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Norway’s fifth largest city was founded by Christian IV in the year 1641 as a market town and administrative center on Norway’s then-strategic southern coast. The city is separated from Denmark by the Skagerrak, the long strait that connects the Baltic and North Seas. Today the capital of the Aust-Agder region is one of Norway’s most popular vacation destinations: the city and the surrounding countryside boast the sunniest summer weather in Norway.
Copenhagen was founded during the 12th century. The city owes much of its charm to the buildings erected by Denmark’s monarchs, and boasts a treasure trove of late-Renaissance and Rococo architecture.
Copenhagen deserves its accolade as the Venice of the North. Founded on a series of islands and islets, the city today is laced with graceful canals and boasts some of the most delightful architecture in Northern Europe. See the fabled statue of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid, a symbol of the city. Stroll along the old harbor of Nyhavn, lined with cafés, restaurants and 500-year-old gabled houses. Browse the superb shops on the world-famous Stroget or view the Rococo palaces lining Amalienborg Square. Best of all, savor the taste of local delicacies while wandering the paths of Tivoli Gardens, one of Europe’s most celebrated pleasure gardens.
Sweden’s second largest city – and the largest port in Scandinavia – was founded by King Gustavus Adolphus in 1621 at the mouth of the Göta River. Gustavus Adolphus hired Dutch architects and builders to lay out Gothenburg, so it should come as no surprise that the city is laced with a network of gracious canals lined with elegant buildings. Like all great seaports, Gothenburg is a cosmopolitan city with a wealth of cultural attractions, from its ancient University to its beloved pleasure garden at Liseberg Amusement Park. The city is also the gateway to the archipelagoes and picturesque fishing villages of Sweden’s West Coast – the country’s favorite vacation playground.
Gothenburg’s cultural hub is the Götaplatsen. Here Carl Milles’ dramatic bronze figure of Poseidon stands watch over the central square, home to the city’s Museum of fine Arts, Concert Hall, Municipal Theatre and City Library.
The oldest of the Scandinavian capitals, Oslo boasts one of the most fabled maritime and cultural histories in the entire world: it was the homeland of the seafaring Vikings.
The dramatic beauty of the city’s setting is understandably inspiring. One need only look out upon the breathtaking Oslofjord, glistening lakes and enchanting woodlands to see why a people might want to discover more beauty.