The Happiest Cities In The World For Your Travel Bucket List

Happiness is, well, all anyone really wants for themselves. Sure, eating healthy mealsand getting your

Happiness is, well, all anyone really wants for themselves. Sure, eating healthy mealsand getting your daily dose of sunlight can contribute to your inner happiness, but where (and how) you live is the biggest indicator of total lifestyle satisfaction. World Happiness Report recently published concrete data that measures just that, releasing an exhaustive list of the happiest cities in the world.

The WHR data leans on the Gallup World Poll, which is conducted in more than 160 countries covering 99% of the world’s population. It essentially measures how individuals evaluate their own quality of life and happiness.

The final ranking is also based on individual feedback on a measure WHR calls ‘life evaluation’ – ranking their quality of life from 0-10 (ten being the best). The resulting data also takes into account respondents’ emotional wellbeing, each answering for the day before they were polled. Did they smile or laugh a lot, or did they experience more sadness or anger?

More than half of the top ten happiest cities are Scandinavian. Australian cities drew a close second. Wherever they are, these 10 happiest cities are begging for a spot on your travel bucket list. Pack your bags, and let’s dive in!


The Happiest Cities In The World

Helsinki, Finland cathedral along the water The Happiest Cities In The World

Photo by Elena Golovchenko / PEXELS

Helsinki, Finland

Finland’s capital city of Helsinki earns the spot of happiest city in the world. It’s located alongside the Gulf of Finland, oozing with coastal charm. Residents of Helsinki really pride themselves and their city on their sustainability efforts.

Helsinki has an efficient and well-connected public transport system, with plenty of trams, buses, commuter trains, and even ferries to get you from place to place.

Helsinki is the second safest city in the world according to Mercer 2019 Quality of Living Rankings, which is just another amazing reason to go visit, not worrying about your personal safety throughout your itinerary.

Year-round, you can discover stunning modern architecture, Finnish cuisine, and Finland’s islands right off the coast. In the winter, the sun disappears for months, but that only gives you a better chance to spot the Northern Lights!

Aarhus, Denmark architecture

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Aarhus, Denmark

Aarhus, Denmark is a remarkably cozy city, though many say it feels more like a small, tight-knit neighborhood. It’s very walkable, which allows you to see and do tons, checking off the items on your bucket list with each step. Additionally, the city has a widespread, free bike service to help you get around!

Aarhus boasts a bustling harbor that’s clad in cultural centers, libraries, and outdoor activities. It played a pivotal role in the viking days, so there’s plenty of Aarhus history to soak up for the history-lovers out there.The Your rainbow panoramaand The Infinite Bridge are must-do’s in Aarhus, along with a slew of Michelin-starred restaurants, if foodie things are your thing.

Wellington, New Zealand landscape with city and mountains

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Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington is located in central New Zealand, right along the Cook Strait, which flows between the country’s two major islands. It’s the capital city, and its vibrancy comes primarily from business, finance, government, and the film industry!

Wellington has a very youthful energy about it, but there’s still a rich history behind the present day. The city’s architecture styles range from 19th-century government buildings to Art Deco facades. For more to see and do in Wellington (there’s a lot), check out this site.

Zurich, Switzerland with the Zytglogge tower The Happiest Cities In The World

Photo by Firdevs Birol / PEXELS

Zurich, Switzerland

Going along with the theme of balancing nature with urban life, Zurich ranks fourth for the happiest cities in the world. You can prance around the city, exploring its buildings, shopping centers, bars, restaurants, and more, then end up in the Swiss mountains in less than an hour if you feel like it!

Zurich is situated on the northern side of Lake Zurich and is just as vibrant in the winter as it is in the summer. There’s endless opportunity for skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing once it gets powdery and cold. When it’s warm out, take advantage of the numerous outdoor recreational spots in the city and throw a picnic, barbecue, or toss the frisbee around.

Although there is much to see in Zurich, just being around the way of life and carrying on as normal will feel like a super vacation.

Copenhagen, Denmark colorful houses

Photo by Nadezhda Moryak / PEXELS

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is a notoriously friendly city, which is why it needs to have a spot on your travel bucket list. Here exists an intriguing contrast of history – on one hand, historical structures of the Viking Age spot the city. On the other, sleek galleries, museums, and residential buildings form a more contemporary impression of Copenhagen.

