9 Reasons to Visit Scandinavia in the Fall


With the strongest exchange rates to Danish, Norwegian and Swedish kroner in nearly a decade, airfare prices dipping, and crowds thinning out for the fall, fall is the best time to visit Scandinavia for both huge savings and the opportunity to take things in at a more luxurious rate.   

Best Exchange Rates In Years
Foreign visitors looking to visit Scandinavia this fall are sitting pretty right now. It’s been nearly a decade since foreign currencies have been so strong against kroner, and all signs point to continued parity through at least the end of the year.

Use this opportunity to visit the three Scandinavian capitals, Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm.
Less Demand Drives Down Fares
It’s basic economics, really: higher demand translates to higher rates and lower demand leads to lower rates. Thus, flights to Scandinavia during the summer high season are very expensive; fall flights, when the demand is lower, are less expensive.

Copenhagen Airport
Copenhagen Airport

For travel to Scandinavia, the sweet spots for airfare savings are just before and just after summer when you stand to see savings of 50 percent off the peak-season prices. We spotted, for example, two round-trip fares between Boston and Copenhagen this fall for about $800 total, taxes and fees included. In July, you couldn’t have purchased one fare at that price, let alone two.

Savings At Accommodations
Airlines and cruise lines have an advantage over hotels: Rooms can’t be relocated to wherever the demand is highest. Rooms either go for significantly reduced rates or they go empty. Lower demand leads to higher risk of vacancies, which leads to a higher opportunity for you to nab cheaper rates.

First Hotels - Grims Grenka, Oslo
First Hotels – Grims Grenka, Oslo

Room prices are negotiable. Brush up on your courage and haggling skills and you stand to save huge sums, especially during non-peak times. If you’ve already prepaid for your stay but find the hotel quite vacant when you arrive, negotiate for a room upgrade.

Shops and restaurants are open – while many are closed during summer season
Shoulder season in Scandinavia is in fact more welcoming to travelers as is the busy summer window, especially in major Scandinavian cities. The only exceptions to this rule are the countryside and remote smaller towns with few year-round visitors.


Sparse Crowds
Those who’ve attempted to climb the Norwegian mountains, tour the canals of Copenhagen or marvel at the Subway art collections in Stockholm during peak season can attest to this: The swarms of aggressive tourists at these popular sites can all but ruin the iconic monuments you traveled so far to visit. Sparse crowds translate to shorter lines and less frustration.


Richer Experiences
Everyone, including locals, feels less rushed in the off season. Local tour guides will have more time to field your questions; shop keepers will have ample time to recommend their best wares or their favorite local restaurant; wait staff will have time to describe the finer ingredients in a dish. The chef will make the rounds to greet his patrons.

Relaxing in Old Town, Stockholm
Relaxing in Old Town, Stockholm

Dining Is More Affordable
As the crowds thin out, restaurateurs increase incentives to drive customers through their doors. For the shoulder-season traveler, this translates to an increased number of happy hours, two-for-ones, and other dining specials. Take advantage of these savings by upgrading your palette and trying typically costlier items on the menu.

And that months-long waitlist at the world-class restaurant? Just as exclusive and delicious, yet suddenly with an available table.

Mind Your Specific Destination
If you’re the type of traveler who prefers longer days for sightseeing and decent weather, select your destination wisely. Traditionally, destinations that geographically sit further north are colder. For example, this October expect average temperatures of 46 degrees Fahrenheit and 8 percent chance of sunny days in Stockholm.

Sure, the weather may not be as sunny as summer, but with the fewer daylight hours also comes foliage season and its bounty of color. As with most things in life, shoulder-season travel is about your perspective: glass half full or empty.

9 Reasons to Visit Scandinavia in the Fall, written by Tor Kjolberg

Feature image (on top) Autumn in Lom, Western Norway