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The Best Deals for Your Next Vacation to Scandinavia

Vacation in Scandinavia: Explore Fjords, Laplands, and the Northern Lights

Denmark, NorwaySweden, and Finland - these countries of Northern Europe are summarized under the term Scandinavia. Sometimes Iceland and the Faroe Islands are also included. A vacation in Scandinavia is exciting and relaxing at the same time. You get nature on one hand and wellness retreats on the other. Relax in the saunas of Sweden, on the lakes of Finland, or hiking through the spectacular fjord landscapes of Norway. The rich historical heritage and cities such as the Swedish capital Stockholm, Danish capital Copenhagen, Norwegian capital Oslo, or Helsinki in Finland. Endless expanses, breathtaking nature, and exciting cities represent the colorful mix. It is not without reason that Scandinavia is on many people's bucket lists. What fascinates us so much about Scandinavia? You'll find out right here. It's a good thing that you'll also find the best offers for your vacation in Scandinavia right here. 

Arrival to Scandinavia

All the countries mentioned above are a part of the Schengen area. Meaning when entering one of these countries, you can freely move around all of the others as a visitor for under 90 days in any 180-day period. As a US passport holder, a visa is not required to enter the Schengen zone for less than 90 days.

The easiest way to get to Scandinavia is to book a round-trip flight with budget airlines PLAY or Norse. We often see flights to Iceland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden in the $200s. Finland can be a bit more expensive to fly to, however, often times you can find a great deal with full-service Scandinavian Airlines from the $300s round trip. Also, travel by plane, train, and/or car/ferry is quite easy once you are in Scandinavia.

When to Vacation in Scandinavia? The Best Travel Time for Scandinavia

The month of July is considered a good travel time for all of Scandinavia. We are deliberately not talking about the best travel time here, because this is different for each country and each region.

In Norway, for example, spring, when the fruit trees are in bloom, is considered the best time to travel. However, it is very cool in northern Norway at this time. Of course, especially in Scandinavia, it depends on what kind of vacation you want to go on. The season between December and April is ideal for a ski vacation.

Anyone who would like to witness a unique natural spectacle can marvel at the northern lights in the transition period between fall and winter or between winter and spring. For city trips to the metropolises of Scandinavia such as Oslo or Stockholm, we recommend spring or fall. In some regions of Scandinavia (for example in the picturesque lakes of southern Sweden) you can even go on a bathing vacation. Of course, the summer months of July and August are ideal for this.

Where to Go on Vacation in Scandinavia? The Most Beautiful Travel Destinations in Scandinavia

Now, of course, the question arises: Where should I go on vacation in Scandinavia? Of course, a road trip or a train journey through Scandinavia is best. If your vacation days are too short for this, then simply choose one of the interesting countries in Scandinavia. Should you head south to the beaches of the North and Baltic Seas – or straight to Lapland or the North Cape?

Vacation in Scandinavia: Norway

Anyone who says vacation in Norway usually means fjords and the North Cape! Norway borders the Arctic Ocean and the North Cape marks the northernmost point of Europe. But you don't have to go that high, the capital Oslo in the very south of Norway is located in a fjord.

The Scandinavian country in northern Europe awaits you with rugged cliffs, wild fjords, and a fascinating landscape. Anyone who has always wanted to do mountaineering, a glacier tour, or a kayak tour has come to the right place. But a vacation in Norway is also a really good trip for hikes, discovery tours, or just relaxing fishing in nature.

  • A Norwegian mail shipping route has become famous as Hurtigruten, which runs along the Atlantic coast to the ports in the Norwegian Sea.

  • The Lofoten Islands are considered a hiking and climbing paradise in the North Sea. Rugged and steep, the mountains rise above picturesque small towns.

  • Tromsø further south is one of the hotspots for whale watching and fjord tours. In small boats you go out to sea from the island of Kvaløya.

