Life in Scandinavia 1

Which is the best Scandinavian country to live in? Life in Scandinavia…

Have you ever wondered which is the best Scandinavian country to live in? Every year, Scandinavian countries rank towards the top of the list for the happiest, healthiest, and safest countries globally, so making a choice can be difficult. Hopefully, this guide will help…

Finland and Norway often excel at providing high-quality health and wellbeing to expats and locals alike. While Denmark and Sweden rank high in general happiness, opportunities, and more.

There are many factors which make life in Scandinavia so special. Living in Scandinavia means you’re surrounded by people who believe in generosity, community and looking after each other.

Moving to Scandinavian countries also gives you an opportunity to explore a world with a treasured, protected environment.

The biggest challenge for anyone planning a life in Scandinavia, is figuring out which country they should move to. After all, when every region has something wonderful to offer, how do you define the best Scandinavian countries?

We’re going to dive into some of your options to help you make the choice.

Which of the Nordic countries is best?

As you might expect, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.

The best places to live in Scandinavia will depend on what matters most to you. Expats in Finland say the environment is beautiful, with tons of natural sighs to see, and amazing levels of security and safety.

In fact, Finland, Norway, and Denmark rank among the safest countries in the world. Sweden is a little lower down in the list, but it’s still in the top 10.

For environmental sustainability, Denmark and Sweden are also in the top five. If you want to make the world a better place by protecting the environment, you’ll do well in Denmark and Sweden.

Of course, Finland and Norway are also known for their commitment to keeping the world clean and sustainable.

Sweden, Norway, and Denmark are also in the top five of the most politically “stable” countries in the world. This means you’re not going to have to worry too much about governmental issues and unrest.

The Nordic countries have their downsides too. You’ll have to learn a new language if you decide to move to one of these countries (although they are some of the easier languages to learn).

Some expats also say they have trouble settling in and making friends once they arrive in their Nordic wonderland.

You can check out these books to get a better idea of how the Scandi countries work:

Let’s take a closer look at what each country can offer if you’re moving to Scandinavia.

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The best Scandinavian country to live in: Sweden

Let’s start right in the middle of Scandinavia, with Sweden.

Sweden is a beautiful, highly safe environment for expats and local citizens alike. The Swedish landscape ranks among the top countries in the world,

Sweden ranks high in economics and welfare, and you can rest assured your children will get a great education, as school is free for anyone to attend.

Sweden is about more than just beautiful natural landscapes, it also has pristine cities which protect the environment, cradle to grave care for people worried about health, and a fantastic workplace.

Swedish citizens get up to 18 months of leave after having a child. There’s also plenty of sick pay and annual leave to take advantage of.

Some of the reasons you might choose Sweden as the best Scandinavian country to live in include:

  • Islands: There are more than 24,000 islands to discover in the Stockholm archipelago, making Sweden a fantastic place to explore if you love spending time on a ferry or boat.
  • Work/life balance: Sweden promises some of the best vacation, sick time, and maternity leave in the world, combined with plenty of support for people who need help getting back on their feet.
  • Hiking: Hiking is fantastic for exploring some of the most beautiful trails in the world. You can go all the way from a month-long trail for extreme hiking enthusiasts, to simple day hikes, depending on your needs.
  • Great internet: Internet connections are pretty fast in Sweden, as the country currently ranks among the top five fastest providers in the world. You’ll even get speedy mobile internet.
  • Sports: If you’re not into sports much, you might struggle in Sweden. There are tons of professional handball, football, and ice hockey leagues to check out.

On the other hand, Sweden’s climate takes some getting used to. You won’t get as much sunshine as you’d expect elsewhere in the world. Plus, people in Sweden tend to isolate and stay away from people when they need a break.

Health insurance in Sweden won’t cover everything, and there are various rules about how and when you can drink alcohol.

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The best Scandinavian country to live in: Norway

Switching over to Norway, you can expect a lot of similarities to countries like Sweden, such as a similar language, a commitment to protecting the natural landscape, and a fantastic health and social care strategy.

As the best Nordic country for exploring the fjords, Norway is a place full of magical sights to see and outdoor adventures.

Norway offers expats and locals a much higher salary than many other Scandinavian countries, so you can expect to earn a decent amount in your profession. Norway is also one of the top places to live in if you’re looking for a happy life and excellent work/life balance.

