Many of our clients lead busy lives in big cities, jumping in and out of planes and taxis all day long. When they ask our London Travel Managers the best way to take a break from modern urban life, sometimes the answer is to find a place as unlike the concrete jungle as possible.
Untouched habitats and magical natural wonders, where better to discover a different world than Scandinavia? Here we share some of its most stunning sights – sights sure to cure the big city blues.
Almost twice as far from Oslo and Iceland is from London, Svalbard is an archipelago on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. It is an ideal place to explore a natural world unlike any other.
The biggest town is Longyearbyen, which has just over 2000 residents. But it is not the town that draws people to the Svalbard islands. The solitude at the northernmost extremities of Europe allow travellers to have deeply beautiful, meaningful experiences of nature.
Mark Smith recommends that the best way to see the best of the archipelago is by boat. Let him arrange your chartered expedition around the islands with a local wildlife expert. This is one of the best places in the world to see polar bears skipping across the ice, whales feeding and arctic foxes hunting in the snowfields.
The Jökulsárlón Lagoon, Iceland
If you have to drive five hours from Reykjavik to get there, you know you are leaving all traces of urban life behind. It is here that you can find the Jökulsárlón Lagoon.
Iceland’s biggest glacial lake, Jökulsárlón has an area of 7 square miles. It is an area of sublime beauty and should be on any true explorer’s must-see list.
Although far from Reykjavik, Jökulsárlón can be easily worked into any trip to Iceland. Book a night or two outside of the capital in the beautiful Hotel Ranga. You may lose a little luxury outside of the city, but you gain so much more from the rural, volcanic landscapes and charming rivulets.
Book into the Royal Suite for two nights for a delightful base for your excursion to the Lagoon. From here, you cut that 5 hour drive in half, and shed all the hustle of the capital for the tranquil slopes of Southern Iceland. Arrive at night for one of the most beautiful places to take in the Northern Lights in the whole Arctic.
Sweden is the sixth biggest European country but only has 9 million people. The result is vast spaces of pristine woodland. Harads – a small town of roughly 550 people – is right in the midst of this wondrous environ, near the shores of the long, snaking Hedavan Lake.
One of Harads’ main attractions is the Treehotel, a village of luxury concept hotel suites among the famous pines of the Boten area.
Treehotel makes Harads a top destination for modern eco-tourism. In a triumph of Swedish design all the rooms incorporate cutting edge technology to minimise the hotel’s impact on the forest ecosystem. Let your Simplexity Travel Manager book The Cabin room, suspended up among the branches, for a connection with nature you will never forget.
Shetland Islands, United Kingdom
So, strictly speaking the UK isn’t a true Scandinavian retreat, but we have included it for good reason. The Shetland Islands were owned by Norway until the 14th Century and their inhabitants rejoice in their Viking heritage.
Scarvataing Cottage is the reclusive, secluded holiday cottage you wish you could snap up. On Shetland’s west coast, this clifftop sanctuary offers fantastic views of the azure North Sea and blood-red sunsets. Decorated in a charming modern Scottish style, Scarvataing combines features of a comfortable holiday home with the seclusion of the northernmost isles in Britain.
The islands are terrific for wildlife, with amazing bird colonies that many would be surprised to see on British soil. There are large seal colonies too, plus a great chance of seeing orca, dolphins and minke whales.