The cold north, the Viking history, the furniture store like a maze, and interesting meatballs – the cultural wonder of the Nordic countries cannot be denied. So, considering the temperature as a con, why would people want to visit these countries in the winter, anyway? And, while we’re on the subject, how should we prepare for this northern expedition?
Ever heard of the Winter Olympics? As in, amazing sports disciplines that require precision, strength, and stamina? Snowboarding, ski jumping, luge, biathlon, and Nordic combined are just some of the sports people all over the world love to watch and, sometimes, to bet on, especially online. The action seems to never stop when it comes to these warriors of the North.
On your journey, you may get an opportunity to witness the skills of some of these athletes firsthand and even practice a few rounds yourself. Winter sports are a big part of the culture in these countries, so it is relatively easy to find a venue that provides you with tutoring, equipment, and rules of each sport. The truly dedicated might find themselves a couple of years later skiing with a gun on their back, or zooming like a bullet with teammates in a bobsleigh. Or, if you like to take it easy while someone else does all those things, go for it.
Celebrating Christmas in the true north is a treat like no other. Imagine the usual things you can do on Christmas anywhere, like decorating the tree, telling the little one Father Christmas is coming, wearing that ridiculous sweater mum gave you, and so on. However, there is one thing that Scandinavia offers that is not available to others – Aurora Borealis. There are several places in the world you can see these lights, but I’d recommend the north of Sweden, Norway, or Iceland.
Daylight and Temperature
There is one resource that is not plentiful in the north during winter months, and that’s daylight. You can expect about 4 or 5 hours of sunshine in these parts, provided the sky is clear, of course. Brits will not really have an issue with this, given our own climate, but it needs to be said.
Now, you would expect the countries to be really cold and, in a way, they are. However, in December, the temperature fluctuates between 35 and 40 F, meaning that it is cold, but not exactly unbelievably so. In other words, it is about the same temperature that we get in Wales and the rest of the UK.
What to Look Forward to
First of all, there is the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo every year on December 10th. Other than that, you can also experience Bollywood Fest in the city. If you are going to see the sites of the Nordic countries, then don’t plan to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve there, as most of them are closed at that time.
What to Expect and Pack
Crime-wise, the Scandinavian countries are pretty safe. There is very little crime to speak of and most of it is hardly violent. However, the real danger comes from the slippery roads and the wildlife crossing them.
When it comes to packing, I’d recommend long underwear and possibly a wool layer. The winter wonderland might be too chilly for some. Solid boots are a must, as are scarves, gloves, and caps. Remember that layers are necessary wherever you go, and it would be a good idea to pack some waterproof clothing just in case.