Take it slow in Denmark, Norway & Finland

In the Nordics, the sun has emerged from behind the clouds. Trees are awash in young leaves and fragrant blossoms. Butterflies float in the soft summer breeze. What does that all mean? Midsummer is near! This celebration brings together the best of Nordic summer: excellent cuisine, stunning nature, curious and warm people, and outdoor parties that extend well into the wee hours. And there’s so much more. Come to for Midsummer Bliss. Stay for the endless slow travel experiences you can have in the region—especially related to the outdoors and northern culture. Here’s your guide.

Outdoor adventure in Aarhus, Denmark

Aarhus presents visitors the perfect combination: a cosmopolitan city filled with culture and life and Denmark’s rugged natural beauty. This is especially important when it comes to Midsummer, which the Danes call Sankthansaften. Just beyond the city limits, you will find forests, beaches, and gorgeous rolling hills—perfect places to join residents and visitors alike to fête the solstice through outdoor gatherings, concerts, and sports competitions. A big part of the tradition? Massive bonfires, which play a centerpiece to dancing, music, and storytelling. Make sure to try the many delicious foods prepared just for this occasion, including grilled meats, fresh and pickled fish, and mélanges of summer veggies and fresh bread. Besides Midsummer, there are so many activities to do in Aarhus. Consider boat tours off the port offer the ideal way to view the wildlife living along the coast and give you the option to go fishing—though we suggest catch and release if you choose to cast your pole! The other essential experience is cycling. Aarhus is known for its cycling trails, which give you an immersive holiday in the peace of nature, and savoring every moment of the outdoors. And of course, explore the city itself, which is known for its top-rate coffee, exciting dining scene, and friendly, open-minded residents!

Aarhus, Denmark.
The cityscape of Aarhus, Denmark.

Leisure and relaxation in Bergen, Norway

On the southwest coast of Norway sits the city of Bergen, a vibrant locale known for its historical charm and culture as well as the natural surroundings just beyond its limits. For those who desire a mix of Midsummer mirth and big city culture, Bergen is for you. It is nestled in some of Norway’s most iconic fjords. In the summer, they are lush with green trees and perfect for your Midsummer festival. Midsummer is celebrated here on June 23rd and 24th, and as with Aarhus, bonfires (known as Sankthansbål) are a big part of the experience. But that’s not all! On the first day, you’ll notice homes all over the city decorated with flowers and greenery. In the evening, people perform folk dances like “runddans” and the “gangar,” which are accompanied by live fiddle music. Before you head back to the city, spend the night in a cone cabin. These lodgings hang a few meters above the ground, which will make you feel one with the trees around you. If you’re lucky, you might spot deer or foxes from your perch! Back in the city, make sure to take long, leisurely strolls, especially through the UNESCO World Heritage site, a row of colorful buildings at the harbor that date back centuries. Some of the city’s best food and coffee can be found there. The other great draw of Bergen is its culture. Before you come, make sure to check which concerts are planned during your trip, and be sure to visit the Grieghallen concert hall (named after the composer Edvard Grieg) and the KODE Art Museums, an interconnected network that spans eras, styles, and locations.

Leisure and relaxation in Bergen, Norway.
Leisure and relaxation in Bergen, Norway.

Reconnect with nature in Finland’s Lakeland

Finnish Lakeland is one of the most charming places on earth. The picturesque region is the largest lake district in Europe and is home to over 188,000 lakes—yes, you read that right! Imagine this: it’s Midsummer, the sun is shining, and the clear, pure water of Finnish lakes is glimmering before you in all its glory. The most authentic way to experience Finnish Lakeland is to rent a cabin or cottage, which dot the areas around the lakes. After that, what you want to do is up to you. There are so many possibilities! Let’s start with Midsummer (known as Juhannus), which is magnificent among the lakes. We suggest experiencing the festival with friends or family, and if possible, alongside some locals too (there will be many opportunities to mix with Finns at the Lakeland!). Some of the common Finnish Midsummer traditions are the lawn game mölkky, sauna, and refreshing lake swims.

Aside from Midsummer, Lakeland is the ideal place to get away from the crowds and have a slow, calm sojourn. There are endless outdoor activities and opportunities to reconnect with the lush forests, rolling hills, and charming villages of this region. Consider kayaking (many lakes are interconnected, so you can explore several at once!) and lakeside hiking. While on your strolls, keep an eye out for rare Finnish birds like the Siberian Jay and the White-backed Woodpecker and beautiful flora, including mushrooms, berry bushes, and herbs.

Relax by the lakes in Finland.
Relax by the lakes in Finland.

Things to consider before traveling

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Some tips to consider while traveling

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