Fjords, Vikings, reindeer, colorful fishing villages, northern lights, maybe a stave church, that is the images many travelers already may have of Scandinavia. But with the help of Daily Scandinavian you can be introduced to a few things you may not know.
Scandinavia has a lot to offer. Enjoy these snapshots of Scandinavia.
Scandinavia is a hands-on place, filled with active people, and travel there is all about experiences. More than half the residents of Copenhagen, for example, bike to work. Travel agencies having clients going to Scandinavia will have no trouble helping them to rent a bike, skis, kayaks, even a yacht with the help of Daily Scandinavian and its partners. We will personally help you arrange for them to canoe mountain waters, hike by midnight sun, climb a mountain, go whitewater rafting, go off-piste skiing or mountain biking, take a snowmobile safari or dogsled across frozen tundra.
In Northern Norway and northern Sweden, wildlife enthusiasts can meet and photograph bears in the wild. We have a dozen full of pre-planned itineraries especially designed to inspire travel agents, with themes covering every interest, including culinary, design, Viking heritage, island hopping, cycling, castles and Christmas. We are even planning an email course on Visiting Scandinavia.
Speaking of Christmas, don’t forget that Scandinavia has some of Europe’s best Christmas markets. Norway has a special relationship with Christmas, with Santa himself living at the North Pole
New Museums and Attractions
The Swedish band ABBA now has a state-of-the-art interactive Stockholm museum, where fans can sing and dance with ABBA holograms and record a song (www.abbathemuseum.com). Spritmuseum features alcoholic drinks, and along with exhibits and a tasting room, includes the Absolut Art Collection of works by modern greats, including Andy Warhol (http://spritmuseum.se/en/). Also in Stockholm, the new Fotografiska showcases the best international contemporary photography (http://en.fotografiska.eu).
Following close on Oslo’s recent opening of Renzo Piano-designed Astrup Fearnley Museum and the new harbor art district is Ekebergparken Sculpture Park, an outdoor collection with 30 works already in place. The artistic spectrum ranges from classical masters such as Rodin to Salvador Dali’s surrealism, to modern and contemporary styles (www.ekebergparken.com/en). Den Blå Planet is Denmark’s new national aquarium, with striking architecture that allows 360-degree viewing, and a new Maritime Museum has opened in Elsinore, next to Hamlet’s Castle.
See it by Sea
Along with what’s new, your clients will want to savor the favorite icons; none says Scandinavia like Norway’s historic Hurtigruten (www.hurtigruten.us), the ships that for 120 years have popped in and out of 34 towns along the fjord-cut coast each day. Part cruise, part scenic spectacular, part cultural immersion and all great fun, this journey is on every traveler’s bucket list. Each season brings different views and experiences, from summer’s midnight sun to winter’s northern lights.
You’ll find a lot more boat experiences for your clients. Regular ferries shuttle from Oslo’s harbor across to the museums of Bygdøy, even to Denmark and Germany. Boats weave among the islands of Oslo and Stockholm’s archipelago, and a century-old ship carries passengers along the Gota Canal between Stockholm and Goteborg. This is Sweden’s second largest city, on the west coast, a center for water play from crayfish or mussel gathering cruises to week-long kayak trips in the archipelago.
Clients can even stay at a floating hotel, Salt & Sill, on the small island of Klädesholmen (www.taberhols.co.uk), or relax after a shrimp safari in Gullmarsfjorden fjord, at the Vann Spa and Hotel (www.vann.se).
In Copenhagen it’s the reopening of grand dame D’Angleterre Hotel after the most ambitious hotel restoration in Danish history upgraded rooms and added a luxury spa and Balthazar champagne bar (www.dangleterre.com). The 5-star Kokkedal Castle Copenhagen has opened north of the city, a stately manor house transformed into a contemporary hotel with a restaurant, spa and meeting rooms. The castle experience is retained, with formal invitations instead of booking confirmations, and hosts replacing a reception desk (www.kokkedalslotcopenhagen.dk). Hotel SP34 opened this April, targeting “luxury Bohemian” business and leisure travelers with 118 rooms and a conference center (www.brochner-hotels.dk/our-hotels/sp34).
Oslo’s THE THIEF wows with a swanky new spa experience that targets men as well as women. The city’s largest spa, it features a pool, sauna, steam room, Oslo’s first hamam and a full gym (www.designhotels.com/hotels/norway/oslo/the-thief). THE address in Oslo, though, is Europe’s winner of this year’s World Luxury Hotel Awards, the elegant Grand Hotel, known for its opulent suites, the open-faced sandwiches served in The Grand Café and the Royal Guard parading past its door each day. Your female clients will especially like the dedicated Ladies Floor, Europe’s first (http://grand.no/en). On Norway’s west coast, Rica opened a new hotel this spring in the center of Bergen, the city’s largest with 370 rooms and modern conference facilities (www.rica.no/bergen).
Gothenburg will soon have Europe’s largest fully-integrated hotel, exhibition and conference facility, with the new tower added to the Hotel Gothia Towers. After completion the end of 2014, the three towers will have 1,200 rooms (www.gothiatowers.com). And, of course, new each winter is Sweden’s ICEHOTEL, 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle and built entirely of crystal-clear ice (www.icehotel.com).