Scandinavian countries aren’t often at the top of peoples holiday wish list. They aren’t known as the ideal destinations for relaxing beach breaks, and most of us imagine cold climates, snow, and high winds. You might have also heard that Nordic countries like Iceland and Sweden can be very expensive.
These things are true. Stockholm and the other capital cities can be expensive, but only in the same ways that London is more expensive than the rest of the UK. Trips to Scandinavia don’t have to cost the earth, and there are plenty of ways to save money and still have a brilliant time. The weather may also be better than you might expect. The mountain tops might be snowy, but even if you visit in autumn time, the temperature in most cities might be quite mild and certainly not cold enough to hinder your trip.
In fact, there are countless wonderful reasons to visit Scandinavia or other Nordic countries. Whether you plan to visit just one or spend time exploring the whole Nordic region, taking in as much as you can, you are certain to have a brilliant time. Here is a look at just some of the reasons to consider Scandinavia for your next big trip.
Once in a Lifetime Natural Views
Have you ever dreamed of seeing the Northern Lights or wondered Where can you view the aurora borealis? Well, the best spots are usually around Scandinavian countries.
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee. People travel all over the region, spending a fortune in search of the famous lights. But, they are unpredictable. You might see them over a frozen lake in Finland. You might see them as you climb a range in Norway. You might not see them at all. It can be disappointing, but their unpredictability is a huge part of their allure.
As well as the Northern Lights, a trip to Scandinavia might also allow you to see the Polar Nights if you go north enough. This is when, in the Polar circle, it’s dark for 24 hours a day, for two to three months. You might also see Polar Sun, or Midnight Lights, which is the opposite when the sun doesn’t set for over 24 hours.
Everyone Speaks English
If you want to see a different culture and way of life, without having to worry about a language barrier, it’s ideal. Nearly everyone in Scandinavia speaks fluent English. Signs, menus and information panels are all in English, and it’s perfectly simple to get by with no language skills.
Fantastic Transport Links
Whether you plan on staying in one country or travelling all over the region, fantastic public transport links make it all cheap and easy. Take a train between Sweden and Denmark, easily crossing the Øresund bridge linking the cities of Copenhagen and Malmo in minutes, for a few Krona. You can also take the train into Germany quickly, and travel between and within the Nordic countries.
Buses and trains run cheaply and regularly all over the region, and when you reach your destination, the primary mode of transport in the cities is pushbike, so it really couldn’t be easier to get around.
Amazing Museums and Attractions
Every city in Denmark, Sweden and Norway are packed with museums, galleries, and aquariums. All accessible, cheap or free, and easy to get to, these museums are a hive of information on a massive range of different topics. Most, display information in English as well as their native language, and most accept Euros and any nordic currency, as well as their own. If you are looking for an aquarium, Den Blå Planet in Copenhagen is a must. Try to visit the ocean wall at feeding time for the ultimate sea show.
Scandinavian design is incredibly popular. There are Pinterest boards filled with it. Most homes have the odd design element or accessories inspired by neat, bright Scandinavian trends which inspire calmness and tranquility. Well, if you want to see more of it, to find inspiration for your own home or to bring some goodies back, it’s certainly worth a visit to Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Head to Illums Bolighus for a big department store filled with cool trends, or look for smaller, independent homeware shops for quirkier fashions.
For some reasons, these countries aren’t really known for their food outside of Ikea meatballs. But, there is so much more to Scandinavian cuisine than that. Seafood is huge, with most restaurants selling mussels and other fresh fish. Meatballs are of course readily available and homely classics like beef stews and steaks are all popular.
For something sweet, you can’t beat a Danish pastry, which in Denmark is actually known as wienerbrød or Vienna bread, for the Viennese recipes from which they originated. But, food in Scandinavia isn’t just local cuisine. Cities like Malmo are home to a vast collection of food from all over the world. These cosmopolitan cities like to try everything. Pizza, Asian food, Mexican, French, whatever you want, it’s available.
To Cash in on the Happy
Scandinavian countries are often listed at the top of happiest places on earth type polls. Higher wages, shorter workdays, longer holidays, less expensive childcare and traditional family values are often listed as the reasons for this happiness.
The Scandinavian way of life is different. Less focus is put on what you do or how much you earn. Being tired or stressed out isn’t a badge of honour like in other countries. A greater focus is put on spending time doing things that you enjoy. Being outdoors and with family.
Other reasons for high levels of happiness include less inequality between the rich and poor and between men and women. A higher level of education, and significantly less pollution, even in bigger cities.
A Family Friendly Break
If you need a family break, that’s not a dull week by a swimming pool or on a beach. This is perfect. Scandinavian countries are safe and secure. There is plenty for kids to do and see, and a great emphasis on family values.
So, no, Scandinavia will never be the top of your wish list if you want a relaxing beach break in a tropical climate. But, if you want a city break that gives you so much more, Sweden, Denmark and Norway should certainly be up there on your travel wish list.