Scandinavia Tours and Travel Guide
Scandinavia Attractions & Landmarks Guide
Encompassing the lands of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland, Scandinavia is known for beautiful scenery and beautiful design. Lovely locals and a blend of traditional culture and innovation have led to some of the coolest cities around.
Fashion-forward and cutting-edge, Copenhagen, Stockholm and the like remain remarkably approachable and charming thanks to neighborhoods with grand palaces and cobblestone streets, and a workmanlike but immensely pleasant approach to life.
There's also a frequent dose of whimsy and wit in Scandinavia. Travel outside of the cities and the landscapes are jaw dropping - from glacier to fjord to a veritable winter wonderland. Scandinavia offers something to please every sort of traveler.
About Scandinavia Travel
A place of jaw-dropping beauty, endless history, celestial phenomenons, and stunning attractions makes Scandinavia any travelers perfect getaway. Adventure seekers, luxury travelers, history buffs, and naturalists alike will find that scandinavia has so much to offer. Not only do tourists flock to it, but according to the World Happiness Report, those who live there are known to be the happiest people in the world.
Scandinavian art influenced the social and political landscape greatly. In the 1950s Scandinavian design, minimalistic with its simple lines and functionality, became known. It has become extremely popular worldwide.Their love for nature is intertwined with the furnitures design displaying wood floors and finishes, live plants, and neutral colors. If you've ever shopped at Ikea you can get a good sense of the minimalistic art that has swept the nation.
Scandinavians are big on their legends and mythology. The Scandinavian folklore represents the entirety of myths, traditions, customs, fables, and superstitions which originate from the Norse mythology and are shared by the countries of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands.
While visiting a museum in Sweden or listening to a tour guide you may hear of the mythical creatures such as dwarves, trolls, the elves, the hulder, the nokken, and the mare. While some may be more hesitant to believe, one thing is for sure; the fairy tale like men that plundered and pillaged by sea on dragonships known as the Vikings were very real and Scandinavia can teach you all about them.
You may want to consider spending a day watching or even participating in one of the strange sports Scandinavia has to offer. Sports like underwater rugby, wife carrying (men carrying their wives around town doing obstacle courses) in Finland, bandy (a common ball game with the rules of football and hockey combined), betting on reindeer races, and ice yacht races are some unusual yet very entertaining sports they participate in. Of course, skiing, a very popular sport in Norway that can be done all year round is a staplesport in Scandinavia.
While the countries of Scandinavia differ in many ways, they do have some common cultural, geophysical and historical background.
Five Great Countries of Scandinavia
Sweden takes up the largest part of the Scandinavian Peninsula. It came from a history of poverty and developed into an advanced economic state with a standard of living and life expectancy that ranks one of the best in the world.
Sweden is comprised of thousands of coastal islands and lakes, along with lush forests and glaciated mountains. Sweden's main cities are eastern capital Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. It is is the fourth largest country in Europe, but even in a large city like Stockholm, a city spread over 14 islands, you can easily escape to the shoreline, a lovely park or even hop on a ferry to a resort island in the Stockholm Archipelago.
Viking history has deep roots in Sweden. Around 700 A.D. Scandinavian ship builders had perfected the viking ship which they used to conquer by sea. You can visit one of these ships if you take a trip to the Swedish city, Birka. You can also visit the Vasa, the most powerfully armed warship that sank within 20 minutes of its first journey. The ship is on display at Stockholm’s Vasa Museum where you can learn more about this embarrassing mishap and see the ship in its true beauty.
Sweden loves its music! It has produced big time artists like Abba and Swedish House Mafia. You can visit the ABBA City Walk in Stockholms Stadsmuseum and visit ABBA The Museum in the Djurgården area of the city. It is the third biggest exporter of music following the US and UK. If you plan on visiting in summer, there are many Swedish music festivals you can choose to attend.
Also known as the “Land of a Thousand Lakes”, Finland has 188,000 lakes and has the most water in relation to land mass of all countries in the world. Perfect for hiking, two thirds of Finland is covered by woodlands, making it the most forested country in Europe.
Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is one of the most amazing food scenes in Europe. Market stalls overflow with seasonal produce and local delicacies. Most dishes contain potatoes and bread is a part of every meal. For a gastronomic experience, you will want to try a Finnish banquet. Beginning with a fish course such as salted herring followed by meat such as reindeer served by a salad, cheese and possibly a meat or vegetable side dishes. Desserts are usually made from cooked berries or fresh with a warm sauce.
