International Happiness Day

International Day of Happiness is coming up on March 20th, and where better to spend it than the happiest place on Earth? And no, we’re not proposing you fight the crowds of children at Disneyland. Our friends over in Scandinavia consistently top the World Happiness Report year after year. Known as the land of cheese and chocolate, with beautiful mountain vistas and a ridiculously good-looking gene pool to boot, it’s not hard to see why. As they say, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! So, here are Booking.com’s six Nordic experiences to add to your bucket list and get your joy levels rocketing.

Practice “hygge” in Denmark

They say hygge (pronounced "hoo-ga") is the secret to happiness – and it’s one we like the sound of! It is the concept of self-care through enjoying the small indulgences in life, like a sleep-in, a warm cup of coffee or an evening spent with loved ones. To discover its real meaning, there’s nothing like wandering the charming streets of Copenhagen and enjoying a traditional pastry in a cosy, candle-lit café – dreamy.

Where to stay: The Axel Guldsmeden is the perfect place to stay to understand what "hygge" is. You’ll love its unique but cosy decor, its organic breakfast buffet and, above all, its peaceful and welcoming vibe. It’s impossible to not feel chirpy in this perfect little spot.

Bathe in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Soaking in this natural hot spring while the air outside is frosty enough to see your breath, is an otherworldly experience. Add in a relaxing massage, glass of wine and a rejuvenating seaweed mask, and you’ll be pretty close to experiencing true happiness. Taking a bath in the Blue Lagoon, about 30 km from Reykjavik, is an unforgettable experience that is sure to put a smile on your face.

Where to stay: With sea views and private sun decks, located a mere 4kms from the Blue Lagoon, Harbour View Cottages Grindavik is a great option for a place to stay near this natural wonder.

Imagine living as a milkmaid in Switzerland

Embrace braids and hot chocolate and let the spirit of your inner child run free in the Swiss Alps. The natural beauty of the country and the small pleasures of rural alpine villages will astound you. Experience life in the slow lane in the best possible way and take delight in the small things in life.

Where to stay: Make like Heidi and nestle yourself in a scenic spot amongst the Swiss alps at the stunning Hotel Schloss Wartenstein. The beautiful hotel plays host to panoramic views, a popular on-site restaurant and free access to the Tamina Therme spa in Bad Ragaz, which is 8 minutes away from the hotel.

Go wild at Liseberg amusement park in Sweden

Indulge your childhood fantasies and spend a day inside Scandinavia’s biggest and most beautiful theme park. Once you’ve tired yourself out, the rest of your time in Sweden will be spent marvelling at the perpetual cheeriness of the Swedes, the wonders of IKEA and the importance of coffee here.

Where to stay: The Avenue A1 are apartments located on Avenyn, the main street in downtown Gothenburg, very close to the amusement park. It offers modern, self-catering apartments perfect for resting after a day full of excitement and rollercoaster riding.

But nothing beats home!

Right here in little old New Zealand we have bragging rights to some of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world. If the budget doesn’t quite stretch to Europe this International Happiness Day, venture out of town to have a truly magical experience at home sweet home. Our favourite way to have a holiday at home is to navigate the Waitomo Caves where millions of glow-worms live. Seeing thousands of little green dots twinkling in the cave walls is a fairytale-like adventure close to home.

Where to stay: It’s easy to see why so many people come to visit our little country! If you want to stay near the cave, the Waitomo Caves Guest Lodge is a homely option offering beautiful views and a relaxing stay.