While Scandinavia officially refers to Denmark, Norway & Sweden, culturally the Scandinavian Peninsula sometimes includes Finland & Iceland too & this cluster is commonly known as the Nordic countries. The social benefits for the citizens by their governments add up to make these countries home to some of the happiest populations on earth. People embark on Europe holidays for a number of reasons but many tend to skip Scandinavia altogether. Here’s 5 reasons, why you should consider visiting just Scandinavia by itself:
Known for its Carlsberg and Tuborg beers and for akvavit and bitters, Denmark is also home to some highly acclaimed restaurants, such as Geranium and Noma, of which several are Michelin awarded, especially in Copenhagen and the provinces. Legoland, a calmer version of Disneyland has plenty of fun things to do with your family including driving a small car around in a tiny lego town. You’ll even get a Legoland Driver’s license. Visit Roskilde Viking Museum, or visit the last resting place of Denmark’s royalty at UNESCO World Heritage site, Roskilde Cathedral. Head to some of the quaint seaside villages or roam on giant shifting sand dunes at North Jutland Coast.
Fjord Norway has some truly stunning landscapes that were created during a series of ice ages and not much has changed since. Western Norway has everything from happening urban hubs to quiet countryside or prime wilderness and they’re all a short drive away. One of Bergen's and Norway's main attractions is Bryggen built after the great fire in 1702 and is on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Meeting Point Bryggen at Bryggens Museum is the place to start if you want to explore all Bryggen’s attractions. You can take the funicular railway to Mount Fløyen and see all of Bergen in just 8 minutes. The journey begins from the city centre, about 150 metres from the Fish Market and Bryggen. The return journey up to the mountain is a magnificent experience.
Sweden is a rock and pop country at heart and Stockholm’s live music scene is exploding now more than ever but one of Stockholm's most prized heirloom is the 69-metre-long, 380-year-old warship Vasa, which sank just 20 minutes into her maiden voyage in 1628. A popular summer destination is the Stockholm Archipelago that begins a few miles east of Stockholm and covers about 140 km from north to south. Only 150 of these islands are inhabited but many locals have summerhouses there. Be sure to pack a sweater & a raincoat.
Although not a part of Scandinavia per se, you might want to visit Finland & Iceland too on your trip to Scandinavia. Some of the most famous buildings are situated in Alvar Aalto, a giant of 20th-century architecture, and Jyväskylä, an appealing Lakeland university town. The best time to visit Finland is August, when Jyväskylä revs into action as it hosts the Finnish round of the World Rally Championship.
Less than a 100 km from Akureyri is Mývatn which is Iceland’s fourth largest lake. Legend has it that it was probably formed in a catastrophic volcanic eruption over 2000 years ago. This region is still volcanically active and has some breathtaking views & rich birdlife. If you’re going to Iceland, be sure to visit Mývatn.