Things to do in Scandinavia - A travel guide for Indians

Just like the states in India are an entity due to the shared language, so is Scandinavia, apart from the shared historical and cultural heritage. There are three countries which make up Scandinavia and these are the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, though sometimes Finland and Iceland are also included in this list. Located far up in the north of Europe, these countries were never in the travel radar of Indians, and we focused often on the Southern and Central European countries. However, now we are getting a bit more adventurous and open to exploring many of the Eastern European countries as well as Scandinavia.

things to do Scandinavia from india photo
Colorful Copenhagen!


Most of the population in these three countries are direct descendants of several Germanic tribes, and that gives them a lot common heritage, including linguistic connection. I have been to two of these countries, Norway and Denmark, and though they may appear to be different from outside, culturally they are very similar.

The term Scandinavian itself is not that old and originated only in the 18th Century from a region called Scania, which was then a part of Denmark, but is now with Sweden.

Without much ado, let's have a look at some of the popular attractions in all these countries, and then spend some time on how to plan a trip there.

Denmark

Denmark is the smallest of all Scandinavian countries, though in history it was often the most powerful one. Geographically, Denmark is primarily a peninsula north of Germany, along with a few islands in the sea. Denmark has been a prosperous society for a long time (something which can't be said about Norway and Sweden) and continues to be a progressive and open democracy.

Jutland is the peninsula part of Denmark is home to the scenic heritage city of Skagen. Skagen is a classic holiday town with lots of industries as well as fisheries. It's great for water sports, fishing and a typical beach vacation. Bornholm is an island and is also great for sea vacations.

Danish capital, Copenhagen, is located in an island called Zealand with Sweden just across the sea. It's a large multicultural city which is also the most popular with the tourists. I spent a week there last year and loved it - the weather is cool and nice, people are friendly, food is great and there are tons of things to do.

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Copenhagen and cycling are inseparable :)

Lego was also invented in Denmark and a great place to visit with kids is Logoland at Billund.

You would be surprised to know that Denmark also has desert on an island called Anholt. It's also great for seal watching.

To reach Denmark

Copenhagen is actually connected with India through direct flights and that's exactly what I did. I flew from New Delhi via an Air India flight. Otherwise the city is also well connected via other major European cities.

Capital: Copenhagen
Language: Danish
Currency: Danish Krone
Visa: Schengen


Norway

Oslo is the capital city and a perfect gateway into the country. It's the biggest city in the country and has the most European feel to it, even though it has the perfect Scandinavian feel too.

The next most popular place to visit is Bergen, and you can actually go from Oslo to Bergen through a train ride which is often rated one of the best in the world.

norway weekend fjord family getaway
The magnificent Norwegian Fjord

Further north up is Tromso which is also the most popular place to enjoy the Northern Lights in Norway. Apart from Norway there are other regions in the area where you can enjoy Northern Lights, like Finland.

And Finally down south is the Stavanger region, the one that I've explored the most. Norway is famous for its fjords and there are some hugely popular spots along the fjords here, including the Pulpit rock and Kjerag for those with a strong heart.

To reach Norway

India doesn't have direct flights to Norway, and most flights reach there either via Germany or Amnsterdam. KLM has numerous flight options from both Mumbai and Delhi, but Jet also flies there in collaboration with other European airlines.

Capital: Oslo
Language: Norwegian
Currency: Norwegian Krone
Visa: Schengen

Sweden

Sweden is the largest of three Scandinavia countries, and apart from Switzerland, is the only European country which hasn't been at war since 1815.

There are three key regions in Sweden -  Norrland, Svealand and Götaland, and each one of them is beautiful and work exploring. Sweden is also known for spotting Northern Lights and there are numerous resorts in the north of the country just for that.

things to do Scandinavia from india photo
Northern Lights in Sweden


To reach Sweden

Sweden is well connected to India by it's airport at Stockholm with flights via Amasterdam and other major European cities. Air India also has a direct flight to Copenhagen from New Delhi. You can also reach Sweden by a boat from Copenhagen and explore the city of Malmo.

Capital: Stockholm
Language: Swedish
Currency: Swedish Krone
Visa: Schengen 

Comments

  1. This is such a great guide to the area - I have been to Norway, Denmark and Sweden and these countries are so beautiful and have such a wide appeal. Oslo I think was my favourite city within them, but I have actually been to Legoland in Billund - I must try and get to more of these locations within Scandanavia soon!

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  2. Good introduction to the Scandinavian region. Wonder if Zealand and New Zealand are connected in any way. I am yet to explore these countries, so you are right we Indians need to explore this part of the world.

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  3. Great guide for those coming from India. I am currently in Svalbard, Norway right now, even higher up than the mainland. It is so cold and no sunlight for weeks up here right now. You should come up here and join the party :)

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    1. I am actually coming to Norway in February, let's see how far up would I actually come. Quick question - will Northern Lights still be visible in Feb end?

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  4. Nice Travel Guide its Great Information Amazing Photography i love

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  5. All these countries are so attractive! Even though I live not far, in France, I hae never been to any of them. My favorite on would probably be Norway, all these gorgeous fjords are hard to ignore!

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  6. yeah, Its really very attractive countries, but I have not a very good knowledge about that countries, but these blogs help us to know more about these countries.
    Like there Language, there people etc.

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  7. Wow... that's a lot of things to do for a lifetime and glad to finally find something from the perspective of Indians. I wonder if I will ever manage to reach there and witness the northern lights. As of now, I'll just watch the latest episode of Vikings!

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  8. I like this short and sweet introduction the 3 Scandinavian countries. Out of that I have only been to Denmark and I loved it. I have been to Finland too , but there is always a doubt in ones mind if it is or not Scandinavian :)

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  9. I would love to visit Scandinavia, the nature looks incredibly picturesque. The only thing that puts me off is the price of everything but I guess it's totally worth it! I think Sweden would be at the top of my list. Great pictures :)

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  10. Wonderful photos! I wonder if seeing Northern Lights is as easy-moderate task as it was in Iceland for us!

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  11. Wonderful photos...All these countries are so attractive
    thanks for sharing

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