May 05, 2015

Most Popular Winter Activities in Scandinavia

Most visitors to the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden try to flock during warm summer months. It's a pleasant time to explore the strikingly beautiful cities such as Stockholm or Copenhagen. During long hours of daylight with a barely setting sun, you can enjoy boat trips around archipelagos of thousands of islands or cruise through and hike around Norwegian fjords.

Visiting Scandinavia during the off-season for ordinary tourists isnb't an attractive option because in winter these countries frighten with the coldest temperatures on earth and with only 2-4 hours of sunlight in some regions.

Even airfare deals frequently offered from airlines like Icelandair and Scandinavian Airlines during off-peak periods are not tempting enough to venture on winter Scandinavian tour during these frigid months.

But those who want to enjoy the b-realb' Scandinavia, know that winter is the best time to visit the countries for a number of reasons.

Northern Lights/Aurora Borealis

aurora borealis 2

Only in a few places on earth, you can experience the greatness of Northern lights. Most of those places are in Scandinavia as Northern Lights are usually more visible the closer one gets to the Earthbs magnetic poles. Between the end of September and end of March, it is dark from early afternoon until late morning and therefore it is the best time to see the Northern Lights. The lights come when the sky is dark and perform a celestial dance across the sky, displaying different colors - green, pink, violet - reminiscent of a cool fashion show. Cold winter nights with cloudless, clear skies are prime conditions for this natural performance. Most winter Scandinavian tours include Northen Lights chasing and watching activities as a part of the tour program.

Polar Nights

During a polar night which lasts for 24 hours the sun never truly rises above the horizon. For locals, those long days of no direct sunlight are believed to trigger depression. However, for travelers experiencing polar nights for the very first time, it can be an unforgettable experience. The never-rising-sun just glows casting an eerie cover over the landscapes, making some really unique atmosphere.

Arctic Sunsets in Scandinavia

Most of us think that the real spectacular sunsets can occur only in the tropics. On a winter Scandinavian tour, you will definitely have a chance to witness the unforgettable arctic sunset. Together with aurora borealis and polar night landscapes, arctic sunsets can blow your mind. The midnight sun barely breaches the horizon and what you see are sunrays reflecting off bluish - white cold winter scenery to produce some unique sunsets.

Offbeat Winter Activities

If you enjoy cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, and snowboarding, Scandinavia has no shortage of prime ski locations for these activities.

It is true that skiing can be done in other countries that also experience the winter season, but there are a few activities that make Scandinavia so much attractive during the winter months.

Dog Sledding

dog leash

Winter tours in Scandinavian regularly offer dog-sled adventures taking you through backcountry roads, icy terrains or frozen lakes. A dog-sledding tradition dates back to the 10th century when dog sleds were used to travel through the frozen Arctic and Siberian tundra and frozen lakes. The dog sleds were also used for hunting, gathering, and transporting supplies. Today, dog-sledding is more of a tourist attraction than daily routines.

Reindeer and Wildlife Safaris

While snowmobiling through fjords and canyons, you can get closer to Arctic wildlife such as elk, reindeer, foxes, and polar bears. Going to Scandinavia during the off-season months means more opportunities to experience nature as a local.


polar bear

Traditional working reindeer farms dot Lapland, and your winter Lapland tour will undoubtedly include a visit to one.

Ice Fishing

Ice-fishing on a frozen lake, coupled with other activities such as snowmobiling and camping out is a usual winter activity. You can sit on a stool and catch some dinner through a hole burrowed into the ice to reach water.

Ice Hotels

ice cave

Between December and early March, the seasonal structures entirely made from ice are built and open for business. They offer a chance to sleep in an ice hotel for off-season Scandinavian visitors.

Several ice hotels can be found across Scandinavia. They are rebuilt every year from ice, have chapels, sculptures made from ice, ice bars where you can down vodka from ice glasses.

The most notable Ice hotels in Finland are LumiLinna Snow Hotel, Lainio Snow Village, and Igloo Village. In Norway, ice hotels include the Kirkenes Snow, Alta Igloo Hotels, and the Bjorli Ice Lodge.

Living with the SC!mi

The SC!mi people is one of the oldest indigenous cultures in the world, with roughly 80,000 natives, living mostly in the northern regions of Sweden, Norway, and Finland. Traditionally they are known as nomads living from herding reindeer and fishing along the coast. Tourists can spend time in SC!mi farms, enjoying traditional rituals, meals such as reindeer meat and fermented fish and spend a night in native KC%ta hut or wigwam.

Christmas and Other Traditional Markets

In Jokkmokk, located a 3-hour ride from Swedish Laplandbs capital city LuleC% every February the village market offers the best of Saami cultureb relics and artifacts, delicacies and traditional Sami activities such as dog sledding.

Each Scandinavian country celebrates Christmas differently. In Sweden, Christmas celebrations start on December 13th with Saint Lucia day. In honor of Saint Lucia, a young girl in a white gown and crown of candles leads a procession of women and girls holding lit candles.

For Christmas Eve Swedes have a bearded gnome named Jultomte, Norway and Denmark wait for Nisse the Elf. These characters come from traditional folklore and are aimed at entertaining and scaring children. In Rovaniemi, Finland you can visit the Santa Claus Village and see some elves making toys at the Toy Factory and say hello to the man himself.

