Welcome to my home: a totally biased view on why to travel to Scandinavia

When I say the word ‘Scandinavia’, what comes to mind? If it’s all fjords, waterfalls, colourful houses and hygge, let me tell you you’ve hit the nail on the head.

As a Dane, I may be biased in saying that my corner of the world is one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth. But travel this way, and I think you’ll agree with me.

“My name is Lasse, and as a Trafalgar Travel Director I’m in the fortunate position of being able to show visitors my naturally blessed backyard.”

I never tire of seeing faces light up and conversation fall short as my guests get to witness all of the very best that travel to Scandinavia has to offer.

If you’re wondering if travel to Scandinavia is really worth the hype, I’ve got 5 reasons to convince you why my home should be your next holiday destination…

 
 
 
 
 
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You’ll see the incomparable natural beauty

New Zealanders may claim they do natural beauty best, and sure, the views down in Patagonia aren’t half bad, but when it comes to awe-inspiring nature, you can’t beat Norway. The fjords, the glaciers, the waterfalls, the bubbling blue rivers and the towering craggy cliffs are almost too much for the human eye to take in.

Geiranger is the spot that never fails to leave my guests speechless. Driving into the region, you find yourself in a landscape that has been carved out of glaciers. Mountains and fjords surround you at every turn, and through winter and into spring the snow-capped mountains just add that extra ‘wow’ factor. Guests get a full day to enjoy this stunning region, with most opting to join the ‘Trollstigen Explored’ experience. 

“The path of the Trolls is one of Norway’s most spectacular drives. The road was built in 1936 and includes 11 hair pin turns, each opening up a new and beautiful landscape. It’s undoubtedly the best way to enjoy this region. “

 
 
 
 
 
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You’ll get to enjoy completely unique experiences that celebrate nature

Where do I even begin describing all of the possible nature-focused activities? You’ve got the Flåm Railway ‘Dive Into Culture’ experience, which gives you the chance to ride one of the world’s most exciting rail journeys through the spectacular Flåm Valley, stopping at 225 metres high Kjosfossen Waterfall along the way. 

Then you’ve got the cruise around the Næroy Fjord, which is UNESCO listed and utterly magical. The fjord is surrounded by tumbling waterfalls, snowcapped mountains and tiny colourful villages, and never fails to leave people speechless. Or you could spend your time exploring a 12th century wooden Stave church in Lom (there are only 28 of these churches left in the world, with 26 of them found in Norway), or maybe testing your head for heights in Lillehammer, the home of the 1994 Winter Olympics.

 
 
 
 
 
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You’ll learn about Scandinavian culture

Scandinavian culture has become pretty mainstream in recent years, but for us, locals, it’s just part and parcel of daily life. Prioritising happiness and mental wellbeing is a practice woven through all that we do, and I love sharing this part of my culture with my guests.

For instance, on the first evening when we arrive in Copehagen, we head out to a small fishing village named Dragor for dinner. It’s at this point that I like to talk about hygge, and how it is central to Danish culture and life. Hygge for me isn’t a trend or fad, it’s simply a feeling. I could be sitting on my own, next to a fire with a hot drink and a favourite book, and this would be hygge. Or, equally, I could spend an evening playing games with friends or family, and at the end of the night, we would all remark how hygge the experience has been.

“This sense of comfort and wellbeing is something I try to prioritise for visitors, as it’s a feeling I hope they’ll take home with them and seek to practice in their own lives.”

And just as us Danish folk like to prioritise hygge, in Sweden the culture prioritises lagom. The literal translation for this is ‘not too much, not too little’, but for Swedes there doesn’t need to be an explanation; lagom is an unwritten understanding. Again it’s all about prioritising happiness and wellbeing, and feeling content with what you have. For visitors, it’s really enriching to practice this element of Swedish culture whilst their travelling, simply because it makes you more mindful of your actions. 

RELATED CONTENT: HOW TO APPLY THE SCANDINAVIAN LIFESTYLE TO YOUR TRAVELS

 
 
 
 
 
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You’ll realise our cities are pretty good, too

Our nature may be world-class, but that doesn’t mean our cities let the side down. Far from it, the capital cities of Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm perfectly encapsulate what Scandinavia is all about; celebrating nature, culture, good food and time for friends and family. Each is smaller than the average European city, creating a friendly ambience where people actually say hello to their neighbours. Crazy, right?

Copenhagen is my favourite of the three (surprised?!). The birthplace of Hans Christian Anderson, this is where Trafalgar guests start their trip, so I like to say to them that their trip begins in the land of fairytales, and just gets better from there! And to be honest, Copenhagen is a pretty magical place. The pace of life is relaxed and easy-going, with many choosing bicycles as their main mode of transport, whilst the Christiansborg Palace could almost double as Hogwarts from Harry Potter.

But the magic isn’t restricted to Copenhagen alone; Stockholm also gets in on the action too. Gamla Stan, in particular, the city’s Old Town, emulates a fairytale feel thanks to its 16th and 17th-century buildings and cobbled alleyways. Here you can watch the famous changing of the guard ritual and visit the Royal Palace, or alternatively head out on the water to appreciate the archipelago of islands just a stone’s throw from the city.

 
 
 
 
 
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You’ll realise how good it feels to disconnect

You’ll travel to Scandinavia and arrive feeling jet lagged, tired and in need of a break, but you’ll leave feeling energised, refreshed and ready to take on the world. That’s just the magic of nature; it does something to the human soul that no luxury spa or health retreat can ever recreate. 

“Whenever people travel to Scandinavia, they always seem entirely present. They’re not thinking about work or problems at home, their minds are entirely preoccupied with all that they are seeing right there, in the moment.”

Coach trips for many are filled with afternoon naps, but in Scandinavia everyone is entirely awake, afraid to miss out on the next blockbuster view coming up. And it’s true, if you sleep you may just miss a tumbling waterfall or looming glacier. But don’t worry, this is Scandinavia, so another will be along shortly…

 
 
 
 
 
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Lasse is a Travel Director on Trafalgar’s Scenic Scandinavia and its Fjords trip. You can follow his Scandinavian adventures on Instagram @danish.traveller.

Have a question about this trip, or Scandinavia in general? Let us know in the comments below…

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