There is often a misperception when it comes to Scandinavia and the Nordic Countries as many people tend to believe that it is one and the same thing. Well, it’s not.
The Northern Countries refer to the countries and islands situated in the northern part of Europe, including the Scandinavian Peninsula, the Jutland Peninsula, the eastern Baltic plain and the islands found offshore from mainland Northern Europe. Consequently, Scandinavia with its famous fjords, lovely mountains, lakes and Ice Age reminders is just a little part of Northern Europe that includes Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
These are my picks for Scandinavia’s most beautiful cities:
Maybe not as famous as Europe’s big stars, Stockholm, the gorgeous Swedish capital, enjoys a reputation of one of the most beautiful and sophisticated cities on the continent. Strangely located in the south-east of Sweden, on an archipelago consisting of 14 little islands, Stockholm features a lovely Old Town (Gamla Stan) filled with castles and windy medieval alleys, one of the largest collections of museums in the world, amazing architecture and a plethora of parks. Moreover, the abundance of water, the splendid architecture, the vibrant nightlife, the new which blends beautifully with the old, the quality of life and the green environment make it one of the greatest cities not only in Scandinavia or Europe, but in the world as well.
Lying on the islands of Zeeland and Amager, Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark and one of the world’s most environmentally friendly cities, is certainly a wonderful destination for any king of traveler.
Arguably Scandinavia’s most beautiful city, the elegant Copenhagen has it all, from gorgeous architecture, remarkable museums and galleries, charming canals, culturally diverse neighborhoods and a fairytale-like old center to green parks, plenty of trendy cafes, the longest shopping street in Europe – The Strøget, the world’s most beautiful amusement park – Tivoli, and even a couple of beaches flying the “Blue Flag”.
Known as one of the rainiest cities in the world, Bergen with its good-looking center facing the fjord of Byfjorden, has its share of natural grandeur adding to its beauty along with the splendid old wooden houses that dominate the waterfront.
Bergen is Norway’s second largest city and some would even say that is also the most beautiful. However, one thing is for sure, the train ride from Oslo to Bergen is famous for being one of the top 5 most scenic train journeys in the world.
Oslo, the capital of Norway, is a fascinating cosmopolitan city that still retains its fishing town feel. It is a truly magnificent place where shiny skyscrapers blend beautifully with the prominent German architecture, where the vibrant atmosphere merges with the utter beauty of the natural landscape, and where the flourishing development doesn’t overwhelm the thrilling Norwegian wilderness. Moreover, there are few cities in the world that can actually beat Oslo when it comes to outdoor activities as the Scandinavian capital provides you with everything, from winter sports such as skiing and skating to other pleasant activities like kayaking, island trips, hiking, sailing and many more.
Beautifully located on the east side of the Jutland Peninsula, Aarhus, the chief port of Denmark, is a lovely gathering of woodlands, beaches, lakes and charming Danish historical buildings depicting bygone epochs and various styles from all over the country. Aarhus is a modern metropolis, but it has a heart and a charm of its own which lies not only in the pleasant layout, but also in the positive atmosphere, the locals’ genuine smiles, the perpetual Viking traditions and the multicultural vibe that prevails all over the city.
Besides being the doorway to the stunning landscapes of West Sweden, Gothenburg, the second largest metropolis in the country, is also a wonderful city full of history, inspiring architecture, culture, amazing parks, botanical gardens and nature reserves. Furthermore, the multitude of pavement cafes, the great open-air Maritime Museum, the twisting canals and boat trip opportunities, the islands sprinkled on the coastline outside the city and the picturesque cobbled streets of Haga, make from Gothenburg a wonderful outdoor city and a must travel destination while in Sweden.
With beautiful century-old houses, dozens of pretty gardens, charming squares peppered with coffee shops, colorful buildings and lovely brick houses, Malmo, the former capital of Sweden, is a pedestrian friendly city and a real feast for the eye. Green, vibrant and steeped in history, the port city of Malmo is a wonderful experience whether you’re looking for culture, leisure, shopping, unspoiled nature, sandy beaches or Christmas Markets.