Scandinavia is a delightful destination at any time of the year, but winter is a truly magical time to visit. Plan your Scandinavian holiday for the European winter and you'll find a myriad of things to see and do.
Pack your winter woollies and a warm coat, and experience a real European winter in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Lapland or Greenland.
1. Christmas at Tivoli in Copenhagen
In the heart of Copenhagen, the Christmas market at Tivoli Garden’s prepares for yet another year of Christmas magic. In the pixies own market town, Pixie Ville, this year’s new cableway ride will take you above a snowy landscape where you will see all the pixies and elves preparing for Christmas in Denmark’s largest collection of mechanical pixies.
More info: www.tivoli.dk
2. Alta - the Town of Northern Lights
The town of Alta in northern Norway got its name, The Town of Northern Lights, when the world’s first Northern Lights observatory was built here at the end of the 19th century. Alta is the largest town in the Finnmark region and also has the world’s most northerly located igloo hotel, The Alta Igloo Hotel.
3. Scandinavia's best off-piste skiing
Riksgränsen in Swedish Lapland is the world’s northernmost ski resort. The amazing nature of the area, loads of snow and varied skiing at all levels makes it a natural choice for many skiers and snowboarders every year. Although they offer a variety of prepared slopes as well as heli-skiing, off-piste skiing is Riksgränsen’s speciality.
More info: www.riksgransen.nu
4. The ICEHOTEL
Voted Sweden’s no 1 destination in October this year by a number of European tour operators, the ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi in Swedish Lapland, continues its success story. The ice is a loan from the mighty Torne River and every year designers, architects and locals joins forces to build the magnificent creation which come spring, melts and vanishes into the river again. A number of packages are available at the ICEHOTEL; let a team of hard working huskies pull you on a sled through the white landscape or drive your own snow mobile. Have a go at the fine art of ice-sculpting or learn how to prepare arctic delicacies in a cooking class.
More info: www.icehotel.com
5. Killer whale safari in northern Norway
Until January these magnificent creatures roam the fjords of arctic Norway. Every winter they show up here to feed on herring which gives you a great opportunity to learn all about them and to see how playful they are while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
6. Dog sledding in Greenland
In Greenland, the area north of the Arctic Circle and Eastern Greenland is known as the dog sledding district and the best months of the year to experience this is February, March and April. On the east coast of Greenland lies Tasiilaq which with its 1700 inhabitants is the largest town in the region. Here you can actually get your own dog sled drivers license which you qualify for after a couple of days’ training.
More info: www.greenland.com
7. Ski the Norwegian way
Telemark skiing was invented by Norwegian Sondre Norheim some three hundred years ago in the Norwegian mountain village of Morgedal. It is quite different from the regular alpine skiing in both technique and equipment. First of all, your heel is loose when Telemark skiing and you can easily spot Telemark skiers as the graciously make their way down the slopes. Check your ski resort for available lessons in learning how to master this way of skiing.
More info: www.visitnorway.com
8. Scandinavia's biggest Christmas market
With close to five million Christmas lights, around 80 stalls and cabins, Liseberg amusement park in Gothenburg on the Swedish west coast host a Christmas market like no one else.
More info: www.goteborg.com
9. Lucia - the Saint of Light
Saint Lucia of Syracuse was according to the Catholic Church the saint of light and there are many different stories of how the tradition made it to Scandinavia but it has been celebrated there for around 300 years. It is celebrated at dawn on the 13th of December when thousands of young girls, dressed in white gowns with a red ribbon tied around the waist and a lit candle in one hand and a wreath of candles in their hair lights up the winter darkness around Scandinavian homes, hospitals, offices and concert halls. The Lucia leads the procession and is followed by girls in white gowns and boys with pointy hats with stars on them and last there is usually a few Santas or elves handing out saffron buns and ginger snaps. It is a sight for sore eyes and for most Scandinavians it is not true Christmas until you have been visited by Lucia.
More info: www.visitsweden.com
10. Ice skating in the city
The Narvisen ice skating rink in the middle of Oslo city centre is open for everybody from December to March, every day. Bundle up in your warmest clothes and spend an afternoon ice-skating and enjoy the atmosphere. Various food stalls sell hot dogs, hot chocolate, toddy and coffee to keep you warm.
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