Vacation in Scandinavia: Finland

The land of a thousand lakes and a thousand islands is one thing above all: spacious and idyllic. A stay in Finland would automatically lead to peace and happiness - at least that's what the Finns say. And they have to know.

Finland borders Sweden, Norway, and Russia as well as the Baltic Sea. With around 129,344 square miles and 5.5 million inhabitants, Finland is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe. A vacation in Finland is like a journey into a magical fairytale world. Immerse yourself in the land of the midnight sun and get to know special features such as reindeer, sled dogs, or the Finnish sauna!

  • Halfway between Sweden and Finland is the picturesque Åland archipelago with the port city of Marihamn.

  • The vastness of Lapland is a dream destination for many. One-third of the region lies north of the Arctic Circle and is an enchanting winter travel destination.

  • Do you dream of a house by the lake? You can have it, in the Finnish Lake District in the south-east of the country. A private sandy beach, a jetty with a rowing boat and a sauna are always part of the scattered holiday homes.

Vacation in Scandinavia: Sweden

Vast forests, deep blue lakes, and quaint little houses - these are the images that come to mind when you think of Sweden. Sweden inspires every vacationer with its wide range. Here you can go on a tour of discovery through the big cities like Gothenburg or Stockholm, go on a hike through the vast forest areas or spend time bathing at one of the deep lakes. Whether you are looking for relaxation, families, those interested in culture or active travelers- in Sweden every type of vacation is in good hands . From exceptional accommodation options to lively cities to endless expanses of natural beauty and small wonders - here you can experience everything that makes a good summer vacation.

All the more fascinating: Sweden is one of the largest countries in Europe and stretches over a length of more than 930 miles. The undulating landscapes of the south are used for agriculture, while rough mountain ranges run in the north. The farms in Smaland are rusty red, just as you know them from Astrid Lindgren's books. Here is a brief overview:

  • The rural region of Scania in southern Sweden scores with bathing beaches and a sunny climate. Kivik and Simrishamn Skåne has two veritable bathing resorts. However, Scania did not become world famous for its monasteries, churches, and brick buildings, but rather for the investigations of Henning Mankell's inspector Wallander.

  • The thousands of small islands that lie between Stockholm and the Finnish port city of Turku are called the archipelago. You can rent some of the islands together with the holiday home.

  • The Abisko National Park in the Swedish part of Lapland is famous for its special spectacle because here you can admire the fascinating play of the Northern Lights in winter.

  • Lake Vättern in central Sweden is an ideal playground for cyclists. The little-used road around Sweden's second largest lake leads through forest landscapes and through the Tiveden National Park.

Our pirate tip: The ferry connections between Stockholm and Turku are amazingly cheap and go straight through the archipelago islands. So you don't have to book an expensive cruise to see the archipelago from the boat.

Vacation in Scandinavia: Denmark

The royal country has hundreds of islands, a coastline 4,300 miles long, two seas, and calls both enchanting beaches and port cities its own. Of course there are also the carefree Danes here. The country and the people show an almost limitless openness. A joy that spreads over you once you are there.

Relax in nature for a few days, rent bikes and explore the region, grab a fishing rod and land some fish - Denmark is a beautiful paradise to relax. You can also explore the country's capital on your own - decide for yourself! Of course, Denmark's capital Copenhagen, which has repeatedly received the title of the most livable city in the world, is particularly popular. But not only the beautiful city is worth seeing: During your vacation in Denmark, exciting things await you, such as long coasts, medieval cities and many castles.

  • Wide beaches, huge dunes, mighty cliffs: North Jutland's North Sea coast shines with idyllic nature. At the Grenen headland you are at the northernmost point of Denmark.

  • There are also extensive dream beaches in the south of Denmark, just a few hours' drive from Germany. The sandy beaches of the North Sea islands of Rømø and Fanø are among the widest in Europe.

  • Do you prefer the gentler Baltic Sea? No problem: rent one of the 12,000 holiday homes in the Zealand region. There you are close to the beach and at the same time you can plan a trip to nearby Copenhagen!

  • Hardly any European capital is more tranquil than Copenhagen. The cafés in the colorful houses around the new harbor, the Nyhavn, are the number one port of call. And the sculpture of the mermaid is a must-see.

Vacations in Scandinavia: Iceland

The island of geysers has experienced a tourist boom in recent years and numerous flight connections mean that vacations in Iceland have become more common. But beware: the Icelandic summer is short and can be rough. But what do you care about the weather when you can watch whales? The chances of this are nowhere as great as in the waters of Iceland. The geysers also keep to a precise schedule: the hot water fountains of Haukadalur in southern Iceland erupt at regular intervals.

Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, serves as the base for most visitors, but the north of Iceland is considered even more beautiful and wild than the south. Being so close to the Arctic Circle, you will be enchanted by the rugged nature and the midsummer days are even longer than in the south. By the way, during the summer it is regularly warmer in north Iceland than in the south!

Activities in Scandinavia

Clearly: Scandinavia is predestined for active and outdoor vacations. The rural regions of Scandinavia are among the most sparsely populated in Europe. Therefore, it is no wonder that the natural beauties are among the main attractions of the region.

  • In the young Swedish National Park Fulufjället on the border with Norway there is not only one of the oldest trees in the world. You can also walk to Sweden's highest waterfall.

  • A visit to Finland's secret cultural capital, Turku, can be wonderfully combined with a trip to the island of Saaro. Sandy beaches await you under old pine trees . And the campsite sauna can be rented by the hour.

  • Norway's fjords are all fascinating, but one of them breaks all records: the Sognefjord in the North Sea is the longest at over 124 miles and the deepest fjord at a whopping 4,291 feet in all of Europe.

  • Long, wide, and bright: The beach at Hvide Sande in western Denmark is considered the most beautiful and loneliest North Sea beach.

  • Attention hikers and hikers: The E1 European long-distance hiking trail runs right through Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. You don't have to hike to the North Cape right away, you can also choose one or the other well-marked stage!

Family Vacation: Scandinavia Vacation with Children

Frolicking in the snow, visiting Pippi Longstocking, or seeing moose and reindeer: an eventful and varied vacation is guaranteed for families in Scandinavia. Yes, you can even experience a beach vacation here with your family... just a little different than on Mallorca & Co. Definitely but no less beautiful! We especially recommend the leisure and adventure park "Astrid Lindgren's World" near Vimmerby. Here the little ones can visit Pippi Longstocking in the Villa Kunterbunt, make the Bullerbü courtyards unsafe, how the robbers frolic on the Mattisburg and after too much fooling around, then it's off to Michel's carpenter's shed.

It's no secret that Scandinavia isn't very cheap. If you're traveling with children, it's best to find a self-catering holiday home that is conveniently located. From there you can go on excursions by rental car or explore the area on foot.

Many larger places in Scandinavia maintain aquariums or nature parks where you can admire the sea and animal life even when the weather is bad. In Slottsskogen near Gothenburg in Sweden, for example, there is a zoo with moose and a large adventure playground. In Denmark, on the other hand, the two-holiday parks Lalandia near Billund and Sommerland Fårup offer fun for young and old. Incidentally, the amusement parks rent out their own holiday homes.

Typical Accommodation in Scandinavia

Apart from the fact that you can find picturesque holiday apartments almost everywhere, the so-called Allmansrätten stands out in Sweden and Finland. This right of public access states that everyone has the right to be in nature as long as they do not destroy anything and leave no rubbish behind. Wild camping is therefore explicitly allowed! And there's more: Along many hiking trails, such as the Birgitan Polku south of Tampere, you will find barbecue areas and camp sites that can be used free of charge. If you have never camped before, you should dare in Scandinavia!

Whether on Iceland, in Smaland or on the Lofoten: Nestling in a brightly painted holiday home and being in the middle of Nordic nature has a very special charm. And it is also much cheaper than the hotels in the cities .

