Travel Update


Best Nordic Travel Destinations for 2022

Last Updated: 12/10/2022

For the last couple of years, travel has more or less been put on hold. Now 2022 is slated to be the year of the “great escape”. Perhaps you, like many others, are looking to make up for lost time and take the trip of your dreams.

The question is: where will you go in 2022?

It all depends on what your travel preferences and tastes are. You may wish to experience mind-blowing nature, or fascinating cultures that are unfamiliar to your own. Health and safety is no doubt a priority, so you’ll want to know you’re going somewhere that ensures excellent standards of both.

Nordic travel offers the ingredients to satisfy any hunger for the above. The countries that make up this region are: Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland (along with their island territories).

Find out which are the best Nordic countries to visit in 2022 and learn why this part of the world holds such allure for travellers.

Myvatn Nature Baths, Iceland

Travel trends for 2022

It will come as no surprise to you that the pandemic has had a huge impact on what travellers want from their trips. Here are the biggest trends that industry experts believe visitors are prioritising for travel in 2022:

  1. Taking trips with extended family to spend quality time together
  2. Enjoying long-awaited honeymoons and anniversary getaways
  3. Opting for a self-empowering, solo travel adventure
  4. Visiting places with fewer crowds and more room to social distance
  5. Reconnecting with nature and experiencing extraordinary landscapes
  6. Choosing longer trips to make the most of time away from home
  7. Picking destinations with high standards of health and safety

With this in mind, it makes sense that the Nordic destinations are some of the top places to visit in 2022, as they can offer all the above.

The best Nordic vacations for 2022

Read on to find out where’s “hot” in the Nordics this year and why.

Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland

1. Iceland

You may have heard how Iceland was one of the first countries to open its borders to fully vaccinated visitors, in March 2021. In the same month, a volcano erupted in the Reykjanes peninsula.

It was a dramatic performance by Mother Nature that put on a show for visitors for many months. Considered a “tourist volcano” to locals, the Fagradasfjall eruption site was safe to visit and, conveniently, just an hour or so from the capital, Reykjavík.

So what does Iceland have in store for 2022?

Mind-blowing nature

Icelandic nature is impressive, to say the least. If you want to have your mind blown by volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, black sand beaches and hot springs, then look no further than this Land of Fire and Ice.

It’s also a sparsely populated island, which means you get more of the remote scenery to yourself. Social distancing is easy here, and you’ll find stunning views in every corner of the country.

Kirkjufell and northern lights in Iceland

What’s more, on a winter trip to Iceland, you’d get the chance to look for one of nature’s greatest marvels: the aurora borealis.

Iceland is actually one of the best places on the planet to see the northern lights, due to its location near the Arctic Circle, where aurora activity is strongest. Plus, the country’s remote landscapes have little light pollution, which means you can make out the colours of the auroras clearly.

The Westfjords

Lonely Planet has highlighted the Westfjords as the top region in the world to visit this year.

Here, in the northwest corner of Iceland, you can discover untouched landscapes that few people reach. It’s the perfect place for hiking in nature, spotting wildlife like the puffin and Arctic fox, and exploring remote villages.

If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path tour in Iceland, the Westfjords is one of the best spots to go to. Another hidden-gem location is the Icelandic highlands, a hiking haven that’s brimming with geological marvels.

Raudisandur red sand beach in the Westfjords, Iceland

Solo travel

As one of the safest countries in the world, with breathtaking nature and adventures aplenty, Iceland is an ideal destination for solo travel. In fact, Travel + Leisure names Iceland as the best destination for solo female travellers.

Meanwhile, Condé Nast Traveler recommends the Golden Circle route as one of the best solo vacations you should take in 2022.

This loop introduces you to some of the top sights in South Iceland, including Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir, and Þingvellir National Park. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could snorkel in a fissure between two tectonic plates. This is just one of the many extraordinary things to do in Iceland.

All this is a stone's throw from Reykjavík, the capital city, where you’ll find cultural delights. Think cool museums, a tempting foodie scene, and friendly locals – who speak English fluently, by the way.

Snorkelling in the Siljfra fissure, Iceland

Easy to reach

If you’re based in Europe or North America, Iceland is a convenient place to travel to. There are many direct flights to the capital, Reykjavík, and the journey time is shorter than you might imagine.

This is because Iceland sits between the two continents, in the North Atlantic. It would take you between 5-6 hours to fly here from New York, or roughly 3 hours from London.

Don’t miss…

A hike to the fresh lava fields at Fagradasfjall volcano, not far from the capital. You can also explore the "icy" side to Iceland by walking on a glacier or exploring ice caves.

Also be sure to take a well-deserved soak in the Sky Lagoon, the new oceanfront geothermal pool in Reykjavík. This sumptuous spa opened last year and is the perfect spot to relax, restore and pamper yourself. It’s one of many inviting hot springs and geothermal pools in Iceland.

Fjord and mountains in Norway

2. Norway

Another Nordic spot that made Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel collection is Norway, voted one of the top 10 countries to visit in 2022.

If you haven’t already added Norway to your wish list, now is the time. This land of jewel-toned fjords, jagged peaks and Viking heritage beckons you to come and immerse yourself in its wonders.

Art in Oslo

Craving a city break packed with jaunts to art galleries? Look no further than Oslo, Norway’s capital. This is one of the best Nordic cities to visit in 2022.

Last year the MUNCH Museum – dedicated to Norwegian artist Edvard Munch – opened its doors here. In 2022, you can expect another much-anticipated inauguration, this time for the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design.

Oslo Townhall, Norway

The new National Museum will be the largest art institution of its kind in the Nordics. It has been 7 years in the making, but will be worth the wait, with twice as many artworks exhibited as before.

You’ll get to admire a mix of fine art, contemporary art, architecture, design, arts and crafts in one impressive building. Plus, you’ll have a view of Oslo’s City Hall Square, Aker Brygge, and the waterfront from the museums’ rooftop terrace.

Cuisine in Trondheim-Trøndelag

Delicious food is always an important element of a cultural trip to Europe. For a slice of culinary heaven, you’d do well to head to central Norway and taste your way around Trondheim-Trøndelag, the European Region of Gastronomy 2022.

Trondheim is a charming Scandinavian city nestled on the seafront where you’ll find restaurants, bars and cafés galore. Feast on food sourced from the region’s abundant natural landscape and seas, including fresh fish.

Colourful houses in Trondheim, Norway

There are also craft breweries and a tempting events lineup waiting for you here. You might time your trip to attend the Trondheim Wine Festival in March. Or visit Norway in summer to experience the Trondheim Brewery Festival and the Trøndelag Food Festival in July, or the Trondheim Gin Festival in August.

When you’re not enjoying the exquisite food, you could be soaking up the history and small-town atmosphere of this former capital of Norway.

Stroll along the riverfront in the 17th-century Bakklandet quarter to see colourful old houses propped above the water. Marvel at the striking Nidaros Cathedral, and learn about local heritage at the Trøndelag Folk Museum.

The stunning fjords in Norway

Don’t miss…

The breathtaking Norwegian fjords. These famous waterways are so scenically outstanding that two of the most beautiful ones – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord – are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Take a scenic rail journey and fjord cruise as part of the unmissable Norway in a Nutshell® route, whisking you from Oslo to Bergen. You’ll get to see beautiful mountains, waterfalls and fjords on this unforgettable passage.

After years of restrictions and stay-at-home orders, Norway’s world-class scenery will no doubt make you feel a deep connection with nature once more.

Nyhavn in Copenhagen

3. Denmark

One of the 3 Scandinavian countries – along with Sweden and Norway – Denmark is a cultural hotspot. Of all the places to visit here, you shouldn’t miss Copenhagen, the capital and largest city in Denmark.

Cool vibes

According to CNN, Copenhagen is Europe’s capital of cool, and when you visit you’ll soon see why. It’s home to Time Out’s trendiest neighbourhood, Nørrebro, where you can expect a friendly atmosphere, vibrant art, and strong community spirit.

Copenhagen’s cool vibes don’t stop there though. Across the city you’ll discover beautiful old buildings, cobbled streets lined with independent boutiques, and attractive waterfront settings. You’ll want to make like the locals and dine al fresco, soaking up your surroundings.

In fact, if you’re passionate about good food, be sure to make dinner reservations at Noma and Geranium. These Copenhagen haunts were voted the top 2 restaurants in the world!

Bicycles in Copenhagen

Safest city

As if being cool wasn’t enough, Copenhagen also came out top in the ranking for the world’s safest cities. A low crime rate, excellent social cohesion, and eco-friendly initiatives all contribute to this reputation. If you’re travelling alone, Copenhagen’s safety is a particular draw.

Denmark as a whole is actually considered the second safest country in the world, after Iceland. And it’s the third happiest nation!