A popular leisure activity in Finland is relaxing in a sauna. There are around 2 million saunas for a population of less than 6 million. There are even International sauna championships held each year to see who can last the longest in the hottest temperatures
It is also the safest place in the world. People feel safe walking alone anywhere at any time of day here. According to a readers digest, 11 out of 12 wallets that were purposely left around Helsinki were returned. Try doing that in Los Angeles.
Finland also has the cleanest tap water in the world and cleanest air in Europe. Finland took the number one spot for being the happiest place in the world. Wouldn’t you love to go and see for yourself why it won that title?
What was once a land run by ruthless vikings has become one of the most peaceful communities in the world. Their present day market economy has advanced to becoming world-leading in pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, maritime shipping, and a high-tech agricultural sector with fair distribution of income. It also has one of the world's oldest monarchies.
If you plan on visiting Denmark you will hear the word Hygge, pronounced “hoo-ga”, used by locals. Hygge is a way of living well each day and living in the moment. It is a feeling of cozy contentment and enjoying the simple things in life. At its core, hygge is about building trust and intimacy with others. It's one of the reasons Denmark was ranked so high on the happiest countries list.
Public transport is very efficient. Most people ride bikes, which is one of the best ways to enjoy the city, even the royal family transport their children on bikes when they go to school in the mornings. The country is so beautiful it's no wonder people want to be outdoors riding a bike. Others who choose not to ride use metro, bus, train, taxi and car. It only takes 15 minutes to travel from the airport to the city center by metro, and trains run 24 hours a day.
Norway is the northernmost, easternmost and westernmost of the three Scandinavian countries. Nearly 70% of Norway is uninhabitable and covered by mountains, glaciers, moors, and rivers.
Much like Finland, Norway is a very safe place to visit. According to OSAC U.S. Department of State, Norway has a low level of crime in comparison to the U.S. and Western European countries. The Norwegian police force has made headlines in major publications, like The Washington Post, for seldom having to fire their guns. A report from 2014 showed that Norwegian police had only fired their guns twice that whole year, and the bullets didn’t even hit anyone. This is one of the reasons why Norway ranks so high on the Happiest Places list.
People come here to experience the midnight sun, a 24 hour day that leaves much time for attractions and exploring. While exploring many are able to spot polar bears. They won't be roaming the streets, but if you take a guided tour or a boat ride you might be able to see one in their natural habitat.
If you're in Norway you must try the salmon. Many consider it to be the best and freshest tasting in the world. In fact, the salmon is so good that it was the Norwegians who introduced salmon sushi to the Japanese back in the ‘80s!
There is much debate on whether Iceland is a part of Scandinavia or not. Many say that Icelandic culture, history, and language is too closely tied to that of Scandinavia for it not to be Scandinavian. The Icelandic language belongs to the same linguistic family as Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish. Therefore, you will discover that many connect Scandinavia to Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland.
Others who believe Iceland is not part of Scandinavia say that it is listed amongst the Nordic countries whereas Scandinavia is specifically the peninsula. The problem with this is that geographically speaking, the Scandinavian peninsula is the area shared by Sweden, Norway, and part of Finland. This concept can be extremely confusing and even the Europeans themselves have not come to a set meaning of “Scandinavian” and “Nordic”.
Iceland is a place of extreme geological contrasts. The striking landscape consists of volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, glaciers, and lava fields. Known as “The Land of Fire and Ice, Iceland has some of the largest glaciers in Europe, and is home to the world’s most active volcanoes.
Equality and freedom are at the top of the totem pole in Iceland. The country ranks extremely high for measurements of quality of life, gender equality, and democracy. It is also one of the highest ranked countries in the world for education, health care, and internet availability.
The history of Iceland is filled with violent viking blood feuds and family traditions. Icelandic authors write tales of their culture in books and more books per capita are published here than any other country in the world.
Must Try Scandinavian Foods
If you love to eat fish then Scandinavia is the place for you. Fish is a staple food in Scandinavia, so many dishes will contain it. For example, Gravlax which is raw slices of salmon cured with sugar and salt served with sweet mustard sauce or creamed potatoes with dill. Pickled and fried herring is also very popular.
If you're not a fan of seafood then there are many meat options. Raggmunk, which is fried swedish potato pancakes served with pork and lingonberries is a tasty delicacy. Smoked reindeer meat known as Souvas is a popular nordic tradition. Smorrebrod is a traditional Danish dish that consists of rye bread topped with liver patė, bacon and deep fried onions. If you visit Sweden, no matter where you are you will find swedish meatballs on the menu.
Many animals have come to call Scandinavia home. Reindeer are abundant and can be found in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. The tundra wolf, polar bear, brown bear, moose, arctic fox, and even the elusive wolverine reside in Scandinavia. If you're taking a tour on the water you may spot whales, seals, and the white tailed sea eagle.
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