What Are the Countries in Northern Europe, and Which Should I Visit?

21st November, 2022, in Travel Advice & Guides

Northern Europe is a treasure trove of incredible countries filled with wonderful sights, fantastic people and diverse cultures. Every year, millions our tourists head to this part of the continent to enjoy experiences their home country cannot offer.

Whether it’s snowy mountains, whale watching, interesting delicacies or cultural immersion, the areas of Northern Europe allows for a memorable trip.

Below, we look at some of the best places to visit and why.

What countries are in Northern Europe?

Defining Northern Europe isn’t as straightforward as naming countries that are just near the top end of the continent. The UN devised a scheme that divides countries into both regional and sub-regional groups. As a result, the following countries are categorised as being in Northern Europe:

  • United Kingdom
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • Finland
  • Latvia
  • Ireland
  • Lithuania
  • Estonia

This list also includes the dependent areas of the countries such as the Faroe Islands, Isle of Man and Jersey among others.

Where should I visit in Northern Europe?

Depending on what you want out of your trip, some certain countries may stand out more than others. Some offer stunning scenery, others provide fantastic history, and a few may offer a combination of the two. We have picked a selection below of what we think are the best Northern European countries to visit.

1.       Visit Norway and the fjords

Norway has long been featured on lists of “best places to visit”, and this comes as no surprise. Stunning views of mountains and rivers combined with vibrant city life help make the country appeal to a wide-ranging group of travellers.

Road trip options are plentiful, and depending on the time of year you travel, can bring a host of different benefits. Head out in the summer and you will be able to enjoy the long daylight hours travelling across the countryside and fitting in some exhilarating hikes along the way. With stop-off points providing you with a host of incredible photo opportunities and the fjords en route, this is a road trip well worth investing in. Travel May-September for the extra daylight hours.

If a winter landscape is more up your street, you can venture out to find the Northern Lights and stay in a snow hotel. To bring more adventure to this trip, though, consider Svalbard. There are icebergs, polar bears and barren landscapes, but beautiful scenery awaits.

2.      Explore Denmark

Much like Norway, Denmark is another country with scenery to blow your mind. Ranked frequently as one of the happiest places to live in the world, the country has much to offer those looking for a northern European trip to treat their travel bug.

There is much to see. Copenhagen, for example, is popular with people all around the world – many capital cities are – however, a trip to Roskilde makes for the best type of Denmark trip. Home to a huge music festival every year, it is also saturated in natural history and beauty. A Viking ship museum takes you back in time to the days of warriors and their vessels, whilst the 18th century palace and stunning fjord add some more visual splendour to the trip.

Outside of Roskilde, you can enjoy Nyhavn for its colourful buildings and moored yachts as well as high-quality food, something this area of Denmark is particularly famous for. If you do choose Copenhagen, you can feel content in the knowledge it is one of the safest cities in the world for solo female travellers.

3.      Discover the gem of Ireland

It may just be a short journey by plane or ferry, but those few miles lead you to a true emerald island. There is much said about the beauty of Ireland: rolling hills, friendly people, quaint villages and bustling cities. It can be tough to choose where to begin. Luckily, with it not being particularly big, and fantastic sights around almost every corner, a hire car will give you the best chance to discover plenty of gems.

Dublin is a staple of any visit, but should you wish to try something a little different, Galway is well worth exploring. Cruising along the Atlantic coast, seafood restaurants are plentiful, but the food adventure doesn’t stop there. Drive further on to County Tipperary, where you can enjoy a deluge of culture and food opportunities.

Perfect for history lovers, nature lovers, and those looking for vibrant city life, Ireland has lots to offer.

4.      Lithuanian road trip

Lithuania doesn’t tend to top many lists of places you wish to visit, but we think it should.  The capital in particular, Vilnius, has been wowing holidaymakers for years and it’s starting to make even more of an impression. One of the biggest old towns in Europe gives it a mystical allure, but the fusion with trendy bars, funky restaurants and coffee shops makes it a mix of past and present all in one. Ideal for those looking to just people watch and indulge in some history, the city has plenty to offer those who love a weekend break.

Stay for longer and head to Kaunas for the devil museum, or venture to Siauliai for the Hill of Crosses – a sight you will not find anywhere else in the world.

A Lithuanian road trip could cover these all for you, and give you fantastic views of a historic and beautiful country. Just be aware, the distances between some cities could see you driving for 2-3 hours to get from place to place.


Wherever you head to in Northern Europe, you can be sure to discover sights and cultures you will not have experienced elsewhere. To get the full enjoyment out of a trip, hire a car. That way, you can go off the beaten track and fully immerse yourself in all the country has to offer. Driving in a foreign country can be confusing, especially if there are different laws or the other side of the road is driven on. Protect yourself against all eventualities with car hire excess insurance. At Direct Car Hire Excess, we specialise in making sure your holiday or work trip is as stress-free as possible. Get a free quote today and see how we can save you money

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