9 things to do in the world’s happiest country

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Finding your bliss in the world's happiest place

Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but your vacation can be. In fact, a trip to the happiest place on earth will put a pep in your step. And no, we’re not talking about a particular amusement park. According to the World Happiness Report of 2016, Denmark tops the list of the world’s happiest countries. The report is based on things like “social support” and “generosity,” but we’d guess the vibrant gardens and breathtaking palatial architecture aren’t hurting folks’ contentment quotient, either.

1. Explore National Aquarium Denmark

Via Flickr/News Oresund

There’s something fishy about one of the most popular Denmark attractions. Northern Europe’s largest aquarium has everything from hammerhead sharks to bright coral reefs. There is also something otter-ly amazing about the furry creatures that live at the aquarium. You’ll be smiling in no time.

2. Tour Nyhavn District

Via Flickr/Dennis Jarvis

For a look at some of the most historic streets in Copenhagen, visit the Nyhavn District. Candy-colored homes along the canal will give you serious real estate envy, and a myriad of restaurants welcome you to dine near the water. If you dine on the outdoor patio, you’re sure to hear jazz music emanating from a street performance nearby. Make sure you meander past No. 67, where HC Andersen himself once lived.

3. Visit famous castles

The Danish know how to construct an epic palatial estate. If you doubt us, just sign up for a Frederiksborg and Kronborg castle tour. Should you get deja vu in Kronborg Castle, it’s because you read about it in your 9th-grade literature class. Shakespeare based Hamlet off this royal residence.

4. Eat at Noma

Via Flickr/Håkan Dahlström

The happiest country on Earth must have good eats, right? Right. One of the best activities in Denmark involves a fork. And when you want the best of the best, the most delectable of all delicacies, Noma is the place to be. This Copenhagen restaurant books up months in advance and uses only Scandinavian ingredients.

5. Sun bathe at Søndervig Beach

There is more to Denmark than Copenhagen, and a 4-hour drive to the west coast proves our point. The cozy seaside town of Søndervig is the perfect place to plant yourself in the sand. Wade out into the North Sea, or just soak up the sounds of the crashing tide from a beach chair. Yes, this is bliss indeed.

6. Go on a city bike tour

Via Flickr/Tony Weber

Cycling is not just a fun Denmark adventure—it’s also a regular means of transportation. Get with the program and sign up for a city bike tour in Copenhagen. From the seat of your smart bike and with a professional guide leading the charge, you’ll zip past places like Amalienborg Palace, the Kastellet fortress, and the Nyhavn waterfront. With the wind in your hair, you’ll begin to see what all the happiness hype is about.

7. Pose in front of the Little Mermaid

Via Flickr/News Oresund

The Langelinie promenade is home to one of the world’s most famous statues. The Little Mermaid lives here, but she’s no ginger. Instead, she is as perfectly bronzed as someone sunbathing in the South of France. Posed on a rock, the statue was commissioned by the founder of Carlsberg and inspired by an HC Andersen fairy tale. As far as tourist attractions in Denmark go, this one is as Danish as it gets.

8. See a historically accurate Viking village

Via Wikimedia Commons/Taxiarchos228

SKOL! You don’t have to be a Minnesota football fan to appreciate a horned helmet and be intrigued by the ways of Viking clans. Venture to Frederikssund Viking Village just outside Copenhagen or Bork Vikingehavn in western Denmark, and you’ll time travel back 1,000 years or so. Don’t worry, you’ll still get a signal.

9. Set sail on a canal cruise

Via Flickr/CucombreLibre

With so many weaving waterways, some of the best views of Copenhagen can be found from a boat. Climb aboard a canal cruise, get comfy, and snap photos of the bright homes and royal buildings you pass on your journey.

What would you do on a vacation in Denmark?

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Our articles are designed to make sure you spend more time having fun, exploring, and living like a local and less time trying to figure out the logistics on the go. We share our pointers for maximizing your time and stretching your dollar, offering ideas and advice for attractions, things to do, and itineraries. Our writers are lovers of travel and are eager to share their know-how with you. Read on, and travel better!


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