Bucket list-worthy places in the Nordics
The Nordics is a beautiful region in Northern Europe consisting of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Iceland. These five countries are some of the world's safest, most peaceful, and most prosperous countries.
They also share many historical and cultural similarities and are well-known for their stunning natural scenery, from the northern lights in Lapland to the spectacular fjords of Norway.
The best time to visit the Nordics depends on what you are looking for. For warmer weather, longer days, and happier locals, the summer months between June and September are perfect. If you are looking for outdoor activities like skiing and enjoying snowy landscapes, winter is the best time to visit.
Here we have gathered the top places to visit in the Nordics for both visitors and us who live here. Hopefully, you will find a few new places for your bucket list.
Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark, located on the eastern coast of the country on the islands of Zealand and Amager. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and is known for its colorful architecture, picturesque canals, and vibrant culture. The city is also home to many museums, theaters, galleries, and other cultural attractions. Copenhagen offers a wide variety of restaurants, shops, and nightlife, and is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike.
What to do in Copenhagen, Denmark
- Explore the history and culture: Copenhagen is home to sights such as the Little Mermaid statue, the Royal Palace, Rosenborg Castle, the Royal Danish Opera House, and the Glyptoteket art museum.
- Take in the beauty: The city is home to great architecture as well as many beautiful parks, canals, and gardens, such as the Tivoli Gardens and Kongens Have.
- Enjoy the food: Copenhagen is one of the best food cities on the planet.
- Cycle like a native: Copenhagen is considered one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world, and you can tell with all the bicycles around town. Rent a bike and explore the city like a local!
Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Located on the country's east coast, it is built on 14 islands, connected by 57 bridges, and surrounded by a stunning archipelago of over 24,000 islands. The city has a unique combination of modern and historical architecture, with many cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and old squares. It is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city home to a diverse range of cultures and is known for its excellent restaurants, bars, galleries, and museums. Stockholm is the perfect place to explore the great outdoors and its culture while providing plenty of relaxation opportunities.
What to do in Stockholm, Sweden
- Take a tour of Gamla Stan: The oldest part of Stockholm, Gamla Stan is home to many historic buildings and attractions, including the Royal Palace and Storkyrkan Cathedral.
- Spend a Day at Djurgården: This large island in the heart of the city is home to many attractions, including the Skansen Open-Air Museum and the Vasa Museum, a maritime museum that houses the Vasa, a 17th-century warship that sank in Stockholm's harbor in 1628.
- Visit the Nobel Museum: This museum celebrates the achievements of the Nobel Prize winners and offers various exhibits and activities.
- Take a Boat Ride on the City's Canals: Hop on one of the city's many canal boats for a unique tour of Stockholm.
Gotland is an island off the coast of Sweden in the Baltic Sea. It is the largest island in the Baltic Sea and one of Sweden's most popular tourist destinations. Gotland is known for its sandy beaches, picturesque villages, and historical sites. The island also has a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Hanseatic town of Visby. Visitors to Gotland can explore the many nature trails, cycle around the island, or take a boat tour to explore the many islands and bays surrounding the main island. Gotland is also home to various wildlife, including seals and birds, making it an excellent destination for wildlife lovers.
What to do in Gotland, Sweden
- Explore Visby Old Town: Visby is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the best way to explore its history and culture is to stroll through the old town. Here you can find cobblestone streets, ancient churches, ruins, and plenty of cafes, shops, and restaurants.
- Take a boat tour: Gotland is an island, so there are plenty of opportunities to explore its coastal waters by boat. Take a boat tour around the island or rent a boat and explore on your own.
- Visit the old churches of Gotland: Visit the many churches scattered throughout the island and learn about the history and culture of the island.
- Enjoy the beaches: Gotland has some beautiful beaches, which are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing.
- Hike through the nature reserves: Gotland has some stunning nature reserves and national parks. Hike through the forests and over the rolling hills and enjoy the spectacular scenery.
