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Viking Culture And Breathtaking Nature: 3 Cooler European Countries To Escape The Heat

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Summer is finally upon us, and all over Southern Europe, sweltering temperatures are expected: all over Iberia, crossing into Southern France, down at the Italian peninsula, and over in the Balkans, visitors should brace for record-breaking heat.

Young Woman Admiring Views Of Lofoten From A Viewpoint In Northern Norway, Scandinavia, Northern Europe.jpg

If getting sunburned under 100 degrees isn't your idea of fun—not to mention the surging crowds at Mediterranean beaches—and you'd rather visit somewhere (literally) cooler instead, it's time you give these 3 gorgeous Northern countries some consideration.

Famous for their Viking heritage and jaw-dropping nature, Denmark, Norway and Sweden are expecting a record increase in visitors this summer, and here's why you should be among them:

Meet Europe's Chill Summer Trio

Viking Ship On The Shores Of A Fjord In Norway, Scandinavia, Northern Europe.jpg

Scandinavia is a historical region in Northern Europe comprised mainly of three countries that all share a common culture and form a dialect continuum through their sister languages. Its history has been intertwined for centuries.

All three enjoy far milder climates than the Mediterranean South, and even in the peak of summer, when rain is limited and the sun may only be setting after 10 PM every night, temperatures are extremely unlikely to soar above 80 degrees.

Aerial View Of Kronborg Castle In Helsingor, A Historic Town In Denmark, Scandinavia, Northern Europe.jpg

There's an increasing demand for ‘cooler' destinations in Europe following the unpleasantly high temperatures and devastating wildfires that ravaged Greece, Spain, and the like last year, and Scandinavia might just be the perfect alternative to escape the oppressive heat.

Other than enjoying far more ‘chilled' summers, the Scandinavia trio is famous for having spawned the fearful pagan warriors known as Vikings, who wreaked havoc in Christian Europe in the lead-up to the Middle Ages.

Picturesque Fishermen Houses On The Shores Of A Fjord In Norway, Scandinavia, Northern Europe.jpg

Much like Greece, Rome and Egypt had their ancient gods, the Nordic peoples also believed in their own Valhalla deities, and their mythology continues to inspire awe to this day; still, you may be wondering how each of the three compare, and most importantly, which one to go for.

Albeit similar in character, these three nations couldn't be further apart in terms of landscape, nature, and even pricing:

Which Scandinavian Country To Go For?


Cultural City Breaks And Amusement Parks
Colorful Houses In Nyvhan, Copenhagen, Denmark, Northern Europe

Perhaps the most cosmopolitan of Scandi countries, Denmark is best known for the beautiful Copenhagen, where brightly-painted houses line the waterfront, brightening up the mood even on the gloomiest of days, regal palaces and antique amusement parks.

Tivoli Gardens is the world's second oldest, dating as far back as the 19th-century, and it's teeming with tourists when it's sunny out and a breezy 71.6 degrees (hardly beach-like weather, but rest assured you won't be chattering teeth if you decide stepping out in a shirt).

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark

Speaking of parks, the second busiest tourist destination in Denmark after the capital is Billund, birthplace of Lego and where Legoland Resort is housed: a European Disneyland of the sorts—except it's arguably more fun than the kitsch Paris one—it's guaranteed summer fun.

Denmark has no majestic fjords or towering peaks, but the coastline is very scenic, particularly around the Jutland peninsula, and honesty, it's somewhere you go for soaking up the culture of preserved medieval towns and going on epic rides rather than be mesmerized by nature.

Copenhagen, Denmark - 6 August, 2020 Sunny evening in Copenhagen old town

How Much Does A Trip To Denmark Cost?

  • $55 on meals
  • $35 on local transportation
  • $177 on hotels per night
  • $1,395 in total for a one-week stay


Gorgeous Fjords And Quaint Nordic Towns
View Of The Aurlandsfjord In Flam Seen From The Flamsbana, Norway, Scandinavia, Northern Europe

The heart of Scandinavia, Norway is the land of UNESCO-listed fjords, snow-dusted highlands dotted with quaint villages that have somehow retained much of their Nordic character, and crystal-clear, alpine lakes.

The complete opposite of Denmark, it is paradise for outdoorsy folks, offering hikes, scenic train rides, and unique glamping experiences; in fact, ‘roaming' nature is a fundamental right in Norway, enshrined in the constitution, and it's central to their identity as a country.