Here is another pirate tip if you are drawn to Stockholm: The three-master AF Chapman is permanently moored there in the middle of the city, on the museum island of Skeppsholmen directly opposite the old town island. Swedish delicacies and coffee are served on deck, the bunks serve as hotel rooms. An incomparable experience!

Camping in Scandinavia

Scandinavia is the ideal destination for camping enthusiasts, whether with a mobile home, tent, or caravan. You will find well-developed campsites all over Scandinavia and you don’t have to worry too much about safety, as the Scandinavian countries are generally considered to be very safe.

In Sweden and Norway, there is even the " right of public access ". This allows everyone to move freely in nature as long as no damage occurs. This also allows you to spend one night in the great outdoors (although groups require a permit).

Of course, you have to leave the campsite clean! And if you don't reach your daily goal, you can even take a night's rest with the caravan on the side of the road. But the rule "do not disturb - do not destroy" applies here too ! Often you can even rent tents at campsites, which means you don't even have to lug your own gear. Simply inform yourself online beforehand about the offers of the campsite of your choice.

Discover Scandinavia through a Road Trip

One vacation is not enough for you and you want to take as many destinations as possible in Scandinavia with you? How about a road trip?

Road Trip through Scandinavia - On Your Own or as an Organized Tour?

If you want to save time and avoid planning work, then an organized tour is a good option. In a few days you will see a maximum of sights and can get an idea of ​​the region. The downside is that you spend a lot of time on the bus just to get from A to B.

A road trip on your own is more relaxed. Then you have the choice of staying longer at the lake or heading towards the North Cape.

A wonderful possibility is the road trip by ship. Numerous shipping companies offer cruises through the Baltic Sea. During the days in port, you always have the opportunity to explore the historic cities and nature.

How Much Time Do You Need for a Road Trip through Scandinavia?

Scandinavia is huge. Sweden alone is over 932 miles long. For a road trip through several countries in Scandinavia, you should bring enough time, a week is the absolute minimum. However, many vacationers who set off for Scandinavia in the summer spend four or six weeks there.

Example Routes for Your Road Trip through Scandinavia

Route Suggestion 1: The Short Tour

If you don't have much time, it's best to limit yourself to one or two countries. For example, use the cheap ferry connections between Sweden and Finland.

  • Day 1: Flight to Stockholm, sightseeing

  • Day 2: Sailing to the Åland Archipelago and Marihamn

  • Day 3: Stay in the archipelago

  • Day 4: Crossing to Turku, sightseeing

  • Day 5: Day at the sea on the Saaro Peninsula

  • Day 6: Continue to Helsinki and the Finnish Lake District, return flight

Route Suggestion 2: The Long Tour

With more time, a greater arc can be struck. But you still have to decide: If you go to Norway via Denmark and Sweden, then Finland will fall by the wayside. If you want to enjoy Finland's lakes, then it's going to be hard to fit Norway into it. Here is an example of a tour that has Norway and the North Sea as its destination:

  • Week 1: Relaxation on the Danish North Sea islands of Rømø and Fanø, overnight stay in the Baltic Sea region of Zealand, sightseeing in Copenhagen

  • Week 2: Across the Öresund to the southernmost province of Sweden, to Scania; Detour to the bathing towns of Kivik and Simrishamn, visit of Kristianstad and the biosphere reserve Vattenrinke; further to Sweden's second largest lake, the Vättern

  • Week 3: Via Gothenburg to Oslo, from Oslo to Bergen on the Norwegian Atlantic; hike the deepest and longest fjord in Norway, the Sognefjord

  • Week 4: From Bergen by Hurtigruten mail line via Alesund and Trondheim northbound; from the Hardstadt port of call with the Lofotenexpress to the Lofoten Islands; Return flight to Germany from Bodø airport via Oslo

Our pirate tip: The Lofoten are well beyond the Arctic Circle, but if you have time, you can go even further north. You can reach the North Cape and thus the northernmost point of Europe via Tromsø, for example by bus.

