During the Scandinavian winter, adventure is just around the corner. Imagine crossing vast spaces of untouched snow, sitting in a sleigh behind a span of running sleigh dogs, their excited barking being the only thing that brakes the total stillness and silence of the wintry mountains. Or imagine taking a helicopter to the highest peaks, just to be the first one ever to trail your way down to the village below. If you have an adventurous streak and want enjoy the Scandinavian winter to the fullest, the possibilities are as endless as the untouched wilderness.
Scandinavia is undoubtedly best known abroad for its strong cultural heritage. Ranging from the folkloristic traditions that surround Midsummer and Christmas to the cineastic masterpieces of Ingmar Bergman, Scandinavian culture is one of the many things that make Sweden and Norway such truly fascinating places to visit. In the northernmost parts of Scandinavia, the indigenous sami people are still active reindeer herding and fur trapping and during wintertime you can visit them and go for long reindeer sleigh tours. If you prefer the city, don’t miss paying a visit to one of the many Christmas markets.
As the days get shorter and the snow starts to fall, Scandinavia slowly starts to look like an image from a fairytale with towering pines, draped in white, frozen lakes where the suns glitters in the frost and snowclad mountains with crystal clear air. Ice fishing and snow shoe trekking are popular pastimes all over the country. In Jukkasjärvi, Lappland, you find the famous Icehotel, the world’s first and largest hotel made entirely of ice. Don’t miss the northern lights, or aurora borealis, that appear like breathtaking curtains of coloured light over the polaric night sky.
As winter approaches many Scandinavians huddle around warm fire places, sipping hot wine and preparing for Christmas, baking traditional spicy gingerbread. Others prefer to spend their free time outdoors to enjoy the snow and clear cold air. If you prefer to stay indoors, this could be a wonderful time to treat yourself to a relaxing visit to one of the many luxurious spas, or go shopping in the joyfully decorated city centres.
Most Swedes and Norwegians learn to ski at a very early age. In Norway, parents bring their newborns along in sleighs for long tours on cross country skis, and in Sweden most children get their first pair of pist skis before the age of five. And what could be more natural in countries where snow is abundant, the mountains are easily accessed and the cold winter air is crystal clear? An unforgettable winter experience is to go ice skating on one of the many frozen lakes, not meeting another person for miles and miles in the wilderness.