The world's happiest travel destinations

Travel makes you happy - it’s official! Neuroscientific research has shown that new experiences help build neural pathways in the brain, making us more creative and open to fresh ideas. We’ve looked at some of our favourite destinations around the globe with some extra feel-good factor.

The world's happiest travel destinations


This Scandinavian nation rated highest in the World Happiness Report by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network in 2022 – the fifth consecutive year that it has done so! What makes it so good? It could be its pristine nature including vast forests and lakes, its sauna culture, efficient public services, and low crime and inequality.

In winter come for the Northern Lights and exhilarating pursuits including snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and dog-sledding. In summer for the Midnight Sun, lake-swimming, canoeing and fishing.


‘The land of smiles’ is known for its hospitality and the friendliness of its welcome wherever you travel, from the hectic capital Bangkok with its spectacular temples to the gorgeous beach resorts in the south or the hill tribes and elephant sanctuaries of the north. Indeed, one of the best things about Thailand is how many different types of holiday you can have in one trip.

Fact: The country received its nickname because it counts 13 kinds of smile that a Thai person may use, each with a very specific meaning.

New Orleans

Famed far and wide for its 24-hour ‘nightlife’, raucous jazz and other live music scene, and intoxicating blend of French, African and American influences, the ‘Big Easy’ is best experienced during its late-winter carnival Mardi Gras with its wild parades, street parties and Creole street food. Getting dressed up in costumes and masks is all part of getting absorbed in his event with its electric atmosphere – the French Market is great for finding something suitably colourful.

Also, don’t miss the after party on Bourbon Street!


Topping the list of the 10 happiest travel destinations in the world compiled by resort operator Club Med, this province of Indonesia stands out for its and wellness centres as well as its thrilling outdoor activities ranging from surfing to waterfall jumping, from hot-spring soaking to whitewater rafting and hiking.

Head to the remote island of Lombok 35km east of Bali to see Sendang Gila waterfall in Mount Rinjani National Park, watch traditional Lombok weaving in a Sasak village and visit the fisherman’s market on Kuta beach.


Ranked the happiest city in the world for its 2,801 hours of sunshine a year and working week averaging just 31 hours, Lisbon feels both timeless and modern, laidback and exciting, and the subject of continual reinvention. Many of its greatest pleasures are simple – eating grilled sardines in the Alfama district, for instance, or discovering the lively neighbourhoods by tram or funicular.

Another big attraction of this westernmost city in continental Europe is just how close you are to the surfing beaches of the Atlantic and to beauty spots such as Azenhas do Mar ('Watermills of the Sea').


After a survey of more than 20,000 city-dwellers across the globe about food, drink, culture, social life and sustainability, Time Out ranked the Scottish port city and cultural hub as the world's friendliest city.

The city's friendliness is something you’ll discover in its bar scene and nightlife – this is the UK's only UNESCO city of music – but in in every aspect of life as you explore its Victorian and Art Nouveau architecture and treasures including the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and National Theatre of Scotland.

To book your holiday in one of the world’s happiest travel destinations, with full financial protection, contact your Travel Counsellor today.

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