Scandinavia is the region of Europe north of the Baltic Sea. Also called Nordic Europe, it is the largest region in Europe, yet relatively sparsely populated, with only 24 million people altogether. The scenery is outstanding, the people are friendly, and the culture and history are fascinating. Check out this guide to Scandinavia for the top countries and attractions you’ll want to see.
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Start your Scandinavian adventure with Sweden!
Sweden is the largest country in Scandinavia, both in terms of population and geographic area. Along its coastline, the country has tens of thousands of small islands, which make up an enormous archipelago, the second largest in the Baltic Sea. Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, and has vied over the years with Copenhagen as to which is the largest city in Scandinavia. It is a beautiful city, with a cosmopolitan feel, a mix of modern and classical architecture, and a lovely Old Town area, called Gamla Stan.
The city is built on a collection of islands. The inner city has 14 different islands, with about 50 bridges. About 30% of the city’s area is composed of waterways, and another 30% is open green spaces, so it has a more natural feel than many large cities.
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Explore the wonders of Norway – the fjords and history are a perfect combination.
Norway is famous for its fjords, deep inlets along the coast, bounded by steep mountains. The scenery is spectacular, and many people like to take a cruise along the fjords to admire this lovely region. The country has a rich history, and retains more of its rural traditions of fishing and farming than other Scandinavian countries.
Oslo is the capital city of Norway, and the city has a long and colorful history. It was founded by King Harald Hardrade almost a thousand years ago, in 1048 AD. It became the capital of Norway about 1300 AD, but lost that status during the centuries of the Danish-Norwegian union, from the 14th to 19th centuries. The Danish King Christian IV renamed it to Christiania, but finally in 1925 the city reverted to its name of Oslo.
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Discover Finland and its thousand islands!
Finland is one of the more remote Scandinavian countries, and it provides a bridge to Russia in the east. Furthermore, the language here is very different from other Scandinavian languages.
The country has hundreds of thousands of islands, and an enormous amount of wild land to explore. Helsinki is the capital of Finland founded in 1550. The city is nicknamed the “Daughter of the Baltic,” and it has been the country’s capital since 1812. That was when the Russian tsars rebuilt the metropolis to make it look like a smaller version of St. Petersburg.
During the summer, residents enjoy the sunshine at many outdoor cafes and bars. As for the main attractions, you’ll surely want to see Suomenlinna in Helsinki, a beautiful fortress that was used to protect the port back in the 18th century. Lapland is also worth a visit. Also known as the city of Santa Claus, the natural beauty of this municipality, the wildlife, and of course, the winter activities will certainly help tourists have a lot of fun.
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Denmark is smaller than the other Scandinavian countries above. The country is known for having Northern Europe’s best beaches. People of the country are proud of their Viking heritage, and royal palaces show some of the more recent history of the country.
Fun fact! Greenland is a territory of Denmark, but is geographically part of North America.
Copenhagen, the capital, is the largest city in Scandinavia, and many people claim that it is also the coolest. The city blends the old and the new, with historical buildings and splashy modern architecture. Opportunities for shopping, culture, dining and nightlife are world class.
Travel to Scandinavia this summer and prepare to see some of the world’s most incredible attractions. This surreal European region has managed to draw international travelers from all over the planet thanks to its interesting history, cool cities, and wealth of entertainment opportunities. Are you ready for something different? Scandinavia will surprise you for sure. Come meet the locals, taste their traditional food, and have the time of your life surrounded by abundant vegetation and impressive attractions.
About the Author:
Edward Francis is a travel blogger and travel fanatic. He writes on behalf of the Baltic Travel Company.