1. Midnight Sun
You know the phrase “the sun never sets on the British Empire?” Well, it did. What they should say is the sun never sets on Scandinavia… in the summer. Doesn’t quite roll of the tongue, I know, but at least it’s true. And anyways, Secret Solstice in Iceland puts on Midnight Sun Boat Parties which are way more fun than colonisation.
2. Aurora Borealis to some, Northern Lights to others
Depending on your pretension levels, the mesmerising lights that dance in the sky that are only visible way up north are the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. But whatever you call it, Scandinavia is the only place in Europe you can see one of the most unique natural phenomena in the world. No bucket list is complete without it.
Even with a name that sounds like a cabinet from Ikea, Fjords are really Norway’s thing. An “elongated sea” (which I’d personally call a river) slithering through perilous cliffs is quite a dramatic site to behold and may induce some kind of David Attenborough explorations and revelations.
4. Pulpit Rock
Fjord’s are cool and all, but maybe you’re more into the cliffs that surround them? If so, Pulpit Rock is a must. Jutting over 600 metres above the Lysefjorden, get your fix of feeling like a Norse god while taking in the infinite vista.
Like I said before, seafood is a way of life in Scandinavia. There’s ocean everywhere in the region (maybe you got that already from the pictures so far), so what are they going to do, not eat what’s in it? And really, seafood is great. It’s good for you and is so tasty even vegetarians pretend they’re allowed to eat it.
6. Scandinavia has everything from rural utopias…
Small town Scandinavia is exactly what you’d expect: cozy fishing towns surrounded by rugged landscapes, filled with the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Basically the perfect escape from the rigours of city life. Check out G! Festival on the Faroe Islands to see what I’m talking about.
7. To picturesque fairy tale cities
Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki, Reykjavík and Stockholm are all world class cities, each with their own art scenes and traditions. Luckily, any trip to Scandinavia will be anchored around at least one of them.
8. Cool places to stay
Bet you didn’t think I meant that literally, but Sweden’s Icehotel started a trend of, well, hotels made of ice. But the famed Scandinavian design culture isn’t a one trick pony. Everything from tree houses to eco pods to converted ships are all available to make sure your trip up north is as unique as possible.
Doesn’t a spirit dating back to the 16th century made of fennel and dill sound appealing? No? Well I’d say buck up and try new things. You’re in a foreign land surrounded by people who are taller, prettier, smarter and nicer than you. Maybe they know something you don’t.
10. Reindeer Sledding
Few places on earth offer more ways to witness the Aurora Borealis than Norway and during the long winter nights this extraordinary phenomenon of coloured lights dancing across the dark sky occurs. Sighting of the Northern Lights is completely weather dependent but on this journey you are spending more than three nights above the Arctic Circle which means chances are very good. You are also introduced to the fascinating Sami people of northern Norway whose traditions include reindeer herding and fishing. Exhilarating sleigh rides through magical snow-covered terrain are a highlight as well as the little known Lofoten Islands which are a rare wilderness outpost of majestic landscapes, seabird colonies and surf-swept beaches.