• Quick Trips to Fit your Busy Schedule

    Quick Trips to Fit Your Busy Schedule

    It’s hard to argue with the dream of a lazy month in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Amalfi</a>. How could a two-week safari in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">South Africa</a> not have a certain appeal? When the stars align, an extended junket to India or New Zealand is the only way to go. But if your calendar is crowded, those windows of opportunity are as rare as a blue-footed booby dancing on your shoulder. You have plenty of vacation time; you just don’t have time to take a vacation. There’s your cousin’s wedding smack in the middle of June. Soccer tournaments, board meetings, holidays, jam-packed school years, the busy season when your boss frowns at PTO requests. Clearly, it’s time for a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quick-trips/" target="_blank">Quick Trip with Classic Journeys!</a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quick-trips/" target="_blank">The Quick Trip formula</a> is elegantly simple, and it comes from years of working with time-starved travelers—folks who are hungry for amazing experiences but who have to fit them into six days or less. Every Quick Trip is a no-compromises Classic Journeys’ vacation, hand-crafted to deliver immersive activities and cultural interactions in the company of full-time local guides. Award-winning luxury hotels and great food go without saying. In short, they’re fabulous vacations that don’t feel short at all. With decades of experience at curating trips around the world, we team up with our family of expert local guides to finesse itineraries to minimize logistics and keep the focus on helping you enjoy your vacation, your way. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy4y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYJs" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>You can choose from right-in-your-own-back-yard destinations throughout North America that keep flights to a minimum so you can maximize your time on the ground. The same holds true for <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">Cuba</a>, where it’s super easy to pull off a satisfying four-day weekend in Havana. The even bigger surprise is just how close some hot-ticket destinations—Iceland, the Galápagos and even Morocco are from major U.S. gateway cities. So instead of defaulting to a lowest-common-denominator trip when time is tight, you can spread your wings and enjoy the trip of a lifetime.<br><br>If you’ve given up fitting a vacation into that calendar of yours, think again. Or if you’re lucky enough to already have longer getaways planned but wish you could squeeze in just one more, a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quick-trips/" target="_blank">Quick Trip</a> is the fast and easy solution.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-guided-walking-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy4y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYIu" style="height: 354px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-guided-walking-tours/" target="_blank"><b>Iceland Escape</b></a><br>5 days/4 nights<br>Wild, weird and wonderful Iceland is crazy close. All you need are five well-choreographed days with our local descended-from-Vikings guides. Walk on lava fields, spot puffins and whales, walk along a glacial lake to the face of a glacier, and eat hearty with a local family for a totally authentic look at Icelandic life. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-islands-adventure-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy4y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYJ4" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-islands-adventure-tours/" target="_blank"><b>Galápagos Getaway</b></a><br>5 days/4 nights<br>Due south of New Orleans, the Galápagos Islands are way closer to civilization than most people realize. Five days there with the best guides is abundant time to spot the Big Five animals. And this island-based trip includes snorkeling, kayaking, walking on a volcano rim, sipping coffee at a plantation, and so much more! <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-luxury-tour-package/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy4y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYJ9" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-luxury-tour-package/" target="_blank"><b>Morocco: Essaouira to Marrakesh</b></a><br>6 days/5 nights<br>Process this: Casablanca is closer to most American gateway cities than Rome. Sooner than you’d imagine, you can be riding a camel to a luxury desert encampment, exploring Marrakesh, cooking tagine and tasting wine, meeting village families at work in the oases. Exotic is easy in the extreme! <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba-havana-art-music/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy4y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYJT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba-havana-art-music/" target="_blank"><b>A Long Weekend in Havana</b></a><br>4 days/3 nights<br>Before the Revolution, Americans hopped down to Havana for the weekend. Today, so can you. At a leisurely Cuban tempo, you can explore Havana’s architecture and history, immerse yourself in the art and music scene, cook with a chef in an organic garden, and meet and mingle with the Cuban people. <br><br>When you crave a vacation that feels far away but isn’t, North America is the way to go. Itineraries for these destinations in the U.S. and Canada are a handy 6 days and 5 nights long. No jet lag required! <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyon/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy4y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYJY" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>United States</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyon/" target="_blank">Bryce, Grand Canyon &amp; Zion</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska/" target="_blank">Alaska — Kenai Peninsula</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank">Charleston &amp; Savannah</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/glaciernationalpark/" target="_blank">Montana — Glacier National Park</a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canadianrockies/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy4y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYJi" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Canada</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canadianrockies/" target="_blank">Canadian Rockies</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quebec/" target="_blank">Québec</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/novascotia/" target="_blank">Nova Scotia</a><br><br>Check out an extended <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quick-trips/" target="_blank">list of quick trips with Classic Journeys</a> to experience an immersive and handcrafted journey you&#39;d expect from us, you just don&#39;t have to pack as many pairs of socks. Let us book your getaway today!

