If you’ve been dreaming about taking your next vacation in a beautiful European destination that’s untouched and a bit off the beaten path, you may have considered touring the Scandinavian countries. Scandinavia is a collective term given to Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and sometimes also Iceland and Finland, and is a part of the world perhaps best known for the famous Northern Lights phenomenon.
However, the region, sometimes also called Northern Europe or the Nordic countries, has countless other attractions to offer tourists that often fly under the radar. Whether you’re planning to rent an apartement or stay with a friend, a trip is well worth the effort. If you’re interested in a trip to Scandinavia but you’re not sure where to start for your travel itinerary, consider adding these top destinations to your list.
Perhaps one of the best-known major cities in the entire Scandinavian region, Copenhagen dates all the way back to the 12thcentury and still retains much of its old-fashioned charm. Walk along the Nyhavn canal, take a spin on the rides at the Tivoli Gardens amusement park or visit the royal family’s palace at Amalienborg.
You can also snap some photos with the famous mermaid statue, inspired by the children’s tales of the well-known former resident Hans Christian Andersen.
If you’ve never heard of Bergen before, you may be pleasantly surprised by this beautiful town on the southern Norwegian coast. This town has the atmosphere of an idyllic fishing village, but is actually the second largest city in the entire country.
Take a stroll along the 12th-century docks, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, and admire the colorful houses that dot the wharf. When you get hungry, stop at the local fish market for the catch of the day before working off your meal with a vigorous hike through the famous fjords.
You may have heard of Stockholm, but odds are you might not have heard about another of Sweden’s hidden gems, Gothenburg. The little-known hometown of the Volvo hosts a surprising number of cultural attractions, including countless options for foodies.
Those with a sweet tooth will find plenty of opportunities to indulge in Swedish-favorite cinnamon buns. When you’re done with your snack at the local café, walk it off through the cobblestoned streets or stop by the latest exhibition at the Gothenburg Museum of Art.
Ring Road, Iceland
If you’ve never been to Iceland before, many say that landing in Reykjavik feels like arriving on the moon. While the capital city itself holds about a third of the country’s total population and has unique nightlife and other attractions to offer, don’t limit yourself to the city alone.
Hire a rental car and take a trip around the entire country on the Ring Road, a highway that circles the entire island and goes by many of the country’s best-known sites. You can visit the Blue Lagoon spa for some rest and relaxation, view the Godafoss waterfall, or watch the puffins on Reynisfjara beach.
Oresund Underwater Bridge, Sweden, and Denmark
Finally, if your heart is set on visiting multiple locations, be sure to take the can’t-miss Oresund Underwater Bridge from Sweden to Denmark. The famous bridge stretches across the Oresund Strait for nearly five miles, making it the longest bridge in the world. The point where the bridge dips beneath the waters and converts into a tunnel is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
The Scandinavian countries may perhaps be lesser known among tourists than some Western European destinations, but they nevertheless offer boundless natural beauty and countless cultural attractions. If you’re considering booking your next vacation there, be sure to keep these top travel destinations on your shortlist. You could be in for the vacation of your dreams.