By Ivanka U, Guest Blogger.
Europe attracts thousands of visitors with its many historic and cultural cities like Rome, London, Paris, and many others. Each of these cities are considered a must-see when planning a trip to Europe, yet there are so many wonderful places that are less known but are as beautiful and fascinating as any of the more popular cities. When it comes to Northern Europe, many people don’t even know where to start. Finland, Scandinavia and the Baltics may not seem welcoming at first, but that’s where you are wrong. These countries have beautiful sites and friendly people, you just need to travel to the right places. Here are 5 must-see spots in Northern Europe.
It’s a must see for all fans of Vikings and all things Scandinavian. Roskilde is among the most significant cities in Denmark and it’s been its capital for decades. The city was founded around the Viking Age with a cathedral and a royal place at its very heart. Both were built by the legendary founder of the country – Harald Bluetooth. Roskilde Palace and its breathtaking cathedral are still standing, along with the tomb of Harald Bluetooth. You can also visit the Viking Ship Museum ad marvel at ancient drakkars.
How about spending a romantic evening at a restaurant overlooking the spectacular aurora borealis? Kiruna is a small Arctic Circle town that has a lot to offer all its visitors. This is the very place where the first ever ice hotel was built and you can still spend a night within its icy walls. In winter nearby mountains Luossavaara and Kiirunavaara offer amazing skiing experience and if you’re more into ice skating, head to Lake Luossajarvi. There’s also a Snow Festival held here each year.
It’s hard to ignore the Norse heritage of Iceland, and we won’t even try. Although it’s not strictly Europe, but if you’re heading to the north you might as well include it into your itinerary. Reykjavik is the windy capital of Iceland located on Skolavör∂uholt and Öskjuhli∂ hills with a stunning backdrop of Blafjöll Mountains. Explore volcanic craters, bathe in scalding-hot springs and discover the amazing art scene of the city. The cuisine is great too!
The gorgeous capital of Lithuania has centuries of history and well-preserved traditions that you can fully enjoy upon your visit. Many people omit Vilnius because it’s been under the rule of so many countries, including Soviet Union. Nevertheless, the city retained its charm that has mixed gracefully with modern influences. Founded in the Middle Ages, Vilnius features many Orthodox churches and exquisite palaces built in Baroque style.
There’s just something magical about Baltic cities that attracts thousands of visitors each year. Tallinn is the largest city in Estonia that’s located just across the Gulf of Finland. Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Stockholm are located 50 miles from the city. Head to the Old Town of Tallinn and enjoy the best preserved Medieval architecture in Europe. You’ll find medieval fortifications, churches, towers and walls encircling the Old City. Cathedral Hill offers a splendid panorama of Tallinn and make sure you visit the picturesque Kadriog Palace.