Scandinavia is a surprising landscape of natural beauty, unspoiled wilderness, friendly cities and the ultimate winter wonderland. Take part in a great outdoor adventure, soak up the mineral waters of a geothermal spa or absorb some Nordic culture. It’s all waiting for you and here are some the best experiences:
1. Geiranger Fjord, Norway
Considered to be one of the most beautiful fjords in Norway, Geiranger also makes it onto the UNESCO World Heritage list for its natural importance and sheer beauty. A 260m deep fjord, shadowed by towering mountain peaks and surrounded by old, abandoned farmhouses make for a very dramatic landscape that must be seen. Halfway through the fjord, you’ll discover the ‘Seven Sisters’ waterfall and along the way, stop at some simply stunning viewpoints. You can also experience the fjord by boat and join one of the fjord cruises on offer locally.
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2. Smogen Village, Sweden
Want to visit one of the most beautiful villages in Europe? Then, a stop off in Smogen is a must as this town on the west coast of Sweden was voted the third most beautiful village in Europe. It’s small, charming and has a wonderful wooden pier full of bars and shops housed in former fishing huts. As one of the oldest fishing villages in this part of the world, a visit here is a must for stunning scenery and great seafood!
3. Lofoten, Norway
This archipelago in the Nordland region of Norway sits in the center of the Arctic Circle. The landscape is breath-taking with a backdrop of mountains, cool blue sea, beaches and hardly a soul in sight. Despite its cold location, Lofoten’s climate is unusually mild. With the weather considered to be warm despite its latitude. There are some great outdoor sports to try here and with 24 hours of daylight during the summer, you can get out and about whatever time it is. Here you could spot puffins, otters, moose and the water is home to the largest deep-water coral reef on the planet!
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4. Vatnajokull Glacier Cave, Iceland
Vatnajokull Glacier is one of those incredible natural features that must be seen to be believed. This breath-taking location offers the chance to see a beautiful glacier but also to explore the amazing caves formed underneath. This is the biggest ice cap in Europe with the caves forming due to a volcanic eruption in 1996. The lava melted billions of gallons of the ice cap and created this gorgeous cave structure.
5. Skagen, Denmark
Denmark’s most northerly town is extremely pretty and sits on a strip of land in the sea, with beaches on either side. It can get a little bleak but it’s easy to see why Nordic artists flock here to take in the huge skies and golden landscapes. If you love art then this place is for you as the quaint town is dotted with galleries, antiques stores and artist workshops.
6. Stockholm, Sweden
No visit to Scandinavia is complete without spending some time in Sweden’s capital. Yes, it’s expensive but it’s buzzing with youth, opportunity and forward-thinking businesses, attracting some of the biggest tech and fashion brands in the world. You’ll also find medieval lanes in the old town, stunning spires and a wealth of history in this city on the sea. Take a guided tour around the city, which is a Scandinavian attraction in itself. You’ll find scenic tours, canal tours, Viking history tours and even ghost walks for the brave!
7. Danish Royal Gardens, Copenhagen
Escape the bustle of the city and soak up some tranquillity in these beautifully designed French-inspired gardens. Going in summer will ensure you see the finest display in the huge flower-beds. Be sure to take in the Hercules Pavillion and the statue of Hans Christian Andersen. There is also a playground for younger visitors and many different sculptures to spot.
8. Kirkenes Snow Hotel, Norway
Want to say you’ve stayed in coolest hotel in the world? Well, now you can, literally! You’ll be on top of the world as you arrive at this frozen paradise for an adventure involving huskies, reindeers, ice-fishing, experiencing the Northern lights and a touch of snowmobiling. After all this excitement, retire to your unique igloo accommodation for a surprisingly snug and cozy night.
9. Blue Lagoon, Iceland
If you fancy a dip in some natural geothermal water then head to the beautiful Blue Lagoon. The spa is in a lava field and the waters are full of minerals that are said to help those with skin conditions. For a unique experience like no other, float in the warm waters surrounded by pure Icelandic air and bathe your stresses away. Not far away is the city of Reykjavik, where you can take a tour of the city, volcanoes and even go snorkelling.
10. Lapland, Finland
A truly magical trip awaits you, whether you are travelling with children or not. Huge swathes of subarctic wilderness, fabulous skiing resorts and of course, Santa Claus’ very own village! Experience the Northern lights, sledding with huskies and a whole host of other snow-related fun activities. This winter wonderland will open up the night sky like you’ve never seen it before, just don’t go in the summer when there’s 24-hour daylight!
11. Legoland, Denmark
Whether you’re young or just young at heart, a visit to the original Legoland is a must if you’re in Denmark. You’ll find action adventure, tons of Lego activities and over 50 family rides to keep you and yours entertained all day. There are loads of great places to eat and drink, top quality accommodation and a new exhibit of the world’s tallest buildings made from Lego.
12. The Troll Wall, Romsdal, Norway
Part of the Trolltindene Mountain in the Romsdalen Valley, the Troll Wall is the highest vertical rock in Europe. Standing at an impressive 3,600 feet tall, it attracts keen climbers and base jumpers alike. The route is particularly challenging as it is forever changing due to weather erosion. You don’t have to climb to appreciate the stunning beauty of the scenery and hiking is another popular option here.