Scandinavia three ways
Safety, beauty, and a fluent population eager to speak English make visiting Scandinavia solo extra appealing. But perhaps even more enticing is the ease and affordability of travel between countries: Hop on a comfy commuter train, grab a can of Carlsberg, and watch the lush scenery go by as you Copenhagen, Denmark, Gothenburg, Sweden, and Olso, Norway in rapid succession. Getting from the lively Danish capital to the metropolitan center of Norway only takes about seven hours… but doing it right means experiencing a bit of western Sweden along the way.
Start in Copenhagen to immerse yourself in the Danish metropolis’s vibrant museums, unparalleled food, iconic bars, and rich history (here’s a handy guide). Then make your way across the water to Sweden: It’s a quick ride to Malmö, whose quirky art, vibrant food halls, and killer music scene are about to get the spotlight as it hosts Eurovision 2024. From there, you’ll chug across Sweden’s ruggedly beautiful west coast, where a stop-off in the medieval university town of Lund offers a chance to stretch your legs on a campus that makes US Ivy League colleges feel modern. Then spend a couple days in Gothenburg, whose ultra-hip, post-industrial charms are often overshadowed by Stockholm. Get to know this surprisingly walkable, ultra-green city whose fantastic seafood and wildly overlooked underground music scene live in harmony with the idyllic and old-school island villages reachable by ferry from the city center.
Then it’s off to Oslo, Norway’s biggest city, where world-class museums are dedicated to everything from Edvard Munch to the Nobel Prize, and vikings (obviously). Massive food halls offer a chance to sample Norwegian cuisine (ever had whale burgers?), while bars are overflowing with aquavit. Oslo is a friendly, walkable seaside city full of saunas, boutique shops, and funky galleries surrounded by lush islands and spectacular outdoor art, and it’s nothing but warm vibes even in the cold, dark winter. And if you want to keep the trip going, fairytale Bergen is reachable by one of the most sweeping train/ferry trips on the planet. You’ll cruise through massive fjords—and maybe even see the northern lights if you skip the endless summer sun—en route to the town that inspired Frozen. –Andy Kryza