Tourist Taking A Picture In A Scenic Lookout In Aurlandsfjord In Norway, Scandinavia, Northern Europe

Whether it's hiking Trolltunga, a rock commanding an epic panorama of a winding, ocean-blue fjord, going on a ‘Viking' boat tour, or island-hopping in Lofoten, where sleepy fishing villages and peaks that shoot up to the skies await, you'll find yourself developing a bad case of Scandimania in no time.

Nature is Norway's biggest draw, but you should in no way underestimate Norwegian city life: Oslo has some of the most incredible art museums and modern architecture in Europe, and Bergen's restaurant scene is not to be underestimated.

Bergen, Norway. View of historical buildings in Bryggen- Hanseatic wharf in Bergen, Norway. UNESCO World Heritage Site (Bergen, Norway. View of historical buildings in Bryggen- Hanseatic wharf in Bergen, Norway. UNESCO World Heritage Site, ASCII, 119

How Much Does A Trip To Norway Cost?

  • $60 on meals
  • $26 on local transportation
  • $270 on hotels per night
  • $1,520 in total for a one-week stay


World-Class Museums And Vast National Parks
Panorama Of Gamla Stan, The Old Town Of Stockholm, Sweden, Scandinavia, Northern Europe

Sweden is best represented by Stockholm, its stylish capital, distributed around a Baltic archipelago: we dare you to find a prettier Old Town than muted-colored, skinny building-lined Gamla stan and raddest, most visually-striking metro stations anywhere in Scandinavia.

Staying a couple of days in Stockholm will give you enough time to visit the Viking Museum, where 9th-century wooden Viking ships are displayed, the interactive ABBA Museum, which commemorates Sweden's most notorious pop export, and the picturesque Skansen Folk Park.

Passenger with a trunk at the Stadium metro station in Stockholm waiting for an underground train, Sweden.

Under or overground, Stockholm is a work of art, and though crime has risen in recent years as a result of irregular migration and religious extremism, it's still a pretty safe destination, with an electric social scene, unrivaled nightlife and boundless cultural wealth.

Outside Stockholm and other major cities like Gothenburg and Malmo, Sweden is famous for being densely forested—over 70% of it is covered in green—and home to a thriving Nordic wildlife: we're talking brown bears, the adorable Arctic Fox, and the majestic moose.

Active Woman at Stenshuvud National Park, South Sweden

How Much Does A Trip To Sweden Cost?

  • $36 on meals
  • $20 on local transportation
  • $191 on hotels per night
  • $1,173 in total for a one-week stay

What's Driving This Latest Scandimania?

Stockholm old town (Gamla Stan) cityscape from City Hall top, Sweden

Scandinavia is one of the hottest regions (figuratively) to be in Europe this summer, and you don't need to take our word for it: all you have to do is check the latest trends on GetYourGuide, Viator, TourRadar, and every other popular travel agency or booking platform.

Between a 50% increase in bookings for GetYourGuide activities in a single Norwegian village and the staggering 200% year-on-year jump in reservations for Billund, Denmark, host to Legoland, it's safe to say Scandinavian countries have never been as trendy as they are now.

Houses In Norway, Scandinavia, Unspecified Location, Northern Europe

Norway in particular seems to be leading the trend, with Viator reporting it is the fastest-growing country in its portfolio, with a demand exceeding pre-pandemic levels fivefold; likewise, TourRadar has seen an 8% rise in Norway bookings.

Sister nations Denmark and Sweden are not far behind, as all three outpace average growth rates in Europe, according to the aforementioned platforms.

Though this is a controversial topic, travel experts have attributed the renewed interest in Scandi getaways to climate change: according to a research published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in April, higher temperatures are changing travel patterns around the globe.

Copenhagen Denmark travel tourist woman taking photo of Nyhavn water canal old town famous tourism destination, attraction in scandinavia, Europe.

It has been found that people are spending more time in Northern Europe compared to the sun-scorched Mediterranean, ‘which is showing a significant drop'.

Fly Nonstop To Your Scandi Country Of Choice

In 2023, dangerously-high temperatures were recorded across much of Southern Europe, leading to regions in mainland Greece, and entire islands to be evacuated as fires broke out, and judging by recent indicators, it seems we're headed into a new inferno this summer.

Lucky for Americans, they can fly nonstop to all three Scandinavian countries:

Young Female Traveler Holding Up A US Passport At The Airport
  • Copenhagen, Denmark

Nonstop flights available from: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York (JFK), Philadelphia, San Francisco

  • Oslo, Norway

Nonstop flights available from: Miami, New York (JFK), Newark, Los Angeles

  • Stockholm, Sweden

Nonstop flights available from: Miami, New York (JFK), Newark

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