Wild and Wacky Northern Scandinavia

Northern Scandinavia is a special place. Let elves, arctic swimming, and whale safaris keep you busy, or just take it easy and enjoy the magic of nature.

1. Whale of a time

The best place in Europe to see whales. Whale-watching trips are available from both Reykjavik and Húsavík in Northern Iceland. Excursions last between 2.5 and 3.5 hours at both locations.

2. Elvish in the building

According to reliable local sources, Iceland’s biggest community of elves inhabits the rocks at Hafnarfjörður. No need to speak Elvish, though second sight might be helpful. Skeptics are also welcome.

3. Pure bliss

The Tärendö River offers summer adventure in amazingly unspoiled surroundings. Try a guided canoe tour. Cook local ­ingredients over an open fire. Swim, fish, and tell stories all night. Sightings of moose, reindeer, foxes, and the occasional bear are part of the experience.

4. Take the Tromsø challenge

Test your endurance in the Tour de Andørja and Triple Challenge, a tough three-day race in Tromsø by foot and bike. It finishes with a dash to the the top of Årbostadtinden, a mountain rising to 1,181m above sea level. Or don’t, and attend Millionfisken, a weekend fishing event that includes music, entertainment, and great local food.

5. The great outdoors

Lovers of road cycling, kayaking, hiking, bungee jumping, fishing, mountaineering, and horse riding – here’s Lyngenfjord. Midnight fishing and cycling are popular here, as are sea kayaking among seals and icebergs, and dog sledding on wheels.

6. Light in the sky

Aurora Sky Station in Abisko National Park is the place for midnight sun spotting, combined with gourmet dining. Or take Kungsleden (King’s Trail), a 440km hiking trail towards Kebnekaise, Sweden’s highest mountain, and check out Abisko Mountain Lodge, a classic mountain getaway at Lapporten.

7. Backstroke in time

Swim the Arctic Circle at Juoksenki on the Torne River, between Finland and Sweden. There are two distances, 1,500m and 3,000m. The latter begins in Finland at midnight and finishes across the border in Sweden. With the time difference, you might just finish the race before you started.

Scandinavian Traveler

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