Earlier this year Denmark was voted the happiest country in the world according to the UN’s 2016 World Happiness Report. This was not the first time the country was awarded this accolade, having won the title in 2013 and 2014, and it is not difficult to see why.
Categories where Denmark received the highest scores were social support, life expectancy, social freedom and generosity, absence of corruption and GDP per capita. With an average working week of 37 hours, Danes place a real importance on leisure activities and tend to put emphasis on their people rather than possessions. Despite their high income taxes, Danes appreciate that these contributions are used for good causes; including free education and healthcare, subsidised childcare and generous parental leave.
Here our personal travel managers recommend their top picks for this happy Nordic country.
Where to stay
Denmark has a wealth of fantastic hotels to choose from right across the country, but why not stay somewhere a bit weird and wonderful?
Unique accommodation options include:
Enjoy the Danish art of ‘Hygge’
Danes combat the long and dark winter months (October to March) with the ‘hygge’ – it’s one of those untranslatable words, but in essence means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. Think friends gathered around roaring fires, knitted jumpers, candles, home-cooked meals and sharing social foods such as chocolate, coffee and wine.
Danes make the enjoyment of everyday things a big priority, and a significant part of their lifestyle is gathering together, eating, chatting and huddling. If you visit Denmark during winter visit Tivoli Gardens which becomes a wintry Christmas wonderland in November and December. At any other time of year the gardens are still buzzing with activities and offer a selection of shows, music, rides and food. .
If you plan to visit Denmark in the summer months you can still experience the hygge but it will entail activities such as outdoor concerts, street festivals, leisurely bike rides, barbeques in the park and glorious picnics on the beach – with 100kms of spectacular coastline, beautiful beaches, rock pools and headlands, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Enjoy the ride of your life
Danes love their bikes and cycle no matter the weather! The capital city of Copenhagen actually has more bikes than inhabitants and they are used not only for the daily commute and school runs but also cycling adventures. With more than 12,000kms of sign posted cycle routes, gentle terrain, inspirational nature and short distances between amenities, Denmark makes an ideal location for a cycling escapade.
Zealand, Denmark’s largest island is ideal for a holiday on two wheels. Fine white-sandy beaches, small villages lined with castles and picnics with delicious traditional Danish fare of sandwiches and local beer, are just the start of what you can expect.
Tantalise your taste buds
Denmark is the gastronomic capital of Scandinavia and a mecca for foodies. Copenhagen and Aarhus have a combined total of 18 Michelin-starred restaurants, including world-renowned noma which has been voted ‘Best Restaurant in the World’ several times in recent years. However, eating out doesn’t need to break the bank and Denmark offers a plethora of delicious and affordable Nordic cuisine. Sample traditional fare such as mouth-watering Danish pastries, Smørrebrød (popular open sandwiches with generous toppings) and crispy pork with parsley sauce.
Annual foodie events worth checking out include the Copenhagen Cooking and Food Festival (in August), the Tangkrogen Food Festival in Aarhus and the Shellfish Festival in Mors (both in September).
If you would like to experience the world’s happiest country for yourself, contact your personal travel manager or find one here.