- Climb the cliffs at Lummelunda Cave: Enjoy the stunning views of the Baltic Sea while exploring the deep cave.
- Go sea kayaking: Consider sea kayaking for a different adventure. Paddle around the island and explore its hidden coves and beaches.
Abisko is a remote, mountainous area in northern Sweden, located in the province of Swedish Lapland. It is known for its spectacular views of the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, and its unspoiled nature, surrounded by mountains and pristine forests. The area is home to various wildlife, including reindeer, Arctic foxes, and golden eagles.
The village is also famous for its ski resort, which offers activities such as snowshoeing, dog sledding, and cross-country skiing. Abisko is the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers who want to experience the beauty of the Arctic and the Northern Lights.
Last but not least, Abisko is where you will find Abisko National Park, a popular destination for hikers and skiers.
Sarek National Park
Sarek National Park is one of Sweden’s most iconic wilderness areas located in the far north of the country. It is a part of the Laponian Area, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The park, which was established in 1909, covers an area of 1,610 square kilometers and consists of rugged mountains, valleys, rivers, and lakes. It is home to a variety of wildlife, such as wolverines, bears, moose, and lynx, as well as an array of plant species.
The area is also known for its breathtaking scenery, with glaciers, mountains, rivers, and lakes forming the backdrop to the park. It is a popular destination for hiking, canoeing, fishing, and photography.
Helsinki is the capital and largest city of Finland. It is located in the southern part of Finland on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. Helsinki is known for its stunning architecture and beautiful natural surroundings. There are plenty of parks for relaxation, and restaurants and cafes to explore. In addition, the city is well connected with an efficient public transport system.
What to do in Helsinki, Finland
- Visit the sea fortress Suomenlinna: The 18th-century sea fortress of Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular attractions in Helsinki. Explore the fortress’s many tunnels, courtyards, and bastions.
- Take a stroll along Esplanadi: Take a leisurely stroll along Esplanadi, Helsinki’s famous park and shopping street. The tree-lined avenue is dotted with cafes, boutiques, and elegant buildings, including the impressive White House.
- Explore the Old Market Hall: the Old Market Hall, or Vanha Kauppahalli, is an indoor food market that has been around since 1889. It’s a great place to sample some of Finland’s delicious food, including smoked fish, reindeer meat, and fresh berries.
- Visit the design district: Helsinki’s design district is a must-visit for anyone interested in art, design, and fashion. Explore the area’s many galleries, boutiques, and cafes, and find inspiration for your own creations.
- Go for a walk in Kaivopuisto Park: Stroll through the beautiful Kaivopuisto Park on a peninsula in the Gulf of Finland. The park offers stunning city views and is a great spot to watch the sunset or relax.
- Enjoy a cup of coffee: The Finnish love their coffee, and Helsinki has a great selection of cafés. Take a break and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee and a bite.
- Eat licorice candy: Helsinki is one of the best places in the world for licorice candy.
Reykjavik is the capital and largest city of Iceland, sitting on the southern coast of the island nation. The city is known for its stunning natural beauty, with mountains, volcanoes, and geothermal sites nearby. Reykjavik is a great place to explore, with a variety of museums, galleries, restaurants, and bars, plus a lively nightlife. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, such as whale watching, Northern Lights viewing, and trips to the Blue Lagoon. Reykjavik is also named one of the top places for female travelers to visit.
What to do in Reykjavik, Iceland
- Visit Hallgrimskirkja Church: This iconic Lutheran church is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Reykjavik. The church has an observation deck, which offers great views of the city.
- Soak in the Blue Lagoon: The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa located in a lava field. It's one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland and is a great way to relax and unwind.
- Explore the Golden Circle: This 300-kilometer loop is one of the most popular day trips from Reykjavik. It includes some of the most stunning landscapes in Iceland, including Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall.
- Take a Whale Watching Tour: Whale watching is a popular activity in Iceland. There are several tour operators in Reykjavik offering trips to see whales, dolphins, and other marine life.