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  • Sunrise at the Grand Canyon

    9 Must-Do Experiences in Bryce, Grand Canyon, & Zion

    Three of America’s most spectacular—and coolest—national parks without a single are-we-there-yet moment? You can do it on a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyonfamily/" target="_blank"><u>Family </u></a>or <u><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyon/" target="_blank">Multisport</a></u> trip to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Bryce, Grand Canyon &amp; Zion</a>. We take care of all of the logistics. Mountain bikes? Check. Mule rides into Bryce Canyon? Check. Timing visits perfectly to canyon rims for sunset, hiking through waterfalls, and great inns with swimming pools? Absolutely! So without further ado, here are 9 of the best experiences in Bryce, Grand Canyon &amp; Zion - all of which will echo in your memory for years to come.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">#1 Sunset at the Grand Canyon (North Rim)</a></b><br>A short walk to a vista point overlooking <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Roaring Springs, Bright Angel Canyon and the South Rim</a> at sunset is epic! Not only are the colors majestic, but you&#39;ll also have the chance to do some awesome birding. Swifts and swallows can often be seen along cliff faces, and, with luck, you may even see a bald eagle. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SIY&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012BwT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">#2 </a><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Sunrise at the Grand Canyon</a></b><br>A memorable sunrise walk along the rim of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Grand Canyon</a> allows early risers to enjoy the vibrant colors that reflect off the canyon walls. Our personal favorite trail is the Transept Trail, which follows the canyon&#39;s rim through quaking aspens and ponderosa pines.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SIY&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012BwY" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><b>#3 </b></a><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Mule Ride into Bryce Canyon</a></b><br>Experience <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Bryce Canyon on mule back</a> along a trail that offers a spectacular viewpoint, where it&#39;s possible to see over 120 miles! On <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys&#39; Bryce adventure</a>, you&#39;ll have many photo opportunities at several vistas, including a favorite natural bridge, which isn&#39;t a bridge at all, but rather a picturesque red rock arch.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SIY&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012Boy" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><b>#4 </b></a><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Bryce Amphitheater at Sunrise</a></b><br>Take a sunrise walk along a portion of the Rim Trail overlooking the<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"> Bryce Amphitheater</a>. Bask in the views of the cliff walls and rock formations as they come to life with vibrant gold colors while the sun rises in the distance. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SIY&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012Bp3" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><b>#5 </b></a><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park</a></b><br>Stroll through Arizona&#39;s Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park to see stunning, coral-colored dune fields surrounded by red sandstone cliffs and juniper forests. After the walk, if you&#39;re feeling adventurous, you must take advantage of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyonfamily/" target="_blank">sand surfing down the dunes</a>! <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SIY&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012Boo" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><b>#6 </b></a><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Riverside Walk Past Gardens of Wildflowers</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Zion National Park </a>is characterized by a range of colorful canyons, sandstone cliffs, rocky deserts, and cool forested plateaus. Take a stroll along the river, where you&#39;ll enjoy beautiful hanging gardens of wildflowers in the spring and summer, and vibrant foliage in the fall months.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SIY&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012BpX" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><b>#7 </b></a><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Explore Zion&#39;s Emerald Pools</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Emerald Pools is a Zion classic</a>: an oasis in the middle of the desert. The walk is a collection of short trails that meander past a small, lushly-vegetated stream that rolls down from the cliffs and forms several breathtaking pools.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SIY&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012BpD" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyonfamily/" target="_blank"><b>#8 </b></a><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyonfamily/" target="_blank">Bike Through Zion</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Zion National Park</a> is characterized by a range of colorful canyons, sandstone cliffs, rocky deserts and cool forested plateaus. Take a bike ride in the park, which is one of the most bikefriendly national parks in the country. Explore the Par’us Trail, which comes from the Paiute word meaning “bubbling, tumbling water.” This relaxing path winds along the<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"> Virgin River</a> and is ideal for an easy-going ride on flat terrain.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SIY&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012Bot" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyonfamily/" target="_blank"><b>#9 </b></a><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyonfamily/" target="_blank">Tube Down the Virgin River</a></b><br>Partake in a tubing adventure down <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyonfamily/" target="_blank">Zion&#39;s Virgin River</a>! Fun, and highly scenic, tubing is a tremendously popular way to see Zion.<br><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SIY&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012Bwi" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> 