Regardless of how it looks, you’ll definitely feel the happiness here once you arrive. The ease of life can be attributed to Cophagen’s focus on sustainability. Organic food is the norm, there are endless choices for transportation (so many bikes), and water, light, and greenery are all prioritized whenever a new building is built.

Bergen, Norway fjord The Happiest Cities In The World

Photo by Jeswin Thomas / PEXELS

Bergen, Norway

Bergen is the second largest city in Norway, but like Aarhus, Denmark, it has a smaller, cozier feel. It’s known as ‘the heart of the fjords,” and you’ve probably seen its famous Bryggen wharf while scrolling through Pinterest.

Seafood lies at the center of almost all culinary ventures in Bergen, which is only right since the city lies along the Nordic coast. It tends to rain a lot, but there’s a lot of things to keep you occupied if your outdoor plans get rained out.

There’s no shortage of art, music, and history museums, but there’s still plenty of public art to see for yourself in Bergen. A simple walk around the city lends itself to murals, graffiti, and sculpture.

Like the rest of the top 10 happiest cities in the world, Bergen has a strong focus on sustainability within industry, tourism, and everyday life. This benefits the close surrounding nature. Some of the best excursions beyond the city includefjord and mountain tours, either by boat or cable car.

crowds at the foot of the oslo opera house in norway

Photo by Ana Campos / PEXELS

Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway is one of the most walkable capitals in the world, and earns the seventh spot for the happiest cities in the world. It hosts a vibrant mix of everything you’d want, from restaurants, museums, outdoor activities, bars, nightlife, and more.

The food, fashion, and art scenes are very lively in Oslo, likely drawing direct inspiration and energy from the city’s clear landscape and cozy neighborhoods.

Oslo was awarded theEuropean Green Capitaltitle in 2019, which recognizes the city’s sustainability efforts. Because this destination is surrounded by beautiful fjords, islands, and forests, Oslo leans into transport by foot or bike, rather than car. No traffic? Sounds like a great deal to us.

petra, jordan is near Tel Aviv, Israel

Photo by Vincent Pelletier / PEXELS

Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv is for those who want to marvel in Mediterranean beauty. Beaches surround the coastal town, with shops, bars, restaurants, and markets joining on dry land.

With Tel Aviv having a rich history in sea trade, there are a handful of old ports like Old Jaffa Visitors Center that depict the years and years of commerce that fueled the city.

Indulge in bouts of Middle Eastern food at Carmel Market, go on a pub crawl with locals, or even venture out to Petra or the Dead Sea to witness the landscape’s natural, historical appeal.

woman by the water in Stockholm, Sweden The Happiest Cities In The World

Photo by Anna Savelieva / PEXELS

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm claims itself as a creative hub for technology, fashion, music, film, design, gaming, and food, which couldn’t be more true. With a wide range of museums, restaurants, nature, hikes, neighborhoods, attractions, and more, you’ll be able to see the happiness from this city.

This capital city stretches across a total of 14 islands, making water a huge part (30% of the city’s area) of the everyday for Stockholm locals and visitors. Parks, green spaces, and forests make up another 30%, so Stockholm is definitely a must if you like to get outside!

Take the artsy metro to get from place to place, or traverse by bike for an authentically Stockholm experience.

Brisbane, Australia skyline

Photo by Valeriia Miller / PEXELS

Brisbane, Australia

Balancing structured urban life with the endless great outdoors, Brisbane ranks number ten on the happiest cities in the world. It’s a no-brainer to get out on the water when you visit; the Great Barrier Reef is only a quick trip up Queensland’s coast.

Between oceanic adventures (surfing! snorkeling! beaching!), there are plenty of buzzy foodie spots to eat and drink at, like cocktail bars and brunch places.

Explore modern art, aboriginal history, and nature museums when you’re back on land. One of the coolest things to do in Brisbane is walk the iconic Story Bridge. Make sure to visit in summertime to make the most of what this lively city has to offer!

Discover even more destinations and travel tips with our weekend scroll!

Lead photo by Anna Savelieva / PEXELS.