Hidden Europe: unique experiences in Europe's cities
8920 · By Katie Shaw
Europe’s cities are treasure troves of culture, teeming with iconic, must-see sights to enthral even the most seasoned of tourists.Read more
The countries of Scandinavia boast some of the world's most vibrant cities, along with spectacular mountains, deep fjords, and verdant forests teeming with wildlife. The land of husky-drawn sledges, reindeer, unending days under the midnight sun and perennial nights - Scandinavia is what memorable holidays are made of. Explore the mesmerising sights of the Arctic Circle by train, feast with the Sami people, and get swept away by the beauty of the Northern Lights.
From a high-altitude journey on the Bergen Railway or a ride on Russia's sleek Saspan train, we uncover delights old and new in Scandinavia and Russia. Eternally elegant cities and modern towns collide with captivating traditions and dynamic heritage, while natural landscapes offer up a veritable banquet for the eyes.
Feast like a Viking in Norway, discover Saint Petersburg's opulent Fabergé Museum on a private tour, indulge in a tipple of Russia's defining drink, and experience some of nature's finest work - from the never-setting Midnight Sun to the magical dance of the Northern Lights.
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis to be precise, occur across the Arctic region and are best visible throughout winter (which lasts longer at these high latitudes), when there are more hours of darkness and when the sky is clear of cloud cover.
This fabled event has long been a part of Scandinavian folklore and occurs when particles released by the sun, in the form of solar winds, collide with the particles present in the earth's magnetosphere, causing a superb blend of vivid colours.
These wintry months are considered to be prime time to view the lights, clear skies and a fresh blanket of crisp white snow are perfect conditions for spotting this elusive wonder.
The arrival of summer signifies the coming of the 'Midnight Sun', making the Lights almost impossible to spot as the north of Scandinavia is in almost constant light.
It may be possible to catch a glimpse of the lights in the refl ective waters of Scandinavia's icy lakes during the autumn.
With the landscape changing dramatically and the nights becoming longer it is a brilliant to view the Northern Lights, although some cloud cover can shield the display.
The Midnight Sun is a truly spellbinding natural phenomenon. Best seen in June and July, this incredible occurrence is due to a tilt in the earth's axis and means that the sun never truly sets in northern Scandinavia in summer.
Instead, it hangs low and resolute in the sky, casting out an ethereal glow and painting the surrounding landscapes with enchanting, sunset hues of gold, red and pink.
Visit Kiruna's spectacular, world-famous Ice Hotel, the first and largest hotel made of snow and ice in the world and a phenomenal display of art and architecture and is a truly breathtaking sight.
Enjoy an authentic and eye-opening Sami experience, discovering the culture of the people who have inhabited Nordic countries, surviving via reindeer herding, fur trapping and fishing.
Witness Norway's famous fjords - U-shaped coastal valleys created by icebergs, filled with deep waters and surrounded by cliff faces, cascading waterfalls and verdant forests.
The further North you go, the colder it will be - especially in winter! Make the most of your time in this wintry climate by wrapping up warm in multiple layers. Here are a few tips:
Summer in Scandinavia can reach warm temperatures in the day whilst the evenings can be quite chilly, here are a few ideas to help you enjoy the summer months.
Norway is a destination just begging to be explored by rail, with panoramic views of glaciers and icefields, enchanted forests of conifers, mountain ranges and rocky coastlines juxtaposing with the country's vibrant cities.
The Nordland Railway runs from the historic Viking capital of Norway, Trondheim, to the beautiful city of Bodø which lies beyond the Arctic Circle.
Our spectacular journey on the 71-mile Raumabanen Railway begins in the village of Dombås. The journey offers magnificent views of the Alpine massif.
Discover the fantastic railways of Scandinavia & the Baltic. It should come as no surprise that we love railways and we know many of you do too! That's why our tours feature some of the most iconic railways and trains on the continent.