Scandinavia blog

When it comes to holidays, Scandinavia and the Nordic countries are literally brimming with possibilities. Maybe you want to go in search of the Northern Lights? Perhaps a city break appeals, or you want to explore Norway’s beautiful fjord region? If you are undecided about your next destination, or what to do and see, our handy A-Z guide might just help.

A is for Arctic – This fascinating polar region spans across eight countries, including Norway, Sweden, Finland and the small offshore Icelandic island of Grimsey. Now more accessible than ever, you have the opportunity to visit any time of the year.

B is for Bergen – Norway’s second largest city is a treat to behold. Bryggen, the Hanseatic wharf is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list and harbours don’t come any more beautiful than this.

C is for Copenhagen – Home to the world-famous Tivoli Gardens amusement park, the Danish capital offers fun for young and old. Discover the city by water or join the locals and jump on a bike to explore on two wheels.

Dog sledding

D is for Dog Sledding – A must for anyone visiting lapland during the winter months. This popular activity will leave you totally exhilarated as you fly across the Arctic tundra transported by a pack of excitable huskies.

E is for Eyjafjallajokull – Yes ok you may not be able to pronounce it, but you surely can’t forget the trouble that this volcano caused back in 2010! It’s now home to a very special visitor centre treating guests to a look back at that very memorable eruption.

F is for Fjords – Arguably Scandinavia’s most iconic landscape, the stunning Norwegian fjords need no introduction. A mere two-hour flight from the UK, suffice to say they should be on everybody’s bucket list.

G is for Greenland – Widely tipped as a popular travel spot for 2017, Greenland is a revelation. This beautiful and rugged land is famous for its icebergs but also the traditional Inuit settlements found throughout the country.

H is for Hygge – This is a word you’ve no doubt heard a lot of over the past few months. The Danish concept of living well loosely translates as feeling contented, enjoying the good things in life with good people around you. Not a bad mantra to live by!

I is for ice – And plenty of it! From glaciers and icebergs to hotels made of the stuff. There’s no escaping it.

Jokulsarlon

J is for Jökulsárlon – One of our favourite spots in Iceland, the Jökulsárlon Glacial Lagoon is also one of the most visited. Formed naturally from melted glacial water coming from the Vatnajökull Glacier, the lagoon is growing larger all the time. Connected to the sea, chunks of ice slowly drift out and are washed up at the nearby black volcanic beach making them sparkle like diamonds. Remember your camera!

K is for King Crab – Found in the waters around Kirkenes in Northern Norway, King Crab fishing is a popular tourist activity. King Crab can be found on menus throughout Norway and indeed some of the finest restaurants in the world.  Fancy giving it a try?

L is for Lofoten – This beautiful Arctic archipelago has inspired poets and artists for centuries. With jagged mountains and peaks providing the perfect backdrop to isolated beaches and small fishing communities, it isn’t at all hard to imagine why.

M is for Midnight Sun – We love the endless days during the summer months above the Arctic Circle. With so much extra time to enjoy the landscape and activities, who needs sleep!

Northern Light Hunt from Alta

N is for Northern Lights – Having risen in popularity over the past decade, nearly everyone you speak to nowadays wants to see the Northern Lights. Who can blame them when nature’s very own light show is so utterly captivating? Travel north of the Arctic Circle between November and March for the best chance to see them.

O is for Opera House Oslo – This magnificent piece of architecture sits proudly at the head of the Oslofjord reflecting all of nature. Designed by Snøhetta, the opera house was opened in 2008 and is a popular stop for tourists who can enjoy a walk upon its roof.

P is for Polar Bear – King of the Arctic, the mighty polar bear, can be found in Svalbard, located half way between Norway and the North Pole.  This remote archipelago is also known for other wildlife including walruses, arctic foxes and puffins.

Q is for Questions, so many questions… Give us a call and we will be happy to help.

Reindeer, Sweden

R is for Reindeer – These magnificent creatures wander freely in northern parts of Scandinavia and it’s highly likely you will encounter some on your visit. Herded by the Sámi, they are synonymous with Scandinavia.

S is for Sámi – The indigenous people of the north. The Sámi have a unique way of life, with their own language and parliament and have a culture of reindeer herding. They also have a traditional form of song called joik which is one of the longest-living music traditions in Europe.

T is for Trollstigen – With 11 hairpin bends following a steep mountainside, this spectacular road makes for an incredible drive. Translated as The Trolls Ladder, Trollstigen is in the fjord region and is a designated national tourist route. It is usually open from mid-May to October but this may vary depending on weather conditions.

ICEHOTEL, Swedish Lapland

U is for Unique accommodation – Fancy spending the night among the branches of Sweden’s Treehotel? How about on a bed made of ice at the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel in Norway?  Both of these guarantee a night you won’t forget and are possible on a tour with us.

V is for Vikings – No A-Z of Scandinavia can be complete without mentioning these Nordic seafarers. Two of the best Viking museums can be found in Oslo and Roskilde where you can get up close to ancient longboats and Lofoten is home to the largest Viking longhouse ever found.  The building is 83m long and has been reconstructed into a living museum.

Dettifoss waterfall in Iceland

W is for waterfalls – Wherever you travel in Scandinavia you are never far from a waterfall. The UNESCO-listed Geirangerford is famed for its ‘Seven Sisters’ – seven waterfalls in a row – and Iceland is home to Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful.

X is for Kisses – Scandinavia will steal your heart for sure, just like she stole ours many moons ago.

Y is for Ystad – Famous as the setting for crime drama Wallander, this town in southern Sweden is home to cobbled streets and half-timber houses. With 40km of sandy beaches and gorgeous Skåne countryside on its doorstep, it’s the perfect base for a summer break.

Z is for Zander K – Opening next month, Bergen’s newest boutique hotel is the epitome of Scandinavian design. Located next to the city’s bus and train terminal, it makes it ideal to explore the city as well as reach further out into the fjords.

Still struggling to make up your mind? Take a look at our range of tours here… www.scandinaviaonly.co.uk.