- Check Out the Harpa Concert Hall: This iconic building is a must-see. The Harpa Concert Hall is home to the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and the building’s design is inspired by the country’s natural landscape.
- Taste Local Cuisine: Reykjavik is home to some of the best restaurants in Iceland. Try traditional dishes like lamb soup, skyr, and smoked puffin.
- Climb Mount Esja: This mountain is located just outside the city and offers spectacular views of Reykjavik and the surrounding area. It’s a great way to get out and explore the Icelandic wilderness.
Vatnajökull National Park
Vatnajökull National Park is the largest national park in Iceland, located in the southeast of the country. It covers an area of over 13,000 square kilometers and is home to some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world, which is why it made the list of the most beautiful national parks in the world.
The park is home to the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajökull, and its many outlet glaciers, as well as stunning mountains, glacial rivers, waterfalls, and a variety of flora and fauna. It is also known for its lakes, including Jökulsárlón, an incredibly picturesque glacier lagoon. The park is a popular destination for visitors from around the world, offering a variety of activities, from hiking and glacier trekking to kayaking, snowmobiling, and ice climbing.
Oslo is the capital and most populous city of Norway. It is found on the country's southern coast and is surrounded by hills, forests, and fjords. Oslo is a center of business and finance, and its diverse economy is based on shipping, oil and gas, technology, and finance. The city is considered one of the most expensive in Europe and is known for its stylish, modern architecture, parks, and urban landscape.
What to do in Oslo, Norway
- Explore the Vigeland Sculpture Park: Stroll through the Vigeland Sculpture Park, the largest sculpture park in the world created by a single artist, Gustav Vigeland. Explore the incredible sculptures and learn about Norwegian history and culture.
- Visit the opera house: The Oslo Opera House is one of the world's most beautiful and impressive opera houses, with a stunning exterior and interior. Take a guided tour to learn more about its history and architecture.
- Take a boat tour: Enjoy a relaxing boat tour around the picturesque Oslo fjord to see some of the city's sights from the water.
- Visit the Viking Ship Museum: Learn about Viking history and culture at the Viking Ship Museum, which houses three of the world's best-preserved Viking ships.
- Take a trip to the Oslofjord: Spend a day exploring the Oslofjord, one of the most stunning fjords in Norway. Take a boat tour or rent a kayak and enjoy the spectacular scenery.
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway and the most populous in the country's western region. It is situated on the southwest coast of Norway and is surrounded by mountains, fjords, and islands. The city's harbor is one of the most beautiful in Europe, with a colorful waterfront lined with wooden buildings. Bergen has a mild oceanic climate and is known for its wet and windy weather.
What to do in Bergen, Norway
- Visit Bergenhus Fortress: Explore this impressive fortress, which dates back to the 1240s and served as the residence of the rulers of Norway until the 17th century.
- Visit the fish market: Check out the lively atmosphere of the fish market, where you can buy fresh seafood and local specialties.
- Explore the Hanseatic Wharf: Walk through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Bryggen, a row of colorful wooden buildings that have stood for centuries.
- Visit the Fløibanen Funicular: Take a scenic ride up the Fløyen mountain on the cable railway for stunning views of Bergen and its surroundings.
- Relax at the Vågen Harbor: Enjoy the views of the harbor, one of the city's oldest and most beautiful sites.
- Trek the Seven Mountains: Take on the challenge of climbing the seven surrounding mountains of Bergen, offering spectacular views of the city and fjords.
Jotunheimen National Park
Jotunheimen National Park is a protected area in Norway, located in the counties of Oppland and Sogn og Fjordane. It is one of the most popular national parks in Norway and one of the most beautiful in the world.
It boasts some of the country's highest mountains and spectacular scenery. The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife and plants, including some rare species, such as the Eurasian lynx. Here you will also find several historical sites and cultural attractions, such as petroglyphs and traditional mountain farms.
Hiking and skiing are popular activities in the park, and there are a number of well-marked trails to explore. Other recreational opportunities include fishing, climbing, canoeing, and kayaking.