To the north! Why go to Scandinavia in winter?

Guides |11.01.2019
For relaxing days spent in nature or the city. Markets, winter hiking, dog sledding, saunas, an opportunity to see the northern lights and many other different experiences.

What's in the mind of the winter traveller if he doesn't go to ski every winter in the Alps? Fans of Thailand and Bali will probably consider you nuts if you like the north. We've decided to dispel the myths and tell you why it is fantastic to take a winter break in Scandinavia.
Finland
Finland is all the rage right now. It takes first place on the list of the happiest countries, and is part of the list of the best destinations of adventure holidays, according to the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).

To put it straightforwardly, Finland has good air, nature, tasty food and many winter activities. You can even interact with animals: Husky sledding or going to a deer farm. You can ride a sleigh, feed reindeer with lichen and take a bunch of photos.
If you like to walk, the national parks have a lot of hiking trails around three-metre snow-covered spruces or on the tops of the hills, where the trees look more like aliens. You can climb the Riisitunturi mound in the national park of the same name, or go further north to the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. Despite the cold, it can be 15 degrees warmer at the top due to the temperature inversion phenomenon, when lighter warm air rises above cold air. And in the parks themselves it's not really cold because there is a lot of snow, but no wind.
After the winter activities, the best idea is to bathe in the Finnish sauna. You'll find saunas in almost every house, hotel and even in hostels. You can buy essential oils, hats and many other things in every supermarket for relaxing after a hard day.
In addition, Finland is an ideal place to acquaint children with winter fairy tales. You can go to the village of Santa Claus to the Finnish Santa Claus Joulupukki in Lapland, the town of Rovaniemi. There is the Ice Gallery, the Elf School and other fabulous entertainment for children.
Denmark
Recently, everyone has become obsessed with the Hygge philosophy - the Danish way of life, which highly values cosiness and comfort. Winter for the Danes is considered to be the ideal time of year for this. There are candles everywhere, dim and cosy warm light in cafés - the locals rarely go outside.

So, if you are not tired of this buzzword, go to the towns of Denmark for a walk around the markets and narrow empty streets. And then you can sit in a cozy coffee shop, drink hot cocoa or google and spend the evening in warmth and relaxation, as required by Hygge.
We recommend starting with the capital. Copenhagen, by the way, became the best city to visit in 2019, according to Lonely Planet. In winter, there is everything is lit up, and Tivoli Park turns into one big light installation. Do not forget to go to the Tivoli Food Hall for Danish treats: Smørrebrød or winter pudding with dried pears for those who love sweets.
Norway
In Norway, you can choose several main directions: experience nature or take a walk through the cities. If you want to climb the mountains, it is better to go to the Lofoten Archipelago. You'll find many mountain trails here in the winter, and the snow adds even more beauty to this epic landscape. Due to the Gulf Stream, Lofoten is one of the warmest places in Norway, in the winter the temperatures vary from -5 to +3 degrees. Here you will find beautiful red houses, mountains, cold beaches and breathtaking viewing points where you can see the northern lights.
Many know Norway for its little mountain towns. Here, winter looks like a real fairytale. Go to Bergen or Tromsø to have a stroll around the cosy Norwegian streets and have a taste of hot tea made from northern berries. Norway is a much windier country if you compare it with Finland, which makes it much easier to see the northern lights. But not in cities, of course.
Sweden
If you go for a trip to Scandinavia, you really must pay Sweden a visit. The best way to see the country is to take a tour around its castles. They're not exactly how you'd imagine them. Everything is minimalistic, in true Scandinavian style, which makes them even more interesting to see. The majority of them were built in the XIII century and are surrounded by water. So there views here are perfect! We advise you to put Skokloster Castle in your travel itinerary. This castle, surrounded by a beautiful park, is only one hour from Stockholm in the very centre of Örebro, which is situated on an island. Don't forget about Läckö Castle, built on a hill, from which you can see the picturesque views of the Swedish landscape.
You can finish the trip in Stockholm; the capital looks great in winter, and it's not as cold as many people think (but it's windy). The temperature here drops to -5. It will be almost deserted and the flights are pretty cheap.
Iceland
It seems like almost everyone has already been to Iceland. Most travellers go there in the summertime, enthused by nature and complaining about the amount of people. However, in winter, everything is different; there are almost no tourists! In December you can experience all four seasons, and in February, you can see the landscape completely taken over by ice. Given the unique nature of the island, many locations will make you feel like you're on another planet.
Waterfalls surrounded by snowy mountain rocks and huge pieces of ice overhanging them look absolutely amazing; tickets for the winter period are much cheaper and there are many more available places you can stay than in summer. It's perfect! However, some places in winter simply turn into white deserts, henceforth, plan your trip accordingly.
You really must go up to the lighthouse on the Dyrhólaey peninsula, to have a look at the Reynisfjara black volcanic beach from this point. Or to go to the Kirkjufell mountain on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, which looks even more epic! In these surroundings every fan of "Game of Thrones" will definitely recognise the kingdom behind the wall where crowds of White Walkers stir. And don't forget about the waterfalls! Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss look unbelievable!
If you still want to combine your strolls around town markets and saunas, snowboarding and skiing - Scandinavia is good for this aswell. There are plenty of ski-resorts on the peninsula. For example, Levi in Finland, Lillehammer in Norway, which in fact consists of 5 different resorts, or Åre in Sweden - the biggest Scandinavian ski-resort.
Holidays in Scandinavian countries are an excellent to start enjoying snow, chilly evenings and outdoor activities. Don't forget to download the maps before your trip so as not to lose your way when you go for your hikes around the national parks or when you're exploring the cosy, winding streets of the northern towns and cities. Or if you want to explore routes for Iceland, the Lofoten Archipelago, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Finland created by other travellers and bloggers, just download them from the MAPS.ME routes catalogue.
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