The Coolest Things to Do in the Nordics in Winter
Witnessing the northern lights tops the wishlist of many who plan a visit to the Nordics in the winter, and rightly so, but there’s so much more to an Arctic experience than aurora hunting!
Imagine racing through snow-laden boreal forests on a husky sled, skygazing from a hot tub in the Icelandic countryside or being immersed in the indigenous life of the Sami whilst cosying up in a lavvu tent beside a wood-burning stove.
From the frozen tundra of Lapland and the fjord-indented coastline of Northern Norway to the volcanic vistas of Iceland, discover winter as it should be in the captivating Nordic region. Read on to discover the quintessential experiences that make a winter holiday here so special and ensure that seeing the aurora is the cherry on top!
The call of the wild
Husky sledding is fast, fun and furry! It’s also one of the most iconic experiences on a winter holiday in Lapland. It’s surprisingly easy to become a master of mushing – you’re taught all the basics from fitting dog harnesses to steering the sled and all important braking! Then it’s time to hit the trail letting your dog team lead you through pine forests and across frozen lakes, the only sounds the runners on the snow and the rhythmic panting of the dogs. Husky sledding features on many of our winter breaks in Sweden, Finland and Norway.
Like a local
The way of the Sami
Gain an insight into the fascinating culture of the Sami – the traditional reindeer herders of northern Europe. Find out about their 8000 year-old history on a visit to a reindeer farm, sample a traditional meal in a lavvu and drive a reindeer sled.
One of the wonderfully indulgent things about a winter holiday in the Nordics is that saunas and hot tubs are part of everyday life. Gently poach yourself in geothermal pools in Iceland or take on a traditional cleansing ritual in a Finnish sauna.
You’re sure to get a buzz out of snowmobiling. Easy to get the hang of, access wild and remote scenery on a range of guided tours. Weave through snow-laden forests in Lapland, zip across glaciers in Iceland or reach remote fjords in Svalbard.
Norway is the home of cross-country skiing, which features as an optional activity in many winter resorts. When it comes to downhill skiing, the family-friendly resorts in Scandinavia are fantastic for all abilities offering first-class slopes without the crowds.
Wet and wild
Boat safaris & whale watching
Imagine watching a pod of orcas rounding up vast shoals of herring on a winter feeding frenzy in Iceland. Or witnessing humpbacks breach the surface of the Norwegian Sea. Or white-tailed eagles soar overhead searching for prey in Senja. Decked out in cosy all-in-one overalls, head out on boat trips with expert guides to experience majestic wildlife that frequent the waters off Iceland and northern Norway in winter.
Hot air ballooning
Revel in the sounds of silence on this new experience in Swedish Lapland offering breathtaking views over the snow-covered landscapes of the Råne River Valley. Combine your balloon flight with a stay at Aurora Safari Camp.
The aurora is a compelling reason to keep gazing skyward during a Nordic winter, but not the only reason. The remote locations of our winter holidays offer wonderful chances for star gazing especially from the observatory at Iceland’s Hotel Ranga.
An integral part of any holiday, Nordic food adventures range from experiential to simply delectable. With an emphasis on locally sourced produce, prepare to be wowed by startlit dining in Lapland or sophisticated creations at Iceland’s Hotel Husafell.
Exquisite ice art
An extraordinary place to sleep, the Icehotel is also an amazing art installation by day. Marvel at unique ice suites, sip a cocktail in the world famous Icebar and try your hand at ice-sculpting to experience the joy of working with this ephemeral medium for yourself.