The Nordic countries of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Norway might not be the first places you think of when contemplating a beach destination. But all of them possess outstanding coastlines that are very Instagram worthy. One of the best things about Nordic beaches is that you get to enjoy many of them pretty much to yourself.
Several Nordic beaches are in remote areas that are generally free to visit. Another great thing is that the sun never sets at certain times of the year. So you can hit the sand at 11 pm or 3 am, and it will still be as clear as day. Many of the best beaches in Scandinavia are not well known out of the region and are hidden gems worth a visit. So, if you are travelling to any of the countries above, here is a list of the 20 best Nordic beaches you will want to check out.
Also read: 17 Nordic Noir Shows On Netflix
- 20 Best Nordic Beaches
- Best Beaches in Denmark
- Best Beaches in Sweden
- Best Beaches in Finland
- Best Beaches in Iceland
- Best Beaches in Norway
20 Best Nordic Beaches
Best Beaches in Denmark
Denmark has over 7,400 km (4600 miles) of spectacular shoreline, and lying within them are no less than 174 Blue Flag beaches and 18 Blue Flag marinas. So the country has a plethora of fantastic beaches. Some of the best are:
1- Henne Beach
With long stretches of white sand, protected dunes lined with quaint beach shacks and wooden cabins, and the sparkling turquoise water, it is easy to see why CNN labelled Henne Beach as one of the ‘best places to visit in Europe’, back in 2019.
Nestled on the western part of the Jutland peninsula, near the town of Oksbøl, this is a fabulous beach to become at one with nature.
Even though it is a famous Nordic beach, it rarely gets busy.
The beach has a very welcome sense of tranquillity, which seems to have very therapeutic qualities.
2- Amager Strandpark
Copenhagen has a beach park that seems to be a bit of a secret outside Scandinavia. So the people of Denmark get to enjoy five lovely kilometres of sandy beach right near the city centre.
The beach is divided into two sections. Part of it lies within a two-kilometre stretch of artificial island that features a lagoon that doubles up as a children’s playground.
The other part of it showcases expansive dunes and a quaint promenade.
As you would expect, given that it’s right in the heart of Denmark’s capital city, this beach is usually very crowded and a great place to people-watch and also swim, surf or kayak.
3- Dueodde Beach
Nestled on the southern tip of Bornholm Island within the waters of the Baltic Sea, Dueodde Beach is close to Denmark’s easternmost point.
While it’s remote from the mainland, it is a popular vacation spot because of its vast expanse of pristine white sand, which stretches for some 30 km.
Known as ‘Sunshine Island’, Bornholm enjoys a warmer climate than other parts of the country. So warm indeed that figs even grow there.
It also reveals some relatively cool Second World War defences – if you decide to venture into the expansive dunes and thick forest that frames it.
4- Bratten Strand
If the beaches in the south of Denmark impress you, wait until you get to the north. Especially the very far north, and in particular at Bratten Strand.
Situated some 10 km from the north of the eastern coastal town of Frederikshavn, this is the perfect beach to keep walking on.
The extended length of immaculate white sands and the lazuline sea seems to go on forever, and for much of the year, you can enjoy it alone.
During the summer months, large crowds flock here, but the beach is so big you can always find a sizeable patch of it to appreciate in solitude.
Best Beaches in Sweden
It might be better known for ABBA, IKEA and Volvo, but Sweden should also get recognised internationally for its impressive beaches.
Blessed with a massive coastline of fine white sand surrounded by the Baltic Sea, Norwegian Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia on one side, and picturesque dunes and verdant alpine forest on the other, Sweden’s beaches would have had Edgar Degas’ creative juices going into overdrive. Especially at the following:
5- Haväng Beach
Labelled as ‘the Swedish Riviera’, the county of Skåne, near the southernmost point of Sweden, has several incredible beaches.
One of the best of them is Haväng Beach. Situated on the east coast of Skåne, this golden expanse of sand runs all the way north to the quaint town of Kivik.
It is a very picturesque beach with a rural feel, offset by a lovely terrain of meadows, woodlands, and low rising hills.
Directly overlooking the beach, it also features a historic and captivating Stone Age burial site known as Havängsdosen, which will no doubt capture your attention for a while.
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6- Böda Beach
If you are into camping at the beach, then Böda Beach is a great option.
It takes around five hours to reach Böda from Stockholm, as it sits a few kilometres off the coast of Sweden, on the eastern reaches of the island of Öland.
Once you are there, nature will present you with a stunning locale of almost 20 km of continuous white sand that forms a massive crescent shape.
There is an excellent campsite next to the beach, so this is a popular spot in the summer.
Hordes of people descend on the area to indulge in various watersports.
However, you can quickly lose the crowds with so much beach at your disposal.
