We are Nordic locals, welcome to our home!
From Finland in the East to Iceland in the West, Norway in the North to Denmark in the south, let us share our world and introduce you to hidden secrets and unknown gems. To truly discover the North ask yourself; what would the locals do? Let us share some thoughts.
In Norway, Tromsø is a great destination for the Northern Lights. A lonely island town far to the north, this destination is situated just below the Aurora Borealis belt that circles the globe. But did you know that conditions are just as good in Alta, Kirkenes, Bodø, Narvik, and the Lofoten Islands? Bodø is a cosmopolitan town, named European Cultural Capital 2024. Alta has a Northern Lights cathedral. Narvik is rich in history. Kirkenes is an exotic, Eastern town. You don’t have to break the bank on expensive hotels if Tromsø hotels are full during the high season. Why not consider local alternatives?
In Iceland, Reykjavik offers great conditions for the Aurora Borealis. Combine a day tour like whale watching or sightseeing around the Golden Circle with an evening adventure hunting for the Northern Lights. Search out the Aurora on an ocean cruise, by minivan around the Reykjanes peninsula, or maybe by snowmobile on the glaciers. But if Reykjavik becomes too crowded, then head north to the towns of Akureyri or Husavik. Smaller and less visited, these destinations offer first-class conditions for Northern Lights. Try the Diamond Circle. Go whale watching in a region that boasts one of the best whale sighting conditions in the whole world. Rent a car and drive through the stunning Westfjords, named by Lonely Planat in 2022 as the #1 destination to visit in this world. Meet the locals of North Iceland and learn how Icelanders have made a living on this desolate, volcanic island.
Lapland, in Finland, is a mecca for Northern Lights. Travelers flock to Rovaniemi, the adventure capital of Lapland and the home of Santa Claus. Here he lives in his very own Santa Village where he has even built a fairytale Snow Castle entirely out of snow and ice. Reindeer and elves roam the streets, all year long. Rovaniemi is amazing! But if you’re less up for Santa and more up for nature, then why not try Levi or Ylläs not far away? Levi offers fantastic alpine skiing and Ylläs is on the doorstep of the giant Lapland wilderness with a bounty of excursions available. Or maybe venture even deeper into the free? Then try Luosto and the surrounding national park. This is a stunning forest destination, perfect for hiking in Summer and wilderness excursions in Winter. Even further East, join a Brown Bear Safari in Kuhmo where you stay overnight in a custom-built premium quality cabin with a panorama window facing the bear’s habitat. A movie theater in the wild. Or go north! Saariselkä and Inari are some of the most remote regions of Finland, but the local population and the wilderness experiences to be had in this Arctic Winter paradise make up for the trip. You can even cross over to Kirkenes in Norway and visit two countries in one.
And did you know Lapland is also Sweden? Abisko in Sweden, reachable by car from Kiruna airport or Narvik in Northern Norway, is another great destination for dancing with our Lady Aurora Borealis. Located high up in the mountains, skies are often clear. With no towns and settlements, or other sources of light pollution around, the starry skies can reflect clearly on the white snow as a majestic backdrop for a Northern Lights show of green, purple and red lights flashing and burning in the skies above. Stay at the Abisko Mountain Station or in a private cabin to best enjoy the show. But if Abisko is a bit too far, then why not visit the lesser known Luleå, Övertorneå, Jokkmokk or even Harads towns for a Northern Lights experience just as majestic and great? Stay at the Art Hotel in Övertorneå or the Tree Hotel in Harads, and bear front-row witness to Lady Aurora as she dances across the Northern skies.
Fjords & Mountains
The Geiranger fjord, the Sognefjord, the Nærøyfjord, Ålesund, Bergen, Flåm and Geiranger are truly breathtaking and amazing places to visit. We sincerely love these destinations, with their mix of powerful nature and stark contrasts from deep fjords to tall mountains, mixed in with vibrant town life, local culture and centuries of history. But if fjords and mountains are on your list, why not try the stunning Lysefjord with Stavanger as your starting point, and hike to the Pulpit Rock while you’re there? Or see the Tromsø fjords and Lyngen alps in summer, with all their might and beauty?
