being upside down.
A remote Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas might not seem like an obvious choice, but then neither did Denmark, probably.
For a start, Bhutan boasts largely untouched mountainous landscapes accented by peaceful, picturesque monasteries. Most importantly, it really cares about the happiness of its people. While most countries measure prosperity in financial wealth, Bhutan measures it in the wellbeing of its people, putting it at the heart of all its public policy. How many countries can say that?
On a more serious note
We really do believe that travel can improve your life, but we also know it can be stressful, especially if you struggle with anxiety. We asked a professional cognitive behavioural therapist to provide some tips for travelling with anxiety, and you can read that article here.
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