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Seven ways to find happiness in Finland

3 minute read

Finnish happiness is calm and peaceful

Year after year, Finland tops the world Happiness index. Possibly, this trend is because Finns enjoy simple pleasures – like clean air, pure water and walking around in the woods – to the fullest. Finnish happiness is the calm and peaceful type; it’s an appreciation for how things work and the ability to pause and admire the little things in life.

These are the seven reasons why Finland is so happy and how you can find your own when visiting.

Credits: Julia Kivelä / Repovesi National Park

Relax in safety

Simply put, things work well in Finland: public services run smoothly, there are low levels of crime and corruption, and there is an earned trust between the government and the public. All of this works together to create a functioning society and a culture of looking out for everyone. This extends to visitors, as everyone is welcome. Finland is a safe travel destination.

Credits: Julia Kivelä

Witness the magic of the Northern Lights

Sure, it can be cold and dark, but being so far north also has its benefits: the Northern Lights are visible on roughly 200 nights a year – or every other clear night – in Lapland. It’s an unforgettable experience to witness the Aurora Borealis for the first time, though the novelty never wears off – the thrilling moment when the green and blue electrical charge snakes race through the crystal-clear sky is as uplifting on the 82nd viewing as it is the 1st.

The Northern Lights can be seen from autumn till spring in Lapland. One of the most magical times to see them is during the darkest days of winter when it’s cold and snow blankets the ground and trees.
Credits: : Konsta Punkka
The Northern Lights are visible when the sky is clear. There are also mobile apps you can use to check the probability of seeing the Aurora.
Credits:: Mikko Nikkinen
Green is the most commonly seen colour in the Northern Lights. If you get a glimpse of a red aurora, you’ve spotted something rare!

Stay energized in the Midnight Sun

In the peak summer months, it doesn’t get dark at all. In the south of Finland, the sun just dips behind the horizon for a moment before showing itself again. Within the arctic circle in Lapland, the sun stays above the horizon for up to two months – the further north you go, the longer it shines. During this time, everyone is just buzzing with energy.

Credits: Mikko Nikkinen

Sweat out the negative in a sauna

In Finland, there are 3 million saunas for a population of just over 5 million. This deluge of saunas is the result of Finnish sauna culture – a phenomenon that has even made it onto the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, highlighting its value in customs and wellbeing. If you want to understand Finnish culture or happiness, start with a sauna. For many Finns, the sauna is also tied to time spent by the lakes. With 188,000 lakes across the country, plus those 3 million saunas, there plenty of space for everyone to sweat out the negative.

Credits: : Kari Ylitalo
Credits:: Emilia Hoisko Photography

Forage wild food and taste happiness

In Finland, anyone can pick berries, collect mushrooms or fish with a simple fishing rod. It is part of The Everyman’s Rights, which state that everyone is free to enjoy nature responsibly. Thanks to the clean air in Finland, the cleanest in the world, the food that grows wild is delicious and fresh. Finding luxury produce in the wild – like porcini mushrooms or cloud berries – is a delightful moment, and makes for an even more heavenly dinner.

Credits: Marjaana Tasala

Reconnect with nature

In Finland, forests are always near and accessible. From the centre of Helsinki, you can access a national park in less than 30 minutes or escape to a nearby island in just 15. Finland has over 40 National Parks full of hiking routes, nature trails and campfire sites where you can spend a night under the stars. All Finland’s forests come in different shapes and sizes; from the lush Southern woods to the arctic wonders of the North, versatility and diversity blossom.

The Chanterelle mushroom, or ‘kantarelli’ in Finnish, is one of the most beloved and commonly used mushrooms in Finland.
Credits: : Harri Tarvainen / North Karelia
All national parks in Finland have designated spots for breaks. They also offer chopped firewood and places to make a campfire. Relax and enjoy a hot chocolate or the Finnish favourite, coffee.
Credits:: Marjaana Tasala / Rimma photography

Talk to the locals

There’s a joke about the Finns: an introverted Finn looks at their shoes when talking to you; an extroverted Finn looks at yours. If you’ve already heard it, chances are it was a Finn that told you. While there is a stereotype about Finns being reserved, more often than not, the exact opposite is true. Talkative, hospitable, warm-hearted: these are the qualities that truly make up the Finnish personality – and make for happy citizens. While visiting Finland, you’ll find many of the locals are infectiously excited to share stories and introduce you to all the things that make Finland so great.

Credits: Mikko Törmänen