Nordic love: Oslo, Helsinki & Stockholm
Demonstrations of love are made in different ways all over the world, and whether you’re a sucker for romance wherever you find it, you’re single and proud, or you only have eyes for your better half, experiencing love and its customs in another part of the world is what bringing travel and Valentines’ Day together is all about.
We asked our local experts from Norway, Finland and Sweden for V Day traditions, couples itineraries and top tips to leave you head over heels in love with these Nordic countries.
Love in Oslo, Norway
By Ragna, HI Norway
Snowy Oslo in the winter can really be romantic! How about taking your loved one to go ice skating on the free skating rink in the middle of the city? Located just next to the National Theatre, the ice skating rink has music and lots of both experienced ice skaters and beginners trying their ice skates for the very first time. You are guaranteed a laugh!
After that, taking the subway from the National Theatre up to the famous Holmenkollen ski jump (don’t climb it if you are afraid of heights!), one of Norway’s main tourist attractions. Here you also have a fantastic view of Oslo and the Oslo fjord with all its tiny islands. From Holmenkollen, go for a walk in the woods before ending the day with a Norwegian waffle at the iconic Frognerseteren café. This is where the Norwegians take their families and partners for cocoa and apple pie. Make sure you get a seat next to the big fireplace… Oslo doesn’t get more romantic than that.
PS: While you are in the romantic mood and probably have cold hands – why not buy “mittens for lovers” (Norwegian: kjærestevott). Using these, you can still hold hands despite the cold!
Stay at our new, cool hostel Oslo Hostel Central, located as the name suggests right in the middle of Oslo’s vibrant city centre. The hostel has spacious double rooms and breakfast buffet.
- Ice skating
- Frognerseteren cafe
- Holmenkollen Ski Jump
- Oslo Central
- Kjærestevott (mittens-for-two): examples found here
Love in Helsinki, Finland
By Kati, HI Finland
For romantic Finnish customs and gestures, a traditional bouquet never goes out of style: red roses.
Where to go/ what to see/ what to eat with a loved one in Helsinki and a suggested couples’ itinerary for a day or two:
- Enjoy a cup of coffee in an idyllic setting at Cafe Regatta and Cafe Ursula, which are both by the sea.
- Take a stroll at Tähtitorninmäki park in the centre: nice view to the sea and nearby islands.
- Visit historical Seurasaari Island. Before crossing the bridge to the actual island, you can enjoy a cup of coffee in one of the cafes that are situated old wooden villas.
- Suomenlinna fortress island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a wonderful place to visit even during winter, the stars are much more visible there. (Hostel Suomenlinna is also there)
- The Tori Quarters, the historical centre of Helsinki. Located right next to the sea, between the Market Square and Senate Square.
- Take your date for a gig and a pint! Might not sound like the most romantic thing to do, but for a Finn it can be :). Places for gigs: Tavastia, Kuudes Linja, Nosturi, Bar Loose, Ääniwalli, The Circus
Love in Stockholm, Sweden
By Yvonne, STF (Youth Hostelling Sweden)
Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. Surronded by water it is one of the most spectacular cities in the world. People tend to go here in the summer, but it is truly one of the most beautiful and romantic places in wintertime. Ground covered with snow, and water turned to ice, this frosty city is perfect for a romantic getaway. And so many excuses for cuddling up close to your loved one.
- Check in at the Captain’s cabin at STF Af Chapman. You will be right in the middle of Stockholm, facing the castle. The Captain’s cabin is on the boat that has sailed the seven seas. It is easy to feel the romance here. Dark wood and spacious interior with two rooms and private bath, large inviting double bed and bathtub. Champagne maybe?
- During the day, take a stroll along the parks and the old town with winding narrow streets. It is wonderful during the winter. Have a Swedish”Fika” (Coffee and cakes) along the way. Best place in town is “Vetekatten”.
- The visit some of the many museums of Stockholm, for example this incredible photography exhibition
- Then get really close by starting up the evening with an ice cold drink at the Icebar.
- Drinks are served in ice glasses made from the large rivers of northern Sweden. Thinking of popping the question? You can even get married in here!
- For the most spectacular and romantic dinner ever, go to Svartklubben. Here you will eat in complete darkness guides by your senses; ears, fingertips, tastebuds. A unique experience as well as a time to let go of any pretensions and just get really close to your natural instincts. How’s that for a romantic dinner?