Scandinavia’s rugged beauty, unique culture and warm, welcoming atmosphere make it a terrific tourist destination.
Now, the region’s tourist boards have joined forces to promote travel by creating a new organization, The Nordics.
Here’s a sample of what you can expect. In addition, many destinations in the region offer a chance to see the northern lights, a dazzling nighttime display.
Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, is home to the historic Tivoli Gardens amusement park, with its century-old wooden roller coaster. You can walk in the footsteps of royalty at Christiansborg Palace, now home to Denmark’s Parliament. Sixteenth-century Kronborg Castle, the inspiration for Elsinore in “Hamlet,” is a 45-minute train ride away.
The Faroe Islands is an archipelago in the North Atlantic that’s part of Denmark. There are several ways to explore this beautiful landscape of mountains and valleys, including kayaking, hiking, cycling and horseback riding. The islands are also a prime summertime breeding spot for more than a hundred species of birds.
Greenland, also part of Denmark, is another great destination for outdoor lovers, with opportunities for cycling, kayaking and mountain climbing. At Disko Bay, you can see huge icebergs that are one of the island’s most spectacular natural features. The bay is also home to several species of whales. In the wintertime, tours by dog sled are popular.
Finland is a country of contrasts, with colorful wooden houses that have been carefully preserved and stunning examples of modern architecture. You should indulge in the country’s national pastime — a trip to one of the many public saunas, where you can relax as you cleanse your mind and body. Helsinki, the capital, is home to an 18th-century sea fortress accessible by ferry.
Iceland’s rugged geography also beckons travelers who want to get close to nature. From Reykjavik, the lively capital, it’s easy to take a trip to the soothing waters of the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. There are more than 20 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises in Iceland’s waters, and one of the best places to spot them is the small northern town of Husavik.
Sweden has thousands of islands and lakes that you can explore by boat or kayak. Gotland is the largest island and its medieval city, Visby, is a gem. You’ll find ancient cobblestone streets and fortified city walls, along with modern restaurants, cafes and shops. In Stockholm, the capital, be sure to visit the 13th-century cathedral in the Old Town and the Nobel Museum, which tells the story of the Nobel Prizes.
In Norway, the Oslo region is home to a cutting-edge food scene, eclectic neighborhoods and outstanding museums. After years of planning, the country’s National Museum opened its doors this summer. You’ll find everything from Viking artifacts to modern furniture to one of the world’s most recognizable paintings, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”
An easy way to see many of these destinations in one vacation is with a cruise. For help navigating any travel plans, book your trip with JetSetGO.