Hidden Gem

Norway off the beaten track - A memorable trip to Pasvik Valley

Norway off the beaten track - A memorable trip to Pasvik Valley

Living in a densely populated and hot country in Southeast Asia, Norway has always fascinated me with its astounding scenery and beautiful Arctic wilderness, and Vanessa’s blog Nordic Wanders just made me fall in love with Norway! I wanted to avoid the crowded touristy places and experience some mindfulness in pristine nature - also seeking that eerie feeling of being lost in the middle of nowhere. So, I chose the remote Pasvik Nature Reserve in Finnmark, a popular birding region bordering Norway, Russia and Finland.

Western Norway's Secret Island: Utsira

Western Norway's Secret Island: Utsira

Back in June this year, I spent a weekend on Utsira Island an hour off the coast of Haugesund here in Western Norway. Despite my tendency to get seasick, I had an amazing time on Utsira going hiking, eating fresh Norwegian lobster and playing board games in the evenings. Have a look at my detailed guide to Utsira in the following with all you need to know to spend some days on this remote but surprisingly exciting island yourself!

Northern Norway in Summer: 9 Hidden Gems to Inspire You to Visit

Northern Norway in Summer: 9 Hidden Gems to Inspire You to Visit

Northern Norway is probably already on your bucket list, however, while most people flock to Norway’s north in winter to see the Northern Lights, the region is a lot less crowded during summertime. Apart from the Lofoten Islands, that is. In the same way as everyone heads to Tromsø to see the Northern Lights in winter, tourism in Lofoten booms during the summer. Northern Norway has a lot more to offer than just the Aurora and Lofoten, though! If you haven’t considered visiting Northern Norway in summer yet, these 9 gorgeous places might inspire you to leave the beaten track and go somewhere other than Lofoten on your summer road trip.

27 day trips from Stavanger you don't want to miss

27 day trips from Stavanger you don't want to miss

When I first decided to move to Stavanger, I knew that the region would keep me busy for ages, and so far, I haven’t been disappointed! It’s been almost 2 years since I moved to the Stavanger region and I’ve used every Easter vacation since, to rent a car and explore more of what my adopted home has to offer in terms of nature, views and history. The following list contains 27 day trip destinations from Stavanger to help you plan your vacation in the city. They’re all listed according to their location, from north to south, and you can easily either combine several places off this list to create your own road trip itinerary, or you could even try to see them all if you’re visiting Stavanger for about a week.

The Trollpikken Hike - Where to find the rock formation Google Maps has banned

The Trollpikken Hike - Where to find the rock formation Google Maps has banned

After hiking to Månafossen Waterfall on Good Friday, we made our way to Egersund to go on the Trollpikken Hike - the so-called “troll’s penis” that had been destroyed by vandals in 2017 and that is also (for no sane reason - I mean, it’s nature, come on!) banned from Google Maps. Read on to find all the information you need in order to do the Trollpikken hike yoursel

Hiking to Månafossen Waterfall in Western Norway - All you need to know

Hiking to Månafossen Waterfall in Western Norway - All you need to know

If you’re planning to visit Stavanger in Western Norway this summer and plan to go on a hike other than Pulpit Rock, this post is for you! I’ve had the chance to hike to Månafossen Waterfall during the Easter holidays and am still absolutely in awe of this place! Read on for the complete guide with everything you need to know to embark on the hike to Månafossen Waterfall yourself.

8 Reasons to Visit Turku in South-West Finland

8 Reasons to Visit Turku in South-West Finland

When you think of Finland, do you immediately either think of Helsinki or Finnish Lapland? Basically, you just don’t know what else the country has to offer? Trust me, I’ve been there! Up until I first visited Finland as part of the Nordic Bloggers’ Experience last year, I had no clue what else is out there either. Turns out, though, Finland has loads of places that might surprise you. After having had a blast in the small town of Lahti, as well as Ruka-Kuusamo last year, I decided to head west this time around, to visit Turku - Finland’s oldest and third largest city! Needless to say that Turku is one of those Finnish places that might totally surprise you. Read on to find out what there’s to do and see when you visit Turku.

Why Vennesla should totally be on your Southern Norway Itinerary - The Log Flume Trail of Tømmerrenna

Why Vennesla should totally be on your Southern Norway Itinerary - The Log Flume Trail of Tømmerrenna

The small town of Vennesla in Southern Norway is not exactly very well known, yet it has one super unique hike to offer that justifies a detour to the Kristiansand area or your spending a day longer in Kristiansand than you had planned: the old log flume Tømmerrenna! I’ve honestly never encountered a more exciting and stunning hike during all (so far it’s 5) years in Norway and I’ll definitely be back in Vennesla in summertime to do the hike all over again one day. Read on why the Tømmerrenna trail is a must when visiting Southern Norway!

Norway's most underrated city? - A weekend in Kristiansand

Norway's most underrated city? - A weekend in Kristiansand

Have you ever heard about Kristiansand? Or are you one of those people who keep mixing up Kristiansand with Kristiansund? Believe me, I’ve been there! It’s super confusing how similar these two Norwegian towns sound and they aren’t anywhere near each other, so better watch out when planning a trip! Anyway, last week the boyfriend and I had “winter holidays” - aka, Simon had a week off work as all schools in Norway shut down for a week of winter fun in the mountains, while I took the liberty to invest my parents’ Christmas money in an extended weekend at the coast of Southern Norway.

9 Lesser Known Sights & Things to Do in Copenhagen

9 Lesser Known Sights & Things to Do in Copenhagen

Been to Copenhagen multiple times and think you’ve seen it all? Think again! Copenhagen is my favourite city in Scandinavia and the Nordics, and even though I’ve now been 4 times, I still seem to encounter new and exciting places and things to do on every visit. In this article, I’ll share some of my favourite spots and activities with you!

