Scandinavia Top Ten

September 26, 2017

by: Kip Lambert

Maybe you just took a DNA test and found out you’re 47% Scandinavian.  Maybe you’ve been binge watching Vikings.  Maybe you just want to see some of the most stunning tall blondes, I mean vistas the world has to offer.  Whatever has sparked your interest in visiting Scandinavia, here is a top-ten list of places to visit while you’re there.

1- Copenhagen, Denmark

The Danish capital perfectly combines buildings in a kaleidoscope of colors, picturesque canals, intriguing palaces and churches, and a vibrant art scene.  Snap a selfie in front of the famous Little Mermaid statue.  Feel the groove by visiting Christiana, a colorful “free-town” founded by hippies in 1971.  Visit the home of Hans Christian Anderson in Nyhavn, or have a cozy dinner at a classy restaurant quayside. Copenhagen has something for everyone.

2-Lapland, Finland

Dreaming of an outdoor adventure?  This northernmost region of Finland falls within the Arctic Circle and offers a chance for the intrepid traveler to visit the taiga. In winter, visitors will be dazzled by the Northern Lights in Aurora Zone and may want to visit the village of Rovaniemi where Santa’s house is located.  Spring is the best time to tackle the amazing Finnish ski slopes.  Take advantage of the “Midnight Sun” of summer to hike beautiful fells.  Or witness the incredible fall foliage or “ruska” when the taiga seems to light on fire with autumn colors.  Lapland has something incredible to offer year round.

3- Lofoten, Nordland, Norway

This archipelago in northern Norway is incredibly beautiful and offers a surprisingly mild climate considering its Nordic latitude.  It’s also home to the biggest deep water coral reef on the planet.  Find your inner viking at the at the Lofotr Viking Museum.  Since the sun doesn’t set in the summer, kayak between islands at midnight through water like liquid gold.  Enjoy lodging in the refurbished and iconic red fishermen’s cabins.  No matter what you choose to do, the scenery here will leave you breathless!


4- Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik, Iceland

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is a famous geothermal spa where guests relax in seawater heated by Mother Nature. A visit to the aptly named Blue Lagoon (40 min. from Reykjavik) invigorates year-round, whether surrounded by snow in the middle of winter, or during the long days of the Icelandic summer.

5- Korketrekkeren, Oslo, Norway  

Nothing says Norway like the killer Korketrekkeren toboggan run.  Shaped like a corkscrew, this former Olympic bobsled run is over a mile long and takes ten minutes to reach the bottom.  Release your inner child by sledding through the gorgeous Norwegian winter-scape.

6- Geirangerfjord, Norway

Snow-covered mountains and raw, unspoiled forests surround this icy blue fjord.  Home to bears, moose and wolves, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a major tourist hotspot and every nature-lover’s dream.  For waterfallophiles, this is a must-see destination.  Kayaking, bicycling, and hiking are available for the adventurous and athletic.  Or take advantage of some of the world’s most beautiful roads and specially designed overlooks to experience Geirangerfjord’s awe-inspiring scenery.

7- Vigeland Sculpture Park, Norway

Giant crying babies.  Men being attacked by cherubs.  A 45 foot totem made of 121 human figures intertwined.  No this isn’t a bad dream; it’s the weird and wonderful Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo, and it has over 200 statues created by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland.  This was a man obsessed with the human condition.  Some sculptures took over 14 years to carve, and the park stretches over 80 acres. Grab a picnic and explore his whacky depictions.  The selfies alone you’ll take here make it worth it.

8- Kirkenes Snowhotel, Norway  

You’ve just stepped into a James Bond film!  The amazing Kirkenes Snowhotel is located outside the Arctic town of Kirkenes, about as far northeast as you can get in Norway. This amazing hotel melts down each summer season, and has to be rebuilt every December.  After arriving by dogsled, the intricate snow buildings and ice sculptures will leave you feeling like you need to order a martini—shaken, not stirred.   

9-Stockholm Metro Station, Sweden  

This is no ordinary metro.  Wild tiled floors, cubist pieces mingling with traditional Scandinavian motifs, and rose sculptures the size of trees. Unofficially known as the “world’s longest art gallery,” the metro station has an impressive 90 of 100 stations exhibiting paintings by nearly 150 artists.  The colorful, rugged surface of the walls and ceiling gives a surreal impression of flaming space.   

10- Try a Smorgasbord

Chances are you’ll be presented with a gut-busting smorgasbord at some point on your trip, the table stacked with pickled herring, meatballs, pickled beetroots, fried potatoes and aged-dried fish (Lutefisk).  No trip to Scandinavia would be complete without such a feast!  Dig in.  Do those viking ancestors proud!