travel

10 must-see places in Scandinavia

By Steph N August 9, 2017
Sweden Travel

Considering a trip to this stunning part of the world? Let us help with that. 

More than just the home of Ikea, the northern European region of Scandinavia is quickly becoming one of the most popular travel destinations on the map. From colourful Nordic cities to deep fjords, the region is packed full of memorable sites more than worthy of a spot on your travel to-do list.

The only issue? Choosing which ones to see first. Lucky for you, however, language-learning service, Babbel, has put together your Scandinavian must-see list:

1. Go for a swim in Malmö, Sweden

Just south-east of Copenhagen, Malmö is Sweden’s Copacabana. The sandstrand (sandy beach) of Ribban stretches for about 2.5 kilometres and is surrounded by green regions. Västra Hamnen is a neighbouring hot spot, especially in the summer. A sustainable district filled with interesting architecture, its restaurants and cafés burst with life during the summer. Plus, you’re only a five-minute bike ride from Malmö’s city centre!

2. Check out a music festival in Slottsskogen, Sweden

The summer festival season is huge in Sweden! Slottsskogen hosts array of events over summer, including Way Out West (WOW), Europe’s biggest combined music and film festival, and one of the most popular, attracting around 30,000 visitors! Taking part in Gothenburg, this is the place to be in August. WOW has been prized as the ‘Most Innovative Festival’ by MTV, and since 2012 has only served vegetarisk mat (vegetarian food). The decision, acclaimed by Jamie Oliver, has reduced the festival’s carbon footprint by 20 per cent. SJ, a state-owned railway company, even offers a special festival train from Stockholm, so it’s easily accessible to if you’re travelling!

3. Catch the midnight sun in the Arctic Circle, Sweden

Sweden Getty

A day without dark? Summer nights last longer up north, and if you go all the way up above the polcirkeln (Arctic Circle in Swedish), the sun doesn’t set at all between 25 May and 19 July. That’s 56 days of pure daylight! Summer temperatures in the north of Sweden are often a comfortable 15°C, but can reach up to 30°C. Plan a hiking trip up north and organise to stay in cabins along the road. The midnight sun is an unmissable and unique spectacle.

4. Shine bright with The Northern Lights in Abisko, Sweden

The Northern Lights - this indescribable vision of astrological lights streaming across the night sky is unmissable. Abisko has developed a reputation for being the No. 1 aurora-watching destination on the planet, due to the fact that it is located in a very special microclimate location. The best time to catch the Aurora is during the months of November to April - but be sure to bring your winter woolies, as it occurs between 10:00 pm and 2:00 am local time.

5. Explore by water on Norway’s fjords, Norway

Perhaps the most popular way to experience Norway’s magnificence is by cruising its deep fjords. Cruising past larger than life mountain faces, fjords such as Lysefjord, Hardangerfjord, and Sognefjord, are a wonderful way to see the country’s beauty. To see all that Norway has to offer, and to have a real Viking reise (voyage in Norwegian), travel by water.

6. Get creative at the Arctic Arts Festival in Harstad, Norway

The Arctic Arts Festival of North Norway has been held in Harstad since 1965. Ranked as a top shelf international event that presents and produces a vast array of musical genres, the festival hosts many performance arts, visual arts, literature and cinematic arts acts. The Arts Festival also has a strong focus on children, young people, and travellers from foreign countries, so it’s a perfect festival the lone traveller, or the whole family!

7. Island hop around the Lofoten Islands, Norway

Lofoten Islands Norway Getty

Find idyllic Norwegian fishing communities – complete with docked fishing boats, and racks of drying stock fish – all over the Lofoten Islands. Surrounded by dramatic, rocky mountains, and with views of Vestfjord, the capital Svolvaer is a great base for island-hopping via ferries. Home to the world’s largest known cold-water coral reef, the Lofoten Islands are perfect for deep-sea fishing. Beyond its panoramic beauty and fishing culture, enjoy opplevelse (Norwegian for adventure) activities, such as kayaking, hiking, and biking around its mountainous peaks and admire Norway’s unparalleled beauty.

8. Wander through the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark

The Tivoli amusement park and its beautiful gardens date from 1843, and are home to more than 20 attractions, including a roller coaster, roundabouts, halls of mirrors, pantomime, puppet, and open-air theatres. Amongst the flower gardens, there are a wealth of restaurants and cafés, making it particularly enjoyable in the summertime. The park is famous worldwide and appears in many movies, and is arguably the most famous attraction in Copenhagen.

9. Picnic in Kongens Have in Rosenborg Castle, Denmark

Known as the people’s backyard, Kongens Have, or The King’s Garden, are the oldest gardens in Copenhagen. Stop by the local Torvehallerne (supermarket), then set up a big blanket on the lawns, and enjoy the royal garden views as you feast on your packed goodies.

10. Get colourful with Superkilen in Copenhagen, Denmark

Superkilen in Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen has transformed Superkilen, a park in the most ethnically diverse area of the city, into a beautiful piece of art to celebrate the area’s multiculturalism. By mixing design elements from across the globe with futuristic art touches, including a massive public thoroughfare that is completely covered in bright pink geometry, Superkilen is a must see.

Images: Getty