Skip to main content

How happy we are with our lives is often tightly connected to how safe we feel, our financial conditions, and our degree of access to meaningful work and social relations”, says psychologist Ragnhild Bang Nes.

She is a renowned happiness researcher in Norway and the lead on well-being at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH).

“In Norway, we have a welfare system that takes care of us and saves us from a lot of worries. The inequality is low when it comes to the standard of living. We feel safe and free and have a strong sense of belonging”, she adds.

She points out that free education for everyone, equal access to healthcare, the fair distribution of goods, and a healthy work-life balance are some of the key factors that contribute to Norwegians’ sense of happiness, and to Norway for several years ranking among the top countries in the World Happiness Report.

The power of nature

Our beautiful, contrasting, and easy-accessible nature is also an invaluable source of well-being.

“We have long known that spending time in nature has a positive impact on our physical and mental health – and thus our level of happiness. In fact, we’ve seen through research that simply sitting in green nature is mood-lifting.”

If there's one thing Norwegians do a lot, it's spending time in the outdoors – whether in the mountains, in the forest or at the coast – or in a green lung in the middle of a bustling city. Alone or with others, all year round. This untamed love of the outdoors is an ingrained part of our national identity that we callfriluftsliv.

Small steps to happiness

“When we spend time in nature, we can easily tick off all of the five documented ways to well-being”, says Bang Nes.

We connect when we experience nature together with others, we are active when we walk in the mountains, we take notice when we enjoy the smells, views and the warming sun, we learn when we choose a new path, and we give when we help others have a good time outdoors.

These simple activities stimulate the brain’s reward system – and are all small steps to a happier life. Spending time outdoors is also tightly connected to “kos” (cosiness) – the unique Norwegian word for having a good time.

A country full of happy places

And sometimes, unique scenery and places can help you quite a bit along the way …

“Steep mountains, stunning fjords, charming summer towns in Southern Norway, fruit blooming in Hardanger, and the magical light and contrasting nature of places like Lofoten and Troms in Northern Norway – the whole country is a natural gift, full of happy places!” says Bang Nes.

Norway’s main cities also provide excellent opportunities for cheerful adventures, offering a lovely mix of cultural replenishment – and urban and easy-accessible nature experiences.

Take advantage of top offers

See our selection of trusted companies that work hard to make you happy all through your trip.

Your recently viewed pages