There are too many wonderful things to list when it comes to Scandinavian countries. Everyone talks about “hygge” (a Danish term meaning wellness stemming from coziness and contentment) nowadays, but I definitely don’t have much time to cozy up under a wool blanket while I am traveling. So even though that is a wonderful concept, I want to give you my five favorite things about the Nordic region. It was so difficult to choose, but these are the ones that spoke to me! 1. Eats I was a little hesitant that I would be eating pickled fish all day when I first traveled to Norway in 2010. But to my pleasant surprise, I was able to find just about every kind of cuisine within walking distance in the city of Oslo. And when I had seafood, it was fresh and delicious! When I made my way to Copenhagen in 2016, I did a bit more research knowing that the foodie city usually has several restaurants on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list (tip- check this list before heading to any major city). My husband and I had the most incredible meal at Relae. On the other end of the spectrum, we have done our fair share of noshing at trendy warehouse/ market type locations throughout Scandinavia. There’s also plenty of coffee and pastry shops to stroll to throughout the day as well.
2. Architecture Bridges, buildings, and castles- oh my! I’m no architecture expert, but I know that I like to wander amongst interesting buildings. From the modern to the quirky to the Art Nouveau, there is so much variety and somehow it works in these old cities that are paying tribute to the past while obsessing over the modern world. And don’t get me started on the color (which could have been its own category on this list). Rows and rows of pastel buildings, storefronts and residences add so much character to an already charming locale.
3. Water Being around water always has a soothing, laid-back feel, which instantly slows you down during the hustles of travel. Since the majority of most Scandinavian countries have massive water borders, chances are you will be enjoying an activity along the waterfront at some point. An abundance of boat rides through canals, beachy getaway towns, and nightlife on the waterfront gives Scandinavian countries endless ways in which to incorporate their water sources into everyday life. This is a place that bred the Vikings, rulers of the seas, and adventurers who sailed the world on nothing but some wood and reeds. A connection with the water is in their blood.
4. Art scene It seems like whenever I come across great art online, I look up where I can find it and it’s almost always somewhere Nordic. They seem to churn out artists that speak to me and appear to put great pieces of work on exhibit in Scandinavian countries. To highlight their good taste Aarhus, Denmark was voted as the European Capital of Culture in 2017 and has the museums and art collections to prove it worthy. Aside from the wonderful modern art scene, Scandinavians seem to capture humanity in such a realistic way. Oh, and the street art is pretty top notch too!
5. Nordic Noir You know those binge-worthy crime dramas you love, like The Killing and The Bridge? They originated in the Scandinavian Nordic Noir entertainment industry before they became American hits. Something about these shows feels more sinister and intriguing (especially after you have binged everything else) and usually have fantastic female lead characters. Even the rather cheeky, Dicte, is captivating and had me seeking out filming locations when I visited Aarhus in 2016. Take it from this true crime fanatic- they just do it better there.
Police Station from Dicte
Okay, now who wants to cozy-up in a waterfront property and watch a crime drama?