Did you know that the Oslo fjord is over 100kms long and in summer the local waters heat up enough to swim there, powered by the gulf stream that pumps warm water all the way from the Caribbean? The locals flock to Fredrikstad and Hvaler, and to Tønsberg, to swim and sunbathe. There they find hundreds of bays, skerries and private islands. They seek out a private sandy beach for the day and get comfortable, or hike in the stunning, moon-like archipelago landscape. Created during the ice age by the weight of massive icebergs that once polished these rocks to become rounded and smooth, the archipelago is one of our best kept secrets to this day.
City life and urban vibes
Stockholm, Sweden. Copenhagen, Denmark. Oslo, Norway. Helsinki, Finland. Reykjavik, Iceland. Our capitals are there to be discovered. But don’t think that after you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. As similar as they might appear, underneath the surface hides a unique blend of Nordic diversity stemming from cultures, languages, history and natural forces.
In Stockholm, immerse yourself in the atmosphere of a chic, cosmopolitan city. A self-proclaimed “Capital of Scandinavia”, this Swedish city boasts centuries of proud history and beautiful, noble architecture. Visit the Djurgården park, hike around Östermalm and Norrmalm, and sea the Vasa ship museum to get a feel for what Stockholm has to offer. Discover the proud identity of an architecturally astonishing city with history and innovation, wherever you go. Or head south to Södermalm and explore how style conscious Stockholmers lead their daily lives.
In Copenhagen, culture, cuisine and the city scene is equally avant-garde. But in a different way. How so, you might ask? Stroll around the Christianshavn quarters. Visit Vesterbro restaurants. Rent a bike to explore the Amager beach park. You’ll find a uniquely Danish mix of old and new, a love for tradition with a good dash of modernity, sprinkled with lots of coziness and interpersonal warmth. The Danes call it “hygge”; an informal and interpersonal way of interacting with each other within the frames of a laidback and stress-free environment.
In Oslo, visit Majorstuen, Frogner, and the Bygdøy peninsula and feel like you’re experiencing a mix of Stockholm historic pride with Copenhagen laidback hygge. Travel East to Grünerløkka to find a Norwegian SoHo in miniature. Or, on a good day, suntan on the manmade beach next to the Opera House right next to the central station. Yes, there is a beach by the central station. Hop on a ferry boat to visit the islands and find medieval, catholic convent ruins. Or hike in the forests of the mountain plateaus that surround the city. The views are nothing short of magnificent! A compact capital city, Oslo will surprise you once you take a closer look. Venture off beyond the royal palace and Aker Brygge to find a city of contrasts, modernity, culture and nature.
Helsinki, maybe surprisingly, is a booming summer city with lots of warm summer weather thanks to aircurrents from the east. While the rain pours in Western Scandinavia, Finns cool themselves off in the Baltic Sea that warms up to pleasant temperatures in summer. Seaside cabin life, boating and archipelago excursions are favorite activities in summer. So is strolling around the city and enjoying many of the outdoor restaurants and bars. If the weather is not on your side, explore the museums and the music scene of this unique, Nordic capital. Metal and rock music is popular and there is a good selection of rock bars and evening events. While Swedes, Danes and Norwegians would welcome you with a light “velkommen” or “välkommen”, in Helsinki you will be greated with a straight “Tervetuola!”.
Reykjavik, surprisingly to many, is both the smallest but also maybe the liveliest capital of the Nordics! Settled by Vikings a good thousand years ago, and weathered by Atlantic Ocean natural forces ever since, the Icelandic character is today one of stealth, persistence, and perseverance. This transcends into every-day life and makes for a particularly interesting urban scene. Explore top restaurants, lively bars, and a city full of cultural expressions wherever you go. Throw in snowy mountain tops on the horizon, volcanoes, geysers, and the Atlantic Ocean right on your doorstep, and you have yourself a truly unique and immersive Nordic experience not anything like that of the other countries in our part of the world.
We’ve only scratched the surface. If you’ve made it so far, maybe you’re interested in learning more? Check out or blogs, or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for more insights, tips and information. We would love to help you explore our world, and it would be a pleasure to help you set up a suitable itinerary for your particular needs. Happy Nordic travels, and happy adventuring!
Your Booknordics.com team. Nordic locals and adventurers.