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Scandinavia... by low-cost airline

TIME : 2016/2/23 12:20:34
Oslo Opera House (alh1)

Scandinavia... by low-cost airline


Who goes? Ryanair from Stansted
Flight time: 1hr 40mins
Airport: Tirstrup – 44km away
What’s there? Easily mispronounceable Århus (or ‘Or-whose’) is the second-biggest city in Denmark – though it’s still pretty small. In one day you can sip coffee in the cobbled latin quarter, regress centuries in the Viking Museum, gasp in the vast cathedral (the country’s biggest), stroll the bygone streets of Den Gamle By (the picturesque, reconstructed village museum), and still have time for a few tankards of the local Ceres brew. But why rush? Stay and soak up the vibrant university-town ambience and enjoy the varied entertainment such as the Århus Festival held every August.
Further afield: About 55km round the coast is the winsome town of Ebeltoft, with its pleasant flower borders, tiny town hall and comforting nightwatchmen. Hire a bike and cycle down to the harbour, or bus it to the long sandy beaches at Grenaa.
Don’t leave without: Seeing dead people – the 2,000-year-old peat-bog-preserved Graubelle Man resides in Moesgård Museum.


Who goes? easyJet from Stansted. Also BA from Heathrow and Birmingham.
Flight time: 1hr 55mins
Airport: Kastrup – 9km away
What’s there? Probably the best city in the world? After a home-brewed Carlsberg or two, you may well think so. With an abundance of parks and water, and an absence of ugly tower blocks, Copenhagen is a pretty city. Take a canal boat (or kayak) for a bit of orientation, then traipse the world’s longest pedestrian mall (Strøget), before amusing yourself in the Tivoli Gardens. Then get confused by Jens Olsen’s World Clock (the globe’s most complicated, according to Guinness), watch the changing of the guard Danish-style at Amalienborg Palace and admire the colourful houses and ships’ masts along the harbour at Nyhavn.
Further afield: Explore the ‘Danish Riviera’, the coastline north of Copenhagen. Klampenborg, only 20 minutes away, has a picturesque deer park and an impressive modern art gallery with spectacular views over to Sweden. Further north you’ll reach Helsingør, historic Gothic town and home of Kronborg Slot, Shakespeare’s inspiration for Hamlet’s Elsinore Castle.
Don’t leave without: Pinching a bicycle... and not getting arrested. There are 125 pick-up/put-down spots from which you can borrow a bike for free.


Who goes? Ryanair from Stansted
Flight time: 1hr 30mins
Airport: Esbjerg – 10km away
What’s there?You won’t find quaint timbered houses here – Esbjerg is the baby of Denmark, purpose-built as a trading post in the late 1800s. There are still things to see though, especially if you’re nautically minded. Wander the harbour area with its copious boats and then pop into the Museum of Fishing and Shipping for displays of all things sea-related, plus a seal pool. Torvet, the market square, is also worth seeing.
Further afield: In contrast, Ribe (30km south east) is Denmark’s oldest and best-preserved town. Its streets are close and crooked, its harbour quaint and cobbled, and its medieval cathedral imposing, with fine views from its tower. On the other hand, you could stuff the culture and head 59km north east of Esbjerg to Legoland.
Don’t leave without: Eating your herring and chips while sitting on the feet of Esbjerg’s Mennesket ved Havet (Man Meets the Sea), four nine-metre high statues of white, stiff-backed men.


Who goes? Ryanair flies to Säve airport from Stansted. Also BA flies to Landvetter airport from Birmingham.
Flight time: 2hrs 45mins
Airport: Säve – 16km away, Landvetter – 25km
What’s there? The cosmopolitan hub of western Sweden, Gothenburg has a mixture of old-town charm and modern-day dynamism. There are streets of grandiose, orient-influenced houses and trendy areas of quirky cafés, not to mention the most popular attraction in the country, Liseberg fun park. For more intellectual stimulation try the Art Museum, full of works by the European masters plus a great selection of Scandinavian art, or the Maritime Centre, with its harbour of historic ships. If that doesn’t float your boat, just relax in one of the many parks or overload your senses at the Feskekörka (or ‘Fish Church’), an ecclesiastical fish market.
Further afield: The Bohuslän Coast stretches north from the city, a delightful expanse of granite rocks, inviting coves and jagged islands. The small town of Kungälv (20km) is a cluster of colourful wooden houses, while Marstrand, 25km further west, boasts the Carlstens Fästning, a striking stony fortress with chilling prison cells.
Don’t leave without: Realising where IKEA got their inspiration (probably) at the Röhsska Museum, a treasure trove of historical home furnishings and appliances.


Who goes? BA from Heathrow
Flight time: 3hrs
Vantaa – 20km away
What’s there? You can feel the Russian influence in Helsinki, from its wide gridded streets to the onion-domed Uspenski cathedral – in fact, parts of the city were modelled on St Petersburg. The unmissable Senate Square is a grand space, and from here you can wander down to the South Harbour, past the colourful market hall (reindeer kebab, anyone?) to tree-lined Esplanade Park, generally packed with street performers; rather different in design is the ultra-modern Kiasma, home to ever-changing contemporary art. For a sense of Finland’s former greats visit Sibelius Park with its giant organ (a monument to the famed composer) or the Hietaniemi cemetery, resting place of many a famous Finn. When there, head to the beach behind for a cracking sunset.
Further afield: Take the 85km ferry trip over to Tallinn, Estonia’s medieval capital, to explore the old castle or partake of the lively nightlife. A visa isn’t necessary for UK nationals but you will need your passport.
Don’t leave without: Marvelling at the mass of hollowed rock that is the Temppeliaukio church.


