As your heartier jackets make their way to the front of the closet, you may be considering a trip south where summer doesn’t quite end. While palm trees and lazy sunsets sound like a dream, this year we’re showcasing a few countries that make the most out of the colder months.

Find some inspiration below for a snowy escape and make your next adventure one-of-a-kind with one of our personalized itineraries — we’ll be there every step of the way!

DENMARK

The land with cobblestoned streets, large and storied castles, colors splashed across vertical buildings, stretches of bright beaches, and the infamous “hygge.”

While it can’t be directly translated into any other language, “hygge” is  best described as all things that make one feel cozy, relaxed, and comfortable — think warm blankets, candles, a good book on a rainy day, the best of friends.

The notion of “hygge” has started to spread across the world, and it really is something you can find anywhere — the small trinkets that make your home feel like home, your friends, you can even find it within yourself! Imagine finding a piece of “hygge” in its very birthplace. Here in Denmark, it’s among the streets of Christmas markets, in the glow of twinkling lights, on the breeze fanning in from the water, and exuding from historic castle walls.

Explore North Zealand, the home of large forests, coastline, intricate gardens, and three of Denmark’s most famous castles. A piece of trivia — Kronborg was used as Hamlet’s castle in the Shakespeare play!

Make sure you leave at least a couple days to explore the capital of Copenhagen. Denmark is home to the mesmerizing Tivoli Gardens, which are just as vibrant in the winter months! There are many city tours to choose from, and for the foodies out there — you can even visit a Danish family at their home for dinner or coffee one evening.

Other adventures not to miss: a trip to the historic town of Aarhus, home to the open-air museum. A guided boat tour off the coast, and Strøget Walking Street.

FINLAND

Find out why this small country has been dubbed the “happiest place on earth.” From the bustling streets of Helsinki (that still have a small-town, comfortable feel), to the wild northern landscape of the Laplands, there are endless adventures and sights to explore.

The Finns take the Christmas season very seriously — did you know old Saint Nick lives in the Lapland, above the Arctic Circle? You can visit his workshop in Rovaniemi and even meet his reindeer! While you’re in this snowy, wild ‘scape, add on some other once-in-a-lifetime experiences like snowshoeing or dogsledding. You are even so remote, you have a chance to see the Northern Lights!

Tenon Tip: Considering the vast distances in Finland, if you plan on staying longer in order to have a full itinerary and see as much as possible, make sure you’re leaving your home protected and secure. Make sure to keep your home safe while you’re away by setting up your home security system properly, and preferably have someone stop by regularly for extra peace of mind. If you decide to go no further than Helsinki, then perhaps it might suffice to just double-check if all your doors and windows are locked, and your fire alarms and other systems are in check!

The holidays in Helsinki are like no other, with the streets lively with Christmas markets, a plethora of glögi — mulled wine — waiting to warm your hands, and tasty local treats served only during this special time of year. The markets take place in the senate square, near the Helsinki Cathedral. There will be food, gifts, ornaments, music, and entertainment. And, if you weren’t able to make it to Santa’s workshop, he just might drop in for some Christmas cheer!

Another must on your tour of Finland — the town of Porvoo. While only 30 minutes down the road from Helsinki, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled to another time. Porvoo is known for the colorful wooden warehouses that dot the river and lots of local artists promoted in the local shops and boutiques. Don’t miss this charming atmosphere!

SWEDEN

Lakes, forests, mountains, seafood — what more could you ask for in one place? If you’re planning a trip to Sweden, make sure you bring plenty of outerwear as the best side of this country is its natural one.

Start in the capital of Stockholm, where history and art museums abound (there’s even an interactive ABBA museum!). Enjoy an evening on the water during a Stockholm archipelago cruise, which is available even during the winter months! You’ll get a taste of Swedish delicacies and enjoy a perfect view of festive lights while circling the second-largest archipelago in the Baltic Sea. Christmas markets abound on the cobbled streets: Skansen, Stortorget, and Drottingholm Palace. You’ll find a range of treats, crafts, iron work, ceramics, and friendly vendors.

If you’re ready to get outdoor time, head north and enjoy snowmobiling, snowshoeing, dogsledding, even ice fishing! You also have a chance to visit a Sami cultural park to learn about the indigenous Sami people, also known as the “reindeer people,” who live off the herds in the northernmost part of Sweden, Norway, and Finland. You might even get to meet a few reindeer!

The Dalarna Region is rich in outdoor wilderness — the heart of Sweden. The landscape is a playground for many winter activities and is also home to artists and craft vendors. Two of Sweden’s beloved artists, Carl Larsson and Anders Zorn, lived in this area; their homes have been preserved and are open to viewing!

NORWAY

There’s nothing quite like Norway in the winter. Snow-capped mountains, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cities with museums, sights, and excellent restaurants make this place the perfect getaway — did you know the 1994 Winter Olympics was held here?

Spend a day or two in the capital of Oslo, a city with a vibrant history. As with the other Nordics, Christmas markets won’t disappoint here! Ice skate in the heart of the city surrounded by twinkling lights, or ski in one of the many nearby slopes just outside of Oslo. Be sure to carve out a day to explore the many city markets, museums, and walking or boat tour options.

For those open to trying an out-of-the-box accommodation, spend a night (or more!) in one of Norway’s igloo hotels in a most remote landscape. During wintertime,  glass-domed igloos are available August – April so you have a chance to see the Northern Lights from the comfort of your “room.” While you’re up there, most of these arctic resorts offer “safaris,” whether that entails exploring reindeer country, dogsledding, or snowmobiling, it’s up to you!

You can’t think of Norway and fjords not come to mind — while many Nordic travelers elect to hike and explore the inlets in summertime when the weather is more mild, travel experts say wintertime is the best season to catch them at their most spectacular. You can ride the scenic Flam Railway to Myrdal and enjoy a winter fjord safari, where you may discover seals, eagles, or porpoises.

 

Browse our “cooler” inspirational itineraries below to start planning your next trip abroad. While the Nordic’s winter playground has much to offer for a vacation, we’ll be excited wherever you go! And, most importantly, we’ll be happy to take you there.

 

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Family Travel

What to Know About Visiting European Christmas Markets

There’s undoubtedly something special about European Christmas markets. However, it’s even more special when you can experience the magic of the holidays IN Europe. Consider a trip across the pond during the winter season to celebrate with the locals and shop for unique gifts, soak in the atmosphere and get in the holiday spirit! 

Travel Tips

10 Places to Visit in Norway

From cities to islands, there is so much to see when visiting Norway. Explore the cultural hub of Oslo, walk the colorful streets of Bergen, hunt for the Northern Lights, and be amazed by the stunning natural beauty of this fantastical country.

Adventure & Wellness

How to Make the Most of Sauna Culture in Finland

There is nothing more Finnish than a sauna. You have not truly experienced Finland until you have experienced one. While it may be commonplace in Finland, Finns understand that visitors may have some concerns when it comes to stepping in a heated box with no clothes on and with strangers as well! However, it will be well worth your while.

 

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