The Tivoli Christmas market in Copenhagen is very special. You can find arts and crafts and Christmas carols in a carnival-like setting.

The Nordic countries are also famous for seasonal favorites like warm glC6gg b- a pungent mulled wine, and pepparkakor b-crispy gingerbread cookies.

Those who enjoy winter sports but do not want to spend too much should visit the Scandinavian countries in January. The New Year holidays are over, and things start to get back to normal again. For travelers, this means lower prices, fewer people around and more choices for less money.

Travel prices are among the lowest right now. If you are an outdoorsy person, January is perfect to visit the winter sports destinations that Scandinavia is so famous for.

Norway is perfect for winter sports enthusiasts. This country offers something for every taste and budget. If you enjoy having fun in the snow and like winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, or sledding Scandinavia is your country.

In January, the most amazing natural phenomena, the Polar Night, can be witnessed in the northern parts of Scandinavia - Norway, and Sweden.

Before going get more information about the recent weather, what to pack, and what events you can't miss in Scandinavia during your stay.

January can be cold! But don't forget that temperatures can vary a lot depending on what exactly your destination is. Usually, there is not much snow in Denmark because of the sea surrounds the country and the weather is too mild. Further north in Norway and Sweden, it is normal to experience 22 to 34 F. There you will find a lot of snow.

Nights in Sweden's north can drop to 14 to 18 F

During January, Scandinavia gets 6 to 7 hours of daylight, but far enough to the north, this number can decrease rapidly. In some areas of the Arctic Circle, there is no sun at all for half a year. This phenomenon is called a Polar Night. During dark winter nights, amazing Northern Lights can be watched.

What to Pack

Heading to the Arctic Circle you should bring sturdy boots for walking on the snow and ice as well as warm, waterproof outfit, hat, gloves, and a wool scarf. If you are visiting the cities, a down jacket, and maybe a wool overcoat is recommended. For winter sports activities, you will need insulated skiing gear. No matter what your destination is, a warm coat, gloves, hats, and scarves are the bare minimum for visiting Scandinavia in January. Bundle up.

January Events in Scandinavia

On the New Year's Day (January 1) expect many shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions to be closed.

Epiphany, commonly called Three Kings Day celebrates the three wise men's visit to newly born Jesus. It's widely celebrated in Finland, Sweden, and Iceland.

Hilarymas (St Knut's Day), January 13 is the when Christmas festivities officially come to a close. This day is known for food and dancing.

Thorrablot Midwinter Feast celebrated on the Friday after January 19 in Iceland. This holiday used to be a sacrificial midwinter feast to Pagan gods; now the day is to enjoy Icelandic culinary delicacies - rotten sharkb's meat or boiled sheepb's head.

Denmark's winter Jazz Festival "Vinterjazz" in February is a three weeks musical festival which offers more than 600 different performances by musicians from around the world.

January Travel Tips

Scandinavia is very safe to travel. In winter, though slippery pavements could be a problem and traffic accidents caused by elk crossing the roads could happen.

Planning a trip to Sweden, Denmark, or Norway in February, is smart because this is a wonderful month to visit these Scandinavian countries - winter sports are in full swing, and you have a great chance to see aurora borealis or northern lights. Besides, February is considered the off-season for tourism, and travelers can save quite a bit.

If you are visiting Scandinavia on Valentine's Day around February 14, you have a perfect opportunity to enjoy a romantic night in an ice hotel, which is only in business for about four months every year.

Average February Temperatures in Scandinavia could:

  • Stockholm: 27 F
  • Oslo: 30 F
  • Bergen: 39 F
  • Copenhagen: 34 F
  • Helsinki: 28 F

February Events in Scandinavia

If you are visiting the region's famous ski resorts, you are in for a treat, especially if you're a winter sports fan. Besides skiing, you will enjoy ice fishing, snowmobiling, bobsledding, and snowshoeing.

February 6 is Sami National Day. Norway, Sweden, and Finland celebrate the traditions of the indigenous people of the region.

In February in Norway, you can visit Polarjazz, the Polar Jazz Festival - the northernmost jazz festival in the world. You can go to the During Rjukan Ice Climbing Festival you can watch competitions and learn more about this sport. In the RC8ros Winter Fair, dating back to 1854, enjoy a Norwegian market with numerous stalls, hot coffee around a bonfire, and diverse festivities - folk music, and storytelling.

In Sweden, travelers can make plans to visit the Stockholm Furniture Fair. Here designers showcase their latest creations before hitting the mass market.

In NorrkC6ping, Sweden music fans can visit the Music Festival and Conference, featuring events from Sweden and abroad.

When in Finland don't miss the Ice Marathon which is one of Finland's oldest ice skating events on natural ice. It is held in the harbor of Kuopio. The Finlandia Ski Race, known as the Finlandia-hiihto, is a cross-country skiing competition, held yearly since 1974 near Lahti, Finland.

February is not only a great time for winter sports, but also this month is less busy with tourists and accommodations will be more affordable.

Scandinavia is a delightful destination at any time of the year, but winter is a truly magical time to visit. Plan your Scandinavian winter tour with an experienced travel company, and you'll find a myriad of things to see and do.