When people hear the word “Scandinavia,” it immediately conjures up images of majestic fjords, giant fir-tree forests and snow. But that simple description hardly does the area justice. It’s more than a vast wilderness, home to a few thousand people and their pet husky dogs. It’s a wildly diverse region, with all the diversity of Britain. To the north lies the Arctic circle, the line encircling all those parts of the Earth that have at least one whole day where the sun doesn’t dip below the horizon. This is the place you go if you want to experience nature at its most extreme and rugged. It’s a place of impossibly cold winters, long nights and stunning Aurora.
In the central areas, especially near Finland and the border with Russia, you’ll find a land carpeted in lakes and forests that stretch as far as the eye can see north from Helsinki until it reaches the Arctic Ocean. In Russia’s cultural sphere of influence, the architecture changes, and so too does the wildlife, with herds of roaming reindeer marching across the land.
Sometimes, Scandinavia can feel like the loneliest place in the world to take a holiday, until, of course, you find yourself in a naked sauna and suddenly realise you’ve got company.
The west of the region is wild, wet and coastal. The winds that come in off the Atlantic and the Arctic are often fierce. Cliffs dominate the landscape and stretch for as far as they eye can see.
Finally, in the south, there is Denmark. The landscape here is reminiscent of English rustic beauty rather than the cold, indifference of the Swedish interior. Rolling hills and small villages, each with their own local shops, are dotted all over the land in a delicate pattern.
When To Go
The best time to go is between May and August. This is when temperatures are at their highest and days are longest. At this time of year, plants are in full bloom and wildlife is at its most active. If you head north during the summer months, you can experience the spectacle of the “midnight sun” – an epic experience that involves staying up all night to wait for the sun to set which never does.
The summer months are also the time when the vast majority of cultural events and festivities take place. There are music festivals, food festivals and cultural events held in open spaces during the summer.
Prices are obviously a little higher this time of year, but most people have the option of discussing their needs with a company like Swift Loans if their budget won’t stretch far enough.
How To Get Around
Rail prices in Scandinavia are generally reasonably priced. Thanks to their membership of the EU, it’s usually relatively easy for tourists to hop across the border from one country to another.
One exciting trip that many tourists like to take is the Bergen Railway, which runs across “the roof of Norway” through some of Europe’s most rugged and highest altitude train lines.