It's Walpurgis Night soon! This is a very special event and a great way to experience local traditions like big bonfires and old folk songs, especially in Sweden. Walpurgis (in Swedish: Valborg) on April 30 is widely celebrated in Scandinavia and is a public holiday in Sweden.
On the same date, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden also celebrates his birthday, making this day an even bigger annual event. And the best thing about those late-night bonfires during Walpurgis Night? The event is followed by Labour Day (May Day) in Scandinavia, a public holiday, so no one has to get up early the following day.
Yet if you can't make it to Scandinavia this year, celebrate your own holiday at home by indulging in a few traditional Walpurgis Night / May Day treats. When bonfires light up the night skies across the Scandinavian peninsula, families and friends gather for the season's first picnics, enjoying dishes like gravlax, herring salad, and fresh strawberries. Finns welcome Spring on May 1st by frying up delicate, bird's-nest-shaped Fritters (Tippaleivät) and drinking lemony Spring Mead (Sima).
Well, you don't have to go around looking for seats on Swedish buses. You can legally remain standing. How nice of them.
The Swedish Road Administration has decided that a rule concerning "having to sit" (for safety's sake) on buses really wouldn't be practical and hard to enforce. Of course, obligatory seating - and guaranteed seats for all passengers - would also mean much higher operation costs for the SRA. I never thought one could break a law by declining a seat on a bus, but there you go. But I'm glad obligatory seating/sitting never became a law.
Shopping fans can shop-til-they-drop at Scandinavia's many shopping centers in each big city - the large pedestrian downtown areas are definitely worth visiting on your trip to one of the Scandinavian capitals (even shopping-haters should consider a quick visit). But if you've never been in a particular city, it's hard to know where to find the best shops and malls. Here are tips to lead you to the best shopping locations in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, and Helsinki.
Sweden is one of the safest countries, to the point that travelers don't have to consider any safety issues in Sweden at all as long as they're using basic safety tips and common sense. Crime rates in Sweden are much lower than in most other European countries and there are no health risks for Sweden travelers.
However, when it comes to Swedish cities, there are a few safety tips you should know - especially the area in Stockholm you ought to avoid at night. Read more about safety in Sweden...
The Danish island of Bornholm is still somewhat of a travel secret among non-Scandinavians. It's a popular summer destination for Danes and Swedes, especially because of the long beaches, unique sights, and beautiful bicycle paths everywhere (just check the weather in Denmark before you go).
From Denmark (or southern Sweden), you can hop over to the island of Bornholm via ferry, or a 35-minute flight from Copenhagen. You don't need a car on Bornholm - buses, bicycles, and Danish taxis are everywhere. Learn more about this destination in the Bornholm Travel Guide.
The spring months in Scandinavia are great for travelers. Milder weather, longer days, and low off-season flight and hotel prices are the most popular reasons to visit Scandinavian countries during springtime. In addition, this is the time of year in which there are countless annual events and traditional celebrations. Take a look at Easter in Scandinavia or Carnival time in Scandinavia.
While viewing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) now becomes harder due to more daylight, another one of Scandinavia's natural phenomena is approaching: the Midnight Sun. Interesting travel tips for spring travelers may include these:
Scandinavia is the most open-minded region in the world and especially Copenhagen, Denmark and Stockholm, Sweden have always been top travel destinations for gays and lesbians. Find out more about GLBT travel hot spots in the article Scandinavia for Gays & Lesbians.
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One of my favorite destinations on Jutland is the town of Ringkøbing. The center has a neat shopping area that is easily explorable by foot, Kloster Candle Foundry isn't far, and the tower of the town's church is wider at the top than it is at the bottom. It's true! Give the western half of Denmark a try and find out what you need to know when adding Ringkøbing to your list of destinations in Denmark.
To get from Stockholm to Uppsala (or from Uppsala to Stockholm), you have a few transportation options and the distance isn't too great for a quick visit. Let's find out which way of getting from Stockholm to Uppsala fits you best...there are three different options for Sweden travelers.You can drive or take the bus or the train, but make sure to consider the pros and cons of each option.
Find out more about how to get from Stockholm to Uppsala (and back!) here.
Yes, you heard right. National Waffle Day is a holiday that originated in Sweden. It is called "Våffeldagen" in Swedish. The holiday coincides with the Feast of the Annunciation, a religious event. In addition, "Waffle Day" on March 25 has always been considered the start of spring - especially in Sweden. It became a custom for Swedish families to celebrate the two events by making waffles on this day.
Today, many Swedes forgo the religious part of the celebration but most still have waffles for dessert, topped with jam or whipped cream. So if you're traveling through Sweden on March 25, make sure to leave room for dessert! Also see: