My World Travel Bucketlist: Scandinavia

My great grandparents came to America through Ellis Island after emigrating from Sweden and Finland. As such, I've always had an interest in Scandinavia as a whole- from design to food, culture, language and history. Scandinavia is known for being a pricey travel destination, but when I finally save up enough pennies to go on this dream trip these cities will certainly be on my can't miss list! In summer, this region has some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world to be enjoyed via an afternoon of hiking, sailing, or swimming. In winter, I can't think of anything cozier than a tall mug of Gløgg after a day snow shoeing or cross country skiing. scandinavia Stockholm The colorful historic buildings in Stockholm make my heart soar. One of the most popular destinations in Scandinavia, this beautiful city is built on 14 islands along the Baltic Sea and Lake Mälaren. That serious shoreline means a water view is never far when it's time to sit down and have a fika. Also, fika. You know that anywhere that holds the coffee break as a sacred cultural institution has got to have their priorities straight. That, and 77+ art museums make the city of Stockholm a must on my Scandinavian World Travel Bucket List. Helsinki I want to experience an authentic Finnish sauna so bad, guys- there's no way I could go anywhere near Scandinavia without a stop here. Finland generally seems like the perfect winter destination, if you don't mind the short daylight hours. But with attractions like the Northern Lights and Christmas Markets alone make the cold and the dark seem worth it. In the city of Helsinki itself, I dream of tasting fresh Karelian pies and wandering the Market Square. In summer, it would be magical to witness the Midsummer Bonfires and celebrate into the sunny evening. Copenhagen I've heard such great things about Copenhagen! The city is totally bike-friendly, which would be such a fun way to visit the sights and enjoy the quintessential Scandinavian architecture along the way. As a devoted Hans Christian Andersen fan, I absolutely cannot miss the Little Mermaid Sculpture. Another must-see is Freetown Christiania, an independent community of artists, musicians, beautiful gardens  and yes, weed. Then, if you're feeling 'inspired' (ahem) the Design Museum is supposed to be incredible. I can't get enough of Scandinavian design, so that seems right up my alley. Also not to be missed are Copenhagen's flea markets for anything from ceramics to furniture. Oslo Norway served as the inspiration for Disney's Frozen, so I have no doubt in my mind that it's beauty is unparalleled. Oslo is known for it's expansive parks and numerous museums, and even has a combination of the two called Vigeland Museum Park. As a lover of all thinks folk-y and Norse, I'm also intrigued by the Norsk Folk Museum. And just in case you're still hungry for more Norwegian culture after all that, there's the Edvard Munch museum for all your Expressionism needs. Reykjavik Ever since my friend Haley returned from a family trip with rave reviews of this isolated destination, it's been my mission to get there. Iceland boasts some of the most rugged, sweepingly beautiful natural landscapes around- contrasted by the city of Reykjavik, a city that has garnered a reputation for having a very young, happening night life. Can you think of a better way to nurse a hangover than an afternoon luxuriating in the natural splendor of Iceland's hot springs? Didn't think so. Tallinn You don't hear a lot about this Estonian destination, but I'm convinced it's not one to be missed. In pictures it looks straight out of a fairy tale, complete with red and white turrets and quaint cobblestone streets. This smaller Scandinavian city has a lot to offer: you can explore historic Medieval ruins, beautiful coastal lighthouses, and the stately Kadriorg Palace. Tallinn shares many attributes with other Scandinavian cities like Stockholm and Helsinki, but at a much lower price tag. This would be a great place to try out a traditional sauna, sailing tour, etc. that you may not shell out for in pricier cities. Tallinn is just a ferry ride away from Helsinki, and a few hours from St Petersburg- with bargains and convenience like that you'd be crazy to miss this city. St Petersburg I'm 90% sure that St Petersburg is not technically part of Scandinavia, but just look at a map and see how easy it would be to visit from the rest of the cities on this list! Russia is so huge and has such a long, fascinating history- why wouldn't you take advantage of an opportunity to visit? There are so  many gorgeous churches and other buildings to see in St Petersburg, not the least of all being the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood. It looks to be made of candy in the most ornate, uniquely Russian way.  I'll also have to pick up a sweet nesting doll 🙂

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