Denmark is the Southern most of the Nordic Countries. Home to over 5.5 million inhabitants, this country looks small but packs a big punch in cuisine, culture and design.
Denmark inhabits the Jutland Peninsula as well as 400 picturesque islands in the North Sea, including the island of Sjaelland on which Copenhagen, the capital, resides. It shares a border with Germany to the south, but relates closely with its two sister Scandinavian countries to the North - Norway and Sweden.
The currency is the Danish Kroner, the official language is Danish and the national flag shares structural design to the other two but is unique in their red and white color identity
Travel to Denmark
There are many different seasonal experiences to be enjoyed. Various guided tour options take place during the summer season (late May to early September). A range of options include a relaxing motorcoach tour of architectural and cultural highlights including historic cities, castles, and inviting, beautiful beaches and shoreline, or, for the more active travelers, an invigorating yet accessible bicycle tour through Denmark's gently rolling and landscaped countryside and historical urban centers. With any option, during summer, there is little need to head to bed early; one can stay up and enjoy the midnight sun!
For a winter experience, Denmark, like its sister Scandinavian countries, decorates its public areas and homes with many lights and candles. The sun is at its lowest in the sky with short daylight hours so the Danes create a feeling of "Hygge" (a wonderful Danish term, loosely translated to cozy) all around. There are open air holiday markets and welcoming community celebrations. A frequent yet special occasion at this time are the Christmas table meals- also known as Julebord- held at many of the restaurants. Winter is quite a magical season in which to experience this friendly country.
Who Should Go
Families- Denmark is very child friendly with many open spaces. Danish children are encouraged to be outside! Summer, winter, rainy days, or snow storms: Everyone is dressed for the weather.
Foodies- This country is a culinary treat! Fresh Danish Baked goods and beautifully handcrafted open face sandwiches, locally referred to as smorrebrod. Tucked away little country inn restaurants are sprinkled around Denmark that take advantage of fresh locally sourced produce, dairy and meat. Sharing in this local largess are some of the best gourmet restaurants in the world, with an impressive collection of Michelin Stars (26 to be exact!). You will not leave this country unsatisfied.
Heritage groups or individuals- People who are seeking their Danish roots will enjoy experiencing the Denmark of today while seeking their Danish foundation. Whether they long to visit the family branch still growing in Denmark, or simply finding the family farm or neighborhood of origin, exploring from where ones heritage stems can be a tremendous experience. Reconnect on your own, with your immediate family or even organize an entire family reunion group for a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all your loved ones.
Bicyclists- Denmark is predominantly smooth and easy to explore, with over 10,000 km of biking routes. Exploring this country by bike is a great idea! Many of its cities have bicycle rentals for interested visitors and locals. The bike lanes are extensive and impressive, as many Danes use bicycles as their primary mode of transportation. Over 40 percent of Copenhagen residents bike to work!
Runners- There are a lot of races around Denmark. The most popular one is the Copenhagen half marathon which takes place mid to late September. This race takes you through the beautiful city of downtown Copenhagen. It is a highly saute after destination race. Or, why not sign up for a running day tour. Our Nordic Experts can help you incorporate this type of sightseeing tour into your itinerary.
Finland is located in the Nordic region just east of Sweden and west of Russia. It's northern borders touch Norway, Sweden and Russia. To the south is the Baltic Sea. Finland has only been its own country since the early 1900's. It has a deep and rich history with both Sweden and Russia. Both countries occupied it at times dating back to 1100's. When touring around Finland, you can see both of the Swedish and Russian Influences. Both in architecture, culture and language. Finnish is the official language, but many Finns speak both Swedish and Finnish. Or, Russian and Swedish. In Finland's capital, you will see public signs in both Finnish and Swedish. With a population of just under 5.5 million this sparsely populated country boasts beautiful forests and over 180,000 lakes.
Travel to Finland
Choosing when to travel to Finland can be as easy as what a traveler might want to accomplish. In the summer there are many great outdoor options to explore. With so many picturesque lakes and forests both in the south of north of the country there is plenty to do and see. This is the season for the Midnight Sun. In the northern part of the country the sun doesn't set for over 70 days. Why not try your hand at fishing or hiking in the middle of the night!