Golf lovers should also enjoy the fact there is an 18 hole course right near the beach.
7- Ågesta Nudist Beach
If you like to go au naturel at the beach, then Sweden has around 70 destinations where you can do this.
A popular one is Ågesta Nudist Beach, an officially designated clothing free beach, about 15 km from Stockholm.
Overseen by the Eos Naturist Association, this beach is only really open for nudism between May and September. Unfortunately, as at any other time of the year, it is a bit too cold to wear your birthday suit!
There’s not a great deal of sand area, but it is suitable for swimming in a lake.
The beach also has a decent-sized lawn behind it and contains facilities like a barbeque area and public restrooms.
8- Tropical Beach
If I told you that Sweden had a beach with palm trees on it, you would probably think I’d drunk too many schnapps!
But believe it or not, it does.
You will find these beautiful trees, along with stunning azure waters and pristine white sand, at the aptly named Tropical Beach in Helsingborg.
For many months the weather might not be too tropical (the palm trees spend half the year in greenhouses), but the beach does try and look the part with sun loungers being available.
A quaint wooden promenade also makes for a pleasant walk, a children’s playground, and a charming pier.
Best Beaches in Finland
On the face of it, you might think that Finland can’t possibly have any decent beaches.
After all, it is nestled between Russia and Sweden, falls within the Arctic Circle and dips into the Baltic Sea.
For many months of the year, the sea along its coastline is frozen solid, and the shore is covered in a blanket of snow.
But surprisingly, it does have quite a few excellent beaches.
During the summer months, Finland comes into its own as a beach destination.
Temperatures often exceed 30°C, and the coastal landscape is replete with spectacular stretches of golden sand. Among the best of them are:
9- Hietaniemi Beach
The most popular beach in Helsinki is the delightful Hietaniemi Beach.
Fondly referred to as ‘Hietsu’ by locals, this stunning expanse of sand is not a natural wonder.
Indeed, it was originally a landfill and then a designated place to store sand brought in by barges – which people began to utilise as a beach.
Today, the beach is a popular place to swim, walk and play volleyball.
Lined with café’s it is a great spot also to enjoy a coffee or beer whilst watching the sunset.
There is also a grassy area under a wall of pine trees that makes for a terrific picnic venue.
10- Yyteri Beach
You’ve probably seen Yyteri Beach all over Instagram before – with good reason. This beach is simply magnificent.
Stretching for some 6 km along the country’s west coast, it has a wild and unspoilt feel, with giant dunes and dense woodland complimenting the sparkling azure waters of the Gulf of Bothnia.
Situated just northwest of the main regional centre of Pori, this beach is popular in the summer.
It lies between the Yyteri Nature Trail and Bothnian Sea National Park and showcases some of the highest dunes in Europe and lush forests, gorgeous meadows, and impressive sand flats.
11- Nallikari Beach
You can be forgiven for thinking that Finnish beaches don’t offer much when it comes to the winter, however, this is not the case for Nallikari Beach.
A seaside resort on an island within the Hietasaari district of Oulu, this fabulous coastal region is a fun place in the summer when the area is abuzz with visitors who partake in a range of water sport activities.
But in the winter, it comes into its own as a beach destination, as you can walk on the sea when it freezes over.
The beach and its surroundings also host a rather cool (literally!) snow sculpting contest which draws in participants from all over the world.
12- Tulliniemi Beach
If you are looking for a Finnish beach where you can get away from it all, Tulliniemi Beach should fit the bill.
Located near Hanko, on the country’s southern coast, this beach perfectly embodies the rugged, agrestal landscapes that Finland is well known for.
A photographer’s dream, the coastline here is much craggier than elsewhere in Finland and is strewn with much larger rocks and pebbles.
The area is also backed by rounded bluffs, verdant forests, picturesque meadows and even a bird sanctuary.
Overall it screams (or should that be whispers?) serenity, and it’s the perfect place for a digital or city detox.
Best Beaches in Iceland
Iceland’s beaches are often overlooked against its spectacular mountains, volcanoes, hot springs, stunning lakes, lava fields, and geysers. But that would be doing them a gross disservice.
While you wouldn’t necessarily visit them to top up your suntan, they do offer spectacular locations in which to relax, contemplate, and take in some of the world’s true natural wonders, like black sand, the midnight sun and especially the Northern Lights.
13- Reynisfjara Beach
Talking of black sand beaches, one of the best of them is Reynisfjara Beach.
Situated some two hours south of Reykjavik, by the coastal village of Vík í Mýrdal, this beach contains the country’s most southerly point, the 120 m high promontory of Dyrhólaey.
