Iceland, Denmark (with the Faroe Islands and Greenland), Norway, Sweden, and Finland make up the Nordics. While these countries form one geographical area, they are very diverse, and each offers a different landscape. Even within the same country, the scenery changes from one location to another. Lakes, wildlife, cliffs, and beaches — the Nordics have something for everyone. However, the immense natural beauty of the region blossoms during summer. The Midnight Sun and the relatively warm average temperatures ranging from 12 to 20 degrees Celsius, urge locals and visitors alike to make the most of every ray of sunshine. Pack your comfortable shoes, a weatherproof jacket, and a strong sunscreen, and soak yourself in outdoor activities, summer festivals, and stories about Vikings.
Surf in Denmark
In spite of Denmark’s 7.000-km-long coastline, Denmark isn’t a renowned surfing destination. However, the uncommercial setting makes it all more interesting for the adventurous watersport lovers. There are about 20 suitable surfing spots in Denmark, but Klitmøller, Vorupør, and Agger in the district of Thy on the North Sea coast have some of the best swells. You can easily get there even from Norway and Sweden with a ferry to Hirtshals, followed by a short drive. Note that summer water temperatures are between 12 and 16 degrees. Thus, a 4/3 wetsuit is probably a good idea.
Become a Viking
Are you obsessed with the Game of Thrones? Then, this unique summer activity in Denmark’s Frederikssund town is definitely for you. The Viking Games take place every year from late June to mid-July, combining theatre, physical sports, light shows, and lur music performances. Since 1952, the Danish Viking legends have been coming back to life thanks to dedicated locals of all ages who participate in this cultural event.
Find hygge [pronounced hoo-gah]
Hygge is a Danish cultural value, for which Danish people want to receive the UNESCO World Heritage recognition. The origin of the world hygge can be traced in the old Norwegian language, meaning “well being.” However, for modern Danes, hygge is a way of life and defines the pursuit of everyday happiness. Hygge is in the company of good friends and family; a bike ride; on the couch with a cup of coffee and a slice of cake; in a concert. Hygge is about creating a warm atmosphere, enjoying the moment and the people you share it with. Now, it makes sense why Denmark is topping the lists of the happiest countries in the world year after year.
Explore Helvetinjärvi National Park
Don’t let the park’s name (Hell’s Lake) stop you from visiting this well-hidden natural wonder north of Tampere city in Finland. About 200 million years ago, the power of nature formed here two rift valleys and rocky cliffs, ascending from the lake’s side. There’s so much to do in Helvetinjärvi National Park during the warmer months. From relaxing on the sandy lakeshore of Haukanhieta and walking through the ancient landscape to having a picnic at the designated campfire site and admiring at the views from the top of Helvetinkolu Gorge.
Go beyond the Golden Circle
The 300-km-long Golden Circle route is the most popular tour among travellers in Iceland. However, there’s more to see and do in Iceland outside this region. Vik, the southernmost village in Iceland overlooking the Atlantic Ocean is magnificent. Vik is quite isolated, as the previous and next towns are more than 50 km away. Reynisfjara beach is among the most beautiful (and dangerous) volcanic beaches on earth. Thus, remember to admire its beauty wisely by not getting too close to the unpredictable and powerful water. From Vik, you can plan several adventurous activities such as glacier hiking and paragliding, and attend a lava show which recreates a volcano eruption.
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Say yes to Gothenburg
Almost every country (including Sweden) has this centuries-old rivalry going on between its two largest cities. So, is Stockholm better than Gothenburg, or the other way round? We will let you decide, but don’t rush to conclusions before spending a few days in Gothenburg. The picturesque Old Town is the best place to start exploring the city. The wooden houses, pedestrian-only-streets, and independent cafes and boutiques will keep you on your feet. Don’t leave the city before trying some Swedish specialities such as fermented herring and beef or venison tartare.
Experience the Flam Railway
Okay, in all honesty, the train journey across Western Norway may not be the most uncommon experience in the Nordics. However, why turn a blind eye to something so cool? Get onto the train at the end of Aurlandsfjord, and enjoy one of the most scenic rides up to the Myrdal mountain station. In about an hour, you find yourself from sea level to 867 meters above sea level. From Myrdal, you can continue to the town of Bergen, which you can use as a base to explore the forested surroundings and some of the fjords nearby.
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