Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), found north of the Arctic circle
The name Scandinavia comes from the Skandage body of water that lies sandwiched between Norway, Sweden, and the Jutland peninsula of Denmark. Strictly speaking, the term covers only those three countries, but here we use it in its broader sense to cover all of Nordic Europe (Norden).
The Scandinavian nations share many cultural traits including similar flags and many related languages. The region is known for its natural beauty and more recently its liberalism. Denmark, Finland and Sweden are EU members. Oil and gas rich Norway, and, the only island nation to west, Iceland, are not.
The Nordic countries all enjoy a relatively strong economy. Norway and Iceland have in particular profited from an abundance of natural resources. Sweden and Finland also have their share of natural resources but are in the international marketplace mostly famous for strong brands like Volvo, Saab, Ericsson and Nokia. Although Denmark has developed sophisticated business in a number of industries, it is above all the leading agricultural country in Scandinavia. Strong economies and relatively small social differences translates into high prices for visitors.
Elaborate welfare states are a common characteristic of the Nordic countries. Most things are generally highly organized and tourists should expect everything to proceed according to plans, rules and timetables. According to Transparency International, the Nordic countries are the least corrupt in the world (matched only by a handful of countries including Canada, New Zealand and Singapore).
The Most Frequently Asked Travel Questions about Scandinavia
Where To Stay & Best Hotels in Scandinavia - updated Mar 2023
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