Bird’s-Eye Views of Stockholm: Where to Go to See the City from Above

Built on 14 islands at the junction of the Baltic Sea and Lake Mälaren, Stockholm is beautiful no matter how you look at it, but one of the best ways to get a feel for the city’s intricate maze of islands and waterways is to head to one of the viewing towers or scenic viewpoints where you can look down on Stockholm from above. Here are some of the best places to get a bird’s-eye view of the “Venice of the North.”

Off the Beaten Path in Denmark: History and Nature in the Ertholmene Archipelago

Far out in the Baltic, 171 kilometers (106 miles) from Copenhagen, lies the Ertholmene Archipelago, Denmark’s most remote islands. More commonly called Christiansø, after the largest island, the archipelago has been administered by the Danish Ministry of Defense since 1684, when King Christian V had a naval fortress built here during a period of conflict between Denmark and Sweden. The original fortress consisted of the two towers and four batteries that can still be seen today.

Celebrate Easter Like a Norwegian: Read a Crime Novel

Easter in Norway means many things: time with family, a meal of lamb and potatoes, and a trip to a mountain cabin for some of late-season cross-country skiing accompanied by a Norwegian favorite, Kvikk Lunsj, a chocolate-covered wafer that’s become a traditional snack during hiking and skiing excursions. But the most surprising Norwegian Easter tradition…

In Sweden, Easter is a Time for Witches

In the Christian calendar, the Thursday before Easter is a holy day that kicks off the celebration of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, which culminates on Easter Sunday. In Sweden, it’s also a day when witches come out. Known in English as Maundy Thursday, the day is called Skärtorsdagen in Swedish — a name…

A Spring Spectacular: The Great Eurasian Crane Migration in Sweden

One of the surest signs of spring in Sweden is the arrival of tens of thousands of Eurasian cranes at Lake Hornborga (Hornborgasjön) in Västergötland, the most important stopover on their annual migration from Spain to their breeding grounds in the far north. The cranes typically begin to arrive around the second week of March,…

Top Wildlife Experiences in Norway

With one of the world’s longest coastlines, tens of thousands of islands, and mountains that cover two-thirds of the country’s surface, it’s no surprise that Norway is a place where nature takes center stage. In addition to an abundance of gorgeous scenery, the country offers excellent chances to see a wide range of wildlife, from…

Gripsholm: A Renaissance Castle Steeped in Swedish History

In the pretty town of Mariefred on the southern shore of Lake Mälaren, just an hour southwest of Stockholm, sits one of Sweden’s most impressive castles, Gripsholm, constructed during the first half of the 16th century on the site of an earlier 14th-century fortress. Built in red brick with round towers, it has served as…

Döda Fallet: The Dramatic Story of Sweden’s Dead Falls

Once upon a time there was a waterfall known as Storforsen (the Great Rapids), which tumbled 35 meters (115 feet) out of Lake Ragunda along the Indalsälven river in Jämtland, Sweden. Yet in 1796, this mighty waterfall was silenced forever due to a combination of human interference and the power of nature. The site of one…

Unity and Conflict: Queen Margrete I and the Kalmar Union

The Middle Ages were a time of intermittent warfare in Scandinavia, with recurring power struggles and ever-shifting borders. Yet in the late 14th century, a remarkable woman, Queen Margrete I, managed to unite the three kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway in what became known as the Kalmar Union. The decades leading up to this…

Risør: Norway’s White Town on the Skagerrak

On Norway’s southeastern coast, in the county of Aust-Agder, lies the lovely town of Risør, known for its well-preserved white wooden buildings and sheltered location by the Skagerrak sea. An important harbor as early as the 1500s, Risør developed into a center for timber export and shipbuilding during the 17th century. The town was officially…

Copenhagen Canals: The Water Route through Denmark’s Capital

Copenhagen is a great walking city – after all, it’s home to Strøget, the longest pedestrian shopping area in Europe, as well as countless squares, parks, and other places to wander. But you’ll be missing out if you keep your feet on solid ground for your whole visit. One of the best ways to get a feel for this dynamic city is to take a cruise along Copenhagen’s canals.

Raiders, Traders, and Settlers: A Brief History of the Vikings

“Never before has such terror appeared in Britain as we have now suffered from a pagan race, nor was it thought that such an inroad from the sea could happen. Behold the church of St. Cuthbert, splattered with the blood of the priests of God, despoiled of all its ornaments.” So wrote Alcuin, a Northumbrian scholar…

The French Army Officer Who Became a Scandinavian King

In 1818, a Frenchman named Jean Baptiste Bernadotte ascended the Swedish throne as Karl XIV Johan. The new king was a career soldier whose life took an unexpected turn due to a combination of the Napoleonic Wars, the decline of Swedish power in the Baltic region, and the premature death of a Danish prince.

Free Museums in Stockholm

Stockholm has dozens of fascinating museums covering everything from history, archaeology, and natural history to art, architecture, design, and cultural traditions. Although admission to some of the city’s most famous attractions can quickly add up, especially for a family, there’s good news: There are plenty of museums in Stockholm that won’t break the bank. Here…

Sweden’s High Coast: A Masterpiece of Post-Glacial Uplift

In the province of Ångermanland, between Härnösand and Örnsköldsvik, lies one of Sweden’s most stunning stretches of coastline, known as Höga Kusten, or the High Coast. Thanks to its dramatic and varied landscape of mountains, forests, bays, and islands, the region was voted Sweden’s most beautiful natural area in a 2016 poll organized by Naturskyddsföreningen (the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation).

The Moose Man of Sweden

Leffe Lindh loves moose. He exchanges kisses with them daily and even sleeps with them on a regular basis. But lest you think this is some sort of kinky fetish story, allow me to explain.

Exploring the Norwegian Fjords: The Hardangerfjord

If the Sognefjord is the King of the Fjords, then the Hardangerfjord is the Queen. At 179 kilometers (111 miles) long, it’s Norway’s second-longest fjord and is easily accessible from Bergen and other places along the southwest coast. The main fjord carves inland from the Atlantic Ocean about 80 km (50 mi) south of Bergen before splitting…