Best for last, Lofoten & Abisko

I wrote quite a bit about my trip to Scandinavia. I wrote about Belgian beers, and Swedish Fikas; my thoughts on Helsinki’s architecture, and my fascination with Vikings in Oslo.

But, I didn’t write about my favorite part of the trip, and frankly, where I spent the majority of my time.

The Lofoten Islands in Norway and Abisko National Park in Sweden.

I suppose I didn’t write about it because a part of me wanted to keep it just for me. When something is so beautiful that it feels like walking in a dream, you want to protect it. God forbid those places become the next Iceland, overrun by hoards of tourists.

Selfish, I know.

But, one of my guiding principles is to inspire people to travel to destinations they otherwise wouldn’t have thought to visit. So, here I am- sharing.

(Also my mom kept nagging me to write about it.)

Located in the Arctic Circle, in the north of Norway, Lofoten is an archipelago decorated with mountain peaks and arctic fjords, dramatic bays and Caribbean-esque beaches.

We spent three days hiking and driving through the linked islands, and I felt like Owen Wilson every time we turned a corner.

“WOW. wow. woooow. WoW. wowowowow.”

Every curve of the Lofoten’s roads revealed a picture perfect scene: bright blue waters with dramatic fjords in the background and tiny red cabins adding a pop of color. The fishing villages throughout the island are all the same shade of yellow or red. They’re now transformed into vacation rentals or private cabins, but they look like they’re straight out of a storybook.

My favorite hike was a brief, yet challenging trail to Kvalvika Beach, which is absolutely breathtaking. Mostly because you have ascend and descend a very steep hill to even access it. But, once you reach the top of the hill, huffing and puffing, you look below and you’ve entered another realm. Huge boulders cascade into green meadows with grazing sheep, which further down turn into a white sand beach. I can’t do it justice- just look it up.

After Lofoten, we drove over the Norwegian border and into Sweden to explore Abisko National Park for two days. I wasn’t expect to love Abisko as much as I did because I couldn’t imagine going from fjord views in Lofoten to a valley, but I was incredibly impressed.

I could (okay, I did) spend hours wandering all over Abisko. It’s so incredibly walkable: it’s relatively flat and well maintained, in fact some hikes are even wheelchair accessible. But just because the hikes are easy, doesn’t mean they’re not interesting. You walk alongside roaring canyons and through flowering meadows, all while maintaining a gorgeous mountain background.

Few things calm me down more than quiet walks in nature. The rest require prescriptions.

If you find yourself in Scandinavia, my advice to you is: Keep your time in the cities short. Go be in nature, climb a mountain, wander through a valleys, take a silly picture atop a fjord.

Spend your time in the great outdoors and you might just find time standing still for a little while longer.