5 POST-LOCKDOWN Scandinavian Places to Explore
It has long been said that we humans are creatures of habit. We fall into daily routines and go about our days on autopilot, with our unconscious minds dictating and handling up to 95% of our typical thoughts and actions. This is why it is so easy for the typical licence-holder of a car (not drivers, as drivers possess skill and enjoy the act of operating a car, they do not hog the overtaking lane on motorways, and indicate when coming off roundabouts) to zone out for minutes/miles at a time and have no recollection of large stints of their journey, but I digress.
For the better part of the last quarter of a year, the vast majority of us have been under varying levels of lockdown, resulting in a substantial increase in family feuds, breakups, tears and black eyes. We have been forced into a sort-of Groundhog day, where for many people, every day is exactly the same as the one before (thankfully this has not been the case for me as I have the imagination of a 6 year old and can find awe and wonder in a carboard box! Forts are still fun in adulthood, and don’t let anyone tell you any differently).
Moving onto the crux of this post, when global lockdown restrictions are eventually lifted, many of us will be champing at the bit to bolt out of our homes-turned-prison-cells and break new ground, far and wide. Here I have listed some of the most beautiful Scandinavian places to explore, which I think are definitely worth a visit in the near post-lockdown future!
1. Nordic Northern Lights
The Northern Lights are a result of interactions between charged particles from the sun and air high in the atmosphere. The air lights up when large numbers of electrically charged particles with a high-speed stream in towards the Earth along its magnetic field and collide with the highest air particles. The reason why it is possible to watch this natural phenomenon in the Nordic countries is because of the strength of the earth`s magnetic field is stronger near the poles. The lights are generally green, but they can be many other colours and can move or shimmer. The colour is dependent on the gas being excited by the electrons, i.e. oxygen or nitrogen, which produce green-yellow light and blue light, respectively. The blending of these colour produces more colours, including purple, pink and white.
There is no single best place to view this breath-taking phenomenon, but generally the further north you go, the better. The lights can be viewed from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Greenland. The aurora can also be seen from northern Alaska and Canada. The official season for the aurora borealis is from September to April, but as with all things nature, take this with a pinch of salt. The optimal viewing conditions are simply when it is cold and dark, which is when the sky is usually at its most clear, timewise this ranges from 6pm to 2am and can last from a few minutes up to several hours.
A post shared by Northern Lights | Auroras (@rapidnightsky) on Jul 9, 2020 at 9:00am PDT
2. The Geirangerfjord - Norway
Also known as "the jewel in the crown of the Norwegian fjords" it is one of the most dramatic and visited attractions in Norway. The deep blue Geirangerfjord is 20 km long and surrounded by beautiful snow-covered mountain peaks, incredible waterfalls and a fertile, beautiful scenery. There are cruise-ship sight-seeing tours to enjoy, snow-capped mountain peaks to conquer and lush green landscapes to explore. There is also the world-famous “Seven Sisters” waterfalls to visit as well as many little villages, tucked away within the fjord, so lots to see and do!
A post shared by Marius Haugsdal / Norway 🇳🇴 (@mahaugs) on Jul 3, 2020 at 6:33am PDT
3. Loen Skylift - Norway
This is a relatively new attraction, opened only in 2017 in Nordfjord Norway, it is the world’s steepest aerial ropeway, reaching over 1000 metres above the Nordfjord, providing mind-blowing views of the entire Fjord landscape, definitely a worthy entry to this exclusive list!
A post shared by LOEN SKYLIFT (@loenskylift) on May 7, 2020 at 7:16am PDT
4. Hekla Volcano – Iceland
Gaze upon the mighty Hekla volcano, one of Iceland’s most famous active volcanoes, only a 2-hour drive from Reykjavik, less if you’re a driver! The volcano is characterized by a 3.4-mile- (5500) long fissure called Heklugjá, which is active along its entire length during major eruptions. Lava flows from this fissure have contributed to the volcano’s elongated shape. Hekla stands 4,892 feet (1,491 metres) above sea level at the eastern end of the island’s most extensive farming region. In the Middle Ages, it was known as 'The Gateway to Hell'.
A post shared by Iceland Travel (@icelandtravel) on Jul 9, 2020 at 9:14am PDT
5. Greenland Ice Sheet
As a Northern Irish man, I have particularly strong feelings towards icebergs, seeing as one was responsible for decimating my country’s single greatest achievement (cough… Titanic… cough), but the Greenland ice sheet is something special, and a little more original than most destinations on similar lists. No two icebergs are the same, and there is no denying that they convey complete and utter majesty, what is even more humbling is, that despite their mammoth presence above the ocean’s surface, reaching up to 150 feet high, this is only 7/8 of their total size, which is genuinely mind-boggling to imagine.
Icebergs consist of heavily compacted snow that fell on the Greenlandic ice cap several thousand years ago - in some cases more than 15,000 years ago. You will find around Ilulissat and Uummannaq are particularly well-known as the source of many large icebergs that break off the glaciers in the deep fjords. But also, in Southern Greenland, you will find smaller icebergs just as beautiful as in the north.
A post shared by Adventures.com (@adventurescom) on Nov 16, 2019 at 9:00am PST
There is no shortage of spectacular places to visit in Scandinavia, let alone the world, but I hope this short list gave you some inspiration in planning your post-lockdown freedom trip!