Don’t miss…

The beautiful Nyvan district in Copenhagen, where boats bob in the harbour and brightly coloured buildings line the waterfront promenade. Be sure to pay a visit to the Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world.

A great way to explore the waterways of Copenhagen is on a boat tour. Discover the Christiansborg Royal Palace, Royal Danish Opera House and colourful Christianshavn Canal.

Lake, forest and rainbow in Sweden

4. Finland & Sweden

If you’re looking for sustainable travel destinations for 2022, add Finland and Sweden to your wish list. These 2 Nordic nations have some of the world’s most impressive eco-credentials, with plenty of cultural highlights and adventures in store for you as well.

Sustainable appeal

Since more than 80% of Finland’s terrain is covered in forest, you know it’s going to be one of the best places to breathe in clean, fresh air. It comes as no surprise that Condé Nast Traveller recommends Finland as one of the most sustainable countries to visit in 2022.

Then there’s Sweden, which is considered by many publications – including the New York Times, The Guardian and Condé Nast Traveller – to be a top sustainable choice.

Flowers and countryside in Sweden

Sweden ranks number 1 on the Global Destination Sustainability Index. In terms of accommodation, around 95% is green certified, while 97% of the public transport is powered by renewable energy.

Make the most of the country’s efficient rail network with a train tour of Sweden. You could explore the trendy cities of Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg, travelling by train between them.

Northern lights

In the far north of Sweden and Finland, you’ll find a stunning region called Lapland. As well as being the place to meet Santa Claus, Lapland is one of the best spots on the planet to seek out the northern lights.

After the last couple of years of lockdowns and restrictions, discovering the wonders of Mother Nature will leave you captivated. Seeing the magical colours of the aurora borealis light up the sky above you is an experience you’ll never forget.

Northern lights over the forest in Finnish Lapland

Don’t miss…

The medieval old town in Stockholm, Gamla Stan, or the hip art galleries of Helsinki. Both the Swedish and Finnish capitals nestle beside the Baltic Sea, so you could take boat trips to nearby islands. Imagine sailing to the pretty Stockholm archipelago, where you can go hiking and try watersports in summer.

If you visit Lapland, you’ll want to try some winter activities that bring you closer to the snow-covered forests. Think dog sledding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. And be sure to chase the northern lights on an aurora safari – winter is the best time of year to catch sight of them.

You might even like to stay in a Nordic ice hotel. Lapland is home to quite a few of them!

Family travel in Sweden

Visit the happiest and safest countries in the world in 2022

Since 2012, the United Nations’ has revealed the results of its World Happiness Report each year. In this survey all 156 countries are ranked in order of “happiness” after evaluating six cornerstones of wellbeing: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity.

The Nordics – the happiest countries in the world

Every year, the Nordic countries rank among the happiest countries in the world. Take a look at the top 10 from the UN’s most recent list, announced in March 2021:

  1. Finland
  2. Iceland
  3. Denmark
  4. Switzerland
  5. Netherlands
  6. Sweden
  7. Germany
  8. Norway
  9. New Zealand
  10. Austria

All 5 of the Nordic countries – Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Sweden – are in the top 8 happiest nations in the world. Clearly, the Nordic region is doing something right!

The safest countries in the world

Not only are the Nordic nations some of the happiest in the world, they also rank as the safest. Every year the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) publishes its findings on the most peaceful places via its Global Peace Index.

Here is the most recent list of the safest countries according to the IEP:

  1. Iceland
  2. Denmark
  3. New Zealand
  4. Norway
  5. Austria
  6. Slovenia
  7. Japan
  8. Qatar
  9. Finland
  10. Australia
  11. Sweden
Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark

Nordic destinations: what you need to know

To learn more about the Nordic countries, read on. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions you might have regarding the Nordic region.

What is the difference between Scandinavian and Nordic?

The countries that make up Scandinavia are Sweden, Norway and Denmark, so the term “Scandinavian” refers to these three nations. On the other hand, the term “Nordic” covers not just Sweden, Norway and Denmark, but also Finland and Iceland.

Which are the Nordic countries?

The Nordic countries are Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. The Nordic region also encompasses overseas territories of these countries, including Greenland and the Faroe Islands which belong to the Kingdom of Denmark.

Why are they called Nordic countries?

These countries are called “Nordic” simply because they are located in the north. The word originates from the French “nordique”, which was coined at the turn of the 19th century to describe people from Northern Europe.

Trollstigen, Norway

Which is the most beautiful Nordic country?

