WATCH: Why travelling to these 10 countries should make you rather happy

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Cape Town - The UN recently released their 2018 World Happiness Report, with our Rainbow Nation sitting at 105th on the list of 156 countries.

SA has dropped some four places from its previous standing at 101st. 

The study was based off of socio-economic climates of the countries, GDP stats as well as the level of happiness of the countries' immigrant population. 

Finland had scored the highest and climbed five places up from its last standing on the list. The war torn and ethnic cleansing ravaged country of Burundi in east Africa is set in last place, while Syria, surprisingly, sits above other African countries namely, Rwanda, Yemen, Tanzania, South Sudan and the Central African Republic. 

Even the occupied Palestinian territories sit one spot higher than our very own country of SA and Zimbabwe when it comes to happiness.

READ: The World's happiest countries in 2017 - and where SA fits in

So who were the top 10:

The top five consisted largely of Nordic nations, like Finland and its neighbouring countries of Denmark, Iceland and Norway. The US neighbour, Canada also makes a feature in the top 10 along with two countries from Down Under - Australia and New Zealand. 

You can browse the entire 172 page report here.

1. Finland

Finland seems to be fond of number one - as it's the number one coffee consumer globally as well as the number one happiest country in the world. They even hold the most amount of lakes in the world - 187,888 lakes. Even so, the Finnish dedicate an entire Day For Failure on 13 October. Finland is also a hot spot for viewing the magical Northern Lights - perhaps these lights are the key to happy countries?

2. Norway

Svalbard, Norway is the best viewing point to behold the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). Could it be their picturesque storybook town feel placing them at number two or that Grandiosa frozen pizza is Norway’s unofficial national dish?

3. Denmark

Denmark is closely tied with New Zealand for having the least amount of corruption worldwide. Danes are also the world's fourth largest coffee consumers - which probably fuels their happiness at third place. They are fourth in line for the caffeine throne to their Nordic neighbours: Finland, Norway and Iceland respectively.

4. Iceland

Iceland is home to the breathtaking Kirkjufell mountain and its accompanying waterfalls. Kirkjufell is not just a great spot to watch sunsets, but also to admire the Northern Lights.

5. Switzerland

The home of the Bachsee Lake and Swiss Alps has taken spot number five. They're also greatly known for their chocolate and the locals eat a record amount of around 11kg per year according to the International Cocoa Organisation. Perhaps the key to being number five on the list of happiness is copious amounts of delicious Swiss chocolate!

6. Netherlands

In celebration of their King birthday, the country dons all orange - their national colour - and throw vibrant festivals. And while Tulips are their national flower, it's not indigeneous to the Netherlands. The tulip was imported from Turkey in the 16th century. In the 1630s 'Tulip Mania' gripped the country, where prices rose until bulbs cost as much as houses! Now, every third Saturday in January, the Dutch celebrate National Tulip Day – the official start of the tulip season – with free flower picking and flower festivals. 

7. Canada

Canada spans 9 984 670 sq km and comprises six different time zones. It also is home to the longest street and coastline in the world. Yonge Street in Ontario runs a distance of almost 2,000 km and the coastline runs 202,080 km. And, of course, the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls.

8. New Zealand 

While being eighth happiest on the list, New Zealand is also the least corrupt country in the world according to a study done by Transparency International. For every one person there are 9 sheep in the country - making the human:animal ratio the largest yet. 

9. Sweden

Sweden is known for their 'fika' culture. 'Fika' is a coffee break that normally consists of coffee or tea, cookies or sweet buns, but can also include soft drinks, fruit and sandwiches. It is a social institution and an important part of the national culture.

10. Australia

Home to the Uluru Kata Tjuta national park and the Sydney Opera House, Australia is filled with as much beauty as it has beaches.

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