How to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Scandinavia

Do we celebrate Valentine’s Day in Scandinavia? Already in the 60s, florists in the Nordic countries, inspired by their American counterparts, began to promote Valentine’s Day.

Albeit a slow start, Scandinavians have cautiously started warming up to the new tradition and today many couples celebrate Valentine’s Day with cards, flowers and presents as well as dining at romantic restaurants.

In other words, the observance of Valentine’s Day on the 14th of February in Scandinavia isn’t much different to how the day is celebrated in many other regions around the world.

Nevertheless, I thought I’d share a few ideas on how you too can celebrate Valentine’s Day’ the Scandinavian way – in the Nordics.

How to spend…

Valentine’s Day in Finland

A traditional Finnish sauna could be the most romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

In Finnish Valentine’s Day equal is ‘Ystävänpäivä‘, literally meaning the day of friendship. To get close with someone you love by sharing a unique experience, Finland might just be able to offer that. The traditional Finnish sauna is an integral part of the way of life in Finland and it’s a perfect way of sharing a different, yet intimate moment.

The sauna is warmed up to 176–230 °F with water occasionally thrown on the hot stones topping the kiuas, to produce more heat and wet steam, known as löyl. Whilst in the sauna, gently pat your back with a leafy, fragrant branch of silver birch, called vihta, to help relax your muscles. When the heat begins to feel uncomfortable it is customary to jump into a lake, the sea, or in winter, to jump (naked) into the snow or in a hole cut in a frozen ice covered lake. Then repeat the sauna.

Many hotels will offer the complete sauna experience, as will rentals on sites like airbnb.

Valentine’s Day in Sweden

In Sweden Valentine’s Day is called ‘Alla hjärtans dag’, meaning the day of all hearts. With a population of approximately 10 million people, more than 4 million red roses are sold on the 14th of February.

But Sweden is better known for its endless forrest, offering a chance to celebrate Valentine’s day in a remote location, like Kolarbyn is. This is an environmentally friendly accommodation built in natural materials, where part of the proceeds are reinvested in the conservation of nature.

Your romantic eco-friendly weekend will be spent in each others company, exploring the wilderness, relaxing in the floating sauna on the lake and cooking your meals over open fire. Stay in a authentic lumberjack hut, complete with a crackling fire place.

Valentine’s Day in Norway

Valentine’s Day in Norway is often referred to as ‘Valentinsdagen’, a day only celebrated by every third couple in Norway. However, Norway might just be the best place to celebrate the most romantic day of the year, in stunning surroundings.

Reconnect and recharge in unspoilt nature. Stay in an authentic Sami campsite and spend the days dog sledding. To explore the frozen landscape of Arctic Norway together before heating up in front of the crackling camp fire under the starry sky is perhaps the most adventurous way of celebrating a truly memorable Valentine’s Day.

How to say I love you in Norwegian? ‘Jeg elsker deg!’.

Valentine’s Day in Denmark

One of the popular Valentine’s Day tradition in Denmark is giving your loved one white flowers, Snowdrops. Couples will swap funny little love notes as well, known as gaekkebrev, meaning jokes letter. The sender writes a rhyme for his or hers beloved, though signing with dots, not a name. If the recipient guesses the name correctly, he or she receives an egg at Easter.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day in Denmark I can think of no more romantic than staying in a small boutique hotel in Copenhagen, cycle (like a local) through the city centre, go for a walk on the beach, enjoy Nordic cuisine and perhaps – even make your own little gaekkerbrev to each other.

Valentine’s Day in Iceland

First of all, Valentine’s Day isn’t traditionally celebrated in Iceland. Instead, Iceland have two dedicated days to celebrate love, Konudagur and Bóndadagur (Woman’s Day and Husband’s Day). Whereas Bóndadagur happened back in January, Konudgar is celebrated on the 23rd of February, similar to Valentine’s Day, with flowers in abundance.

Regardless of dates, February in Iceland is perfect timing for experiencing the magnificent northern lights. What can possibly be more magical?

Remember to book accommodation in a remote location, away from any light pollution. In addition, I’d recommend also going for guided horse riding.

It’s quite special to ride through the frozen tundra landscape, into the sunset together.

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Let me know in comments below! x

Photo credit: Northern Lights, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland

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