When taking your children to Scandinavia it is well worth looking beyond the option of a city stay. As the deeply-rooted relationship to the outdoors is a centrepiece of Scandinavian culture, we’d always recommend venturing out into the wild. To many Scandinavian families, mother nature is the perfect outdoor playground, offering exciting outdoor adventures for children of all ages. All year round a wealth of activities lures the kids outside. (In fact, our PE classes might look a little mundane compared to the cross-country skiing or ice-skating sessions on Finland’s timetable).
Whilst the change of scenery will recharge your batteries, your kids can burn off energy exploring. You will all cherish memories of the time the kids caught and cooked their first fish, or when you spotted Santa’s footprints in the forest. Recounting these moments are likely to put a glow (or ‘glød’ in Norwegian) on the face of your child. To give you a better idea of what activities you could join when travelling with kids we’ve picked our top 8 activities for family holidays in Scandinavia.
Snowshoeing is an activity your children can actively participate in from the age of about 7 or 8 years. The shoes are attached to your snow boots and help you to walk over deep snow without sinking. In many places snowshoes are included or can be hired offering a great deal of flexibility. If you would like to completely immerse in your surroundings and to hear the silence of the forest then snow shoeing is the best way to do so.
Everyone aboard? Paddles in position? Great, may the fun challenge begin! For first-timers finding the right rhythm can be challenging, but the rewards are great. Just like any other voyage on water, paddling through fjords or calm rivers will offer an entirely different perspective on your surroundings. Since you’re travelling among former Viking territory, you might even be able to jump on a traditional rowing boat. If you prefer to go kayaking we would recommend an expedition to the Weather Islands in West Sweden. The calm coastal waters are ideal to explore quaint coastal villages.
Kicksledding is a more quirky way to move about. The sled, invented to deliver the post or simply move a little quicker in the snow can be a great source of entertainment on a less action-packed afternoon. The kids will face a challenge and you can either join in or just relax. Some hotels offer kick sleds for free. The Arctic Panorama Lodge in Northern Norway is a fantastic place to try out their kick sleds.
Any trip to Nordic winter wonderlands will feel like entering Santa’s homeland. Experiencing the snow-covered landscape from a reindeer sled is likely to spark the imagination of the younger children. Maybe those tracks in the snow did come from Santa or his little helpers? The trip is of a calm nature and suited to infants and children of all ages. If you’re looking for an authentic Santa experience we have one or two ideas!
If you’re also interested in role of reindeer in the lives of the indigenous Sami people you could join a visit to a reindeer farm. The storytelling event runs all year round and is likely to not only teach your child a thing or two about the unique lifestyle of the Sami.
Watching whales bask in the freezing cold air or sea eagles hunt their prey is likely to make your kid’s jaws drop. The boat trips typically take 3 hours and are a perfect learning opportunity for both children and adults. Chances of seeing the gentle giants are high up until February. If you’d like to benefit from longer daylight, we recommend to travel during February half-term. In the summer, why not travel to the beautiful Lofoten and Vesteralan Islands where you can also enjoy whale watching above the Arctic Circle.
During summer moose and bear safaris could be a highlight of your trip to Scandinavia. In specialised wilderness lodges, your hosts are going to teach you how to spot and behave around your wild and often shy neighbours. Their knowledge and contagious passion for the outdoors is going to introduce your children to life in the outdoors. Horse riding expeditions might also be an option, depending on the age and interests of your child.
Hiking and biking
The Nordics offer many little trails for your family to hike on. Most of our destinations are situated at the border of a national park with an abundance of trails taking you to unspoilt lakes or impressive mountain tops. The national parks have marked hiking routes and trails, giving you and the kids the possibility to choose a trail that suits them best. Why not hike like a true Viking?
Seeing their parents trying to handle a snowmobile for the very first time, is probably a sight to be remembered by your kids. Whilst mommy and daddy face a steep learning curve, children take a backseat on a trailer attached to the snowmobile (If you want to read more about the experiences of MNT travel expert Angela read up on it here). Depending on their age there is also the possibility to hold onto you as you travel across the frozen Nordic landscapes. Snowmobiling is an experience kids can join from an early age. Generally speaking, we would recommend a shorter 2 hour ride. They can drive once they’ve passed their driving test!
If you’d like to experience a child-friendly holiday in Scandinavia in summer or winter, please get in touch with our team of specialists who’ll be pleased to assist in tailoring a trip to your requirements.
Would you like to know more about some truly enchanting family friendly places to visit? Read all about it here.