From Andrew Harper
Scandinavia comprises the monarchies of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, though the other Nordic countries of Finland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, are often included when referring to the region as a historical and cultural entity. The Scandinavian Peninsula is surprisingly varied, encompassing harsh tundra, mountain ranges and rolling grasslands, and extends well north of the Arctic Circle. Not surprisingly, the cities of Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo are found in the more temperate southern region.
Scandinavia has curiously few luxury hotels outside its capital cities, but its dramatic glaciated landscapes and Arctic wildlife sanctuaries retain broad appeal. Fjord cruises along the western coast of Norway and polar bear trips to the Arctic island of Spitsbergen are very popular. The region is also ideal for a leisurely driving tour, either through the pretty and peaceful countryside of Denmark and southern Sweden or the picturesque republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Apart from an unspoiled landscape and a pristine coastline, Scandinavia offers clean, safe cities of great historical interest. Copenhagen is arguably the most appealing and stylish of them all, with handsome cobbled squares and copper-roofed townhouses complemented by elegant modern architecture. Numerous fine restaurants serve delicious cuisine employing superb local fish and produce. Since 2000, Copenhagen has been connected to southern Sweden by the five-mile-long Oresund Bridge. The equally attractive city of Stockholm lies 380 miles, or seven hours’ drive, to the northeast. The summer months bring almost continual daylight (Stockholm lies just south of the 60th parallel, while New York sits just above the 40th), which makes for lively strolling in the cities.