Two terms that are often confused are "Nordic Countries" and "Scandinavian Countries." Nordic refers to the northern countries of Europe, while "Scandinavian" Refers to those in the Scandinavian subregion (Scandinavia is a peninsula).
At its core, Scandinavia includes Norway, Sweden, and Denmark - and possibly Iceland and the Faeroe Islands. Nordic includes all of them plus Finland and maybe even Estonia. In this article, we will only discuss Norway, Sweden, Denmark and mention the Faeroe Islands as they are a part of the Kingdom of Denmark (Iceland is an independent country).
Norway And Its Fjords
Norway is a truly stunning (if not expensive) country with endless Fjords to see and discover. Norway should be very high on anyone's list.
- Language: Norwegian
- Size: 385,207 km2 (148,729 sq mi)
- Population: 5.4 Million
- Capital: Oslo
The Norwegian fiords also carry that mystique of being the home of the Norse or the Vikings who so terrified England and other European countries for so long. And they are full of stunning old villages. In other words, these fiords have a longer and deeper history.
- Norway's Coastline: 29,000 km (18,000 miles) With Fjords, 2,500 km (1,600 miles) Without Fjords
- Number Of Fjords In Norway: 1,200
Norway has many fiords and it is nearly impossible to see and explore all of them. Some of the most popular and dramatic are:
- The Lysefjord - In The Deep South - Length 42 km
- The Arlandsfjord - Branch Of Norway's Longest Fjord (Voted Most Popular In Domestic Tourism) 29 km
- The Naeroyfjord - UNESCO Listed - 18 km
- The Sognefjord - Dubbed The "King Of The Fjords"
- The Geirangerfjord - Also UNESCO Listed Famous For Its Waterfalls
Denmark And Copenhagen
While Norway and Denmark share very deep cultural and linguistic ties and at times have been united in the same nation in their history, they are geographically opposite. Whereas Norway is mountainous, has over a thousand fjords, stretches all the way up into the Arctic Circle, and takes a very long time to drive from tip to tip, Denmark is the opposite.
- Lanugage: Danish
- Size: 42,933 km2 (16,577 sq mi)
- Population: 5.8 Million
- Capital: Copenhagen
There are no mountains in Denmark and it is extremely flat. It is one of the quaintest places in Europe and here one really goes more for the vibe and the cities than the landscapes.
The greatest attraction in Denmark is probably the capital city of Copenhagen. Copenhagen has been developed with pedestrians in mind. There are ample sidewalks and pedestrian lanes. Entire streets are designated for pedestrian use. The walkability of the city means many of its attractions are close together. Copenhagen visitors can make quick work of its highlights.
Its picture-perfect neighborhoods are some of the most famous of the European Union's many stunning cities. The city has palaces, museums, and tons of history. Unforgettable cityscapes lie around every corner.
The Faroe Islands:
The Faroe Islands are a constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark. They are remote and are 320 kilometers (200 miles) north-northwest of Scotland. These islands are generally overlooked and offer a rugged subpolar oceanic climate. They are warmed by the gulf stream but are still windy, wet, cloudy, and cool.
- Population: 54,000
- Status: Constituent Country of the Kingdom of Denmark
Sweden And Its Many Attractions
Sweden is the largest of the Scandinavian countries. Like Norway, one can also see the Northern Lights from here. The capital and largest city are Stockholm.
- Language: Swedish
- Size: 450,295 km2 (173,860 sq mi)
- Population: 10.4 Million
- Capital: Stockholm
Sweden once had its large empire in Nordic Europe. It ruled much of Scandinavia, parts of the Baltics, all of Finland, and parts of what is now Russia - particularly around St. Petersburg. One of the great reminders of this period is the remarkable imperial Swedish warship of Vasa.
Vasa is one of the most bizarre ships in the world. She was one the most powerful ships in the world when she was launched - for 20 minutes. The fearsome warship was able to survive the first blast of wind that buffeted it on its maiden voyage. But it sank in Stockholm Harbor with the second gust of wine - 20 minutes after setting sail.
- Cannons: 64 Bronze Cannons
- Advanced: She Was One of the Most Powerfully Armed Vessels In The World
- Built: 1628
- Sank: After Sailing For 20 Minutes In A Wind Stronger Than A Breeze
- Sailed: Roughly 1,300 meters or 1,400 Yards
Today she has been raised and put on display. She is now one of the most well-preserved ships of her era. Visit her at the Vasa Museum.
But there are plenty of things to see and do in Sweden. Explore the historic city of Stockholm and its many islands, stay in the iconic ice hotels in Sweden, or even sleep in a vintage Jumbo Jet.