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  • Happiest countries

    The Happiest Countries in the World

    A few months ago, I was lying on a beach in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costaricafamily/" target="_blank">Costa Rica</a>, under a tropical sun, still wet from a dip in the warm Pacific, an icy cup of rum punch in hand and my wife at my side. And yet, I was not happy. You see, the trip had been on the books for months, and my goal when booking had been to spend as much time as possible on a surfboard, indulging one of my great passions in one of the world’s best surf spots. A knee injury (and subsequent surgery) just prior to the trip changed all that. Now I was just…lying on the beach. Kelli noticed my melancholy mood. “Look around,” she told me. “Everyone here is glad to be here – the tourists <i>and</i> the locals. They’re so content just to be in this beautiful setting. Pura vida, as they say.” Of course, she was right, and I quickly snapped out of my funk.<br><br>Pura vida literally means “pure life”, and it’s the national motto of Costa Rica. But it could easily apply to any of the countries listed in the annual World Happiness Report. Since 2012, the United Nations Sustainable Development Network has published the report, which lists the world’s happiest countries. In a recent interview with the New York Times, report editor John F. Helliwell explained that the report is more of a reflection of contentment than what many of us might think of as sheer giddiness. Helliwell goes on to say that the World Happiness Report measures one’s overall satisfaction with life and the level of belief that your fellow citizens are looking out for one another. Happy people, argues Helliwell, “trust…and care about each other, and that’s what fundamentally makes for a better life.” And it appears, a happier life. <br><br>It goes without saying that happy countries make for great travel destinations; as it happens, Classic Journeys runs tours in 12 of this year’s top 20 Happiest Countries. Here’s a quick look at each of those.<br><br><b>19. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/prague/" target="_blank">Czech Republic</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/prague/" target="_blank"><img alt="Czech Republic happiest country in the world" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PZ4M&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000ns1i" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>The end of the Cold War brought sweeping changes to eastern Europe, and no country has had a more dramatic turnaround than the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/prague/" target="_blank">Czech Republic</a>. The country is now considered one of the world’s great cultural destinations, thanks in large part to its friendly, welcoming people. <br><br><b>18. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/united-states/" target="_blank">The United States</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/united-states/" target="_blank"><img alt="America world&#39;s happiest country" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PZ4M&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000ns1T" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>We tend to overlook the fact that the U.S. is a pretty amazing country; there’s plenty of reasons why millions of people come here to visit every year. The highest mountain in North America is in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska/" target="_blank">Alaska</a>; the world’s most famous canyon is in Arizona. Oh, and we also have Hawaii.<br><br><b>16. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/ireland/" target="_blank">Ireland</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/ireland/" target="_blank"><img alt="Ireland world&#39;s happiest country" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PZ4M&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000ns19" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Fun Fact – corned beef and cabbage is widely shunned in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland/" target="_blank">Ireland</a>, and for good reason. The <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/irish-food/" target="_blank">food</a> there is much better than our go-to St. Patrick’s Day fare. <br><br><b>13. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/england/" target="_blank">The United Kingdom</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/england/" target="_blank"><img alt="UK world&#39;s happiest country" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PZ4M&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000ns0u" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>For such a small island, the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/united-kingdom/" target="_blank">UK</a> has a huge amount to offer. The (mostly) good-natured rivalry between Scotland and England is a great way to frame a visit: <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/scotland/" target="_blank">Scotland</a> is said to be the birthplace of golf, and the 600-year old St. Andrews course is the oldest and arguably the most famous in the world. England is home to two of the world’s most famous royal homes: Buckingham Palace, and Tintagel Castle – said to be the birthplace of King Arthur.<br><br><b>11. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/canada/" target="_blank">Canada</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/canada/" target="_blank"><img alt="Canada happiest country in the world" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PZ4M&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000ns2q" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Having travelled extensively through <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada/" target="_blank">Canada</a>, I can tell you that the stories are true: Canadians are incredibly nice. I can also testify to the stunning beauty of the Canadian Rockies; British Columbia’s Provincial Parks are home to some of the world’s great scenery. Something else that most people don’t know: the only fortified city in North America (picture the walled cities you might find in France) is in Quebec. And yes, Canadians love their most famous culinary export, poutine. (It’s French fries, covered in cheese and gravy – what’s NOT to love?)<br><br><b>9. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/austria/" target="_blank">Austria</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/austria/" target="_blank"><img alt="Austria world&#39;s happiest country" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PZ4M&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000ns30" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>It must be the Danube – it runs through both the Czech Republic and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/europe/" target="_blank">Austria</a>, and both are in the list of top 20 Happiest Countries. To get a good sense of why Austria is such a draw, simply cue up the movie <i>The Sound of Music;</i> nearly all of the movie’s external scenes were filmed on location throughout the country.<br><br><b>8. