The Scandinavian countries have a shared linguistic and cultural heritage and with the exception of Denmark, they are home of some of the largest remaining tracts of true wilderness in Europe. Learn more about Scandinavian landscapes shaped by fire and ice.
Mainland Scandinavia’s landscape has been largely shaped by glaciation the last ice age and its immediate aftermath. The most obvious evidence are the lakes and fjords, but you’ll find examples of other glacial landforms all over the region.
In the High Coast of Sweden, for example, the land is still ricing at a rate of 8mm per year. This phenomenon is known as post-glacial rebound, which occurs because the land is no longer being forced down by the weight of ice. It will continue to rice until it reaches an equilibrium level. In this area alone the land has already risen 800 meters since the end of the last ice age.
There are, however, two different theories about the shaping of Scandinavian landscape. One theory states that the fjords in western Scandinavia are mainly formed by glaciers and ice sheets, while the relatively flat top of the Scandinavian mountain range (e.g. as can be seen in Hardanger Vidda, Dovre) was thought to have formed by eroding the 400 million years old Caledonian mountain range to sea level in Mesozoic times. As these flat surfaces are at present at elevations of 1-1.5 km, this was taken to indicate uplift to its modern elevation during the last 60 million years.
A completely different theory, presented in a geoscience article (2012) by Dr. Philippe Sitter, professor Ritske Huismans and collaborators at the Department of Earth Science, University of Bergen, shed new light to an old scientific controversy, assumeing that the high mountains in western Scandinavia/Norway have been there since about 400 million years, and were slowly eroded to their modern shape and elevation. In this latter theory, both the fjords and the high elevation flat morphology is thought to be formed by glaciers and ice sheets during the last 2.8 million years.
According to the authors, this controversy is to a large degree a result of insufficient data on the age of these different characteristic landscape features of the Scandinavian mountains, and highlights the difficulty in our ability to reconstruct the past.
Let’s, however, take a break from scientific dispute. When the short Scandinavian summer slowly is going to an end, we want to plan a trip or dreaming of a getaway somewhere to electrify the senses. Autumn and winter are magical seasons in Scandinavia, and we’ve picked some places that are sure to help you embrace the beauty of the colder season!
Sweden and Norway alone are so vast that it would be impossible to do the entire countries justice in a single article. The selected places here have been made just to give you, a potential visitor, a meaningful and satisfying taste of the different landscapes that both Sweden and Norway have to offer.
For the considerably smaller country of Denmark there is an obvious focus on a particular type of activity.
Scandinavian Landscapes Shaped by Fire and Ice, article continues below image.
1. The Lofoten archipelago, Norway
The Lofoten archipelago has distinctive scenery with dramatic mountains and peaks, open sea and sheltered bays, beaches and untouched lands. It’s a truly magical place to visit if you are looking for an unforgettable trip. There are two towns, Svolvær and Leknes – the latter is approximately 169 km (105 mi) north of the Arctic Circle and approximately 2,420 km (1,500 mi) away from the North Pole.
The best thing to see in Lofoten (click the image)
The visual sights are the main attraction, and the Northern Lights and Midnight Sun are just a few natural feats that will make a stay here something to remember! The archipelago experiences one of the world’s largest elevated temperature anomalies relative to its high latitude.
Don’t forget to try the fishing delicacies of the nearby villages and you can even stay in a traditional fisherman’s cabin!
The Lofoten Islands in Norway are a truly magical place to visit if you are looking for an unforgettable trip. A whole range of activities is available in a place where mountains, snow, water and beaches combine.
2. Skåne Countryside, Sweden
The southernmost county of Sweden, Skåne, is a unique destination offering a broad spectrum of experiences, from Malmö’s unique architecture to relaxing natural landscapes with large expanses of bright yellow rapeseed fields, enchanted beech tree forests and white sandy beaches.
Skåne has been voted the 9th place to go this year by the New York Times, describing it as ‘unadulterated coastline, mushroom-filled forests and red wooden houses’. If you like beautiful, peaceful surroundings with plenty of greenery and fresh delicacies to try, then rural Skåne is well worth a visit!
Learn more about idyllic places in Skåne (click the image):
3. Lake Siljan, Sweden
Siljan, in Dalarna in central Sweden, is Sweden’s seventh largest lake. Readers of Daily Scandinavian may have read about the Dalahorse and would know that the painted wooden horses originated from here!
Traditions aside, the area was actually made as the result of a huge meteor crash over 300 million years ago. Now it is truly a place of beauty, with plenty of winter activities to keep you busy! The surrounding area is ready for you to ski, hike, and even dogsled! The largest town on Lake Siljan’s shore is Mora, home of the famous Mora knife.
Learn more about Sweden’s folklore province (click the image)
4. Møns Klint, Denmark
Møns Klint is a 6 km stretch of limestone and chalk cliffs along the eastern coast of the Danish island of Møn in the Baltic Sea. It’s another haven for hikers, the cliffs are the highest in the country, and the trails lead to breathtaking views out to the Baltic Sea. The cliffs are said allow visitors to completely feel at peace, and at one with the landscape.
Some of the cliffs fall a sheer 120 m to the sea below. The highest cliff is Dronningestolen which is 128 m above sea level. The area around Møns Klint consists of woodlands, pastures, ponds and steep hills, including Aborrebjerg which, with a height of 143 m, is one of the highest points in Denmark.
It’s definitely on our list of places to visit!
Møns Klint is one of the top 5 camping places in Denmark. Learn more by clicking the image below:
5. Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway
The Atlantic Ocean Road connects Averøy with the mainland via a series of small islands and islets spanned by a total of eight bridges over 8274 meters. The road was opened in 1989 and is toll free. The Atlantic Road has National Tourist Route status and the entire stretch between Bud and Kristiansund is one continuous experience packed with coastal scenery, culture and history.
The road is not for the faint-hearted however, as the sea has a tendency to rear up and send spray in the path of unsuspecting drivers! We can’t fault the scenery itself, it’s sure to make the journey of a lifetime amongst some of the most beautiful islands and mountains in Scandinavia.
Learn more about exploring Norway by road by clicking on the image below:
Scandinavian Landscapes Shaped by Fire and Ice, compiled by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top) Norwegian mountains. Photo: Wikipedia