Where Do Scandinavians Travel Abroad? (Data, Facts & Trends)

Scandinavians love to travel, that’s no secret. In fact, Nordic countries occupy 4 out of the top 5 spots in a study conducted pre-covid which measured which countries travel most (with Americans coming in on 2nd place just after Finland on 1st, and before #3 Sweden, #4 Denmark and #5 Norway).

Travel habits have changed for most people during 2020 and 2021, but we can still get a decent idea of where Scandinavians like to travel by looking at data from 2019 and comparing that to more recent data, which of course will slowly return to “normal” as restrictions gradually disappear.

Where do Scandinavians travel to these days?

Scandinavians travel a lot within the region — especially so during 2020 and 2021 — but when they go outside of the Nordics they generally prefer warmer destinations in countries like Spain, Greece, Thailand, Turkey, and Italy.

Let’s take a detailed look at the top destinations in recent years for Scandinavian travelers:

2019

Top destinations for Scandinavians traveling abroad in 2019:

Swedes:
1. Bangkok
2. London
3. Malaga
4. Barcelona
5. Istanbul
6. Alicante
7. Paris
8. Amsterdam
9. Palma de Mallorca
10. New York


Norwegians:
1. Spain
2. Sweden
3. Denmark


Danes:
1. Spain
2. Germany
3. Italy
4. Greece
5. Norway
6. France
7. Sweden
8. Turkey
9. USA
10. Portugal

COVID-19

Note: No data as travel restrictions prevented travel to most destinations due to the global pandemic.

2020
2021

Top destinations for Scandinavians traveling abroad in 2021:

Swedes:
1. Rhodes, Greece
2. Cyprus, Greece
3. Crete, Greece
4. Mallorca, Spain
5. Antalya Coast, Turkey


Norwegians:
1. Spain
2. Denmark
3. Sweden
4. Greece
5. Italy
6. UK
7. Germany
8. France
9. Croatia
10. US


Note: Travel restrictions due to COVID-19 still in effect for many destinations.

Scandinavian Traveller’s Dream Destinations in 2019

How about if one could go anywhere one wanted? Scandinavian Airlines asked their passengers to name their dream destination (for a chance to win a trip there), and this is how they answered in each Scandinavian country:

NorwegiansDanesSwedes
1. Alanya, Turkey1.New York, USA1. Tokyo, Japan
2. Tokyo, Japan2. Tokyo, Japan2. New York, USA
3. New York, USA3. Miami, USA3. Miami, USA
4. Alicante, Spain4. Malaga, Spain4. Malaga, Spain
5. Miami, USA5. Rome, Italy5. Hong Kong, HK
6. Rome, Italy6. Chicago, USA6. Alicante, Spain
7. Athens, Greece7. Hong Kong, HK7. Rome, Italy
8. Malaga, Spain8. Athens, Greece8. Chicago, USA
9. Copenhagen, Denmark9. Paris, France9. London, UK
10. Hong Kong, HK10. Palma de Mallorca, Spain10. Dublin, Ireland
Top 10 dream destinations for Scandinavian travelers in 2019. Source: Scandinavian Traveler

Why do Scandinavians travel so much?

Scandinavians are thought to travel a lot due to a combination of three things: high average incomes, harsh winter weather conditions, and a high cost of living.

When the cold winter winds start making conditions pretty bleak in the Nordics, it’s not hard to understand why anyone would like to get away for some warmth and sunshine — even if just for a week.

Traveling is of course expensive, but when you have a good average income and life is cheaper abroad than at home, it’s even easier to see why Scandinavians travel so much.


Sources:

https://www.mynewsdesk.com/se/tui/pressreleases/saa-reser-vi-2021-3060885

https://scandinaviantraveler.com/se/resmal/skandinaverna-har-rostat-hit-reser-de-helst

More sources

Karl Andersson

As a native Swede with a Finnish mother, Karl identifies as both Nordic and Scandinavian. He left Sweden at 19 to explore the world, and stayed abroad for almost 8 years—during which he backpacked, worked every job there was, earned a degree from UC Berkeley, and met the future mother of his children. He ultimately returned to his native Malmö with his love, where they now have 3 Swedish-American boys eager to explore the world.

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