More than just Pulpit Rock - Explore Stavanger's City Islands with me

More than just Pulpit Rock - Explore Stavanger's City Islands with me

Every summer, thousands of tourists come to Stavanger for one reason only: to hike Pulpit Rock (and maybe Kjerag too). Did you know that the city has a ton of other things to offer, though? And that the trail leading up to Pulpit Rock is notoriously crowded? Why not take the boat to an island in the fjord, just a short cruise from the city centre, where you can enjoy Norway’s nature in peace? I’ve recently explored Lindøy - one of Stavanger’s city islands in its mini-archipelago in the Byfjord (city fjord) and had an absolute blast! Here’s all you need to know in order to explore Stavanger’s city islands yourself.

Pasvik Nature Reserve - A truly hidden gem in Europe's outskirts

Pasvik Nature Reserve - A truly hidden gem in Europe's outskirts

One of the biggest (and least crowded) gems in itself is the region of Finnmark, stretching all the way to 71 degrees north. I was lucky to experience life in the outskirts of Europe when I did my Workaway stay in the small village of Gamvik, and still regret that I didn’t went further east to explore the Norwegian-Russian border area around Kirkenes. Therefore I was all the more excited when I was contacted by Prityazhenie, asking if I’d be interested in writing a post about the region and specifically about Pasvik Nature Reserve - a national park that actually stretches over areas of Norway, Russia and Finland, and apparently is a heaven for bird watchers! If you’d like to really explore the wilderness of Northern Norway, Pasvik Nature Reserve seems to be perfect place. Here’s why:*

This is why Ribe is worth a detour when visiting Denmark

This is why Ribe is worth a detour when visiting Denmark

Ribe was the last place my parents and I visited when we explored Denmark together last year, but this charming small town also was the one place that impressed me most! While Aalborg was a big surprise to me and Odense is so enchanting, Ribe made me want to stay longer and explore more of Denmark's west coast! Not only is Ribe, in south-west Jutland, Denmark's oldest town, it also has plenty of present-day attractions to offer. But see it with your own eyes:

Odense: The one day trip you have to take when visiting Denmark!

Odense: The one day trip you have to take when visiting Denmark!

The prospect of going on yet another day trip on a really miserable, cold and rainy day during last year's Easter holidays didn't excite my parents a whole lot, to be honest. I knew, though, that they'd become much more excited when we'd eventually arrive in what turned out to be Denmark's most enchanting city: Odense! Just a 2-hour drive from Copenhagen, as well as Aarhus, and perfectly situated in the middle of Denmark, Odense makes for the perfect day trip when visiting the country.

A Stopover in Aalborg - Denmark's City of Surprises!

A Stopover in Aalborg - Denmark's City of Surprises!

Have you ever heard of Aalborg? Granted, Denmark's fourth largest city was a mystery to me for a long time as well - until I hopped on the ferry from Oslo to Denmark and decided that if I'll pass by Aalborg on my way to Aarhus anyway, I might as well make a pit stop for a day and explore what the city has to offer. Turns out, a lot!

What to see and do in Lahti in winter (besides eating)

What to see and do in Lahti in winter (besides eating)

Up until this year, I had never even heard about Lahti. Turns out, however, that I've been really missing out. The city of Lahti in Southern Finland is a culinary hotspot with plenty of options to sleep somewhere with a view. The city seems to truly come alive in the summer but there also is a ton of things to do if you're planning on visiting in winter - that is beside watching ski tournaments and stuffing your face with Finnish cuisine (as you definitely want to do if you've read my last post). Here are, thus, 12 things to see and do in the Lahti Region in winter!*

Where to Stay when Visiting Lahti - 5 Places with Views

Where to Stay when Visiting Lahti - 5 Places with Views

The city of Lahti in Southern Finland isn't just a centre for winter sports but also a culinary hotspot as I've outlined in my last post. First and foremost, however, the Lahti Region with all its lakes is all about nature and views, and it truly was a winter wonderland when I visited in January. Of course, if you're going to go all the way to Finland, you want to stay somewhere that gives you the chance to really immerse yourself in nature and the landscapes around you, right?! These 5 places surely have the views - and much more!*

Why you need to visit Seurasaari when in Helsinki

Why you need to visit Seurasaari when in Helsinki

When my friend Christina asked me what I wanted to do during my one full day in Helsinki with her, I had to think for a minute. It took me 26 years to finally visit Finland and although the country had been on my bucket list for ages, I realized that I actually knew very little about its capital. Sure enough, I knew I wanted to visit Helsinki Cathedral because that's what you HAVE to see when visiting the city - but other than that? I had no idea. Until I stumbled upon an article on Twitter showcasing urban nature in and around Helsinki - which had me hooked immediately!

Hamburg off the beaten path // 5 hidden gems worth exploring

Hamburg off the beaten path // 5 hidden gems worth exploring

Hamburg is my favourite city in Germany and I've been there 7 times already! Needless to say that at this point, I've seen all the main sights and museums, so when I visited the city last time, I made it my goal to explore what Hamburg has to offer off the beaten path!Here are thus, 5 hidden gems in and around Hamburg that should totally be on your itinerary if you visit the city and would like to roam where the locals are!

A hidden gem of the Harz Mountains // Exploring Goslar in Northern Germany

A hidden gem of the Harz Mountains // Exploring Goslar in Northern Germany

The Harz Mountains of Lower Saxony combine thick forests and snowy mountains with quaint medieval towns, picturesque half-timbered buildings and narrow alleyways. I’ve already been to the towns of Braunlage, Clausthal-Zellerfeld and Bad Harzburg, though this Christmas, I got the chance to explore beautiful Goslar for a day as well!