The best time to visit Scandinavia is from late June to late August. Scandinavia historically refers to Denmark, Sweden and Norway but nowadays there is an ongoing debate whether to consider Finland, Iceland to be part of Scandinavia or not. For the purpose of this article, I am considering Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway as Scandinavia.
I visited Scandinavia during late June. Summer is the best time to visit Scandinavia due to its weather and also as the days are the longest during this time (almost 22-23 hours of daylight). I used public transports of the region to move from one place to another. I spent the first 5 days of my travel in Denmark, Sweden and Finland and the next 8 days in Norway. I will explore the first 5 days of my trip in this article. If you want to know more about my trip to Norway please follow this link.
Please find my 5 day itinerary in Denmark, Sweden and Finland.
Also, you may want to read about the latter part of my trip (Day 6 to Day 13) in Norway here.
I reached Copenhagen Airport at 11 am in the morning. I bought the 24 hour travel pass from the airport (which I highly recommend as it gives you unlimited access to all of city’s public transport). Once I reached Copenhagen city, after checking into the hotel, I immediately set out to explore the city.
I had the grand canal tour pre-booked from Gammel Strand and I would definitely recommend this one for anyone who wants to see the city from a different point of view.
I then walked over to Nyhavn, which is a very colourful locality in this city.
I had my lunch at Frk. Barners Kaelder. I would recommend having the “Shooting Star”.
After that, I walked around visiting a few other places of interests like the Christiansborg Palace and the Rosenborg Castle
After walking around the city, I had my dinner at Frk. Barners Kaelder. I would recommend having the Cod along with aquevit.
Next morning, I headed out for Gothenburg on the train. The train journey was excellent and very comfortable. I reached Gothenburg in the noon. As it was mid-summer’s eve, which is a major holiday over there, the roads were almost empty.
I collected the pre-booked Gothenburg Pass, which gave me access to all of the city’s local transport and a host of tourist attractions/tours. I then headed out to see the Maritiman Museum, which is a collection of several sea-faring vessels docked in the harbour. Although all of them were interesting, I especially liked the Destroyer and the Submarine.
I headed off to get on the Paddan Canal Tour, which was again an excellent way to see the city and its well decorated bridges.
I then took a small walk around the city and as it was almost empty, it had a very serene atmosphere.
On the next day, I headed off to see the Bohus fortress which was about 30 minutes away from the city. I would recommend everyone to visit this fortress if possible, as it not only is extremely picturesque, but also will be able to help you understand about the history of this land.
At noon, I boarded the train to Stockholm, and again the train was extremely comfortable. I would recommend splurging for the first class depending on the price difference. In my case the price difference was extremely low that day. I reached Stockholm at evening that day.
I had a brisk walk around the city centre and had dinner at a cafe over there. I would recommend having the Beef Steak Tartare.
Next morning, I headed off to the older part of Stockholm City. It had a real old European charm about the place, with brick-paved roads, old buildings and small narrow streets, you will feel like you have been transported back in time to a long-forgotten era.
I decided to try an good old-fashioned steak at a Jensen Bofhus outlet and I was extremely pleased with the taste.
After that I visited the Stockholm City Hall, which was extremely picturesque and took a walk along the river. I would also recommend trying out a local ice cream shop as the taste of these ice creams are simply divine.
At evening, I boarded the Silja Line cruise which was heading to Helsinki. This was a completely different experience altogether. The vessel was huge and equipped with multiple rooms, shops, cafes, restaurants, casino, spa, duty-free market and many other amenities.
I spend a lot of time on the top deck too looking at the view of the Baltic Sea and the tiny islands. I would recommend having the Grande Buffet as you will be able to taste a lot of local cuisines and there were plenty of options to suit your fancy along with unlimited beer and wine.
I reached Helsinki in late morning and headed straight out towards the docks. There is a renowned Old fish market, where I had my lunch. I recommend tasting an oyster and having the locally famous Seafood Soup at one of the shops in the Market.
After lunch, I headed off to the Helsinki Sightseeing Canal Tour, which shows the nearby islands on a boat. I must recommend this tour to everyone as it helps see the beauty of the region and as it was a guided tour, it also helped me to learn about the local culture and history.
After the tour, I took a walk around the City Centre to see the buildings and the strreets of the city along with a few major landmarks like the Market Square, Upenski Cathedral and the Senate Square.
The next morning I headed off to Norway for the next 8 days. You can read all about it by following this link.
Copenhagen: Cabinn City
Gothenburg: Airbnb (near City Centre)
Stockholm: Airbnb (near City Centre)
Helsinki: Airbnb (near City Centre)
Copenhagen Airport to Copenhagen City: DSB (Tickets available at the Airport. You can also buy the 24 hour pass)
Transportation within Copenhagen City: DSB (24 hour pass available in all stations and airport)
Copenhagen’s Grand Canal Tour: Stromma (Tickets available at https://www.stromma.dk/en/copenhagen/ )
Copenhagen to Malmo: DSB (Tickets available at the train station)
Malmo to Gothenburg: SJ (Tickets available at https://www.sj.se/en/home.html )
Transportation and tour/attraction tickets within Gothenburg: Gothenburg Pass + 24 Hour Travel card (Available at https://www.gothenburgpass.com/ )
Gothenburg to Stockholm: SJ (Tickets available at https://www.sj.se/en/home.html )
Travelling within Stockholm: SL (24-hour travel card available at the train station)
Stockholm to Helsinki: Silja Line Cruise (Tickets available at https://www.tallinksilja.com/book-a-cruise )
Helsinki Sightseeing Canal Tour: Stromma (Tickets available at https://www.stromma.fi/en/helsinki/ )
Aquevit (loosely translated to “water of life”): It is a kind of liquor which is especially famous in the Scandinavian region. Different types of blends and flavours are available. I would recommend asking your waiter/server to help pair it appropriately with your food.
Locally brewed beers
Try to travel as light as possible. I travelled with only a large backpack (sized to fit as hand baggage in airplanes) and an additional messenger bag.
When traveling in summer, make sure to pack these:
- Suntan lotion (minimum SPF 30)
- One water-resistant thick layered Jacket
- One thin fleece jacket/hoodie
- One Scarf
- One woolen cap
- Raincoat (although I was fortunate to not needing it)
- Comfortable pair of sneakers (water-resistant if possible)
- First aid/ emergency medicine
Please note that weather changes very rapidly in Scandinavia. So at one moment if you are wearing shorts, the next moment it might be cold enough to wear a jacket.
You can drink tap water in most places in Scandinavia as it is extremely clean.
Hopefully, you have found this blog informative and interesting. Apart from these, please feel free to ask me any specific query or feedback that you have in the comment section.
Souvik is a techie by profession in a multi-national IT company.
Apart from technology, his two other passions are food and travel.