Sodemalm Waterfront, Stockholm, Sweden, Scandinavia

Robert Harding

Scandinavia’s must-visit sights in summertime

With months of almost 24-hour sunlight, summer in Scandinavia is the perfect opportunity to soak up the region's stunning scenery, connect with nature and get into the party spirit

April 2020

By Siobhan Grogan

After their long, dark winter, it’s no surprise Scandinavia celebrates summer like nowhere else in the world. From late May until August, darkness barely falls, so Scandinavians flock outdoors to make the most of the magical golden light, pleasant temperatures and unspoilt nature all around. Discover our favourite spots for summertime fun in the scenic region below.

Solstice celebrations in Helsinki

Friends walking in Helsinki in the daytime

Princess

If you’re lucky enough to be in Helsinki, Finland in late June, there is nowhere better to celebrate Scandinavia’s traditional summer solstice on Midsummer Eve. The islands off the city’s coastline light bonfires and host parties long into the night so one of the most unique things to do in Helsinki is to join a dinner cruise from Market Square to see the many bonfires from the water while feasting on Finnish delicacies. If you want to stay on dry land, head to Seurasaari for folk dancing and a lively party. If your trip doesn't coincide with the Midsummer Eve festivities, join the Highlights of Helsinki shore excursion to see many of the city's incredible highlights, including Market Square, Suomenlinna Fortress (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the Presidential Palace.

Wild swimming in Stockholm

Boats on the lake, canoe in distance on Långholmen, Stockholm, Sweden

Fredrik Öhlander/Unsplash

Situated right on the water and spread over fourteen islands, the port of Stockholm in Sweden comes to life in the summer with a vibrant café scene, lake swimming and fantastic cycling lanes for exploring. For a summer holiday destination without even leaving the city, follow Stockholmers themselves to Långholmen. Once a prison island but now an idyllic car-free spot for relaxing, visitors can rent a kayak, watch entertainment on open-air stages and lie back on the beach, cooling off in the lake when temperatures rise.

Abundant nature in Gothenburg

Gothenburg Botanical Gardens

Robert Harding

The world’s most sustainable city according to the Global Destination Sustainability Index 2019, Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city and the best place to get outdoors and enjoy the long Scandinavian days. You can take a wildlife boat tour around Gothenburg's stunning archipelago islands to see the local grey seal colonies, tour the city itself on a long Paddan canal boat or climb to the hilltop fortress Skansen Kronan. In the summer months only, a café at the top means you can take in the city views with a well-deserved ice cream. Afterwards stroll around the stunning Botanical Gardens, one of the largest in Europe with 16,000 species of plant, an arboretum and even its very own waterfall.

Unique dining in Copenhagen

Group of friends enjoying food

Princess

It may be magical in the winter but Denmark’s capital city Copenhagen is also the perfect summer holiday destination, with open-air restaurants lining cobbled streets, picnics in urban parks and open-air concerts. For harbour-front dining, head to La Banchina in the trendy area of Refshaleø where you can take a dip after dinner then head straight to the restaurant’s very own wood-fired sauna. For those who like a pint or two, Princess’ lively beer walk takes in the brightly coloured Latin Quarter, Rosenberg Castle and some of the city’s 200 breweries.

Rooftop tipples in Oslo

Thief Roof top bar, Oslo

Thief

Sightsee with a drink in hand from one of Oslo’s rooftop bars and gaze at Norway’s laid-back capital city. Usually only open between May and September, Oslo’s rooftop venues are the best place to linger in the open air and enjoy the city like a local. For the best view of all, the 34 Sky Bar on top of the Radisson Plaza Blu Hotel offers a sweeping outlook over the city and Oslo Fjord beyond. You can nibble on delicious, modern Scandinavian tasting platters while admiring the panorama there, too. If the sun’s not shining, try the Thief Roof, which has glass walls, a sliding glass roof and heaters so you can enjoy the cosy couches and views of hilly Holmenkollen whatever the weather.

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About the Author

Siobhan Grogan

Siobhan Grogan

Siobhan is a travel, music and lifestyle journalist who has written for publications including NME, Harper’s Bazaar, British Airway’s High Life, Grazia, City AM and the Evening Standard. She is constantly searching out new destinations to explore, but loves returning to Sydney, New York and Italy.