There are more Saunas in Finland then there are people! In winter, there are plenty of exciting activities to do such as dog sledding, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling. After enjoying the brisk outdoors and taking in the snow capped Fells, a sauna is the perfect way to end the day by smoke or steam.
Who Should Go
Outdoor enthusiasts- with so many options for activities in the summer and winter this is a great place to explore. Hiking to skiing to dog sledding
People seeking the northern lights- The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights are a spectacular sight to see. Northern Finland has many areas of the countryside that are far away from the city lights. Staying in a small village or cabin in these areas can make it easy to view the northern lights during the cold clear months. Why not try staying in a Lavvo or Glass Igloo. Our experts will be happy to help arrange this once in a lifetime experience!
Design aficionados- Finns have always had an eye for design. With the influences of Sweden and Russia, there are many spots around the country that display this design eye. From architecture to textiles to hand-carved wooden products. Helsinki has many shops dedicated to textiles, and not just Meri Mekko. The Sami culture in Northern Finland is also host to much of the beautiful textile design of their costumes as well as much of the wooden carved items to use at the table or during your sauna experience.
History buffs- Because of the surrounding countries influence for hundreds of years in Finland, the history runs deep. Exploring culture all over Finland gives the opportunity to see how Finland of today came to be. History of the Sami Culture in Northern Finland, history of the Swedish and Russian culture in the, especially in the southern area. The flavor of the architecture in Helsinki and surrounding area as well as the influence WWII had on the whole of the country. See how the country was reshaped and rebuilt in the years following. There are many great museums, exhibits and sites all over Finland that highlight these important factors that made Finland what it is today.
Photo credit: Visit Finland
Iceland is a small Island in the North Atlantic. Part of the Nordic countries, Icelanders consider Iceland the "middle of the world". With it being a "hot destination" we like to think of it that way too!
The country is made up of beautiful, active, wild nature. With it's dramatic landscape of volcanoes, hot springs and lava fields and geysers. There are less than a half million people that live in Iceland. Each area & North, South, East, and West are all very different in how they look and what nature has bestowed upon it.
Traveling to Iceland
Each side/area of Iceland again is very different have has different things to enjoy and explore.
Reykjavik has a population of 120,000 and is not considered a metropolis. Few skyscrapers, the traffic is lite and if you are there long enough, you will recognize many. This small in size, but big on excitement!
Warm sunny days in Reykjavik can bring out locals and visitors filling the green square in front of Parliament. The main street of Laugavegur, has great shopping, great coffee shops, restaurants, pubs, and fantastic people watching. Reykjavik is considered the Gateway to Iceland and is considered a great place to begin your Iceland Adventure!
East Iceland is home to the countries largest forest. With lush farmlands small fjords and islands it also has many natural harbors with a variety of fishing villages, and small seaside towns along the coastline.
Iceland's Wes side is very geologically diverse with natural wonders ranging from volcanoes, majestic waterfalls, and a variety of beautiful flora and wildlife. Its culture, history nature, combine to give locals and visitors some exciting places to explore.
Iceland's south coast is home to the most visited tourist sites. Waterfalls, glaciers and geysers make up the famous "Golden Circle" route that many visitors take in. Further east along the south shore sights such as Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, Vatnajokull Glacier are not to miss destinations. Fresh seafood offerings dot the towns and villages along the south coast. Museums house exhibits that highlight Icelandic Customs and traditional Sagas that Icelanders hold near and dear to them.
North Iceland boasts dramatic mountains, lava fields and smooth hills cut out by rivers. The North can also be lush with vegetation, but in other locations very bare. Traveling to the Arctic Circle, the midnight sun is definitely something to experience. Why not try your hand at midnight golfing or fishing! The "Capital of the North", Akureyri with its downtown full of quaint wooden houses, has culture, cuisine and history that is a must see.
Who Should Go
Culture Seekers- Iceland is known for history and culture. They love to preserve their past, but also embrace the now. One of the best known times to celebrate is late August, with Reykjavik Culture Night. This day begins with a race, the Reykjavik Half Marathon or 10K, but that evening locals come out to celebrate along with visitors the rich culture they have to offer. From poetry reading or garage bands playing in apartments or on the side of the street, to official performances at the new Harpa conference and concert center.
