Enliven your senses in the Scandinavia
The visually arresting landscapes; the freshest air that fills the lungs; sweet-smelling wildflower meadows; hip live music in chic cities, and taste bud-twisting cuisines – Scandinavia is the place to stimulate your senses.
Look no further than Greenland for panoramas that appear too awe-inspiring to be true. But your eyes don’t deceive you here; epic mountain ranges, colossal glaciers, spectacular fjords, steaming springs and crystal clear skies make Greenland a truly magnificent, real life wonderland. Nuuk is Greenland’s capital and an outdoor-lover’s paradise. Nature is the star of the show here, and on many of the shore experiences we offer you’ll have a have a front row seat. Opt for an experience sailing along Nuuk Fjord, the second largest in the world and keep an eye out for seals, eagles, and humpback whales (found frolicking in these waters early June to October).
Qaqortoq is the largest town in South Greenland and, as you sail into the pretty harbour, you’ll be greeted by the sight of colourful wooden houses dotted along the spectacular mountainside. If you can tear your eyes away from the breathtaking scenery, take time to enjoy the artistic side of this remote town. During the mid-1990s, the Greenlandic artist Aka Høegh embarked on a sculpture project known as Stone & Man, which compromises 40 sculptures carved all around the city, many of them in the rock face surrounding the town.
Get to grips with the epic destinations of Scandinavia on some of the most unique shore experiences. On an Iceland cruise holiday you may get the chance to pull on a wetsuit and snorkel at one of the world's most exceptional snorkelling sites at Silfra; over the tectonic plates between Europe and America. The Silfra fissure is one of Iceland’s best kept secrets. The crystal clear water in the deep fissure gives you a feeling of being weightless as you float down with the lazy current.
Feel revitalised with a swim at the Secret Lagoon. Most visitors who plan to go to Reykjavik have heard of the Blue Lagoon. But, if you want to experience something a little more unique and natural, then the Secret Lagoon in Flúðir is the place to go. Taking a dip at the stunning steamy surroundings of the Secret Lagoon hot spring baths provides the perfect dose of rest and relaxation.
Enjoy crisp, clean air fragrant with wild flowers in the spring and summer months, or the comforting aroma of sweet, baked pastries and coffee during the winter; Scandinavia smells oh-so good in every season. And proper seasons are indeed what you’ll experience here. Long winters with thick snow perfect for skiing, snowmobile safaris and dog sledding; brightly blossoming spring months; very long summer days perfect for festivals, boating and cycling; and vibrant autumns that provide the perfect backdrop to forest walks.
Perfect any time of the year, why not visit the sweet-smelling Tropical Flora of Norway shore experience from Stavanger. You’ll visit one of the world’s most northerly tropical flower and tree plantations on the private island of Sør Hidle. Set against the majestic mountains and deep fjords, it provides the ideal place to breathe in the fragrant fruit trees and flowers.
From medieval sagas to everyday tales of elves and fairies, Icelanders have been listening to and telling compelling stories for centuries. Whether odes to their dramatic, otherworldly landscapes, a take on a favourite fable or – more often in these days of Nordic-noir – a gritty crime thriller, it’s said that one in ten Icelanders will publish something self-penned during their lifetime. This truly is a nation of storytellers and word-lovers.
Top literary experiences:
Sit next to a poet
The statue of Tómas Gudmundsson (1901-1983) sits on a bench overlooking Reykjavik City Lake. Listen to his poem Hotel Earth by scanning the QR code on the bench using your smartphone.
Explore the Saga neighbourhood
Many of the streets of the Nordurmýri area are named after heroes from the Icelandic Sagas. It is also the setting of one of modern-day crime-writer Arnaldur Indridason’s best-known novels, Mýrin (Jar City in translation).
For over a decade now, a ‘New Nordic Food Movement’ has been sweeping Scandinavia and the Baltic. A cuisine inspired by the region’s pristine landscapes (twigs and rocks often adorn the plates), the emphasis is on local ingredients cooked in traditional ways, but with a technical skill worthy of the most wayward molecular gastronomist.
Whether it’s langoustines with pickled spruce juice glaze and spruce smoke; wild reindeer cooked in hay; a ‘vintage’ carrot, left in the ground for over a year, slow-cooked with sorrel and chamomile, or goat’s milk sorbet with sea buckthorn berries, this food is exciting and unique. Norway is awash with sensational, nouveau cuisine restaurants. But if you fancy a quick traditional snack look out for:
The Norwegians love ‘brunost’. It’s sweet, fudgy and salty – an acquired taste.
Scandis eat this with everything – porridge, pancakes, or a typical midweek supper with meatballs in cream sauce and boiled potatoes.
Soft, sticky and spicy – delicious with a cup of coffee.