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10 reasons to visit Scandinavia and Finland in winter

1. Experience the extreme – in Lapland (Finland, Sweden, Norway)
Lapland is a region of great natural beauty, where you can find the vastest, dramatic and spectacular untamed wilderness in Europe. Spectacular attractions like the midnight sun and the Northern Lights, snow clad mountains, pristine forest and the glittering Ice Hotel
s. Everyone can enjoy the nature of Lapland at their own pace, from the gentle to the most extreme. There’s something for everyone – skiing and snowboarding, hiking, climbing, dog sledding, reindeer rides, snowmobile safaris or indoor pleasures like saunas.

2. Get enchanted - Northern Lights
Seeing the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis, is a jaw-dropping and mystical moment. When conditions are favourable you can experience the spectacular magic and beauty of the Northern Lights which dance across the sky. The aurora can be viewed best in the winter and during early evening and night.              

3. Alpine Skiing
If you're looking for the best snow in Europe, the search is over - head to Scandinavia for truly excellent conditions for the whole family. Winter is already well underway in the mountains. Lots of snow, exciting events and great skiing. Scandinavia has a wide range of activities and experiences for children, youth and adults, and for the more adventurous who want more action. Some of the most popular resorts are Sälen, Åre or Vemdalen in Sweden, Trysil, Hemsedal or Lillehammer in Norway, or Yllas and Levi in Finland, all with glorious skiing and their own special charm.

4. See polar bears in Svalbard
The Svalbard Islands are located in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Norway and the North Pole. The Svalbard Islands offer great, wild nature, old mines and polar bears. Nearly 65 per cent of the surface of Svalbard consists of protected areas, including 3 nature reserves, 6 national parks, 15 bird sanctuaries and 1 geotopical protected area. Longyearbyen is the central town at Svalbard Islands and it’s located on the largest island called Spitsbergen. The winter season offers opportunities for combining for example longer skiing trips with snowmobile safaris or dog sledging. And if you are lucky you might see the famous polar bear! If you want to experience the period when the sun doesn’t rise you should visit this area between 28 October to 14 February. SAS flies to Longyearbyen from Tromsø and Oslo.
 
5. Ice skating in the city
When visiting the Scandinavian capitals in the winter months, go have some fun at popular ice rinks, such as Kungsträdgården in Stockholm, Frederiksberg Runddel's in Copenhagen, Narvisen in Oslo, the Ice Park in Helsinki - bundle up in your warmest clothes and spend an afternoon ice-skating and enjoying the atmosphere.

6. Ice Hotel – a frozen dream   
Experience the artic pleasure of spending a night in an Ice Hotel. All interior and exterior is made of snow and ice in these luxurious hotels, even the glasses in the bar. Slip into the warm and comfortable sleeping bag and rest your senses in the tranquil silence of the igloo. A night in an Ice Hotel, surrounded by beautifully illuminated ice art and thick snow walls, is truly a night to remember. Visit the Snow Hotel in Finland, Igloo Hotel in Norway or the original famous Ice Hotel in Sweden. With an interior temperature kept at a constant -5°C, it really does take your breath away.

7. Enjoy the thrill - Snowmobile excursions
Enjoy the thrill of a speeding snowmobile as you ride through the sleeping forests and across the frozen lakes. Snowmobiles are not just unbelievably good fun; they're also incredibly easy to operate. You don't need any experience: guides will teach you how to operate the machines safely. You can choose a snowmobile safari that best suits your skill level. The variety ranges from short spins for beginners to expeditions for the most experienced snowmobilers. The longest safaris stretch for hundreds of kilometres. The safari organizer provides the full complement of gear and instructions to ensure your safety. Excursions are available in many resorts throughout Lapland.

8. Dog sled safaris
Imagine a ride through silent, snow-covered wilds in a husky-drawn sled. The dogs can reach amazing speeds over even deep snow. It's great fun and a truly exhilarating experience. Don't worry about the cold; the safari operators will provide you with thermal suits and footwear. They'll even teach you to drive a dog team. You'll learn about the everyday life of these gentle dogs. Why not combine dog sledging with a stay at one of the Ice Hotels?

9.Cross-country skiing
Why not try cross-country skiing in Scandinavia? You can enjoy hundreds of kilometres of groomed cross-country tracks and mountain tracks in beautiful surroundings – and it’s free of charge! There are a host of Scandinavian winter resorts that are able to offer unique and internationally unequalled facilities if you are looking to combine alpine skiing with cross-country skiing. Skiing enthusiasts do not have to head to the mountains for a wintry holiday, as you can even combine this with a city trip with many cross-country tracks are located just outside the city centres.

10. Culinary delights
Scandinavia is home to  wealth of culinary experiences ranging from open-faced sandwiches to the unique flavours of the contemporary Scandinavian cuisine. Several Michelin-starred restaurants are found in the capitals, but if those are a little out of your price range, Scandinavia has plenty of options to suit any wallet. Emphasis is placed on high-quality natural ingredients – notably fresh, pickled and smoked seafood (particularly herring, crayfish and salmon) and game meats such as elk and deer.

 

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