Foodies- Fresh locally produced Icelandic food. From fish to langoustine (Icelandic Lobster), to Skyr, a culture dairy product similar to yogurt but better! Historical delicacies such as Fermented Shark, Black Licorice snaps and dried smoked lamb just to name a few. There is something for everyone to try.
Outdoor Enthusiasts- Iceland does not have a huge drastic change of seasons, but they do have cooler weather making being out and about in the countryside fun to do, even in winter. Exploring all things in nature such as lava, mountains, nature baths and volcanoes are things that Icelanders love to do. Join in on the fun and explore.
Photo credit: Visit Iceland
Norway, one of the 3 original Scandinavian Countries is home to stunning beauty! Majestic mountains, multiple glaciers and deep coastal fjords. Everywhere you turn in Norway there is something magical about its nature, history and culture. There are just over 5 million people living in Norway, today. The country is made up of 19 different regions or counties. Bordering to the east is Sweden, Finland and Russia (to the north). Just to the south Denmark is across the Skagerrak straight which connects the North Sea to the Kuttegat straight.
Travel to Norway
Similar to the other Nordic Countries, Norway has many different reasons to travel and different times of the year. Summer can be short, but beautiful with cool breezes traveling along the fjords. Hiking to a famous spot such as Pulpit rock can be a check off your bucket list in the warmer months, or why not experience a visit to one of Norway’s many lighthouses. Winter brings many activities such as dog sledding, snowshoeing or staying over night in a Snowhotel or Igloo.
Who Should Go
Adventure seekers- for those that like soft adventure. Hiking, kayaking, rock climbing and biking can all be enjoyed in many areas of Norway.
Heritage groups and Individuals- for those that are seeking their roots or already know where they are from, Norway can play host to a great spot for a family reunion, a visit to a historical farm or church where your ancestors lived or just knowing that you are visiting the country that your family is from can be fulfilling. Let our Nordic Experts help you plan the perfect itinerary that will help you accomplish exploring your roots!
People who want to see and learn about the Northern Lights- Northern Norway is a great place to have an opportunity to see the Northern Lights. Winter months can bring the cold clear air, so the potential to see the Aurora Borealis can be great. Our Experts can help you create an itinerary that will get you to the right areas and with the right guides that will take you out on an experience you will never forget. The lights are never guaranteed, but hunting for the lights is half the fun!
Cruisers- There is a special route along the west coast of Norway that is historical and functional. Travel with one of the Hurtigruten ships, northbound, southbound or round trip! This 6, 8 or 11 day voyage will let you experience the spectacular coastline of Norway and how it changes traveling in either direction. Watch the treeline disappear or watch it come into view. Or, wake up one morning in the bustling town of Trondheim and the next see some of the oldest mountain ranges in Europe. This is a very unique voyage that should not be missed if you have a love for cruising.
Sweden is one of the 3 core Scandinavian Countries. It borders Norway to the west, Finland and Russia to the north. Denmark is just across the kattegut straight.
There are almost 10 million people in Sweden, and eighty-five percent of them live in cities. Sweden is a very multicultural country. Just under 20% of Swedes were born in a different country. There are 25 different provinces/cultural regions in Sweden. Each one has it’s own authentic traditions, language dialect as well as folk costumes.
Sweden has a deep history with it’s neighboring countries, especially in the south and north.
Travel to Sweden
Each season is a good season to travel to Sweden.
March – early May is a great time to visit. The number of visitors are low, many of the museums and exhibits are open and the flora and fauna is getting ready to bloom. Northern Sweden is already having early morning daylight (as early as 3 am) and there can still be snow. So, winter activities can go well into this season
There is nothing like a Swedish summer. Locals have Stugas (cabins) which they enjoy on the weekends. Relaxing in the outdoors is a great experience. Hiking in the forests and surrounding lakes, or why not bike along Sweden’s famous Gota Canal. Many people enjoy heading out to pick wild berries, or explore the beautiful archipelagos that line the east and west coasts of the country. Another great thing to experience in late June is Midsommar! Many local cities and villages have celebrations with maypoles, dancing and wonderful Swedish Smorgasbord at local hotels and restaurants. Swedes know how to celebrate the long days of summer.