Means of Transport for a Road Trip through Scandinavia

It is advisable to end the road trip where you can easily get home by plane. Most major cities (even beyond the Arctic Circle) have airfields.

In general, the following rule applies the further south you are, the better the local transport. Sweden, Denmark, and Finland have well-developed rail networks. In all Scandinavian countries, private bus companies also operate cheaply between the larger cities. In Norway, you can even reach the North Cape by bus.

Of course, with a rental car, you can get to all places in Scandinavia that are otherwise not so easy to reach. You can take advantage of this by packing a tent and camping if necessary.

It is also worth keeping an eye out for ferry connections. From Bornholm, for example, you can easily get to Sassnitz on Rügen. A day on a ferry from Sweden to Finland not only takes you through the spectacular archipelago but is even cheaper than a flight.

Train Journey through Scandinavia

Did you know that you can easily explore Norway and Sweden by train? Thousands of kilometers of tracks open up Northern Europe and lead to Europe's northernmost passenger station: Narvik. Get a window seat and enjoy the beautiful landscapes in the midnight sun, past fjords, mountains, wild waterfalls, and small fishing villages. In the far north, the sun shines almost 24 hours a day as early as May (provided the weather is good), so every night train becomes a day train here.

Sample Route for Your Train Journey through Scandinavia

Train Oslo - Bodø, from 350 Norwegian kroner ($31)

Our example route starts in Oslo. The easiest way to get there from Germany is by plane. You can then take the night train directly to Bodø after a day flight. Bodø is the starting point for trips to the Lofoten, you should not miss this beautiful archipelago on any trip in northern Scandinavia. There are ferries from Bodø to Moskenes several times a day. Of course you can make more stops on the way to Bodø, you just have to book the corresponding tickets.

Bus Bodø - Narvik, from 460 Norwegian kroner ($40)

There is no train between Bodø and Narvik, the Northern Railway has its terminus here. Buses will take you from here to Narvik in about 6 hours. You can also travel around Lofoten by bus from Narvik, or drive further north to Nordkapp or Tromsø. Narvik was and is an important port city, from here the ore deposits were shipped. The specially built railway transported the ores from Sweden here. Today, passenger trains also operate on the route, taking you to your next destination: Kiruna in Swedish Lapland.

Train Narvik - Kiruna, from 135 Swedish kronor ($12)

The beautiful Scandinavian landscape also captivates in Kiruna, the train route leads past the well-known Abisko National Park. Do you have hiking shoes with you? Unpack and tackle Sweden's highest mountain: Kebnekaise. Kiruna is Sweden's northernmost city, here you can spend a night at the world-famous Icehotel (all year round). The largest underground mine is also located in Kiruna, where the coveted iron ore is mined. Mine tours are offered. There are also numerous opportunities for rafting, hiking, kayaking, fishing and you can go looking for a vein of gold yourself.

Train Kiruna - Luleå, from 345 Swedish kronor ($31)

Continue by train to Luleå, the port city on the Gulf of Bothnia. Here you can explore the offshore islands by boat and laze on the many beaches.

Train Luleå - Stockholm, from 645 Swedish kronor ($58)

You can take the night train from Luleå to Stockholm for as little as $58. You are welcome to split the long distances into individual sections and add more stops.

What Else Do I Need to Know for My Train Journey through Scandinavia?

How Do I Book Train Tickets in Norway and Sweden?

Train tickets can be booked on the Norwegian Railways and Swedish Railways websites. This usually works quickly and easily. Of course, you can now book these conveniently via an app or at the counter.

How Can I Save When Buying Train Tickets in Norway and Sweden?

As with us, there are also savings rails in Scandinavia. The greatest savings are made by booking as early as possible (2-3 months before the trip) and skipping popular travel days such as weekends.