A historical and geographical region in northern Europe, Scandinavia is home to the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. With a royal history, UNESCO World Heritage sites, Nordic cuisine, the region offers unique explorations including Vikings, Sami Culture, the Mid Night Sun, the Fjords and much more, all encapsulated in its abundant nature and unique architecture.
Sweden- Welcome to something else
Many might know of ice hotels but perhaps not the fact the first ice hotel of the world is in Sweden and that it is now open round the year, letting in visitors even during summers, when ice hotels elsewhere melt away. Other than its popular ice hotel, Stockholm, Sweden’s capital, built on 12 islands, attracts many tourists. It also has an archipelago outside it that has 40,000 islands, so people can actually go there and can have an island to themselves; but that is not all the country has to offer.
“Sweden is the fifth largest country in Europe and it is feasible to cover it in a week to 10 days. It only takes three hours to fly from the north to the south, letting one explore the different parts of the country; and the entire landscape is completely different across,” says Michael Persson Gripkow, brand and strategic marketing officer, Visit Sweden.
From south, where Stockholm is, one can proceed north, in the Swedish Lapland where the indigenous Sami people live. Tourists can experience their culture, cuisine, etc. by spending time with them. Tourists can also experience oyster safari, shell fish safari, seaweed picking in Sweden. There is also the IKEA museum, which is actually the first IKEA store from 1958; and then there is Absolut Home- where the popular Swedish vodka can be experienced in various stages of its making.
Norway – Powered by Nature
In Oslo, Norway’s capital and the country’s largest city, there is a cosmopolitan vibe that flows through its world-class architecture, museums, restaurants, and shopping avenues; but as the country’s tagline goes – Powered by Nature- one can also go hiking in a forest or swim in a fjord here.
“In Norway, thus, there is something for everyone,” says Betina Hansen, sales and marketing coordinator at Fjords Norway. “There are five major fjords in the country, which are all accessible year round; and unlike in other countries, people actually live near the fjords in Norway,” she adds talking about the natural diversity of the country. “At a fjord in Stavanger, the latest sequel of Mission Impossible was shot,” she adds.
Other than visiting fjords or forests, tourists can also visit Oslo Summer Park, The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Akershus Fortress, that are some other touristic offerings in the state; but wherever you may go, don’t forget to pick some apples from near the many apple trees all around.
Denmark- Scandinavia’s greatest little kingdom
Denmark is dotted with pretty towns flooding with Danish history. Each one of them is picturesque, with a special atmosphere on offer. Ribe, Denmark’s oldest town, was recently voted Europe’s Best Small Destination. Skagen, a popular seaside town in the north, has drawn artists and holidaymakers for hundreds of years. Copenhagen, the capital, never fails to attract tourists from across the globe and has been voted as one of the best cities to visit in the world, by leading travel publications. The beauty of Denmark is indeed seamless.
“There is so much on offer in Denmark. There are art museums, film screenings, concerts, festivals amusement parks, and there are also beaches to go surf on. There are fortresses, castles, UNESCO Heritage sites, Viking villages and historical towns sprinkled all over the country,” says Flemming Bruhn, director, VisitDenmark. ” There is also aplenty choice of shopping, design museums, etc.” he adds.
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen and amusement parks, such as LEGOLAND and the brand new LEGO House in Billund are other recommended sites.
Scandinavia in India
Largely unexplored by Indians, the Scandinavian countries are now getting many takers, all year round. As per experts, the region is now also being visited in winters, which earlier kept tourists at bay due to its extreme cold.
“There are about 500,000 hotel room nights that are going to be consumed by Indians in Scandinavia in 2018. The number of visas issued this year till August is equal to the number of visas issues in the 12 months of 2017, which is a good growth. Of course, a growth in visas is not a direct indicator of the exact growth in tourism but it is definitely one of the key indicators of the fact of the growing interest in Scandinavia. We are looking at a consistent growth of about 15 pc on an average for Scandinavia as a region,” says Mohit Batra, India representative, Scandinavian Tourist Board.
“There has also been an increase in the number of travel products from Scandinavia in Indian market. In 2010, we had five partners, today we have close to 30, which is an indication of the growth that they see in India,” he adds, at a recent tourism event in New Delhi.