Scandinavia comprises three countries: Denmark, Norway and Sweden. It is often also associated with other Nordic countries such as Finland, Iceland and Greenland.
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is the primary air carrier here, with hubs in all three countries. Finnair is the major carrier in Finland, and other important airlines include Norwegian, Widerøe and West Atlantic.
Scandinavian airports are generally welcoming of spotters, with plenty of dedicated spotting locations provided to watch and photograph aircraft from. There are also some interesting hotels and museums to visit.
Here are our Scandinavian Spotting Highlights:
Stockholm Arlanda’s Spotting Hut
Arlanda Airport to the north of Stockholm is a busy hub and international gateway served by airlines from around the world. It’s worth visiting for the variety and scenery (although it can be cold and snow-covered in winter!). Thankfully the airport has provided a number of places around the perimeter to watch aircraft movements. The most famous is the Spotting Hut in an elevated position to the east of the terminals. It overlooks two of the runways and is great for photography.
To get there, take the bus 583 from terminal 5, or the free yellow airport shuttles to stop SAS-Hangaren.
Norway’s Domestic Airports
Norway’s long western coast stretches for thousands of miles. It is wild and littered with inaccessible inlets and fjords. Therefore one of the easiest ways of getting around is by air. SAS and Widerøe provide extensive domestic air coverage, with the latter in particular flying bus-like services to many remote communities. An air pass can be bought to allow travel on these routes, allowing you to experience their regional aircraft and see the smaller airports across the country.
A really popular place to spot at the busy Copenhagen Airport is the Flyvergrillen café on the northern boundary. It’s a 30 minute walk from the terminal, or quicker if you take bus route 35. From here you can monitor and photograph aircraft on the runways.
Norwegian Aviation MuseumBodø is one of the regional hubs in Norway’s north. It is well linked by SAS and other domestic carriers, and is also a joint military base.
However, the Norwegian Aviation Museum alongside the Bodø Airport is a reason to visit in itself. It is the largest aviation museum in Scandinavia, and includes a good range of preserved aircraft from wartime to modern, including a Fokker F28.
Finnair’s Long Haul Fleet
Finnair cleverly developed itself into a long-haul link between Europe and the Far East at its Helsinki hub. The airline has started operating the new Airbus A350XWB alongside its A330 and A340 fleets (sometimes leasing in extra capacity). These can be seen together in waves at Helsinki from the airport’s spotting area.
Bergen Helicopter OperationsAs well as being Norway’s second busiest airport for passenger flights, Bergen is also an important base for helicopter operations. Around 250,000 passengers per year use this airport to travel to offshore oil platforms in the North Sea.
A dedicated helicopter terminal operates to the north of the passenger terminal at Bergen where operators such as Bristow Norway and CHC Helikopter Service operate many daily flights.
One of the most unusual airport hotels anywhere in the world is the Jumbo Hostel at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. It comprises a former Pan Am and Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-200B airliner, with the interior turned into rooms and even a suite in the cockpit. It’s great fun, and some of the windows have views of aircraft movements.
Finnish Aviation Museum
Close to Helsinki Vantaa Airport, is the Finnish Aviation Museum. It is home to 80 aircraft, including rare Douglas DC-3 and Convair Metroliner, and many elements of aviation history from the region. Worth a visit.
Not the international airport at Keflavik, but the downtown (original) airport just outside Reykjavik city. This is currently the home to domestic flights by Air Islands. It is also an important transit airport for smaller aircraft heading between North America and Europe.
There are various vantage points through the fence on the roads around the airport. Look out for the Icelandair DC-3 that is often based here.
Comfort Hotel RunWay at Oslo
Oslo Gardemoen airport is the busiest in Norway. It’s a major hub for Norwegian, SAS and Widerøe and a destination for many interesting airlines.
One of the best spotting hotels in the region is the Comfort Hotel RunWay which has views of runway 01L/19R and parts of the terminal area. You can get good shots from the rooms and views of movements if you are in an odd-numbered room.