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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 Nordic 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:

Stockholm

Bridge in Stockholm

Bridge in Stockholm

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; splendid architecture, as well as a plethora of parks. Moreover, the abundance of water, the vibrant nightlife, the new which blends beautifully with the old, the high 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.

Copenhagen

Copenhagen

Copenhagen

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 kind 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”.

Bergen

Bergen, Norway

Winter in Bergen

Known as one of the rainiest cities in the world, Bergen, with its good-looking center facing the fjord of Byfjorden, has its fair share of natural grandeur adding to its beauty, along with the wonderful 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

Oslo Opera House

Oslo Opera House

Oslo, the capital of Norway, is a fascinating cosmopolitan city that still retains its small fishing town feel. It is a truly magnificent place where shiny skyscrapers blend beautifully with 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 much more.

Aarhus

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.

Gothenburg

Gothenburg

Gothenburg

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.

Malmo

Malmo

Photo by News Oresund

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 Scandinavian Christmas markets.

What’s your favorite city in Scandinavia?

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Comments

11
  • Peggy Tee

    Great post, Miruna! Only been to Copenhagen, which is a gorgeous little city, but I am heading to Stockholm, Oslo and Bergen in a few months, can’t wait!

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  • Miruna

    Miruna Miruna

    Reply Author

    That’s great, Peggy. Enjoy your travels !

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  • Timo

    Timo Timo

    Reply Author

    My favorite city in Scandinavia is definitely Helsinki.

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    • Cecilia

      Cecilia Cecilia

      Reply Author

      Helsinki is in Finland. Not Scandinavia.

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      • Marianna

        Cecilia: Obviously, but I’m sure Timo was referring to Scandinavia as a whole (meaning all the Scandinavian countries), just as the post was. Finland is a Scandinavian country so they used the term correctly.

        Miruna: Lovely post. Looking forward to visiting all these cities in the future. I’m hoping to do a working holiday to one of the Scandinavian countries, though I’m not sure which one yet.

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        • Ole

          Ole Ole

          Reply Author

          Marianna: Can I get a valid reason why Finland is considered Scandinavian? It is considered Nordic, not scandinavian. The term for the geographical area that is Norway, Finland and Sweden is called Fenno-Scandinavia. Being Scandinavian denotes being either Swedish, Norwegian or Danish and sometimes Iceland is included since it shares history, culture, language and ethnicity. So there.

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  • Jordan J. Caron

    I’ve been trying to learn more about Scandinavia and some cities I might visit the future. Bergen looks fantastic and so does Gothenburg. I will do some more research on them.

    Thanks

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  • Cecilia

    Cecilia Cecilia

    Reply Author

    Ålesund is the most beautiful and pristine city in Scandinavia. Don’t know if it’s official yet.

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  • Edward D.

    Edward D. Edward D.

    Reply Author

    I’ve been to Malmö, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Aarhus and several other Danish cities and each was lovelier than the next. Helsinki is nice but doesn’t have the same charm the other scandinavian cities have. The The view out towards the Baltic from the Aarhus city hall was worth the trip it’s self. I can’t wait to return to this corner of the world. Thanks for your post.
    Best, Edward

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  • Eva

    Eva Eva

    Reply Author

    Malmö is my favourite. It has it all on walking or cycling distance. In addition it has some beautiful beaches and swimming places along it’s coastes, right next to the city center, as well as some vibrant beach bars. As a plus it is 30 minutes from Copenhagen, my 2nd favourite

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  • Saadatu Yakubu-SAKA

    Saadatu Yakubu-SAKA Saadatu Yakubu-SAKA

    Reply Author

    I love Malmo, Bagen, Stockholm and Oslo. I am so looking forward to spending summer and Christmas in one of these places this year.

    Thanks for the lovely post Miruana

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