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/new-zealand/" target="_blank">New Zealand</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/new-zealand/" target="_blank"><img alt="New Zealand the world&#39;s happiest country" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PZ4M&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000nrz8" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Speaking of famous film locations, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/new-zealand-north-south-island-tours/" target="_blank">New Zealand</a> served as the setting for the classic of fantasy cinema, 1988’s Willow. A few decades before that OTHER big fantasy movie series hit the screens, producer George Lucas and director Ron Howard thought that the county’s green, rugged landscapes would be the perfect location for a swords-and-sorcery epic. <br><br><b>5. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/norway/" target="_blank">Norway</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/norway/" target="_blank"><img alt="Norway happiest country in the world" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PZ4M&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000ns06" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>It should be noted that Scandinavian countries have dominated the list of World’s Happiest Countries, routinely taking the top 5 spots year after year. This might seem unusual, since…well, the winters in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway/" target="_blank">Norway</a>, Sweden, Iceland and Finland are very long, and very dark. But it makes sense, and not just because Norway is the world’s second largest consumer of coffee (the average Norwegian will go through about 22 pounds of coffee a year). Adverse conditions often build strong communities, and the common thread of taking care of neighbors and fellow citizens runs through the Scandinavian democracies. Also, it helps that Norway in the summertime is beautiful and inviting; the countless fjords are a major draw, and the temperate weather makes visiting them easy and comfortable. And if the fjords aren’t enough for you, there are about 50,000 islands off the coast of Norway.<br><br><b>4. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/iceland/" target="_blank">Iceland</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/iceland/" target="_blank"><img alt="Iceland world&#39;s happiest country" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PZ4M&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000nrwJ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>When I visited Iceland, the one thing I had to try was the locals’ favorite hot dog. I was not disappointed. Reykjavik’s BBP serves up the best hot dog you’ll ever eat (sorry, Chicago). Icelandic food straddles a very strange line, that of familiar comfort food and…well, whatever category fermented shark meat served in a shot of locally distilled grain alcohol falls under. Iceland’s reputation as both stunningly beautiful and thoroughly delightful is well-earned. Icelanders are fiercely proud of their heritage, incredibly protective of their country’s natural resources, and unabashedly welcoming to visitors. And they’re exceptionally literate – Iceland boasts the most bookstores per capita of any country in the world, and 10% of Iceland’s population has or will publish a book. <br><br><b>3. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/switzerland/" target="_blank">Switzerland</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/switzerland/" target="_blank"><img alt="Switzerland the world&#39;s happiest country" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PZ4M&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000nrzI" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Ski all winter, hike all summer – it’s not hard to see why the Swiss are among the world’s happiest people. Certainly living in the literal center of the European Alps helps – the opportunities for activity alone have made Switzerland the country with the lowest obesity rate in Europe. But so too does an incredibly high standard of living – the country has one of the lowest poverty levels in Europe, universities are inexpensive, and teachers’ salaries rank well above the country’s average salary mark. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/switzerland-family/" target="_blank">Switzerland</a> has also gained a reputation as a hub of innovation; the country that invented the wristwatch has claimed the number one spot on the Global Innovation Index for the past nine years. Finally, Switzerland is both the world’s largest producer and consumer of chocolate. The country makes about 118,000 tons a year; the average Swiss citizen eats about 24 pounds annually. <br><br><b>2. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/scandinavia/" target="_blank">Denmark</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/scandinavia/" target="_blank"><img alt="Denmark world&#39;s happiest country" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PZ4M&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000ns0V" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>It’s ironic that the world’s most famous Dane, Hamlet, was known for being melancholy. Clearly his fellow Danes aren’t. <br><br><b>1. Finland</b><br><img alt="Finland world&#39;s happiest country" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PZ4M&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000nrz3" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>For the third year in a row, Finland is the World’s Happiest Country. The New York Times cites the Finns’ happiness with their government (91% say that they think their President is doing a good job) and law enforcement (86% indicate that they trust the police) as driving factors. The Finns seem to be less “happy”, as we might define it, and more content, and this doesn’t seem to be limited to native Finns, but included immigrants to Finland as well.<br><br>Traveling gives us a sense of perspective, of course, and a big piece of that is the empathy born from the connections we form with our international friends. These days, I find myself thinking about my travels both here in the U.S. and abroad – over the past few years, I’ve been lucky to have spent time in Colorado, New Orleans, France, Italy, Iceland, and of course Costa Rica. The Central American nation came in at #15 on the list of World’s Happiest Countries, and I’m honestly surprised it didn’t rank higher. It’s a truly idyllic place, where the veneer of all the stuff that we think is so important is stripped away by the sight of a beautiful sunset on an empty beach. The Ticos – that’s the name that Costa Ricans call themselves – I know are no doubt weathering the current storm anxiously, as we all are. I’m looking forward to my next trip, and reminding myself that la pura vida is still out there.<br><br><i>Jason Avant is a writer and editor; a frequent contributor to the Classic Journeys Blog, he’s also contributed to the James Beard Award-winning travel website Roads and Kingdoms, as well as numerous other print and digital publications.</i><br> 

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