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Why Scandinavia is more than just a winter destination

Written by
Emma Schofield

The regions of Denmark, Norway and Sweden are often synonymous with snow, Lapland and the northern lights. Thanks to the striking, varied landscapes, long days and unique events, Scandinavia is more than just a winter destination. These are just a few reasons why you should make it your place to head to for the summer!

Watch an outdoor concert
Go hiking in the countryside
Sail through the fjords
Long days and midsummer celebrations

Thanks to its position in the northern hemisphere, the Scandinavian countries receive an average of 18 hours’ daylight in the summer months. Make the most of the long days and warmer weather with plenty of outdoor activities. If you’re there for midsummer, be sure to take part in one of the many magical solstice celebrations, from giant bonfires and plentiful feasts to wildflower picking and traditional dances. The next most popular celebration after Christmas, Scandinavia takes midsummer seriously; Sweden even enjoys the day as a bank holiday.

The Swedish midnight sun
Plenty of coastline

Denmark has 4500 miles of coastline, Sweden 2000, and Norway boasts one of the longest coastlines in the world: 63,000 miles! That’s enough to go round the world more than twice… so there’s not excuse not to take part in one of the endless hiking, diving or exploration opportunities. For the very fit and ambitious, hike to the top of Bremanger – Europe’s highest sea cliff. If heights aren’t your thing, get below the surface to seek ancient sunken shipwrecks and the sealife that now thrives in and around them.

Cities come alive

While in winter the cities (except for locals and a few brave tourists) are unnaturally quiet, summer in Scandinavian cities such as Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm is the polar opposite. The side streets are perfectly lined with an endless stream of welcoming tables and chairs, enticing you to stop and enjoy a coffee and conversation; the parks are filled with captivating outdoor concerts and festivals that go on into the night; and the canals buzz with the sound of boats chugging down the waterways.

Aerial view of the Alesund city at twilight, Norway
Lush green fjords

While in the colder months the skyline of the fjord regions are lined with a thick white layer of snow, in the warmer months, the environment comes alive with colour. Where there was once craggy grey rocks now stands grassy mountains, contrasted against the sparkling blue of the water, creating a mesmerising landscape. Hop aboard a kayak or small cruise boat for a serene sail through the fjords to admire them from below.

Endless winding roads

One of the best parts of summer is being able to drive along with the windows open, allowing the warm, gentle wind to breeze through the car. Thanks to Scandinavia’s endless coastline, it also has plenty of roadways winding through the striking scenery – perfectly designed for an epic road trip. Stop off for picnics and photo opportunities along the way as you absorb the fresh air or make like the Scandis and get on a bike to cycle through the flourishing countryside. Denmark’s gently rolling hills are best for an easy cycle, or for a tough challenge, make your way through Norway’s mountainous regions.

Archipelagos everywhere

Forget Greece and Croatia – Sweden is home to 267, 470 islands, the most out of any country in the world. Its capital, Stockholm, is home to over 30,000 islands alone so make time to explore this vibrant and fascinating city on foot or by boat at your own leisure. For deeper insight into the city’s island life, venture out with a guide who can teach you about local traditions. Norway contains over 50,000 islands, many of which spread far into the Arctic Circle, and Denmark is lucky enough to call the beautiful Faroe Islands part of its country.

Aerial view of Stockholm

If you'd like to explore Scandinavia in the summer, get in touch with one of our travel designers who can put together your perfect trip.

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Summer in the Norwegian Fjords

Visit the Norwegian Fjords in the summer and you’ll be treated to beautiful skies, glowing green hills, lush forests and vibrant cities waiting to be explored. This action-packed trip will introduce you to the beauty of Norway’s countryside and rich culture and history.

Begin with two nights in Bergen, spending your days discovering some of the city’s highlights like Edvard Grieg’s summer house and taking a trip on the funicular up to the top of Mount Fløyen. Spend some time in the breathtakingly beautiful Hardanger with its thundering waterfalls and snow-capped mountains. Then take a private walk along Folgefonna glacier. Then you’ll take a cruise along the fjord to Flåm where you will enjoy a cultural culinary farm experience.

The next part of your trip sees you heading for Solvorn where you will take a tour of the historic Urnes Stave Church and going on a walk in Jotunheimen National Park. Then it’s on to Hjorundfjord with a stop for photographs at the Bøyabreen glacier and a visit to a handicraft centre and the Nordfjord Folk Museum. Once you reach Hjorundfjord you will get to go out on a fishing tour.

From there, you will journey to the picturesque city of Ålesund, with its art nouveau buildings and quaint streets. Your guide will show you around the city and point out some of its most popular features, like the Jungend Museum and the aquarium. You can also go on a wildlife sea safari to see the bird cliffs at Runde, or take a guided hike or kayak tour.

Your final part of your adventure will take you to the bustling city of Oslo. Visit the fascinating Viking Ship Museum, wander through the Vigeland Sculpture Park and learn about Norway’s culture at the Bygdøy Folk Museum. There is so much to see and do, it’s the perfect way to bring your trip to a close.

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Copenhagen and the Faroe Islands

Experience the best of life in Copenhagen and the Faroe Islands on this luxury tour in the company of private guides. From big cities, the charming seaside villages and breath-taking scenery, we’ll unlock the secrets of this beautiful part of the world for you.

You’ll begin with a walking tour of Copenhagen, taking in the oldest part of town and visiting Christianborg Palace. Board a boat and discover Copenhagen’s more contemporary face as you slip through canals past some of the cities most notable sights. Art enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the Design Museum and a variety of design shops specialising in both modern and vintage works. You’ll also get to spend some time admiring the permanent collection at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Then explore the setting of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet – Kronborg Castle. In addition to its literary fame, it has played an important role in the history of northern Europe.

From Copenhagen you’ll head over to the Faroe Islands where you will discover one of the world’s smallest capitals, Tórshavn, before spending the next few days exploring the surrounding islands and villages. Travel back in time in Bøur, a small viking village, where your guide will share stories of the past with you. You will also spend a fair amount of time on the water, going fishing for your lunch and dinner and even visiting a grotto where a musician will perform for you.

In Kirkjubøur you will see possibly the oldest inhabited house in Europe as well as the ruins of St Magnus Cathedral. Then head on over to Okkara Brewery for a behind-the-scenes look at how their beer is made, and taste it as well. As you take a short hike in Klaksvik your guide will encourage you to contemplate happiness and stress, and a visit to Gjógv will give you the chance to climb the highest mountain in the Faroe Islands.

As you trip begins to draw to a close, take a cruise past the bird cliffs near Vestmanna, and enjoy an enlightening meal at Michelin-starred KOKS. Then spend one final night in Copenhagen before heading home.

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