It’s safe to bet that Scandinavia has always been a tempting destination to discover. Once this mighty Northern region was home to the Vikings, whose warriors departed its shores on raids and trades to the faraway places of the world from the Caspian Sea to North Africa and from Vinland to Bjarmaland. It was the mighty Vikings who shaped Scandinavia the most and gave us the land we know today. Explore the Top 5 Travel Itineraries to Explore – the Allure of the Northern Region
Having visited Scandinavia, one will be certain that Vikings had an excellent taste for landscapes as the region boasts some of the most beautiful natural sceneries (and phenomena) in the world. And despite harsh winters and the drastically changing number of daylight hours throughout the year, people here live comfortable and delighted. Scandinavian countries quite often appear on lists of the top happiest countries in the world. And nowadays, the region is an alluring destination for everyone who is eager to enjoy splendid landscapes, unique cosmopolitan cities, and to appreciate the beauty of the fjords.
Explore Scandinavian Fjords
The unique and stunning fjords are one of the main attractions in the entire Scandinavia. Uncanny in winter, colorful and bloomy in spring, majestic in summer, and scenic all year around, these long and deep valleys are a must-see for every Scandinavia traveler. The Sognefjord, the main fjord in Norway, and its branch, the narrow Naerofjord, are both included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Did you know that fjords were created during the Ice Age? As the climate changed, most of the ice melted, and deep valleys, carved by the ice and rivers, were filled with saltwater. At the same time, some of the ice stayed unmelted, the high mountain areas partially left covered with ice, in such a way forging the glaciers. Scandinavia’s longest fjord, the Sognefjord, has many dramatic branches, such as the Naeroyfjord, the Fjaerlandsfjord, the Aurlandsfjord, and the Lusterfjord. And each and every one of them promises incredible views and plenty of fantastic photo opportunities, so make sure to explore at least one (but better all of them) during your Scandinavia tour.
Interestingly, the western fjord areas boast a perfect climate for fruit growing. Late spring here promises the most breathtaking fruit blossom you’ve ever seen. Bright and clear summers make various berries such as strawberries, raspberries, and cherries super tasty.
Considering all that, you can easily see why exploring fjords is a hot activity for elder adventurers as Scandinavian tours for senior travelers include only major attractions, do not require a lot of walking, and cruises are extremely popular and comfortable way to discover the best of Scandinavian fjords.
Besides amazing fjords, Norway has other aces up its sleeve. Troms region in the north, Alesund on the west coast, and captivating small mountainous villages like Flam – the entire country is a pure treasure chest of places that should be seen by every explorer. Besides, it’s always better to discover every corner of 1 region and return for more on your next vacation than blaze through the whole Scandinavia and barely scratch the surface of its riches.
By the way, be sure to include travel from Bergen to Oslo by train in your program. It is one of the most popular and beautiful train routes not just in Norway, but also in the entire world! Crystalline rivers, snowy mountains, gorgeous waterfalls, and little farms – on this route the nature of Norway is revealed to the full.
On the whole, Scandinavia boasts excellent roads, but like every other corner of the planet, no one can guarantee the absence of traffic problems. Plus, driving in a foreign country is always rather stressful even if you have ages of experience and a modern navigation system. So, it might be better to consider touring the marvelous country using Norway Trains. Luckily, the country is filled with stunning mountain landscapes that you can enjoy from your window on a comfortable high-speed train.
Meet the Vikings’ Heritage
What is the best place to take an up-close and personal look at the culture of the Vikings if not Scandinavia? If you’re a history fan planning a trip to this subregion and want to hear the echoes of the Viking Age, there’s no better way to do it than visit the most important sites. And conveniently, many of these spots are located within two Scandinavian capitals – Stockholm in Sweden and Oslo in Norway.
If you’re in Stockholm and eager to learn more about the Vikings, their way of life, and culture, you can start with the Viking Liv museum. The interactive exhibitions will help you to immerse in the ancient times and tell you about Vikings’ farm life, raids, and myths. Continue your journey in Skansen. Besides Vikings, here you can learn more about Swedish history in general. In this the world’s oldest open-air museum you’ll get to know about Swedish farming and housing and see Runestones from the Viking age. To enhance your history experience, come to see the old Viking Parliament, the ruins of the 400 A.D. Viking settlement at Granby, Sigtuna, and Vira Bruk.
When in beautiful Oslo, dedicate your free afternoon to the Vikings’ historical spots. Among the most popular sites is the Viking Ship Museum. It features the three well-preserved Viking ships found in Norway – Tune, Oseberg, and Gokstad. Also, the Historical Museum houses the Víkingr exhibition with a great number of precious objects from the Viking era. In addition, you may include the Norwegian Folk Museum and Frogner Park in your program to enlarge your Viking experience.
Chase the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, lures in Scandinavia the ocean of travelers from all around the world. One of the most breathtaking natural phenomena is a wonder every traveler should see. Going on Northern Lights hunt can enhance your winter vacation greatly. As soon as the sun sets, prepare for an adventure! Fortunately, the Northern land provides a number of great places made specifically for such night jaunts.
For example, a small Swedish village Abisko that lies to the north of the Arctic Circle. This place features the magnificent Aurora Sky Station, which is the observation platform that provides an opportunity to enjoy the spectacular views of the Northern Lights with clear skies as if by magic.
Another wonderful place to experience the Northern Lights is the Finnish resort village Saariselkä, nestled not far from the Russian border. The place is fitted up with the Kakslauttanen Glass Igloos where you can watch the magical sky performance in a warm and comfortable bed.
Great Lapland Tours
There is hardly a child in the world who has not heard of the magical Lapland region and its rather famous resident that likes red color, drives in a sleigh, and boasts a heavy beard. Of course, it’s good old Santa Claus. This is where his residence is located, in the charming city of Rovaniemi. But that’s not the only thing this Northern region can impress with.
Lapland is a perfect place to do all winter activities you can literally think of. Numerous ski resorts such as Levi, Yllas, Pyha, and Big Wood provide an opportunity to go skiing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and even husky and reindeer sledding! And the incredible nature of the region calls for hiking. Start your way in Urho Kekkonen or Rokua National Parks and enjoy ancient scenic landscapes the Ice Age once shaped.
Top 5 Travel Itineraries to Explore – the Allure of the Northern Region
Scandinavia is truly a unique place on Earth. An exceptional variety of experiences, activities, historical and cultural wealth make this land one of the happiest places in the world. And it is ready to share its happiness with you all year round, in magical winter, bloomy spring, scenic summer, and colorful fall. No matter how much itineraries you explored, the allure of the Northern region will call you back again and again to the land of miracles.
Editor’s note: Finland is per definition not a part of Scandinavia, but belongs to the northern region.
Top 5 Travel Itineraries to Explore – the Allure of the Northern Region, written for Daily Scandinavian by Ilya Voytekhovskiy. Ilya is a beginning writer and digital marketing specialist who’s equally passionate about traveling and content writing. He holds a Bachelor degree in Arts of Intercultural Communication.
Feature image (on top) Northern Lights in Winter / Michael Ulriksen / Visit Narvik.© Fjord Tours