The Danish word ‘Hygge’ is probably my favourite foreign word being the signature style of Scandinavia and the reason why I have spent half a year to go on exchange in Norway immersing myself in utterly different cultures. As vague as it may seem with no specific definition but more like a concept to advocate enjoying your life’s simplest pleasure, it is the beauty of vagueness that makes it unique and necessary to appreciate in life. Let’s explore more into the tempting coziness and simplicity in the 4 Scandinavian countries below and you must be obsessed with it very soon like me!
Norway - Sognsvann Lake, Oslo
Oslo is often called one of the most boring cities in Europe (and actually I agree ><). But here we are going to view Oslo with an absolutely new perspective and a scene that you will never be tired of. Sognsvann lake is truly the most amazing accessible spot which is not found on the typical travel guide in bookstores. I couldn’t be more grateful to have witnessed the change in beauty of the four seasons in this place during my semester exchange. Living near Sognsvann was probably still the best decision I made as it only took me a 10-minute walk to chill out around this gorgeous lake. As cozy as it looks, it always has its magic charm to clear all my messy thoughts and anxiety and refresh my mind. Local Norwegians would come over here for a jog during warmer seasons and enjoy their ski during winter months when the whole piece of greenery is covered with snow. If you were there some days later, you may take the green line of the metro till the very last station after having lunch at the city centre for a little walk or taking some photos with the prettiest lake. It’s a good idea to spend your day having a picnic or a wild barbecue too! Among the 4 seasons of Sognsvann, autumn is always my favorite with golden leaves and reflection of painting-like views on the lake. Which season’s view do you like best?
Sweden - T-Centralen Metro Station, Stockholm
Not introducing the City Hall or unique museums to visit, I am recommending Stockholm's metro station which is a free art museum to me at the same time ! As the saying goes, ‘to travel is to live’. Try to live in the city like the locals and explore the most common places. Metro art is indeed what Stockholm is famous for with all stations specially designed in diverse themes, colour tones and stories. Not only does each of them represent an artwork, but they also get to be part of locals’ lives bringing colours to the daily routine. The design embraces the spirit of ‘hygge’ in my eyes as it reminds us to appreciate more of the things around us as simple as the metro we are taking every day. T-Centralen is the prettiest one I have ever been with a match of sky blue and white. Another part showcases workers on the ladder with construction tools and lots of efforts to build everything up. I guess it is telling us hard work is paid behind every success but of course you can have your own different interpretation too!
Denmark - Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen
Tivoli Gardens, with a mix of Chinese and Western cultural elements is definitely a goal for amusement park lovers. Being one of the oldest and most historic theme parks started in 1843, Tivoli was even the blueprint of the world’s famous dreamy Disneylands. Up until now when everything turns to adopting the latest technology and automation, the park still remains its wooden roller coaster with a ride operator who controls the brake of the ride together with the speed. Seeing Chinese decorations like dragons, vintage-styled towers and lanterns in a Nordic city was another big surprise for me. It may sound weird but this is what makes it one of a kind and leaves a memorable impression in my mind. Thrilling rides and swings, fluffy cotton candy, joyful live band music performance, fabulous fireworks…words cannot tell how grateful I was for a day like it! Everyone cheered and danced along together with the music naturally regardless who you are and where you come from. That’s a moment I felt ‘living in the moment’ and enjoying myself with the simplest pleasure - hygge. So don’t miss this romantic place with your loved ones!
Finland - Husky Park, Rovaniemi
After 8 hours of VR train departed from Helsinki, finally we were in Rovaniemi, the city of cutie husky and Santa Claus. This is a perfect place to go during winter months especially when Christmas time is approaching as the snowy vibes in this pure white wonderland surely make your Christmas the most festive one. Other than the extremely freezing weather, the daylight in Rovaniemi ends at around 3pm in December. That’s why you should get up early to visit the Husky Park where you can have an amazing sledding ride adventure! Before the ride, you could see different breeds of husky all around. Some were even outside the fences with their trainers so feel free to spend some time while taking some photos with them. Although the entrance fee of 50 euro including husky sledding activity was a little bit pricey, it is worth it! ‘Huskies were born to run!’ said the instructor. And yes, they are. Following the gang of huskies right in front of me through the white forest, the surreal scene and romantic views make it an unforgettable journey and brand new experience for me.
Tip: If you stay in Rovaniemi city center like I did, don’t forget to check out the time table for the bus to Santa Claus Village at the bus stop the day before to avoid waiting too long under the strong wind. Make sure you buy the round trip bus tickets from the driver too as it is cheaper than two one-way tickets!