Many people make a beeline for the beach in summer, but you have other plans for the holidays. If you fancy grabbing your raincoat instead of your swimming costume, here are three cool destinations that you might like. Next stop – Reykjavik, Oslo or Helsinki!
Considered to be one of the greenest countries in the world, the scenery in Iceland is simply stunning and you have to come and see it for yourself. Summer is a great time to explore this country: you can enjoy mild weather and see the midnight sun,which is when the sun never actually sets. If you want to explore the whole island, we recommend hiring a car and following the Ring Road or Route 1, the road that goes round the country. The capital, Reykjavik, is full of life: restaurants, cafés, shops, museums, art galleries, and much more. Visit the cathedral, Hallgrímskirkja, a stunning Lutheran church that looks like a space rocket and affords a wonderful view of the city. You shouldn't miss the outdoor thermal pools – Laugardalslaug is the largest one in the country. Go for a walk round Lake Tjörn and visit the small Videy Island, where you can find Imagine Peace Tower, a monument that Yoko Ono dedicated to John Lennon.
Summer in Oslo is mild. The city has a wide range of cultural activities on offer: concerts, festivals, theatre, museums, etc. A route round the city includes the National Gallery, where you can see Edvard Munch's "The Scream", and the Viking Ship Museum, where you can find the three best-preserved Viking ships in the world. Vigeland Sculpture Park is another great place to visit. It boasts more than 200 sculptures, including Monolith, a column that is over 14 metres high, made up of 121 human figures. In the Aker Brygge port area you can find a wide range of shops, restaurants and outdoor cafés. Lastly, don't leave Norway without going on a cruise on the Oslo fjord and visiting one of the islands – Hovedøya, Lindøya or Gressholmen.
The sun never sets in summer in Finland. This phenomenon is known as the midnight sun and it is possibly the most spectacular time of year to visit this Scandinavian country. The sun doesn't actually set and its light is warm, with yellow and reddish hues. The capital, Helsinki, is surrounded by the Baltic Sea and by more than 300 islands. We recommend catching a ferry to Suomenlinna Island. It is an amazing fortress made up of four islands connected by bridges, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you explore the city, make sure you visit the cathedral, go for a stroll in the port, stop at Venha Kauppahalli (Old Market Hall) and discover Temppeliaukio Church (Rock Church), a Lutheran church made of stone, with a large glass dome. We also recommend visiting the coastal town of Porvoo, an hour's drive from Helsinki. It is the second oldest town in Finland and its little red houses make it especially charming.