WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO GO IN SCANDINAVIA IN JANUARY?
Enjoy a host of winter activities in Scandinavia in January, from dog sledding in the countryside to cosying up with a hot drink in a hip city café.
January in Scandinavia is one of the winter months, so there are fewer daylight hours than in summer, and temperatures are some of the coldest of the year. This means snow-carpeted landscapes, particularly in Lapland – the very north of Scandinavia.
If you’re wondering which are the best places to visit in Scandinavia in January, it really depends on what you want to do. In Finnish and Swedish Lapland, there are some truly special winter experiences in store for you.
Meet Santa Claus, stay at a snow or ice hotel, and try your luck spotting the enchanting northern lights in the national parks. You could also see the aurora borealis in Northern Norway, a region that lies within the Arctic Circle.
An advantage of visiting Scandinavia in the low season is that there are fewer visitors around. Make the most of this quiet period by exploring the capital cities of the Scandinavian Triangle, enjoying the best of Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen in one incredible trip.
In January these cities are much quieter than in the summer, so you’ll have more of them to yourselves.
You could also soak up Scandinavia’s rural attractions. Head to Bergen in Norway to witness the stunning fjords, or go further north on the Hurtigruten cruise for a glimpse at the stunning west coast.
As a Northern European tour operator, Nordic Visitor specialises in organising holidays to this beautiful corner of the world. We have many more ideas to help you explore Scandinavia your way!
Here’s one of our suggestions for a Scandinavia itinerary in January:
Day 1 - Arrive in Stockholm, Sweden
Fly into Stockholm Arlanda Airport and head to your hotel in the city centre. Spend some time walking through Gamla Stan (The Old Town), and enjoy a fika (a Swedish coffee break) with a nice pastry at one of the local cafés in this medieval neighbourhood.
Or, why not hop on a city sightseeing tour?
Day 2 - The highlights of Stockholm
Spend a full day in the Swedish capital, discovering the city’s attractions and districts. You could join a sightseeing tour to experience the best of Stockholm in a day, taking you to must-see spots like the City Hall, Royal Palace and trendy Södermalm quarter.
Or, a ferry ride will whisk you off to the island of Djurgården, home to the Nordic Museum and Skansen, the world’s oldest open-air museum.
Day 3 - Fly to Copenhagen, Denmark
Head to Stockholm Airport after breakfast and board the plane to Copenhagen. Once in Denmark’s capital, take a walk down the city’s popular Strøget street for a bite to eat. Be sure to try a Smørrebrød, a traditional open sandwich with a variety of toppings to choose from.
Depending on when you visit Copenhagen, you could check out the fun and games at the old fashioned Tivoli Gardens amusement park. However, note that it closes for the winter at the beginning of January.
Day 4 - Discover Copenhagen
Soak up the charms of Copenhagen today, either on your own or as part of a guided tour. You might want to visit Rosenborg Castle or the Torvehallerne food market.
We also recommend hopping on a boat tour to see Christiansborg Palace, the Royal Danish Opera House and the colourful Christianshavn Canal from the water.
Day 5 - Overnight cruise to Oslo, Norway
Ahead of your journey to Oslo, Norway’s largest city, spend the day enjoying more of Copenhagen. You could check out the exquisite Amalienborg Palace, as well as the colourful Nyhavn harbour and the Little Mermaid statue. Later, head to the port for your cruise to Oslo.
Day 6 - Explore Norway’s capital city
After your ship arrives early in the morning, the whole day is yours to roam Oslo. Take a walk to the bustling Aker Brygge waterfront area and visit the Akershus Fortress. Or, head to the Bygdøy peninsula to explore historic museums.
If you love art, make sure to take a walk through the delightful Vigeland Sculpture Park. Don’t miss a visit to Oslo City Hall if you want to see where the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony is held.
Day 7 - Scenic train journey to Flåm
This morning, go to Oslo Central Station to begin your Norway in a Nutshell® experience – one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world. Look out the window to see picturesque landscapes and quaint villages like Gol and Geilo.
Change at Myrdal to board the Flåm Railway for one of the top highlights of the entire trip: a 900-metre (half-mile) descent to the picturesque village of Flåm, where you’ll stay for the night.
Day 8 - Norwegian fjord cruise
Prepare to witness breathtaking Norwegian scenery today, as you hop on a cruise that takes you through the fjords. You’ll be able to admire the glittering waters, cascading falls and forested mountains of Sognefjord, passing through Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. Afterwards, it’s an exciting coach and train ride to Bergen.
Day 9 - Discover Bergen
Known as the gateway to the fjords, Bergen is Norway’s charming second city with plenty of its own attractions to uncover. You can visit the medieval houses of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bryggen, and take the funicular up Mount Fløyen for panoramic views over the city and fjords.
There are also plenty of museums, shops and restaurants to check out on your last full day in Scandinavia.
Day 10 - Depart from Bergen, Norway
Fly back home from Bergen-Flesland Airport, having enjoyed 10 days in beautiful Scandinavia.
What other ideas are there for a Scandinavia tour in January?
Travelling to Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden and Denmark) gives you a good excuse to see more of Northern Europe in the same trip.
The Nordic countries – that’s Finland and Iceland as well as Norway, Sweden and Denmark – are well connected via plane, train and ferry. That’s why seeing a few of them in one go is a great idea!
You could begin your tour in the capital of Finland, Helsinki. Here in this exciting city, spend your time uncovering attractions like Senate Square, Uspenski Cathedral, and the Old Market Hall. Don't miss the chance to visit local restaurants for a taste of Finnish cuisine.
Then, step aboard a vessel that whisks you to Stockholm, crossing the Baltic Sea overnight to begin your exploration of the Scandinavian Triangle the following day.
Another option is to follow up your Scandinavia tour with a visit to Iceland. Fly from Oslo to Reykjavík and spend some days discovering the country’s awe-inspiring natural scenery, including glaciers, volcanoes and waterfalls.
If you’re planning a trip to see the northern lights in January, we recommend you visit Northern Norway, Lapland or Iceland.
For the optimum chance of spotting the aurora borealis, the best time to visit is in winter (October to March) when the night skies are darker. This makes January a fantastic month to go hunting for the northern lights!
Good to know: Most of our itineraries aren't set in stone, and there are many possibilities for customised routes. 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 towns to your trip.
Just ask your Nordic Visitor travel consultant for advice.
How about a self-guided tour of Scandinavia?
If you would like to discover Scandinavia on your own, then an independent tour is the perfect choice. Travel from one place to the next using public transportation, which in Scandinavia is fast, reliable and punctual.
By opting for a train and cruise tour of Scandinavia, you’ll benefit from having your itinerary arrangements made for you but with the freedom to spend your days however you please. Nordic Visitor will book all your accommodation and travel tickets between destinations, and you can add on activities too.
Plus, by booking an independent tour of Scandinavia you’ll still be able to enjoy the usual Nordic Visitor benefits. These include access to our 24/7 helpline, a detailed personal itinerary, helpful travel guide and daily breakfast.
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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