Trust us – all the Nordic countries are beautiful! They each have their own unique landscapes that are all worth exploring.

In Iceland, you can encounter dramatic natural formations like glaciers, volcanoes and waterfalls. In Norway, meanwhile, the famous fjords are considered some of the most breathtaking scenes in Europe, thanks to striking green mountains that plunge into glassy blue waters.

Additionally, Sweden and Finland are both carpeted in verdant forests and flaunt coastlines overlooking the Baltic Sea. Denmark is the smallest of the Nordics, but its sandy beaches, white cliffs and ancient woodlands are still a delight to discover.

One thing that almost all the Nordic countries share is the chance to see the northern lights dance across the night skies in winter. This is undoubtedly one of the most awe-inspiring naturally occurring events in the world, so the opportunity to witness them first-hand is very special indeed.

What is the largest Nordic country?

Sweden is the largest Nordic country at around 447,000 square kilometres.

Next is Norway at roughly 385,000 square kilometres, Finland at 338,000 square kilometres, and Iceland at 103,000 square kilometres. Denmark is the smallest Nordic country, with a surface area of 43,000 square kilometres (excluding any overseas territories).

Arnarstapi, Iceland
Arnarstapi ©Dagurjonsson Photography

What are the Nordic countries known for?

There are so many wonderful things that characterise the Nordic destinations.

Firstly, they are all known for being some of the safest countries in the world and tend to rank among the happiest too. This is generally because the quality of life in the Nordics is really good, with a focus on work-life balance and community spirit.

The Nordic region is also famous for stunning natural scenery, such as the fjords of Norway, the enchanting forests of Lapland, and the volcanoes and glaciers of Iceland.

There are some truly incredible landscapes to discover, whether visiting in winter for outdoor activities in the snow or during the summer for longer days. Midsummer in the Nordics is a very special time indeed.

Which Nordic country has the best weather?

In general, Northern Europe has a cool, temperate climate, but of course the further north you go the colder it becomes. Lapland, Svalbard and Greenland never really get “warm”, but the more southerly destinations like Stockholm and Denmark can enjoy really lovely sunny days.

Across all Nordic countries, the weather is milder between May and September. These are also the months with the longest daylight hours – the summer solstice (or midnight sun) takes place on or around 21 June.

Nonetheless, the Nordics are attractive places to visit all year round for so many other reasons. And as the saying goes: “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!”.

Enjoying the outdoors in Kristinehamn ©Clive Tompsett
Enjoying the outdoors in Kristinehamn ©Clive Tompsett -

How long do you need to travel in Scandinavia?

The length of your stay in Scandinavia really depends on how much time you have to spare and how in-depth you want to explore the region. We recommend spending a minimum of 7 days on your Scandinavia tour, in order to see a range of destinations and highlights without rushing too much.

Of course, the more time you spend on your Scandinavia trip, the more places you’ll be able to discover. These Scandinavia tours offer a range of durations and travel styles, with some options to visit the complete Nordic region. This includes not just Scandinavia, but Iceland and Finland too!

Discover the Nordic countries in 2022

Which of these Nordic destinations would you like to visit in 2022? Our travel experts can help you decide where to go depending on your interests. They’ll plan an unforgettable Nordic getaway for you using their insider knowledge and local connections.

As part of the travel package, you’ll always have accommodation, daily breakfast and local transport arrangements included. What’s more, during your trip you get access to our 24/7 helpline. This means we are only ever a call away, at any time of day.

It's good to know that you can Book With Confidence when you choose Nordic Visitor. You can plan your trip risk-free with our cancellation insurance. This gives you the flexibility to cancel or rearrange your dates if you need to.

Additionally, we're offering tour package deposits as low as 10% so you can secure your trip for less. We'll also cover the cost of your PCR test at the border if the destination you're visiting requires you to take one. Please see our terms and conditions for more details.

Get in touch with us to start planning your Nordic adventure, or to find out more about 2022 tours from our regional travel experts.

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Post by: Emma Gillies

Wanderlust has taken Emma across much of the world, but it was Scotland that she made her adopted home. Aside from enjoying countryside walks, campervan weekends and gigs in Glasgow, you’ll often find her writing about European travel and plotting her next trip.

More posts by Emma Gillies

Getting there

We'd love to give you the same amazing travel experiences as you read about in our blog! To visit the destinations and attractions mentioned in this post - and to discover a few new highlights along the way - check out these recommended Nordic Visitor tours.