Switzerland, Europe Tourism

Scandinavia at a Glance

The Scandinavian countries - Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland - are, arguably, among the least known countries in Europe. In Norway, Sweden, and Finland the majority of the population lives in the south, in affluent, modern cities, which are also rich in history and tradition. Away from the main towns and cities lie vast expanses of unspoiled, often wild terrain, from the breathtaking Norwegian fjords to the dense pine forests and clear lakes of Finland. At just over seven hours by train from Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Russia's second city, is easily accessible from eastern Scandinavia.

Oslo, Norway's capital, is an attractive city of grand Neoclassical buildings, wide boulevards, and green open spaces. In Frogner Park, one of the largest parks, is a collection of works by the eccentric Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943).

Bergen was the largest town and most important port in medieval Norway. Its streets are lined with fine historic monuments,including the 12th century Mariakirken, the oldest building in the city.

Copenhagenis a cosmopolitan city with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Among the Danish capital's most visited attractions is the theme park, Tivoli Gardens, with its famous Chinese Pagoda.

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, boasts an impressive mix of Neoclassical and modern 20th-century architecture. The city's hub of activity is Market Square on the waterfront, which in summer fills with crowds browsing the craft and food stalls.

St. Petersburg, Russia's "culture capital", is an easy side trip from Helsinki. The city's main artery, Nevskiy prospekt, is packed with shops, cafe, and monumental architecture.

Stockholm enjoys an unrivaled setting surrounded by water and unspoiled countryside that stretches right into the center. Overlooking the Riddarfjarden channel is the Stadshuset (City Hall), a symbol of the city.