1. Explore Norway’s natural landscape
Norway is charming when it’s covered in a white blanket of snow. But summer is the best time to experience this country’s stunning scenery, from fjords to mountains and everything in between. You’ll be quite literally on top of the world when you visit Tromsø, Norway’s most northern city.
Make the most of the long hours of sunlight by taking a midnight safari. You’ll walk through a unique glacial landscape on the lookout for reindeer: best of all, if you spot one, you won’t need a flash to take a striking photograph. Or, cruise the polar fjords in Norway’s Arctic Sea. This rugged scenery is so beautiful it’s truly out of this world.
2. Celebrate Midsommar in Sweden
Summer is such a big deal in Sweden that June 22, or Midsommar, is a national party. Get into the Swedish spirit when you visit the capital, Stockholm. Stroll the cliff paths, soak up the sun in Stortoget Square, and don’t forget your afternoon fika. Then, get out of the city with a safari tour that takes in the surrounding countryside, where elk, deer, boars, and badgers graze in wildflower meadows.
Stockholm is also a great base from which to explore the Swedish archipelago. Sail your way through thousands of islands, many of them uninhabited. You’ll have the chance to explore their pristine wilderness and hike their rugged rock trails. If you find that one day in the archipelago isn’t enough — and we can’t say we blame you — then why not try a multi-day kayak tour? Row from island to island, set up camp under the stars, and start each day with a refreshing ocean dip. Heavenly!
3. See it all in Copenhagen
From Viking keeps to fairytale castles, bustling cities to tranquil coastlines, there’s something for everyone in Denmark. First stop? Copenhagen. Here you’ll find a buzzing food and coffee scene, world-class museums and galleries, and charming canalside streets.
Do as the locals do and explore the city by bike, or go one better and cruise the canals, taking in Danish architecture and landmarks, including the iconic Little Mermaid Statue at the Langelinie Promenade. After a day of urban exploring, kick back when you skip the line to visit the Tivoli Gardens. The second-oldest amusement park in the world, Tivoli Gardens features charming old-world rides and attractions and plenty of rejuvenating inner-city greenery.
From Copenhagen, it’s an easy trip to some of Denmark’s most significant historical sites. Take a day trip to Roskilde, Denmark’s ancient Viking capital, stopping off at the Frederiksborg and Kronborg castles. Fun fact: Shakespeare was so enchanted by Kronborg, that he borrowed as a setting for Hamlet.
4. Discover Finnish wilderness (and city centers)
Not strictly Scandinavian, Finland technically falls into the Nordic bucket — but hey, it’s a gorgeous place to visit. On the list it goes! If a summer spent swimming (or floating) in lakes, hiking through forests, and working up a sweat in traditional wooden saunas sounds idyllic, then Finland is the destination for you.
Sun-worshipers should head straight to Finnish Lapland. In this magical region of the world, the sun doesn’t set at all for the two months between June and July. The capital of Lapland, Rovaniemi, is an ideal starting point for your tour of the Finnish wilderness. To get up close and personal with nature in Lapland, we recommend a visit to the Ranau Wildlife Park, home to over 200 arctic animals, from polar bears and musk oxen to lynxes.
Of course, there’s more to Finland than pristine arctic wilderness. The capital, Helsinki, is cosmopolitan and cultured: a must for lovers of history, art, and Art Nouveau architecture. Stroll around the buzzing harbor, sample Finnish cuisine in a traditional market hall, and cruise the canals as you take in the Suomenlinna maritime fortress, the Helsinki Zoo, and more.
Whatever has you hooked — festivals, lake-swimming, saunas, or endless sun — discover the sunnier side of Scandinavia.