2015 is here and that means a whole new year of traveling ahead of us! To encourage the adventurer inside you, we’ve collected a list of seven destinations in Scandinavia that you should keep an extra eye on when planning your vacation trips for 2015.
Norway, Sweden and Denmark, they all have some special gems when it comes to which cities to visit. Here are some reasons why you should go there. Widen your horizons, pack your bags and choose your next travel city!
Malmö is in fact Sweden’s third biggest city and really easy to get around, especially if you live at Comfort Hotel Malmö, which is exactly 128 footsteps from main rail station (we’ve counted!). It’s a versatile city that has a lot to offer. What Malmö may lack in size, it makes up for in culture. You’ll find shops, bars and restaurants from all the corners of the world. Especially interesting is Möllevång Square (Möllevångstorget) where there’s a daily market all days of the year (as long as the weather allows) to buy fruit, vegetables and flowers.
If you visit during the summer you’ll probably stumble across the yearly event called Summer Scene of Malmö (Sommarscen Malmö) with different concerts, outdoor movies, theatres etc. And, it’s all for free! Malmö is kind of an underdog that is rising and making a stand as one of Sweden’s most popular cities, a clear must go to for the first-timer in Sweden!
Gotland is Sweden’s biggest island and also a true Swedish summer paradise. It has a unique nature that sets it apart from the rest of Sweden. The difference in nature is obvious in the fauna and plant kingdom, as some species only exist here. An example is the Gotland grass snake.
In Gotland you’ll also find sea stacks, which are typical for the island (see image above). There are no less than 92 medieval churches to visit scattered across the island, for the religiously interested there is more than enough to explore! You can also choose to surprise the kids (and yourself) and live inside the city walls in a medieval environment at Clarion Hotel Wisby.
Also, every year there’s The Almedalen week (Almedalsveckan) where all the Swedish political parties gather to speak and mingle for an entire week, a nice visit for the one interested in politics. Also nice to avoid for the ones that don’t.
This little gem along the Swedish west coast is the perfect destination for a summer vacation. Halmstad is divided by the river Nissan and you’ll see that a lot of the city’s character still exists when you stumble across half-timbered houses originating from the 17th century here. In the city centre there’s also a medieval church originally built in the 15th century called Saint Nikolai Church. One of the city districts is named “Kärleken” (The Love), a reason well enough to visit!
Halmstad is also the home of one of Sweden’s most internationally known music exports, Roxette – “It must have been love” for music that made them so big during the 80’s.
If you’re visiting during summer you have to get to the beach of Tylösand – 7 km of white sand that stretches ahead of you along the coast. Halmstad won’t disappoint you.
The Danish capital is always hip and trendy but most of all it’s always evolving and offering new and exciting things to do and see. There’s nothing too niched for Copenhagen and the Danes are always open to new experiences and flavours. The food culture in Copenhagen is wide and you’ll find many high quality restaurants that serves New Nordic cuisine – a style of cooking that emphasises on the usage of typical Nordic produce with a fine dining twist. The most famous of them all is Noma, which took home again the coveted “Best Restaurant in the World” title for the second time. If your wallet isn’t quite ready for Noma’s steep prices, here are our favourite local Noma alternatives (some headed by ex-Noma chefs themselves).
Alongside food, the Danes have a love relationship with design and culture so it’s not very hard to find either one in the city. Take a stroll through Vesterbro to find some of the most popular districts in the city when it comes to restaurants, shopping and bars – check out our full guide to Vesterbro here.
No matter what the season, Copenhagen is always full of life and hygge!
The “Paris of the North”, is what Tromsø was called in the 19th century, probably because the people of the city appeared more sophisticated than what visitors from the south expected. This is the largest urban area in northern Norway with over 72,000 citizens.
Because of Tromsø’s location, there is periods of constant sun, midnight sun, and periods of constant darkness, polar nights. During the polar nights, a glimpse of light and perfect nature can be spotted as the Northern Lights appear. Staying by the harbour, close to the city’s maritime history with a full view of nature at Clarion Collection Hotel With is usually a good idea.
Tromsø is a cultural centre in northern Norway and is hosting many events such as Tromsø International Film Festival and Bukta Tromsø Open Air Festival, a music festival that takes place in July every year.
Stavanger is the oil capital of Scandinavia so most people who arrive on business, choose to stay central to their activities either at Comfort Hotel Stavanger or Clarion Hotel Stavanger. It’s the third biggest city and also one of the oldest cities in Norway. The city is packed with parks and green areas, ready to enjoy in both the winter- and summertime. In one of them called Bjergstedparken, you’ll find Stavanger Concert Hall where many concerts are held, ranging from classic to rock. In 2008, Stavanger was selected as one of the European Capitals of Culture.
The old parts of Stavanger are typical for 18th and 19th century wooden structures as the one you can see in the image above. A special heritage is the Stavanger Cathedral (Stavanger Domkirke) that originated in the 12th century.
The city of the seven mountains, Bergen is the second biggest in Norway and filled with exciting must-sees. First stop is Bryggen; this UNESCO listed world heritage site is typical for Bergen and breathes of history. It is an old wharf with Hanseatic commercial buildings lined up nicely along the fjord. During the middle ages this was an important place for trading. Today it’s mostly about museums, shops, restaurants, cafés and bars.
Bergen allows for thrilling outdoors activities such as rafting, fjord cruises, hiking, mountain climbing and many more. A ride on the Fløibanen Funicular will take you right up to the tallest mountaintop in Bergen, Fløyen (320 m.a.s.l.), for a spectacular view.
For the art interested you may want to check out Bergen art gallery (Bergen Kunsthall) for some nice contemporary art. For the full guide on Bergen, check out our blog post 6 ways to experience Bergen.
So, which are your top choices to travel to in 2015? Perhaps one city, maybe all of them? No matter which you choose, the Nordics offer a combination of relaxation, adventures, culture and excitement. Enjoy 2015, a year full of traveling and new experiences.