Autumn brings the changing of the leaves as well as lower crowds if you are looking to do exploring of museums and castles and outdoors. The weather can still be quite warm into October.
Winter brings many activity options. Museums and exhibits are open year round so long weekends in they city are good to enjoy. Stockholm as well as many cities have open air holiday markets. Sample Swedish food and shop excellent handicrafts from around the area. Many outdoor activities are also available. Dog sledding snowmobiling as well as skiing are a few highlights. Northern Lights viewing is great in Northern Sweden. Why not make a visit to Jukkasjarvi in Lapland, Sweden to the ICEHOTEL. This is one of the original ice/snow accommodations in the world and they know how to do it. An experience like no other.
Who should go
Families- Sweden is a very family friendly country. The Swedes make it easy to travel with small children and babies. Buses and trains make space and comfort with baby buggies a no brainier. There are many travel ideas for families: The Swedish Author who wrote Pippy Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren has a great adventure park in Stockholm. Also in Stockholm, Skanen open air museum has many historic buildings and sites to explore. There are many lakes, and outdoor activities that are child friendly all over the country. Why not spend the night in the now famous Treehotel in northeast Sweden near Gammelstad.
Sami culture, similar to that in Norway and Sweden has it’s own identity. There are a great many options to learn about the Sami in Northern Sweden.
Foodies- Sweden isn’t just about Swedish Pancakes and Meatballs anymore. Culinary options are abound. Enjoy fresh seafood on Sweden’s west coast. Why not take a oyster or lobster safari followed by a meal! Or, visit one of Stockholm’s many restaurants in Gamla Stan (old town) or Hatorgshallen, a historical underground marketplace from the 1880's. There are so many choices all over Sweden to try different cultural and local food specialties.
Photo credit: Visit Sweden
Greenland is one of the world's largest Islands with one of the smallest populations. With just under 60,000 inhabitants, this country which is governed by Danish rule, is a wonder for the eye.
This Island consists of mostly fjord and coastal towns while it's middle is mainly a large Ice Cap.
The currency is the Danish Kroner, the official language is Danish. The National flag is the only Nordic country flag without a cross, but has similar colors to the Danish flag which is red and white.
Travel to Greenland
Getting to Greenland is easily done with flights from both Reykjavik, Iceland and Copenhagen, Denmark. Many of our travel packages include the flights from those two cities, as they can be tricky to time with available land accommodations and tours. Flights are all year round, but many only operate certain days of the week. Getting from town to town is also very different, roads end at the edges of the towns and cities so travel internally can only be done via flights, boats or, dogsleds! Yes, there are cars and buses on Greenland but they are only used locally. The local cruise line is used to transport locals as well as accommodate some cruise packages. Like much of the Nordic area, one can experience different things in nature depending on when you travel. In the winter the Northern Lights as well as snowy activities can be exciting, beautiful and refreshing! The midnight sun shows it's face in the summer as well as weather just warm enough to bring green and floral touches to the area. Great for hiking and or sailing on the fjords and coast to explore.
Who Should Go
Adventure Seekers- There are a lot of active options for Greenland in summer and winter. Dog sledding, hiking, skiing or glaciers walks.
Foodies- Greenland culinary scene is very up and coming. Using the local and traditional items such as birds, marine animals and game, chefs are combining those items with ingredients that are available from both Iceland and Denmark.
History arts and culture- The Greenlandic people have their own history and culture which has been preserved and is still practiced today. Many locals still craft items from what is brought in by hunters and fisherman. Resources such as wool, shells antlers and bones do not go to waste. Carefully crafted jewelry, sculptures, national costumes and paintings are on display in local galleries and museums. Don't worry, some of these items can be purchased and brought home with you as a memory, such as jewelry or blankets. Some though, are just for the locals.
Nature lovers- There is much to enjoy in the nature of Greenland. In the brief summer, many of mountain areas are in bloom with flowers, moss and herbs. The landscape is even host to a few trees! Glaciers and Icebergs can be seen all year round from some of the larger towns. Many of these can be enjoyed from the comfort of the cities coastal views or a day excursion by boat or drive on a glacier bus.
Photo credit: Visit Greenland/ David Buchmann