There are a few things everybody “knows” about the Nordic countries, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland: taxes are high, cost of living is expensive, the winters can be brutal…
Yet, according to multiple surveys and studies, citizens in these places are among the happiest in the world.
Perhaps happiness isn’t the right word. Researchers use this as a placeholder for satisfaction in life.
They say that the reason people in these countries are so satisfied is that they have high quality of life, solid education systems, good infrastructure, extensive paid vacation time, low crime rates, and a relatively prosperous population across the board.
Perhaps most importantly, say the researchers, they don’t live to work but rather work to live and focus on maintaining a balance in life: a fulfilling career but also plenty of time spent with family and friends and on hobbies and interests.
When you combine that with the low-cost properties my research team has pulled together, perhaps those brutal winters wouldn’t be so bad…
Listing Price: 750,000 Swedish krona ($87,829)
About four hours south of Stockholm, in the small village of Kristdala, is one of those charming country homes that the Swedes do so well.
This three-bedroom, one-bathroom is at the tail end of some restoration, which means you could put your own stamp on this cozy cabin-like house. There is a wood-burning stove for those cold winter nights, as well as a basement, garage, outbuilding (which could be a workshop or art studio), garden with fruit trees, and large lawn with birches. It’s in a quiet area, surrounded by forest.
Kristdala itself is a tiny town, with a history going back to the Middle Ages when it was an important hub for trade with a major regional market. That tradition continues in some form today with two outdoor markets held each year, in summer and fall, that attract thousands of tourists.
Listing Price: 650,000 Norwegian krone ($76,652)
You probably never considered Norway as a place to experience “island life.” Granted, it’s not the first place that comes to mind.
But the island Nordlandet, off the central coast of Norway and just 5.5 square miles, is one of many that hug the western coast of this country, albeit connected to the mainland via bridges. And a laid-back life here can be quite appealing.
This modern condo, in the seaside village of Kristiansund, is on the third floor and has one bedroom and one bathroom (with underfloor heating, which comes in handy), and a large, bright, open-plan kitchen/dining/living room.
The new kitchen was installed in 2020. There’s also a south-facing balcony that is accessed from the living area, perfect enjoying those balmy days.
Listing Price: €89,000 ($107,769)
This one-bedroom apartment has a large, enclosed balcony that overlooks a garden area that can be an extension of the already large living area, which is an open-plan concept with the kitchen and dining area.
The municipality in which this property is located, Nurmijärvi, is considered one of the fastest growing in the country…and, being located just 23 miles north, is considered part of the Great Helsinki area.
Essentially, once-rural villages are being absorbed into the capital city. And that means you can have a quiet country life but still be within striking distance of the arts, culture, dining, and entertainment of the big city.