Housing is beautiful, with amazing architecture throughout the country, and there are tons of camping locations.

In Norway, you can expect minimal crime, and a high level of trust among all the people you interact with. Norway will also cover your healthcare costs if something goes wrong as you’re raising your family among the fjords.

You may choose Norway as the best Scandinavian country if you’re looking for:

  • Fjords: There are around 63,000 miles of coastline in Norway, decorated by some of the most dramatic and beautiful fjords in the world. You won’t find another place in the world with the same sights.
  • Transport: Norway is great for getting around. There’s a train system which will help you to see some of the more beautiful regions in style, and you can even jump on the metro line in Oslo. Getting around is quick and simple.
  • Snow sports: If you’re a fan of skiing and snowboarding, you’ll love life in Norway. There are tons of mountains to discover, and ski jumps ready to thrill any professionals in training.
  • Language: The language in Norway is easy enough to learn, and you’ll be pleased to know a lot of the locals already speak English. This should make it much easier to settle into your new life.
  • Wildlife: There are few places in the world where you can spot whales from the coastline. Norway will help you to get back in touch with nature like never before. You can even go on boat tours and adventures to see more of the local sea life.

Norway does have its downsides too. The postal system is often under attack by locals for being relatively slow, and the cost of living is much higher than it would be in other Scandinavian countries. The weather also takes some getting used to, with colder temperatures throughout the year.

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The best Scandinavian country to live in: Denmark

Denmark usually fights for the top spot as the happiest place to live in the world. It’s one of the most beautiful destinations to visit, with tons of fantastic museums and historical destinations to explore.

You’ll love living here if you appreciate the outdoors, as many cars are replaced with bikes, and it doesn’t take long to jump from one location to the next.

When it comes to choosing the best Scandinavian country for expats, Denmark ranks close to the top thanks to an easy-to-learn language, a fantastic quality of life, and plenty of health and social care. The environment is also great for work-life balance.

The official work week in Denmark is generally much shorter than it is elsewhere in the world.

Denmark employers expect you to spend more of your life with your family and pursuing the things you enjoy. Denmark also gives you access to professional childcare, so you can go back to work after having a child with minimal issues.

Denmark may be the best Scandinavian country for you if you want:

  • Hygge: Though most Scandinavian countries have their own version of hygge, Denmark is the place to go for the true experience. Hygge is all about making the most of the little things in life and enjoying a sense of coziness.
  • Food: Denmark is the place to be for amazing food, with fine-dining options galore. There are many Michelin star restaurants around the country. Plus, while you’re in Denmark, you can always try out some local food trends too, like Danish cheese.
  • Safety: Denmark provides one of the safest places to live in the world. There are minimal crimes to worry about, and you get access to excellent healthcare if anything does go wrong. There’s even a huge emphasis on equality in Denmark.
  • Opportunity: Aside from tons of job options for expats and locals, Denmark also has some of the lowest income inequality rates in the world. This should mean you can enjoy the right wage, regardless of where you come from.
  • Travel: One of the benefits of living in Denmark is you’ll be part of the Schengen agreement, which means you can travel freely to countries throughout Europe without having to worry about passports and visas.

Of course, Denmark has its issues too. For example, the Danish language can be trickier to learn in places, depending on how well you pick up new information.

The weather is a little challenging throughout some parts of the year, especially when it gets grey and cold, and Denmark can have some pretty expensive prices for the must-have items you need.

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The best Scandinavian country to live in: Iceland and Finland

When it comes to deciding which Scandinavian country is easiest to immigrate to, you might also look at Iceland and Finland. These countries aren’t always classed as “Scandinavian”, but they often fall into the Nordic category.

All Scandinavian countries are easier to immigrate to if you’re from Scandinavia, including Finland and Iceland. However, it is trickier to move if you’re from the US, UK, or elsewhere.

Iceland represents one of the best Nordic countries if you’re a fan of volcanos, hot springs, and the northern lights. This is a beautiful destination with quite a nice climate, despite the name.

Iceland is a little less appealing if you like to travel a lot, as you’ll often need to pay for a flight, rather than going anywhere by boat, train, bus or car. On the plus side, Iceland has a lot of great advantages too.

Iceland isn’t just one of the most beautiful places in the world; it’s also extremely welcoming, with communities full of people who will happily embrace your friendship. English is pretty universal here too, so you should fit right in.

