8 Things You Will Definitely Experience If You Go To Scandinavia


Kladdkaka and green tea (Gothenberg).

1. Fika.

‘Fika’ is a Swedish institution that essentially means ‘coffee culture’, but independent cafes stuffed with pastries and hot drinks are popular throughout Scandinavia. Unsurprising, given how cold it gets.


Changing of the Guard outside Amalienborg Palace (Copenhagen)

2. Royal Families.

Finland is often not considered to be part of Scandinavia – and, while historical, linguistic and currency differences are the primary reason for this, another way in which it’s the outsider of the Scandi family is its lack of Royal Family. Denmark, Norway and Sweden all still have Royal Families.


Cinnamon roll and awful chai latte (Helsinki airport).

3. Cinnamon rolls.

To make it around Scandinavia (yes, Finland included) without seeing a cinnamon bun is a badge of honour, and given how delicious they taste, a poor badge of honour at that.

4. Beggars.

Technically Norway outlawed begging last year, but it’s not done any good. Women congregate in Oslo city centre, begging for food or money to buy food. Unfortunately, if you are carrying a pizza back to your hostel to have for dinner,  the human urge to share a slice or two with those down on their luck is somewhat dampened by having more women accost you than you have slices. Sorry, begging women 😦


Katajanokka port (Helsinki).

5. Sea.

Yeah, so maybe if you’re a massive hipster and wander into the middle of a Scandi nation you won’t see any sea, but pretty much all of Scandinavia’s major cities are on the coastline. Although this makes the wind unbearable at times – looking at you, Helsinki –

6. Utilitarian hostels.

The more developed the nation, the colder, more expensive and more impersonal the hostels become. It’s just a truism. So if you want to find people to go out on the razz with, you should not go hostelling in Scandinavia. Simple as that.

7. Everyone speaking fluent English.

You can find good English speakers in any country in Europe, but nowhere except the UK can you find as many fluent English speakers as when you’re in Scandinavia. Which is pretty much tourist heaven.


Tulips (Oslo).

8. Tulips.

Maybe because it was spring, but every Scandi city I went to had gardens full of kaleidoscopic tulips. Even in Liseberg, Gothenberg’s famous theme park, there are flowerbeds full of ’em. Flower power is alive and well in Northern Europe.

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