From incredible fjords to seaside cities, there’s so much to see in Scandinavia. This region in Northern Europe most commonly refers to Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and some broader definitions include the Nordic countries of Finland and Iceland, too. Here are six things this diverse, beautiful region offers to travelers of all types.
The fjords | These dramatic, narrow inlets can be found in the western part of Norway—and made it on our must-see 2015 list. Whether you view them from the land or as you cruise by on the water, these fjords are a guaranteed glimpse of otherworldly natural beauty.
Natural phenomena | Scandinavia is a well-known spot for adventurers seeking views of the spectacular, shimmering Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights. Its location also means oddities at different times of the year. In the early summer months, the sun may be visible for 24 hours a day—and the opposite is true during the darker, polar nights of winter.
Viking history | The Vikings, who explored and invaded much of Europe from around 800 A.D. to 1100 A.D., originated in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. These seafaring warriors left a long legacy of traditions and stories and have a fascinating past to be discovered.
The museums | There are countless museums around Scandinavia that offer a look into each country’s unique history. Some of our favorites in Norway are the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, which offers a peek into Viking traditions and the famous longboats they took to battle, and the Flåm Railway Museum in Aurland.
Diverse cuisine | Due to its location, it’s not surprising that food from the sea makes up some of the most common Scandinavian fare. Smörgåsbord—which translates from Swedish into the words “sandwich” and “table”—refers to a buffet-style table set with a variety of pickled fish, bread, cheese and butter. It’s not all about traditional cuisine though; Copenhagen’s Noma was named the top restaurant in the world in 2014.
Unique architecture | Scandinavia is well-known for simple, functional design that reflects its forward-thinking mindset, but it’s paired with historic buildings throughout its capitals. Cities like Stockholm and Copenhagen boast an interesting mix of modern and medieval architecture.
What is most interesting about Scandinavia to you? Let us know in the comments below.