Who goes? Ryanair from Stansted
Flight time: 1hr 55mins
Airport: Sturup – 31km away
What’s there? Compact and continental Malmö is the bridge between Sweden and mainland Europe – quite literally, since the 16km Öresund Bridge that connects the city to Copenhagen was opened in 2000. Stortorget, the main square, deserves attention with its stately Dutch Renaissance town hall, though prettier is the nearby Lilla Torg, or Little Square, a confection of cobbles, flowerpots and and lively cafés, plus an undercover gourmet market. No trip would be complete, however, without a walk around Malmöhus, a moated castle dating from the 15th century, which now houses several museums. Take a peak at the authentic interiors and art displays, or enjoy the grassy, lake-dotted gardens.
Further afield: Aside from popping over to Denmark, take a trip to Lund, about 20km north east of the city. A kind of Swedish Oxford, bikes and cafés abound, as does cheap(ish) beer. But don’t drink so much that you miss the overwhelming cathedral (Domkyrkan) with its atmospheric crypt, or the charming Kulturen openair museum.
Don’t leave without: Purchasing your pills from Apoteket Lejonet (Lion Pharmacy). Its gargoyled exterior and ornate insides are far more interesting than your average Boots.


Who goes? Ryanair flies to Torp airport from Stansted and Glasgow Prestwick. Also, BA flies to Gardermoen airport from Heathrow and Manchester.
Flight time: 2hrs
Airport: Torp – 100km away, Gardermoen – 50km
What’s there? Neat and tidy Oslo sits attractively amidst water, hills and forest, making it a great place for both city-slicking and outdoorsy adventure. The iconic, if slightly dull, town hall and defensive Akershus Castle sit by the harbour, while further back there’s the bustling area around the Stortinget (parliament) and the grounds of the Royal Palace to investigate. There’s no shortage of fine museums either – take the ferry over to the Bygdøy peninsula for amazing Nordic vessels (pictured) at the Viking Ship Museum, or hike to the Munch Museum for the authoritative display of the Norwegian’s work, Scream and all. And if you need to stretch your legs try walking or skiing in the surrounding countryside.
Further afield: Ryanair will leave you in the old whaling town of Sandefjord, a fair trek from Oslo (although there are direct buses) but pleasant nonetheless with an attractive harbour and gardens. For something a bit special, take the 490km Oslo to Bergen railway – a feat of engineering through breathtaking mountain scenery.
Don’t leave without: Roaming Vigeland Park, littered with Gustav Vigeland’s weird and wonderful statues. (Do leave without getting tipsy – it’ll cost you a small fortune.)


Who goes? Ryanair flies to Skavsta from Stansted. Also BA flies to Arlanda from Heathrow, Birmingham and Manchester.
Flight time: 2hrs 10mins
Airport: Skavsta – 89km away, Arlanda – 43km
What’s there? One of the most beautiful capital cities in the world, Stockholm is a scatter of interconnected islands – all waterways, fetching buildings and greenery. Weave through the narrow alleys of the Gamla Stan (old town), check out the ornate interior of the town hall and, ignoring the bland facade of the Kulturhuset, ascend to its top-floor café for cake and views. You should also visit Skansen, Scandinavia’s first openair museum, with windmills, farms and Sami camps. Do plenty of island hopping, fish or swim in the heart of the city – weather permitting – then dry off, dress up and party Swedish-style in one of the many trendy bars.
Further afield: Take the ferry out to Drottningholm, the lakeside royal palace, and explore the Versailles-esque structure and grounds. You can get there by train but the watery way is much prettier. For more fun at sea, sail the Stockholm archipelago; a gorgeous congregation of hundreds of islands, many covered in aromatic pines or edged with sandy beaches.
Don’t leave without: Gawping at the massive warship Vasa (in the Vasa Museum), which sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 and has since been raised and restored to its former glory.


Who goes? Ryanair from Stansted
Flight time: 2hrs 10mins
Airport: Hasslo – 6km away
What’s there? No, it’s not Stockholm, no matter how Ryanair markets it, but that’s not a problem. Västerås has its own charms, blending the contemporary and the cobbled in its beautiful lakeside setting. Admire the altar pieces in the cathedral before heading into the undulating Kyrkbacken area, a comely collection of wooden houses and lanes. There are also plenty of museums to explore (see the most opulently buried woman in Sweden at the County Museum) as well as the modern City Hall. If that’s all a bit much, ascend the 24 storeys of the Radisson SAS Plaza to the Sky Bar and toast the smashing view.
Further afield: Stockholm is easily reached by train, but for entertainment closer by, travel 6km to the city’s north east and explore the huge burial mounds at Anundshög, complete with a millennia-old rune stone.
Don’t leave without: Getting on yer bike – the city has 300km of cycle tracks so is an ideal place to pedal.