If you’ve always dreamed of visiting Oslo because of its pleasant summer temperatures, the ABBA Museum in Sweden, or experiencing the Danish hygge firsthand, we’ll help you plan the Scandinavian trip of a lifetime!
We cover the best time to visit Scandinavia, some FAQs, why you should bother visiting Scandinavia in the first place, and many other burning pieces of information, so without further ado, let’s get stuck in!
Best Time to Visit Scandinavia
The best time to visit Scandinavia is in summer, that is, in June, July, and August.
With the extended daylight hours and the sun setting well into the evening, stable weather, and green landscapes, summer in Scandinavia is a real treat, both for locals and visitors alike.
As school’s out sometime in June, July and August are at the height of the tourist season — the days are long, and the tourist lines longer. That said, crowds in Scandinavia translate into dynamic roads and group fun and not extreme congestion or long, frustrating queues.
Foodies can enjoy fresh local fruit, such as Swedish or Danish strawberries; adventurers should hit the trails or go canoeing; cyclists rent bikes; tourists who go by the book opt for city tours or castle tours in Denmark.
In short, everyone’s happy with what they’re doing! Those on the lookout for more entertainment plan their trips around popular music festivals such as the Oslo Jazz Festival, Smukfest, or Flow Festival.
Then, there are some popular beaches, such as Rømø Beach, Denmark, probably the most famous Scandinavian beach. However, as this is Scandinavia, although summer’s in full swing, swimming is still only for the bravest of souls.
Cheapest Time to Visit Scandinavia
You might find it ironic to see the words “cheap” and “Scandinavia” in a single sentence, let alone read a whole segment with them. We get it — no matter what deals you look for or what accommodation you choose, visiting Scandinavia can never be a cheap undertaking.
However, certain periods of the year allow for cheaper travel than usual, and if you’re a budget-conscious traveler, that may be just what you’re looking for.
Namely, the absolute cheapest time to plan a trip to Scandinavia is early to mid-February. It’s when you stand a chance to score nice airfare deals, find affordable accommodation, and even “share” your stay with fewer crowds.
Least Busy Time to Visit Scandinavia
The least busy time to visit Scandinavia is in the countries’ shoulder months, or May and September. These months are ideal for those who not only wish to see fewer crowds but also enjoy some pleasant weather without going in the peak season.
May says goodbye to the chilly March and April, and September is the last enjoyable month before October, and November’s harshness reminds everyone that winter’s coming.
May and September are perfect for travelers eager to capture people-free photos of otherwise crowded locations. You also get to experience natural Scandinavian wonders in solitude and admire the iconic fjords in Norway without desperately trying to get a nice view.
You can also take advantage of these months by visiting Sweden’s capital and spend your time exploring Swedish history and culture.
Or you could opt for Denmark’s capital, where you can marvel at the canals lined with vivid houses and streets that look as though they’re straight out of a fairy tale.
Worst Time to Visit Scandinavia
While Scandinavia is a year-round destination, we believe going in winter is the worst time because of the harsh climate and low temperatures — especially if you’re used to milder winter conditions in your country of origin.
More specifically, we suggest avoiding the December–March period, as the weather’s absolutely unbearable. The days are short; the nights are long. There’s wind, snow, rain, and cold — you name it, Scandinavian winter’s got it!
Although the weather’s dreary, Scandinavia doesn’t go into winter hibernation; on the contrary — at times, it feels like winter sports enthusiasts and the festive atmosphere around Christmas make it even livelier (and lovelier)!
There are many exciting opportunities for winter activities, such as skiing, ice fishing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice-driving on frozen lakes, to name a few.
If you aren’t into winter recreational activities, you can always find warmth at some of the local Christmas markets and festive decorations.
Things to Consider
When taking a trip to Scandinavia, there are several things you need to keep in mind for a memorable journey. Here’s what you need to take into account:
- Scandinavians speak excellent English, so you’ll have no problem navigating the countries, asking for help, or simply interacting with most locals.
- Scandinavians have a card-over-cash policy, so make sure to keep this in mind when planning your Scandinavian budget.
- Bring clothes for all sorts of weather regardless of when you go. More about that in a minute, but the Scandinavian climate can be highly unpredictable.
- If you’re a US citizen traveling to a Scandinavian country, you can stay up to 90 days without a visa.
- Scandinavians are often dubbed “cold” or unapproachable. Here’s the thing: while Scandinavian countries may not have the initial warmth other nationalities, such as the Spanish or Portuguese, seem to exhibit, they’re very polite and willing to help if you ask nicely. They respect others’ personal space, especially in public, and if they don’t know you, don’t expect them to start random conversations or engage in small talk.
- If you’re traveling from one country to another, you have an extensive system of buses, trains, ferries, and flights at your disposal. While all options are solid, train rides are arguably the most scenic. You might even score some deals with the Eurail Scandinavia Pass. Of course, you can always rent a car too.
- Road conditions are top-notch, and the overall infrastructure in Scandinavia is something other countries aspire to achieve. However, do keep an eye on the ever-changing weather in winter, as road conditions can change quickly in such circumstances.
- The same applies to the healthcare system, so whatever happens, you’re in good hands.
- Most Scandinavian cities provide city passes, such as the Copenhagen Card, which include discounts on museums, landmarks, shopping, food, and transportation.
- In Scandinavia, tipping is usually done by rounding up the bill, which usually translates into 5–10% of the bill.
Book Your Trip to Scandinavia Today!
In our guide, we covered quite a bit of information in regards to organizing the perfect Scandinavian getaway, so let’s quickly go through the most important.
- The most desirable time to visit Scandinavia is in summer, or in the June–August period. It’s ideal for those with a one-season-fits-all kind of expectations — be it nice weather, or an abundance of outdoor activities, summer has it and allows for it.
- If you’re a budget traveler but still want to experience Scandinavia and all its glory, consider visiting in September. This is the month when you can take advantage of attractive airplane ticket prices and affordable accommodation (if Scandinavia is ever affordable).
- The least busy time to visit Scandinavia is in the countries’ shoulder months, or May and September. While shoulder months lack summer’s buzzing vibes, they offer minimal crowds and agreeable weather (at least most of the time, as you can never be sure with these countries).
- The absolute worst time to find yourself in any Scandinavian country is during winter, in the December–March period. It’s brass monkey weather, blankets of snow cover the streets and landmarks, but Scadinavia’s magnetism is still as radiant as ever. So even if you do end up visiting in winter, you’re bound to be thrilled with everything you do/see. As the Scandinavian saying goes, “there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.”
All in all, the best time to visit Scandinavia depends on the weather you find enjoyable and what you hope to get out of your trip.
We’re here to tell you that with Scandinavia having so much to offer, you’re going to have a blast regardless of when you end up going. So what are you waiting for — experience all the region has to offer today!