Did you know there are 22 IKEA stores in the UK, but only 20 in Sweden? An embarrassment of riches, you could say and a sure sign of how much we Brits want to be like our Nordic cousins. Stereotypically progressive, blonde haired happy people who hike mountains and eat fish they (probably) caught themselves... who wouldn't want to be a bit more Nordic? If you can't face hauling yourself around homeware stores before wrestling with an infuriating flat-pack futon then we have handily devised a go-to guide to being full of wonderful winter experiences will have you feeling more Nordic than a bearded man called Mikael enjoying a Smørrebrød (open sandwich) and a Carlsberg in Copenhagen's Nyhavn district...
Move over hygge, it's all about koselig now - the Norwegian word for feeling cosy, content and happy, usually after spending a day embracing nature outside in the cold. The perfect way to induce some koselig? By exploring Norway's spectacular fjords, which were created thousands of years ago by retreating glaciers and have since left the Norwegian coastline scattered with thousands of these dramatic natural phenomena. Spend the day snowshoeing around the fantastic Storfjord before stopping at a lavvu (temporary dwelling used by Sami people) in the fairy tale-like forest for a warming cup of hot chocolate by a bonfire with your guide.
Embrace All Things Eco
Embrace your inner eco-warrior and swap planes for trains; head from London to Swedish Lapland with a stop off in hedonistic Hamburg, before exploring the Stockholm archipelago (and trying some Nordic ice skating on frozen lakes). Move north to Kiruna for a stay in the famous Ice Hotel and explore Norway's Lofoten Islands; the beauty of train travel is its flexibility. Speaking of Norway, the spectacular journey from Oslo to Flam is frequently referred to as 'the most beautiful train journey in the world', and sees passengers glide past snow-sprinkled mountains, gorgeously green hinterlands and some of the wildest and most magnificent nature you will ever see.
Befriend Father Christmas
Christmas is synonymous with magical Finnish Lapland; snow-covered forests (perfect for an exhilarating husky safari), reindeer aplenty and the main man himself: Father Christmas. For kids and big kids alike, we can organise a visit to Father Christmas by horse-drawn carriage, where you will be met by his helpers and taught how to make ginger biscuits and decorations for your Christmas tree. After meeting Saint Nick, be whisked away to a location with minimal light pollution for the opportunity to see the legendary Northern Lights - the stuff bucket list dreams are made of.
Learn About Sami Culture
A Big Short Break to Swedish Lapland just became even easier (those clever Swedes) with new direct flights to Lulea launching this winter. Fly out Friday morning and return on Monday; enjoy arctic activities like sleeping in a tree house in the heart of the forest, dog-sledding and snowmobiling through the wilderness passing moose, red fox, reindeer and roe deer. Or if culture is more your schtick we recommend meeting the local Sami people, indigenous hunter gatherers (historically at least) who have occupied the region for thousands of years. Enjoy an evening around the fire, hearing their stories, learning about ancient skills and millennia-old traditions.
Go Off The Beaten Track
There's no other way of saying it, Scandinavians are fundamentally cool. Fact. If you aspire to equal levels of coolness then we suggest heading off the beaten track to the Lofoten Islands, which boast dramatic mountains, wide open sea and totally untouched lands. The islands are joined by a ribbon of roads and bridges which make them ripe for exploration by car. Stay in converted fishing huts sitting on stilts over the water and gorge on the freshest fish you will ever taste. From visiting a Viking Museum to kayaking and axe throwing, the Lofoten Islands are just one giant, super cool, playground.
Want to know more about our Nordic winter holidays? Get in touch and one of our experts will be happy to help.