Why visit Scandinavia?
When Brits think of a holiday away, Scandinavia may not immediately come to mind for most, however, the three countries that traditionally make up Scandinavia of Denmark, Norway and Sweden are anything but mundane or boring destinations. They each have heaps to do are regularly voted as having some of the happiest people in the world, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll return from this beautiful region rejuvenated, relaxed and ready to get back to day to day life. Below is a small selection of our favourite destinations and things to do but there is so much more you could explore - we struggled to cut down our choices to this shortlist!
Denmark is a fantastic country and once you’ve visited it is easy to see why it is regularly voted the happiest country! It goes without saying, but the food is a definite highlight of Denmark so make sure you add a few traditionally Danish eateries onto your list to enjoy.
We start with the obvious choice of location to visit, Copenhagen, Denmark's capital city. We love the Queens Palace, Amelienborg, which is a beautiful, sprawling estate that offers insight into what the interior of the residence is like as well as housing a museum covering the history of the royal family. The changing of the guards at noon daily is also a big attraction if you get chance. Tivoli Gardens is also way up there on our must visit list, it’s an amusement park within gorgeous greenery and alongside restaurants, as well as this there are often concerts on, making it all the more magical. Lastly, the district of Nyhavn in Copenhagen provides a buzzy atmosphere and is distinctly and unique with colourful houses lining the canal. Nyhavn was traditionally a commercial port and welcomed sailors to drink and enjoy their time off the sea. It is now full of restaurants, bars and you can also get canal tours from this pretty port. Its vibe is infectious and on a sunny day it’s the ideal place to grab a pint and watch the world go by.
Aalborg is the fourth biggest city in Denmark and is now known as a university town. However, it oozes medieval history and there is plenty to explore and get stuck into. Some of the attractions available to visit are the ancient Viking burial site and Aalborg Tower which stands 55 metres above the city and provides some incredible views of Aalborg and further afield. Springeren Maritime Center is a fascinating place to visit and provides an insight into Danish maritime history and Aalborg Harbour. This is perhaps an ideal place to visit if you are keen on history and culture.
Skagen is the Northern most city in Denmark but it’s worth including on a trip if you can. The Jutland beaches are a beautiful contrast to the North Sea. There are plenty of boutiques filled with locally made crafts include pottery and glassware. This indie haven is perfect if you want to get away and have some fresh air and space. It’s certainly picturesque so if nothing else it’s worth going for the stunning scenery.
Norway is again one of the happiest countries in the world but its landscape also makes it a magical country. It has one of the most diverse landscapes and it's fjords, lakes and of course the Northern Lights are understandably a huge attraction.
First up is Tromso which lies north of the Arctic City and is a very popular place to visit, to be frank, it's easy to see why. The majority of the city is located on the island of Tromsoya and is home to many colourful buildings as well as modern architecture and the lively city centre. There are plenty of museums within the city centre to explore, they are really interesting and give a great insight into the history of the region. You can also cross the bridge onto the mainland, past the eyecatching and stunning Arctic Cathedral, and up the Fjellheisen Cable Car which leads you to magnificent views of Tromso, this really is a must! There are some wonderful excursions that you can get from Tromso, including night time dog sled adventures, visits to see the Sami people and learn about their history, culture and way of living and tours to see the Northern Lights. It’s a fantastic place to see the Northern Lights and there are often breath-taking displays that can be seen from Tromso itself as well as showings from more rural and secluded areas which are accessible on tours.
Oslo is Norway’s capital city and is famous, among many things, for its cultural attractions. There are plenty of museums to delve into including a Viking Ship Museum, Fram Museum and Norsk Folkemuseum. If you fancy it you can always catch one of the incredible performances at the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet or visit one of the numerous galleries around the city. Oslo is located at the end of the Oslo Fjord and has beautiful views looking over the fjord and the mountains surrounding the area. Though it is relatively small there really is no end of things to keep you occupied in this wonderfully diverse and vibrant city.
Lastly, no trip to Norway is complete without a visit to the fjords. Fjords are long, narrow and deep passages of water that reach far inland and feature heavily in the Nordic landscape. They are spectacular and stunningly beautiful. The most popular and perhaps famous fjords are The Geirangerfjord, The Aurlandsfjord and the Lysefjord. These are all incredibly dramatic and each offers something slightly different so if you have chance to do a tour of the fjords we would highly recommend it!
Sweden, like the other Scandinavian countries, exudes natural beauty and is particularly renowned for the lush forests and lakes across the country. These landscapes have made it famous across the world and tourists flock here year on year to get a glimpse!
Stockholm, Sweden's capital, is a brilliantly welcoming place and is known for its inclusivity and modernity. The city itself is spread across fourteen islands which are easy to visit and explore via public transport. If you’re looking a cultural and historical trip then the Swedish History Museum, the Vasa Museum and of course the ABBA Museum are well worth going to. There are often art installations and exhibitions too, so do check to see if any are on the dates you will be there. Stockholm also hosts some beautiful green spaces and swimming areas, it’s quite a unique experience being able to swim in a city! Festivals and events are aplenty so there is likely to be something on regardless of when you travel. The food scene is buzzing in Stockholm and there are many high-end restaurants but if that's not your preference, local eateries are equally fantastic! There is a diverse and exciting range of cafes, restaurants and bars to discover.
If you are looking to get a little more active on your visit to Sweden, consider a trip to Sarek National Park. It is a stunning area with mountains, glaciers, valleys and shimmering bodies of water. Not only this but it is also home to a large amount of wildlife including large elk amongst many others. There are so many different activities here that you can experience in either Winter or Summer so whichever time of year you're visiting make sure you allow time for a trip to Sarek National Park!
Lastly, The Gothenburg Archipelago is made up of over 20 islands and is a truly magical place to visit. The area is split into the North and South, though do be aware only the northern islands allow cars. The Southern Islands can be more lively particularly in Summer even though they are car free so if you're looking for a quite escape, you may want to visit the northern islands then. Each island has something unique to offer and if you're coming to explore this area, we would suggest going to visit a few. Many, however, have great swimming spots and restaurants and cafes. Many also have museums and nature reserves to visit and enjoy!
If you need any help with car hire so you can truly experience all Scandinavia has to offer, do get in touch with our friendly team or run a quote. We're here and happy to help make your travel dreams into a reality!
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