Top Nordic cities for a short break
The Nordic countries are famous for their wonderful nature and outdoors attractions. Many of the most visited cities also exude an atmosphere of good health and well-being, with a focus on people exploring by foot or by bike, rather than motorised vehicles. Keep an eye out for hire bikes and guided cycling and walking tours.
The Nordic countries are also renowned for offering the opportunity to see the Northern Lights.
Here we take a look at what you can see and do on a short break to five Nordic cities. For further ideas there are a variety of travel guides available at The Works.
Oslo, the capital of Norway, is situated on the southern coast at the head of the Oslofjord. There is plenty to see and do, both indoors and out, and the city is famous for its museums and green spaces.
Highlights include The Well, which is Scandinavia’s largest spa and bathhouse and has no less than 11 pools; the Museum of Science & Technology; Frognerbadet open air pool; Hadeland Glassworks; city sightseeing buses and Ousland Oslo Outdoor, which offers a variety of guided activities in the countryside and forests around Oslo.
There are plenty of hiking routes in and near Oslo, as well as a summer park and, when the snow comes, there is a winter park for skiing. Another great idea is to take a boat trip on the fjord to enjoy the landscape from the water.
Gothenburg is a major city in Sweden and situated off the Göta älv river on the west coast. There are plenty of must-sees and must-dos in the city, including visiting Liseberg, Scandinavia’s largest amusement park; Gothenburg Museum of Art; exploring the city using the waterways, such as on a sightseeing boat tour or by paddling a kayak; buying fish at the Fish Market and the rainforest at Universeum.
For outdoor fans there are beaches where you can take a dip in the water or explore on foot or by bicycle.
Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, sits on the coastal islands of Zealand and Amager. The city is clean and pleasant and favours walkers and cyclists over motorised vehicles.
A top tip is to buy a Copenhagen Card, which offers access to a host of different attractions.
While in Copenhagen you could take in Denmark’s national aquarium, Den Bla Planet; SMK – the National Gallery of Denmark; Amalienborg Palace; The Round Tower; a science centre called Experimentarium; Rosenburgh Castle; the city’s largest shopping area, Street; and an evening trip to the amusement park, Tivoli Gardens.
The best way to get about the city is on foot, by bike and using the efficient public transport system. King’s garden is a lovely place for a stroll and you could walk to see the Little Mermaid sculpture at Langelinje Pier.
There are many wonders of Iceland, including the capital Reykjavik, on the coast. The city is a beautiful place to stroll around and there is plenty to see, including the National and Saga museums, which look back at Iceland’s Viking history.
Visit the dramatic concrete Hallgrimskirkja church, as well as the rotating Perlan glass dome for stunning views of the sea and hills.
Most people are also drawn to visit the geothermal Blue Lagoon spa, near the village of Grindavik and about 40 minutes by bus. There are also city tours, such as the beer tour, and whale watching (choose the right season for this).
Reykjavik is also the start point for many people who are keen to explore Iceland. The 300km Golden Circle Tour is popular, taking in many natural wonders such as the Geysir geyser, Gullfoss waterfall and the majestic Þingvellir.
Helsinki is Finland’s southern capital and is located on a peninsula in the Gulf of Finland. There is plenty to see and do in this interesting city.
The National Museum steps back through Finnish history from the Stone Age to the present, and there is also Parliament House; the modern art museum of Kiasma; Uspenski Cathedral overlooking a harbour; and The Tom Finland Experience. Of course, you should also visit a public sauna as part of the Finnish experience.
Finland has famous for its amazing nature and outdoors life. The city has lots of opportunities for visiting beaches, forests, parks and islands. There are free guided walking tours to enjoy or you could see Helsinki on a guided kayaking tour.
Which Nordic country or city will you choose for a holiday?