Winter is all about putting on extra layers of clothes before heading out into the cool crisp air. Putting on your best waterproof boots so you can kick through the sparkling white snow and the smells of cinnamon mixing with roasting chestnuts traveling through the streets. Winter is a magical time of the year, so we all need a special place to spend it. Scandanavia may just be that place.
Scandinavia, historically Scandia, part of northern Europe, generally consists of the two countries of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Norway, and Sweden, with the addition of Denmark. Finland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands are sometimes considered to be Scandanavian but to avoid a wrangle I will keep them as just Nordic countries. So let’s dive into the best Scandanivan winter destinations and see if it deserve to hold to the title for the capital of winter
OSLO – This is Norway’s largest, most visited, and capital city. In January temperatures plummet to average highs of just 0°C and average lows to a chilly -5°C. Since the weather lives up to the winter experience it’s time for you to jump into the winter activities here. The number one thing you can do here is the toboggan run at Korketrekkeren! Slide down the mountain through a forest with breathtaking scenery overlooking the city concealed under a blanket of snow.
Some other activities that would put a smile on even Scrooge’s face are ice skating, skiing, Oslo’s Winter Park, and even take part with adrenaline junkies at Sauna Life. Many people dive into the ice-cold waters of Oslo harbor before returning to the surface to warm themselves up in the floating sauna. For those of you who aren’t so crazy, you might prefer to keep warm in one of Oslos cozy cafés.
More information: https://www.visitoslo.com/en/
BERGEN – A little further north and around 450 km west of Oslo, you can find Norway’s second-largest city. What Bergen lacks up for in size it makes for with its sheer beauty and picture-perfect streets. With average highs of 4°C and average lows of 0°C, it makes it a bit more bearable compared to Oslo for those who don’t like the cold days. Since Bergen is a bit of a hidden gem, you can get the entire city almost free from tourists especially this time of the year.
Some of the best viewpoints across all of Europe can be here found at Mount Fløyen and Mount Ulriken. Walking up through the paths surrounded by nature will make you feel as if you took a wrong turn and ended up in Narnia! Once you reach the top and see how beautiful the city and mountainous terrain is, you won’t mind standing in the cold admiring the view. Once you are back on the ground level, you can take a trip to Nærøyfjorden, which was voted the most unspoiled tourist destination by National Geographic.
More information: https://en.visitbergen.com/
GOTHENBURG – This is the second-largest city in Sweden and the fifth-largest out of all the Nordic countries. It is situated in the southwest of Sweden and is known for its Dutch canals and its wonderful Christmas market. Winter is the off-season for tourists so many hotels offer huge discounts to entice visitors in. This is a great time to visit for budget travelers. The winters are cold but not unbearable. The average highs are 2°C and average lows are -2°C.
Dark falls early in Gothenburg, so you can immerse in the spirit of winter when the city lights up with glowing decorations swaying from building to building. Candle-lite restaurants and cafés litter the streets while nature sits under a layer of beautiful white snow. There is plenty of traditional winter activities to take part in here such as ice skating or skiing just outside the city center. If you visit during December you can seek out the Christmas market at Liseberg Amusement Park.
More information: https://www.goteborg.com/en/
STOCKHOLM – Stockholm the capital of Sweden, encompasses 14 islands and more than 50 bridges along the Baltic sea. Hearing the term Baltic sea is enough to put a cold shiver down your spine especially when you put that alongside winter. The pretty city of Stockholm is located in the southeast of Sweden which gives way to cool temperatures of average highs of 1°C and average lows of -3°C. It would be a good idea to invest in a warm jacket before visiting here.
The great thing about Stockholm in the winter is that it takes care of both tourists who want to keep warm indoors and those who want to take part in outdoor activities. To keep warm all you need to do is take a seat in one of the many colorful cafés dotted around the city. Those who love the outdoors will fall in love with Tyresta National Park, which is achingly beautiful in the winter. If you want to experience both together, head to Hellasgarden where you can take an ice-cold dip then warm up in its sauna.
More information: https://www.visitstockholm.com/
COPENHAGEN – Denmark’s capital, has a population of just over 600,000 and sits on the coastal islands of Zealand and Amager. There’s no other way of putting it, Copenhagen is magical in winter. Since Copenhagen is a very popular city to visit for tourists, visiting in the cold winter months will be a great way to avoid the large groups of tourists. Temperatures this time of the year are cold but not unbearable. The average high temperature is 3°C and the average lows of 1°C.
The only downside to Copenhagen compared to the rest of the other cities on the list is that it doesn’t tend to get too much snow. Even when this city is not covered by a thick layer of snow you will fall in love with its charming city and its amazing winter spirit. Relax in hot saunas, visit world-class castles, or explore the winter wonderland on Tivoli! Embrace the Danish culture of Hygee and cozy up in small, comfortable cafés in the picturesque area of Nyhavn.
More information: https://www.visitcopenhagen.com/
AARHUS – Aarhus is Denmarks second largest city and is sat on the Jutland peninsula’s east coast. This hidden gem is one of the most underrated cities across the entire globe! Most people will have never heard of it and many will never visit here, but if you do, you will be glad that you did, especially in the wintertime. The temperatures here are slightly colder than Copenhagen, with average highs of 2°C and lows of -2°C.
A great thing about visiting this city is that it’s a hidden gem so there are little to no tourists and little to no tourist traps. The smell of the winter air and noise of the frost crackling beneath your feet is a constant reminder that is winter here. If it gets too cold outside, you can warm yourself up in some of the top class museums here such as the Moesgaard Museum and the Aros Art Museum. Later, you can take a trip to the narrow streets of the Local Quarters and warm your bones with a delicious coffee.
More information: https://www.visitaarhus.com/
Anyone who reads this list may not be fully convinced that Scandanavia is the winter capital of the world. But those who already visited here during this time will agree. One more great thing about visiting this area in winter that was not mentioned is the safety factor. When you are in a foreign country in the cold and the sun goes down pretty early, it’s always comforting to know you are in an extremely safe part of the world. That’s exactly what you get when visiting Scandanavia.
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