Discovering Northern Europe: Cities, Nature, and Culture


Northern Europe consists of eight countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden,
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Within this region, we often refer to two subregions:
Scandinavia and the Baltic countries.

Scandinavia traditionally includes Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. However, in a broader sense,
the term “Nordic countries” also encompasses Finland and Iceland. Notably, Norway and Iceland
are not part of the European Union, and Finland is the only country among them that uses the euro.

Baltic countries

The Baltic countries, composed of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, are located on the eastern coast
of the Baltic Sea. These states gained independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today, all three countries are members of the European Union, and their currency is the euro.

Throughout their long history, the Baltic countries have been part of the Swedish Empire and
the Russian Empire. During the First World War, they also experienced German occupation.

Walking through their splendid urban landscapes, one can observe the distinct histories
of these
three countries. Estonia is closely linked to Finnish traditions, Lithuania is influenced
by Polish, Russian, and Armenian traditions, and Latvia has strong ties to German traditions.




Riga is the largest city in the Baltic states and one of Latvia’s main cultural,
political, and economic centers.

Riga’s Old Town is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit in summer is
highly recommended, as the city comes alive with squares filled with tourists and
Latvians enjoying the bars and restaurants of the historic center.

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Tallinn Old Town became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997,
along with the city of Turku, Finland.

The first image that comes to mind when thinking of Tallinn is the defense towers with their
orange pointed tiled roofs and the city walls that surround the old city. In fact, it is believed
that the name “Tallinn” originates from the Estonian word “linn,” which means castle.

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When you think of Scandinavia, what comes to mind? Most people might say,
“It’s cold,” “It’s expensive,” or “There’s nothing to see!”

Scandinavia has a subarctic climate with low rainfall and cold temperatures. Temperatures
only go above 0 degrees Celsius in spring and summer. July is the best time to visit,
with temperatures around 15-20 degrees and short nights, giving you plenty of time to explore.
From December to January, the polar night occurs, and the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon.

Yes, Scandinavia can be expensive, but you can save money by
booking hotels and transport in advance.

As for “there’s nothing to see,” that’s not true. Scandinavia has amazing nature, beautiful cityscapes with pastel-colored buildings, port cities to visit on cruises, and lots of trendy shops and restaurants!




Helsinki, also known as the “Daughter of the Baltic,” is the capital of Finland and is
surrounded by 315 small islands. It boasts more than 50 museums, making it a cultural hub.
Helsinki is easily accessible via air and sea transport, a notable feature of the city.

The capital is renowned for its organization, cleanliness, tidiness, and safety.
Helsinki’s architecture is distinguished by Nordic style, known for its elegance and sobriety.
Many residential buildings in the historic center date back to the early twentieth century.

Due to its compact size, Helsinki is easily navigable on foot, by bike,
or using its well-organized public transport system.

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Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is situated across 14 islands where
Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea.

Dubbed the “Venice of the North” for its extensive waterways and lakes, Stockholm
boasts an efficient public transport network that includes the metro, buses, and trams.

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Gothenburg is a port city easily accessible by train, located four hours from Oslo, Norway.
Visitors can enjoy pleasant walks along the canals and explore the city’s retro-style stations.



Oslo is more than just a city where you can admire nature and enjoy a day at the park.
It is also rich in attractions, museums, and shopping opportunities!

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