The terrain of the Nordic countries is harsh and unforgiving, but also breathtakingly beautiful. These qualities make it ideal for adventure travelers, those looking for active, high-energy vacations.
Iceland is largely unspoiled by human habitation, with many of its residents living in cities and towns near the coast rather than anywhere too far inland. It’s also home to mountains, active volcanoes and glaciers, perfect for many adventurous activities like hiking, climbing, glacier walking or cave exploration, and wintertime activities like skiing, snowboarding, dog-sledding and snowmobiling. The best part about these activities is they all provide opportunities to take in Iceland’s incredible landscape.
You might not think of Norway as a scuba diving destination, but the clarity of the water and abundant marine life make for must-visit destination for divers. Explore Lake Lygnstøylsvatnet, where you can swim through the ruins of a flooded village, or dive in the the fjords near Narvik, where you can explore wrecks left from a WWII naval battle. The waters around Norway areas cold as you might expect, so a dry suit is recommended.
If you’re looking to stay above the water, you can always go on a unique timber rafting adventure in Sweden. A throwback to the times when timber was transported by floating it downriver, timber rafting is exactly what it sounds like: floating down a river on a raft made only from logs and rope. Several companies exist to help you get started, by either helping you construct your own raft or buying a pre-made one. Timber rafting is a great way to see some of Sweden’s wildlife (especially beavers), and there are plenty of fish to be caught. It is only done in the summer months, and trips typically 1-7 days with camping in between, either on the raft or a campsite on the shore.
Speaking of unusual ways to get around, one of most exciting things you can do in Finland is ice karting. Much like conventional go-karting, except (you guessed it) on ice, ice karting brings a whole new meaning to the word “drifting.” While driving on ice is usually terrifying, here it’s exhilarating to feel your kart slipping and sliding every which way and your next crash happening any moment. Thankfully, the only thing you can crash into is snow (and occasionally other karters).