Happy New Year! Here we are nearly a week into 2016 and, I don't know about you, but I have a laundry list of destinations I'd like to travel to this year. So, it seems, does every major travel publication and, not surprisingly, they're all showing a lot of love to the incredible Nordics. And who are we to argue... we think the region should top every travel wish-list!
So, to get your travel juices flowing for 2016, here are some of the Nordic destinations you should be sure to visit in the coming 12 months, according to the likes of Lonely Planet, National Geographic and Rough Guides.
Iceland has been the shining star of the Nordics for a while now, with its incredible untamed nature and sweeping vistas, natural wonders and colourful and vibrant capital, Reykjavík. And, from the looks of the praises being sung about our little island in the North Atlantic by all the big travel publication, that star isn't dimming any time soon.
Lonely Planet has included Iceland three times on its mammoth Best in Travel 2016 list. West Iceland has been named one of the top regions for the year for having everything that makes Iceland such an incredible destination -- waterfalls, lava fields, glaciers, mountains, a tunnel into a glacier, and so much more! Meanwhile, the inventive burgers at hot Reykjavík eatery Grillmarkaðurinn made the travel bible's Best Burger Experience list and the geothermal pools at Nauthólsvík, Reykjavík's sandy beach destination, top their list of luxe experiences for budget travellers.
Meanwhile, the Rough Guide to 2016 has named Reykjavík its #1 city to travel to in 2016 thanks to its "arts scene, cool nightlife and the slew of natural wonders that lie right on its doorstep." And readers of Rough Guides also gave Iceland their People's Choice award for being one of their all-round favourite destinations. Their reasoning? Awesome landscapes, black sand beaches and volcanoes all accessible via an ever-growing fleet of budget airlines.
Lonely Planet has embraced our dear Sweden in two categories of its Best in travel 2016 list this year: Best Luxe Experiences for Budget Travellers and Best New Openings in 2016.
If it's luxury you're seeking, Sweden is most definitely a good place to look, but for luxury on any budget Lonely Planet recommends visiting one of Sweden's many saunas. To the rest of the world sweating it out in a sauna is an activity reserved for a pricey visit to a spa, but in Sweden (and Finland!) sauna is a part of daily life. So go try out this budget-friendly "luxury" any chance you get.
And the Best New Opening that Sweden is getting a shout out for? Mamma Mia: The Party! The Tyrol restaurant at Stockholm's Gröna Lund amusement park has been transformed into Nikos Taverna on the Greek island of Skopelos for ABBA fans to join in the feast and party made famous on stage and screen in Mamma Mia! The party begins on 20 January 2016 and tickets are available online. We'd recommend making a day of it and enjoying all the sites of Djurgården before joining in the ABBA fun.
Have you been to Greenland? If you said 'no' then 2016 is the year you should change that. From the world's smallest capital, Nuuk, to the mind-blowingly expansive Greenland ice sheet and the UNESCO World Heritage stamped icefjord in Ilulissat, Greenland is a country of impressive extremes. Add the colourful culture and traditions of the Greenlandic people to the mix and you've got yourself an incredible destination.
So it's no wonder Lonely Planet named Greenland one of its 10 must-see countries of the year, rightly touting it as a place where you can "see the midnight sun glimmer on glaciers, sail among breaching whales, dogsled the tundra, [and] watch the Northern Lights dance across the ice sheet." National Geographic is in agreement, including Greenland on its Best in Trips 2016 list.
There's another category where Greenland received a nod from Lonely Planet this year: Best place to meet mythical beasts. The mythical beasts in question are Greenland's "marine unicorns," also known as the narwhal, the whale with a large tusk protruding from its beak. Greenlandic lore has it that that the narwhal came to be when a woman was thrown into the sea, attached to a harpoon launched by her own son. Her long hair became tangled into a tusk as she struggled on the sea floor and she has swam the waves as a narwhal ever since.
Thinking of tying the knot in 2016... but want to keep it on the down-low? Look no further than Ærø, Denmark, which earned a nod from Lonely Planet as one of the best places to elope this year. Ærø is sometimes called Europe's Las Vegas since it's a popular wedding destination... it's also far more picturesque and serene than the bright lights of Vegas, so don't start thinking you'll be walking down the aisle to an Elvis impersonator. Located just south of Odense, Ærø is one of Denmark's Baltic islands.
No matter where you get hitched, we'd suggest an unforgettable honeymoon in a beautiful Nordic destination.
Norway may have received the quirkiest title of all the Nordic destinations named on various 2016 travel lists. Trondheim, Norway has been named one of the world's best moustache destinations by Lonely Planet.
The reason? Trondheim was the Viking age capital of Norway, it's the headquarters of the Norwegian Moustache Club and the city has hosted the World Beard and Moustache Championships twice... that's a big deal, as it's the only city to host more than once.
So, where are you headed this year? Where ever you go in the Nordics, Nordic Visitor can make your visit an incredible one.
Care to check out some of the destinations above? Here are some of our tours that will take you there. And remember: all Nordic Visitor's tours are customizable, so be in touch to start planning your dream holiday.
- REYKJAVÍK - NEXT DOOR TO NATURE (4 days / 3 nights)
- EXOTIC HIDEAWAYS (7 days / 6 nights)
- LUXURY ADVENTURE (10 days / 9 nights)
- HIDDEN GEMS OF ICELAND (11 days / 10 nights)
- ICELAND COMPLETE (14 days/13 nights)
- SWEDISH WELLNESS WEEKEND (4 days / 3 nights)
- STOCKHOLM SUMMER CITY BREAK (4 days / 3 nights)
- FAMILY FUN IN STOCKHOLM (4 days / 3 nights)
- SWEDEN IN ULTIMATE LUXURY (6 days / 5 nights)
- STOCKHOLM AND SWEDEN IN A NUTSHELL (8 days / 7 nights)
- ICEFJORD ADVENTURE (4 days / 3 nights)
- FROM VIKINGS TO ICEBERGS (8 days / 7 nights)
- ARCTIC WINTER ADVENTURE (5 days / 4 nights)
- NUUK - HEART OF GREENLAND (4 days / 3 nights)
- SOUTH SWEDEN AND DENMARK (14 days / 13 nights)
- ROMANTIC CAPITALS OF SCANDINAVIA (6 days / 5 nights)
- NORDIC ODYSSEY (12 days / 11 nights)