WHAT TO DO IN SCANDINAVIA IN DECEMBER?
In December, the Scandinavian countries are well into winter. In the southern cities, such as the capitals, you can expect mild to cold weather and shorter daylight hours.
There are still plenty of things to do in Scandinavia in December. Many museums are open during this time. Cruises between the countries and along the western Norway fjords are available too.
One of our top recommendations for experiencing these Nordic countries in winter is to hop between the capital cities, soaking up the best of Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen in one incredible trip. You could also add on Helsinki in Finland and Reykjavík in Iceland, depending on how much time you have.
In December, you can experience the winter charm of these cities adorned with Christmas lights. Make sure not to miss the must-see Christmas markets for some festive fun. During this time, you’ll also enjoy less crowds at popular attractions such as the Vasa Museum in Stockholm.
If you would rather immerse yourself in nature, there are many outdoor activities available in the countryside. In northern Norway, you could go dog sledding. You could also visit a ski resort or even go ice skating.
If you fancy meeting Santa Claus or staying in the legendary Ice Hotel, you could also head north into Swedish or Finnish Lapland.
Visiting Scandinavia in December is a great idea if you’re looking to experience wintry beauty at a relaxed pace.
Here’s one of our suggestions for a Scandinavia itinerary in December:
Day 1 - Arrive in Helsinki, Finland
After you fly into Helsinki Airport, make your way to the city centre. This first day will give you a taste of Finland. We recommend visiting Senate Square, Uspenski Cathedral and the Old Market Hall to become acquainted with Finnish history and culture.
Day 2 - Visit Helsinki and sail to Sweden
Spend the early part of the day seeing more of Helsinki. The Finnish capital is known for its creativity and was even awarded the UNESCO “City of Design” title in 2012. Some other notable city landmarks to visit include the Finnish National Opera House, and Parliament House.
In the afternoon, you will board an overnight cruise to Stockholm, Sweden’s capital. This is an ideal addition to anyone wanting to experience Scandinavia cruises in December.
Day 3 - Arrival in Stockholm, Sweden
Your cruise arrives in Sweden this morning. You then have the rest of the day to explore Stockholm as you wish. Enjoy some shopping on the well-known pedestrian street Drottninggatan and walk along the cobbled streets of Gamla Stan (the Old Town).
Day 4 - Highlights of Stockholm
You have the whole day to see more of the Swedish capital. We recommend taking a short ferry ride to the nearby island Djurgården, a cultural oasis near the city centre.
Here you’ll find one of Scandinavia’s most popular attractions, the Vasa Museum. You could also visit the Abba Museum and the Skansen open-air museum.
Day 5 - Travel to Copenhagen, Denmark
Today you’ll board a train or a short flight to Copenhagen, the beautiful capital of Denmark. As a taster, you should walk along the colourful Nyhavn harbour. We also recommend strolling along the popular shopping street, Strøget, and grabbing something to eat at Torvehallerne food hall.
Day 6 - Highlights of Copenhagen
Soak up the charms of Copenhagen today. We recommend a walk around the compact city centre. You could visit the stately Amalienborg Palace or Christiansborg Palace, and take a walk to see the famous Little Mermaid statue.
Day 7 - Sail to Oslo, Norway
Spend the morning exploring more of Copenhagen. Why not take in the view of the city from the top of the Round Tower? Later, board an overnight ferry to Oslo. You’ll cruise gently up the Kattegat Sund all the way to Norway.
Day 8 - Explore Norway’s capital city
This morning your ship arrives in Oslo, giving you the day to explore the Norwegian capital. You could learn about the Vikings’ seafaring history at the Norwegian Maritime Museum. You could also visit the Royal Palace or stroll through the beautiful Vigeland Sculpture Park.
Day 9 - Train journey to Flåm
This morning, you’ll board a train from Oslo Central Station to begin the legendary Norway in a Nutshell® experience. This train ride takes you over Norway’s “mountainous rooftop”, through charming villages like Gol and Geilo.
From Myrdal, you’ll embark on the famous Flåm Railway (Flåmsbana) for a scenic ride to the beautiful village of Flåm. Enjoy the rest of your day in Flåm.
Day 10 - Sail and bus to Bergen
This morning, you’ll board a cruise along Aurlandsfjord, one of Norway’s western fjords.
You’ll then sail along the World Heritage-listed Nærøyfjord, the narrowest fjord in all of Europe. This is perhaps the most beautiful arm of Sognefjord, with its mighty waterfalls and small farms clinging to the steep mountainsides. It’s especially beautiful in the winter months.
You’ll dock at Gudvangen before continuing your journey by bus through Nærøydalen, with its charming villages and scenic winter landscape. The bus will arrive in Voss, where you’ll continue the tour by train to Bergen.
Day 11 - Discover Bergen
Today you can explore the city often called the “Gateway to the fjords”. Bergen is Norway’s charming second city. Here you can visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bryggen, with its preserved old houses and markets. You could also take the funicular up Mount Fløyen or the cable car up Mount Ulriken for panoramic views.
Day 12 - Depart from Bergen, Norway
Fly back home from Bergen-Flesland Airport, having enjoyed 12 days in beautiful Scandinavia.
What other ideas are there for a Scandinavia tour in December?
If you wish to travel to Scandinavia in December, we recommend an independent or partially guided journey. The perfect place to start your cultural tour is by visiting the capitals of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. You could even add Reykjavík if you fancy discovering Iceland too.
Prefer a winter wonderland holiday in nature? One of the best places to visit in Scandinavia in December is the Arctic Circle region. Including Northern Norway, Swedish and Finnish Lapland, these destinations offer you a true Nordic experience in winter.
Step right into the Arctic Circle to see the gems of the north. Visit a Sami village, see the rugged Lofoten Islands, and try dog sledding through the snowy landscapes. You could also see the northern lights, or discover the North Cape, mainland Europe’s northernmost point.
Good to know: Most of our itineraries aren't set in stone, and there are many possibilities to tailor one especially for you. We can modify your tour if you'd prefer to arrive in a different city, spend more free time in one destination than another, or add other stops to your trip.
Just ask your Nordic Visitor travel consultant for advice.
Interested in a Scandinavia road trip?
On a self-drive tour in Scandinavia, you’ll have the freedom to pull the car over at any attractions that catch your interest.
The best part? You won’t have to worry about where you’re going or sleeping, because your Nordic Visitor travel consultant has already sorted those local arrangements for you. You’ll also have access to our 24/7 emergency helpline should you need to call us at any point.
If you want to take a road trip through Scandinavia, we recommend visiting between May and September. Enjoy the incredible scenery right outside your window, watching how the landscapes shift between Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
You could opt for a circular road trip between Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo, flying in and out of the Swedish capital, for example.
Prefer a guided tour of Scandinavia?
To see the region from a local’s point of view and make some new friends along the way, a guided small group tour of the Scandinavian capitals is an excellent option! These take place between May and August, so book your trip for the summer season to join a group.
A small group tour of Scandinavia offers an enriching experience, allowing you to get the most out of your trip thanks to the expertise of a local tour guide. What’s more, you’ll be travelling alongside 16 people at most, so the trip is still personal for you.
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