25 Nov 5 Tips for Planning Your Scandinavian Holiday
If you’re planning a Scandinavian holiday, there are some tips to keep in mind to make the most of your trip. Here’s what you need to know.
Maybe you’re a fan of hygge, the Danish idea that’s been trending in North America for a couple of years now. You might want to explore deep fjords and forests. Or maybe you really love Swedish meatballs.
Whatever the reason, you’ve decided to book yourself a Scandinavian holiday. You’re not alone. Tourism numbers to these unique European destinations have been climbing for years now.
Before you book your tickets, though, you should check out these five handy planning tips. They could be the difference between an okay getaway and a trip you’ll never forget.
1. Decide When You Want to Go
First things first. When are you planning to go to Scandinavia? If you love skiing and want to hit the slopes, booking in July isn’t your best bet.
A winter adventure in Scandinavia can be exhilarating. You may see the aurora borealis or experience days with no sunrise. Activities like skiing are extremely popular in Sweden and Norway.
Summer is a better choice if you want to check out Scandinavian beaches. You may also get to take part in annual midsummer celebrations.
Do keep in mind that summer holidays could affect business opening times. Swedish summer holidays often last for five weeks!
You’ll also want to be sure to pack for the weather. If you’re traveling to the northern reaches of Norway or Sweden in the dead of winter, it’s best to bring your snow gear. Coastal regions don’t always get as much snow, as the waters of the Baltic keep winters more temperate.
Summers in Scandinavia tend not to get too hot. Stockholm is infamous for afternoon showers springing up, so invest in an umbrella.
2. Decide Where You Want to Go
When you want to go on a Nordic vacation may also depend on where you want to go. If you want to visit Finland’s famous ice hotel, you should plan travel to Finland in the winter.
If you want to see Viking longboats, Roskilde in Denmark is your top destination.
Don’t forget about smaller destinations. Stockholm, Oslo, and Copenhagen are must-sees. There are plenty of beautiful places to visit outside of them.
Iceland and the Faroe Islands also have their fair share of tourist hot spots. If you want to see a few different places, it’s a good idea to leave yourself plenty of time to get between them. Don’t feel you need to choose Norway or Sweden.
If you’re only staying for a week, try to pick destinations close to each other. Helsinki and Stockholm are an overnight ferry apart. The Oresund Bridge connects Denmark and Sweden.
3. Take in Culture on Your Scandinavian Holiday
The best Scandinavian vacations should leave you with a new appreciation of Scandinavian culture. You may want to discover historic sites, such as Gamla Uppsala or the Jelling Monument in Denmark. There are also castles and cathedrals to visit, often for a very low price.
If you’re headed to Iceland, then a stop at the Blue Lagoon is a must. All Scandinavian cultures love a good sauna, and what’s better than an outdoor hot spring?
Museums are another excellent opportunity to experience culture. The Scandinavian countries have a long history of seafaring. See Viking ships in Roskilde, then visit Vasa Museum in Stockholm to see a preserved 18th-century ship.
Finally, don’t forget to sample the cuisine. Scandinavian favorites include many fish dishes. If you’re particularly brave, taste-test pickled herring and Iceland’s famous fermented shark.
Lingonberries, meatballs, and seafood create plenty of options. The Scandinavians love their coffee, so stop at a café for an afternoon pick-me-up. You’ll blend right in with a cinnamon bun and a cup of joe.
4. Explore the Great Outdoors on Your Trip
A big part of Scandinavian culture is getting outside. It’s one of the reasons Nordic countries offer such robust summer vacation policies. People want to get outside and enjoy the summer sunshine.
In the winter, many people commute to work on skis! It’s not unusual to see people ski to the subway station as they make their way to the office. On weekends, many Norwegians and Swedes will head to ski resorts and hit the slopes.
Hiking is a year-round pastime, and the wild beauty of a country like Norway or Iceland is incomparable. If you love the wilderness adventure, then try Lapland. Norway’s Svalbard is about as remote as you can get.
Scandinavia is also home to some great beaches, so be sure to take a day-trip to Mälmo or Jutland. Bike tours are also popular.
If you want something a bit more sedate, you can try booking a walking tour or food tour. A boat-tour in Stockholm will take you around many major sites. The Iron Ore train line will take you across northern Norway and Sweden.
Not sure what kind of tour suits you best? You can read more tour options and discover one that fits best with your interests. There’s no shortage of choice.
5. Align With Popular Holidays
If it’s possible, you may want to align your trip with one of the Nordic holidays.
The most important celebration of the year is midsummer, which occurs in late June. This celebrates the longest days of the year. In some parts of Scandinavia, the sun doesn’t set at all.
The winter solstice, which occurs in December, is another major holiday. Midwinter celebrations coincide with Christmas, so you may be able to take part in a Scandinavian feast.
New Year’s Eve is another cause for celebration. Catch fireworks in Reykjavik, then party the night away as Iceland welcomes the new year.
Some holidays are more local, like Finland’s independence day, celebrated on July 6. May Day, or Walpurgis Night, isn’t an official holiday. It is still popular to celebrate.
Plan Your Dream Trip
With these tips, you’ll be able to make the most of your Scandinavian holiday.
If you’re looking for more travel inspiration, whether in Scandinavia or abroad, you’ll find plenty here. Check back often and satisfy your wanderlust.