It also is home to North Atlantic puffins that nest on the cliffs of the adjacent Mt. Reynisfjall, which has some fascinating caves and the imposing sea stacks of Reynisdrangar that reside just offshore.
Reynisfjara Beach manages to stand out in a country overflowing with geographical magnificence with a real wow factor.
Another fantastic black-sand beach location is at the foot of Mt. Vestrahorn, a magnificent structure made of gabbro rock.
The sight of the towering cliffs merging seamlessly with the flat expanse of black sand beach is quite mesmerising.
Often called Batman Mountain, on account of its shape when viewed from some angles, the sand sits next to a lagoon which offers sensational reflections when the wind is still.
The shoreline is an interesting place to walk with lava dunes filled with deep grass, a wooden shipwreck, a small lighthouse, the remains of a N.A.T.O. radar station and even an abandoned film set of a Viking village, waiting to be explored.
15- Breiðavík Beach
Are you looking for a white sand beach to visit in Iceland? Then head to Breiðavík Beach.
One of the country’s most picturesque white sandy beaches, Breiðavík enjoys a spectacular setting.
Flanked by a meadow, it is offset by the freezing aquamarine waters of the Atlantic ocean and a stunning demilune of massive glacier-carved cliffs.
Located at Europe’s most westerly point, you are unlikely to see anyone else here outside summer. And even then, it’s only likely to be a handful of people at a time.
A small white church and a clutch of quaint houses look over the bay add more character depth to the area.
While the presence of North Atlantic Puffins, from April to September, adds a healthy dose of charm.
16- Diamond Beach
It’s not difficult to see why Diamond Beach is so-called.
Situated on the south coast near Höfn, about six hours from Reykjavik, this stunning beach lies at the mouth of the Jökulsárlón lagoon.
Fed by the Vatnajökull, the largest icecap in Europe, vast chunks of ice from the nearby Breiðamerkurjökull glacier glisten like diamonds on the black sand, under the sun.
It’s a truly unique and magnificent sight, and one you will want to spend a good few hours taking in.
If you can get there for sunrise or sunset, the experience is even more magical.
Best Beaches in Norway
Characterised by uninterrupted stretches of untamed coastline, pristine white sand, gorgeous natural landscapes and the most alluring azure waters, the beaches of Norway are breathtakingly beautiful.
The weather can be quite reasonable, too, with summer temperatures often reaching 23F in the summer while the days are also long. So you can enjoy a midnight surf, or a romantic walk under the aurora borealis, in a happy state of bliss.
17- Haukland Beach
Many Norwegians think Haukland is the most beautiful beach in the country, and it is difficult to argue against them.
Set within a wide horseshoe-shaped white sandy bay, the beach is surrounded by rugged mountains that drop dramatically into the bracing waters of the Arctic Sea.
Close to Leknes, you can easily access the bay from a nearby road, so during the summer, it can be pretty busy.
But at all other times of the year, you should get to experience its awe-inspiring serenity without the distraction of others.
18- Mølen Beach
If you are into rocks and boulders, then Mølen Beach will be like Disneyland for you.
Lying a two-hour drive away from Oslo, close to the town of Langesund, Norway’s most significant pebble beach features over 100 different types of rock.
Most of which dates back to Europe’s last Ice Age, around 12,000 years ago.
These include some 230 sacred circular burial mounds, which measure over 35 m in diameter, that have dominated the beach since approximately 250 AD.
The country’s first UNESCO Geopark Area, the beach also features over 300 species of birds.
During the spring and autumn, the landings and takeoffs of the migratory birds are an arresting sight.
19- Bunes Beach
The gorgeous Lofoten Islands is known for its breathtaking scenery, imperious mountains, crystal clear fjords and stunning, isolated beaches.
One of the best of them is Bunes beach.
Nestled within a wide bay of glacier-chiselled cliffs and immaculate white sand, this beach is the kind of image you regularly see on your laptop screensaver.
Remote, dramatic and untouched by mass tourism, it is a beautiful spot to reconnect with nature.
A popular destination for camping, this beach is so secluded, it can only be accessed by a ferry ride across the fjord from Reine to Vindstad. And then only after an additional 30-minute hike from there.
20- Hoddevik Beach
Although relatively small, Norway’s surfing scene is nonetheless quite vibrant.
A fantastic place to catch some waves is Hoddevik Beach, on the west coast of Nordfjord.
Named one of the best surf locations in the world by The Guardian, on account of its impressive swell, this beach lies between soaring cliffs at the foot of a lush valley.
It has about 1 km of soft, white sand and cerulean waters and houses two main surf camps, but despite this, it is rarely crowded.
If you are not into surfing, this beach offers excellent hiking opportunities, and if that seems too energetic for you, it’s a beautiful spot to chill out and relax on.