Finland, similar to Iceland, won’t always classify as a Scandinavian country, but it is one of the best Nordic countries to live in.

Finland has an amazing combination of beautiful national parks and urban locations to explore. Two-thirds of Finland is covered in forest, and there are tons of options for hiking, biking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Finland, like Iceland, is a good place to see the Northern Lights. Like Denmark, Finland is also home to a lot of high-quality restaurants too.

The Finnish landscape shares many of the benefits common with living in Scandinavia, including free education, and wonderfully high salaries. In Finland, you can also expect a high degree of overall happiness.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides too. For instance, Finland winters are extremely difficult to endure if you’re used to warmer weather. Temperatures can drop very low, and you may miss out on sunlight for days at a time.

Plus, like other Scandinavian countries, the costs of living in Finland are often high.

Which is the easiest Nordic country to immigrate to?


If you’re struggling to decide which is the best Scandinavian country to live in, you might have some questions to answer first. Like, which is the easiest Nordic country to immigrate to?

Most of the Nordic countries above are similar in terms of expat options. You’ll be able to move anywhere in the Scandi region quite easily if you’re already from a European country.

It’s even easier to move from a region in Scandinavia to another Scandi country — moving from Finland to Norway is a breeze. If you’re looking for the best Scandinavian country to move to from the USA, you may have more problems.

It’s quite difficult to move into any Scandi country from outside of the US unless you’re marrying a local. The best option is usually to go and gain your degree in one of these countries, then look for a job while you’re still there.

Finding a role online when you’re still living in the US is tough. Remember Scandi employers can hire from anywhere in the region, so they have tons of local talent to choose from.

Let’s answer some other quick questions about the best Scandinavian countries.

Q: Which is the best Scandinavian country for expats?

Sweden is often recommended as the best country for expats — among regions all over the world! Denmark is much tougher to move to. The Danes have been making it harder for new people to move into the country over the last few years.

Q: Which Scandinavian country has the lowest cost of living?

If you’re looking for the cheapest Scandinavian country to live in, Sweden comes out on top again. It’s very cheap to buy products around Sweden, although you can earn a higher income from other regions, like Norway.

Q: Which Scandinavian country has the highest cost of living?

The most expensive country to live in is Norway. Though Norwegian wages are high, the cost of living is much higher too, which means people often travel from Denmark and Sweden to Norway for their work.

Q: Which country has the best work/life balance?

Both Denmark and Norway rank very high for work/life balance. Both offer shorter workweeks than other regions throughout the Nordic countries. There’s also plenty of time off when you need it. If you can find a job (which is tough in these countries), you’ll have no problem earning a fantastic income.

Q: Which Scandinavian country is best for family?

All Nordic countries are highly recommended for family life. Sweden is the lowest-performing country in this section, and it’s still number five on the top fifty countries for family life quality.

Finland is first, with Denmark in fourth place. Education and childcare costs are minimal, and you also have the benefit of a safe place to bring your children up in.

Q: Which Scandinavian country is safest?

Norway is often ranked as the safest country to visit in the Scandi region, but all locations in the Nordic space are safe. Nordic countries are often considered to be safer because the citizens are less vulnerable to economic unrest and stress than other countries.

Q: Which Nordic country is richest?

Norway is often regarded as the best country to make a high income in the Scandi region. However, compared to the rest of the countries around the world, all Scandinavian countries are very wealthy. This is a product of good industrialization, infrastructure, and education.

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Which is the best Scandinavian country to live in?

As you can see, every Scandinavian country has its positives and negatives to offer. All of these countries come with excellent levels of safety, high quality of life, and fantastic earning potential.

The Scandinavian countries are the perfect place for people who want to see more of the environment and look after the world (and people) around them.

If you’re looking for high income and wonderful fjords, then Norway is your top choice. If you’re searching for happiness and excellent work/life balance, then you’re probably better suited to Denmark.

For people in search of lower cost of living and easier access for immigrants, Sweden is the number one choice.

If you’re willing to branch out a little further, you can look into Finland, Iceland, and even the Faroe Islands to access similar benefits from Nordic life.

Although all of these regions come with downsides, like relatively high living costs and new languages to learn, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Now all you need to do is figure out which country makes the most sense for you.

Scandification: Discovering Scandinavia.

Scandification explores and celebrates the magic of Scandinavia. Stay tuned and we’ll bring the essence of Scandinavia to you.

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