Some of us cross borders for the thrill of exploring new destinations. Others do it to attend an important business meeting and, of course, many of us do it for love: to visit family and loved ones who live abroad. No matter your reason, it’s something that takes preparation, some form of documentation and usually a substantial amount of money—definitely not something you’d do several times a day, for convenience purposes. Unless you live in Scandinavia, that is.
For a Scandinavian (or a Nordic country citizen, for that matter), borders are a more fluid thing than for the rest of the world. If you’re crossing from Sweden to Norway with your car, for instance, nothing really happens; nobody will stop you or demand to see your papers (of course there are cameras that monitor any suspicious behavior). Also, everybody will understand you: all three Scandinavian languages are mutually intelligible, so if you’re fluent in Danish let’s say, you’ll have little problem understanding a Swede or a Norwegian. This lack of barriers, both physical and intellectual, has created some peculiar habits in everyday Scandinavian life. Ready to see why most Scandis cross the borders on a daily basis?
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
For their 9-to-5
Believe it or not, there are many Swedes who work in Norway…who then take the train back to Sweden in the afternoon. The main reason? Norwegian salaries are considerably higher, but so is the cost of living—so by working in Norway and paying rent in Sweden you’re getting the best of both worlds.
The commute itself is not that cumbersome either. Oslo and Stockholm are just 5.5 hours away by train, and for most people who live somewhere in between, crossing the borders takes about two hours and costs less than 20 euros. You can buy a monthly or annual pass that’s cheaper and, in some cases, companies will pay commute fare for their employees. Trains are fast, comfortable and reliable, and there are also many buses. Some people even drive back and forth, but that’s only if they have an electric car, otherwise the gas fare and tolls are too expensive.
For their grocery, alcohol and tobacco shopping
For all their similarities, the Scandinavians have one crucial difference: their currencies. Norwegian krone (NOK), Swedish krona (SEK) and Danish krone (DKK) all have slightly different values, with the Danish krone being the strongest currency of the three, and the Swedish krona being the weakest. Norway is the most expensive country, especially when it comes to alcohol and tobacco. As a result, Norwegians will routinely cross the borders to Sweden to visit a Systembolaget (the Swedish version of a vinmonopol) to buy alcohol, or just to do their grocery shopping for the month. As for the Swedes, they just take a ferry to Denmark to shop there, where everything is cheaper. (The Danes go to Germany for the same reason, but that’s a different story.)
For a (Tinder) date
It may sound like overkill, but hear us out: the Tinder app gives you the option of setting your profile’s radius up to 150 kilometers—which means you can be visible to people 150 kilometers away from you. In Scandinavia, that could very well mean matching with someone from a nearby country.
As for crossing the border just for a date? Keeping in mind that a train ticket costs more or less the same as a drink, cross-country dating is not that bizarre after all. If you’re coming from Norway it will actually be cheaper for you to go out in Sweden for dinner or drinks, and same rule applies if you’re coming from Sweden to Denmark. So, just swipe right and hop on a train.
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