Scandinavia has always been considered rife for adventure. From its historical roots as a region that spawned global explorers — the Vikings made it to America long before Columbus — to its reputation for harsh yet beautiful landscapes, this is a part of the world that has so much to offer. Whether you are choosing to visit for just a few days, or you have spent your entire life here, there is always something new and unique to experience during the summer months. Reaqd about these unique Scandinavian summer adventures you don’t want to miss.
Understandably, there will often be the usual tourist spots that visitors might want to visit. Yet, this ignores the fact that Norway, Denmark, and Sweden each have some exciting and enriching activities that you can undertake that are slightly off the well-worn holiday trail.
There’s a lot to uncover, but we’re going to take a moment to look at three unique ideas for enriching experiences during your Scandinavian summer.
Crafting and Rafting in Sweden
Scandinavian countries have gained a well-deserved reputation for being chilled-out places to vacation. However, with such an incredible environment and a rich culture, it would be a shame not to find a way to bring the potential for exploration together with relaxed activities. In Sweden, they have done exactly that with a unique crafting and rafting experience in the Värmland region.
The area is home to an impressive waterway — the Klarälven river — that winds its way through the forest landscape. Historically, this acted as a method for lumber businesses to transport their loads down toward civilization. However, one tour company has produced an experience, called Vildmark i Värmland (wilderness in Värmland) that guides visitors through constructing their own rafts using timber from the forest. They then use these vessels to float downriver on the same type of journey that the logs would have taken in years passed.
This isn’t a break-neck white water rafting experience. It’s gentler but exposes you to areas of outstanding natural beauty that you would experience in no better way. Not to mention that research has shown that simply spending time surrounded by nature, in this case largely untouched by industry, is beneficial to your physical, mental, and social wellbeing. This tour gives you elements of creativity and exercise that can help you feel more revitalized, and to drift along the river at a gentle pace as you explore for up to 6 days, camping in the woods each night.
Unique Hiking in Denmark
An adventure doesn’t necessarily have to include long trips into the wilderness. Scandinavia has some incredible opportunities to take your family on shorter hiking experiences. While this may not immediately seem the natural choice of unique activity, you’ll find that Denmark, in particular, offers the chance to see landscapes you can find in few other places around the world.
The North Jutland region has become a popular draw for hikers looking for something a little different. This isn’t just as a result of the sweeping beauty to be found in its Rubjerg Knude sand dunes, or the cliff-top views that open out onto the North Sea. It also sports an intriguing lighthouse that is partially buried in the sand. This hike isn’t always for the faint-hearted, as the coastal winds often whip at the sand dunes — be certain to bring sufficient face coverings so you don’t get a mouthful! But the lighthouse, which was recently moved 70 meters back from the cliff edge to prevent it from falling into the sea, is open to the public and you can climb to 90 meters above sea level to take in some breathtaking vistas.
Denmark has also become the only other area aside from Sydney that you can take a hike not just across a bridge, but overtop of it. The Old Lillebælt Bridge in Middelfart dates back to 1925 and remains one of the most important passageways for both cars and trains traveling from Funen and Jutland. Since 2015, skilled climbing guides have taken tourists on a walk from a welcome center before connecting them to a security system at the foot of the bridge. For around 2 hours, you get to hike 60 meters above the Lillebælt Strait while cars and trains shuttle along the bridge beneath you. Even if you’ve lived in Scandinavia your whole life, you have the chance to see Denmark in a way that you can’t almost anywhere else.
Explore Lofoten by Kayak in Norway
The waterways of Scandinavia are some of the crispest and most pristine in the world, with beautiful lakes, fjords, and coastlines to discover. While it may be more traditional to see the region by road, parts of Norway are best experienced when you navigate them by kayak.
Lofoten, an archipelago located in the Nordland county of Norway, has become a draw for watersports. Often this is due to the impressive waves it offers surfers in the winter months. In the summer, though, adventure can be found by paddling through along the inner shore, taking in the historic fishing villages, the dramatic mountain peaks, and even coastal land that remains untouched by civilization. There is something for kayakers of all abilities, too. Paddling for the weekend along the shores of Ballstad is perfect for beginners and can be coupled with some gentle hiking and dinner at the local lodge.
However, for more advanced kayakers, the outer coast of Moskenesøya provides a unique challenge. It takes around 4 days to travel down from the northeast tip of the island — uninhabited mountainside shoreline on one side of you, the wilds of the Atlantic on the other. This is known as Moskstraumen (maelstrom), and the only times you will be out of your kayak will be the few areas ashore that you can camp overnight in. Seeing nature under the power of your own paddling is also great for green vacationing. However, it’s just as important to be aware of the carbon footprint you’re leaving along the way. Reduce your waste production, use renewable energy resources for lighting and heat, and even use clean transport where possible to get to the region. This area is unspoiled and should remain so.
Unique Scandinavian Summer Adventures You Don’t Want to Miss – Conclusion The Scandinavian summer holds incredible prospects for unique adventures. Whether you take to the water in Norway and Sweden or hike in Denmark, you can discover experiences you won’t find anywhere else. There is always something for visitors of all abilities to enjoy, so step outside of the normal tourist traps, and engage more meaningfully with the region.
Unique Scandinavian Summer Adventures You Don’t Want to Miss, written exclusively for Daily Scandinavian by Beau Peters. Beau is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he has learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things. Check out his website Stories by Beau Peters.
Feature image (on top): Rafting in Norway © Gorafting.no