Scandinavia is a subregion in Northern Europe, with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. The term Scandinavia in local usage covers the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The majority national languages of these three belong to the Scandinavian dialect continuum, and are mutually intelligible North Germanic languages.
In English usage, Scandinavia also sometimes refers more narrowly to the Scandinavian Peninsula, or more broadly so as to include the Åland Islands, the Faroe Islands, Finland and Iceland.
The geography of Scandinavia is extremely varied. Notable are the Norwegian fjords, the Scandinavian Mountains, the flat, low areas in Denmark and the archipelagos of Sweden and Norway. Sweden has many lakes and moraines, legacies of the ice age, which ended about ten millennia ago.
The southern and by far most populous regions of Scandinavia have a temperate climate. Scandinavia extends north of the Arctic Circle, but has relatively mild weather for its latitude due to the Gulf Stream. Many of the Scandinavian mountains have an alpine tundra climate.
The climate varies from north to south and from west to east: a marine west coast climate typical of western Europe dominates in Denmark, southernmost part of Sweden and along the west coast of Norway reaching north to 65°N, with orographic lift giving more mm/year precipitation (<5000 mm) in some areas in western Norway. The central part – from Oslo to Stockholm – has a humid continental climate, which gradually gives way to subarctic climate (Dfc) further north and cool marine west coast climate (Cfc) along the north-western coast. A small area along the northern coast east of the North Cape has tundra climate (Et) as a result of a lack of summer warmth. The Scandinavian Mountains block the mild and moist air coming from the southwest, thus northern Sweden and the Finnmarksvidda plateau in Norway receive little precipitation and have cold winters. Large areas in the Scandinavian mountains have alpine tundra climate.