When most people take a holiday to Europe, they tend to visit popular destinations such as Paris, Rome, London, or Venice. However, little do they realize that there are hidden gems just north in the beautiful region of Scandinavia.
This nordic subregion of Europe may be chilly, but it’s surprisingly filled with endless cultural and historical spots, breathtaking landscapes, and must-see attractions.
Below, I will give you a list of the top seven destinations you don’t want to miss when visiting Scandinavia.
1. Ring Road, Iceland
Iceland, otherwise known as “the land of fire and ice,” is known for being one of the best Scandinavian countries. From massive glaciers to dangerous volcanoes, there’s always something to be amazed by.
For those who aren’t brave enough to get up close and personal with its territory, Iceland has created the fantastic Ring Road just for you.
This famous 821-mile long road is a perfect way for you to see Iceland while staying in the comfort of a vehicle.
If you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to take a detour to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, a magical place where you’ll find dramatic landscapes, waterfalls, arctic horses, and more.
You can also stop at Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa where you can take a dip in beautiful, hot, ice-blue waters.
2. Koli National Park, Finland
Voted best hiking area in Finland in 2013, Koli National Park is an ideal destination for those who love hiking and other outdoor activities.
At this park, you’ll find endless moss-covered trails, forested hills, waterfalls, and serene meadows where Finnish cows and sheep roam.
If you’re feeling up for a challenge, take a trip up to Ukko-Koli Hill to get the best view in all of Finland. The picture-perfect view 250 meters above sea level will be sure to wow your Instagram followers.
The park also offers skiing, cycling, canoeing, and a luxurious spa to help you recover after a long, adventurous day.
3. Råbjerg Mile, Denmark
This nature preserve in Skagen, Denmark, is truly a rare sight in Scandinavia. While most of the lands found in this region are primarily vast forests and rolling grassy hills, this desert-like place is covered in miles of sandy dunes.
Råbjerg Mile is a 300-year-old place with dunes up to 130 feet high. With over 250,000 visits per year, you can climb the magnificent, windy dunes and stay the night in an adorable wooden cottage.
While you travel to Scandinavia, don’t forget to visit the historic Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse located in Denmark. This lighthouse mostly likely won’t be there much longer due to the shifting sands and coastal erosion.
The church of Saint Lawrence of Rome, also known as the “sand-covered church,” is another historical place worth visiting while in the area.
4. Tromsø, Norway
If you’re looking to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, you’ll want to check out Tromsø in Norway. This city is known for being a cultural hub where artists claim their fame.
Many people enjoy visiting Tromsø near the end of January to attend their Northern Lights Festival, where you can experience everything from opera music to a silent disco.
Aside from seeing the spectacular Northern Lights and listening to music, this city offers a variety of fun activities such as beer tasting at pubs, whale watching, horseback riding, dog or reindeer sledding, and more.
5. Ice Hotel, Sweden
Who knew staying at a hotel would be a hot tourist destination. The Ice Hotel, located in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, is a common staple in any Scandinavian vacation package.
The Ice Hotel is a seasonal place made out of snow and sculpted with blocks of ice from Sweden’s own Torne River. You’ll be amazed when you step inside these igloo-like rooms sculpted by local artists.
This is not only a fun place to lodge, but its an art museum by itself with endless sculptures to be amazed by. Other attractive features include their spa, snowmobiling, reindeer that you can pet, dog sledding, and ice sculpting lessons.
6. Copenhagen, Denmark
The capital of Denmark is one of the most exciting Scandinavian cities. This historic playground has a never-ending list of things to do.
For starters, it has two of the world’s oldest amusement parks, the elegant Tivoli Gardens, and the Bakken Amusement Park, which still has wooden rides dating back to 1932.
You can also take a stroll down the historic Nyhavn canal where you’ll find old wooden ships and bright colored apartment-style buildings remodeled into quaint cafes and restaurants.
Read more here to learn about the best bars and clubs in Copenhagen.
7. Bergen, Norway
Last but not least is Bergen, the second-largest city in Norway and the perfect Scandinavian vacation destination.
This picturesque village is notorious for fishing, however there’s plenty more to do than listen to the local fishermen tell of legends.
Bergen is truly a nordic wonderland filled with colorful houses on cobblestone streets and seven scenic mountain views overlooking the city. There’s something to do for everyone, whether it be tasting local seafood, hiking in the woods, boating, or visiting an aquarium or museum.
Are You Sold On Visiting Scandinavia Now?
I hope this article has inspired you to visit the unique, nordic places throughout the Scandinavian region.
Whether you’re looking to do something adventurous or simply just kick back and enjoy the breathtaking landscapes, you’ll be sure to find something to do while visiting Scandinavia.
For more articles like this, check out my blog where you can find the best places to visit in any and every continent.