Travel: Europe The Best Scandinavian Holidays

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Explore the beauty and mysticism of Finland on foot or by bike, or canoe across one of the thousands of lovely lakes in the country. The Lakeland region which is only three hours drive north of Helsinki, is the largest lake district in Europe and a  great place to relax in a watery wilderness. Visit Mikkeli, a lovely town with a famous music festival, on Lake Saimaa. Then visit Koli to walk through the National Park to Lake Pielinen’s sandy beaches. Go north past Hiidenportti National Park to Kuhmo and Kalevala village. Then drive on westwards to Vuokatti and the magnificent Hiidenportti Gorge – a great place for cycling, fishing or canoeing. Visit a Lakeland winery to eat some smoked fish, with the local wines and cider, followed by a ride in a horse and cart.

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Take in Sweden’s seafaring culture on an lobster safari on the island of Flaton, along the west coast of Sweden. Handelsman Flink hotel and culinary institution is the starting point for the lobster safari. The hotel’s buildings have breathtaking views over the coast and the waters of Malo Strommar. The local fishing boats, surrounded by lobster are a taste of the adventures to come. Hop on a fishing boat and travel over around the archipelago towards the sea. Buoys mark each lobster pot and with boat hook in hand you retrieve the rope and pull in the pot. After seven pots, it’s time to refuel with coffee and cinnamon buns. Then, head back to collect the last round of lobster, crab and langoustine before heading home to enjoy the fruits of your labour. From there you can enjoy watching the last of the sun’s rays dip below the horizon while eating the fish you caught.

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Copenhagen, Denmark

For a stylish city break, this vibrant capital is a great spot for a romantic weekend away. Impressive architecture in Copenhagen is in abundance for those who have a passion for design. Here you’ll find museums and exhibitions celebrating Denmark’s design flair, including the Danish Architecture Centre and the Danish Museum Of Art & Design. The Radisson SAS Royal Hotel is a great example of modern architecture. Copenhagen’s contemporary architecture sits side-by-side its historical buildings, streets, castles and churches. The Amalienborg Castle and Museum is a great place to visit. Nearby sit’s the statue of The Little Mermaid. Take a trip to the historic gardens of Tivoli with an aquarium, light displays, concerts, rides and plenty of places to eat and drink, there’s something  for everyone. For great food why not visit the Københavner Cafeen or Restaurant Det Lille Apotek for great Danish cuisine in a fantastic setting.

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On a magical cruise in Norway, go along the coast, from the green south to the dramatic Artic north. Gliding through fjords, or past little fishing villages and alluring islands. There’s no better way to explore Norway than on The Hurtigruten cruise line. Its 15 ships all have panoramic lounges, bars and restaurants, and even hot tubs on deck. The fleet comes with Polar Cirkel or Zodiac boats, so you can see all locations up close. The Classic Voyage North is a popular route with travellers. Board at Bergen, and after a night on board arrive in the arty town of Ålesund, situated across several islands at the entrance to Geirangerfjord. The Unesco World Heritage Site is where you can see majestic mountains and cascading waterfalls.

Next, you can visit the medieval city of Trondheim, with its gothic Nidaros Cathedral. In the evening, across from the Artic Circle, is Svolvaer, capital of the Lofoten Islands. Tromsø, the Artic capital is another great place to visit. Here, the midnight sun is visible from the end of May until July. Next, you can visit the largest fishing village, Honningsvåg, in Finnmark, and at 71 degrees north, its mainland Europe’s northernmost point. Kirkenes, marks the end of the voyage, and from here you can fly to Norway’s buzzing capital Oslo. Norway is very expensive for food and drink, but with a cruise its full board. Breakfast consists of fruit, cheeses and breads. Lunch is an array of meats, stews and tasty veg, while dinner is much more elegant consisting of fine Italian and French meals.

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