One of the best things about travel is sharing it with friends and family. Together, we can create better travel experiences for those who have never been to the destination. And Trippy user Ann from Melbourne knew the value of asking the Trippy community when she was planning her trip to Scandinavia. Here are her questions:
Suggestions for must-sees or places that I should stop at through my travel.
I am traveling to Scandinavia for a month in January and will be traveling from Stockholm to Kiruna, as far as Tromso Norway, back south through Norway and then to Denmark. Any suggestions for ‘must see’s’ or places that I should stop at through my travels? I have no set plans, love the outdoors, and exploring new places.
Jaclyn, another Trippy user, had a similar question:
Suggestions on a weekend itinerary in Scandinavia? Hi! We are thinking of booking a cruise that starts in Copenhagen and ends in Stockholm. It includes visits to Berlin; Ronne, Denmark; St. Petersburg; Helsinki; Gdansk, Poland; and Tallinn, Estonia as well. The trip ends in Stockholm on a Thursday morning, and we are thinking of extending our trip until Sunday and then leaving out of London. I would love some suggestions for an itinerary that either takes us through Sweden to Copenhagen (we would only have one day there at the beginning, so we are curious if we can see more at the end) or takes us to other locations, perhaps to Norway.
Go and explore the good life in Scandinavia. Check out our Scandinavian guide for first-timers created for travelers like Ann and Jaclyn:
Where is Scandinavia?
Scandinavia consists of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Along with Finland and Iceland, they form the Nordic countries.
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city in Denmark. Stockholm is the capital and largest city in Sweden and Oslo is the capital and largest city in Norway.
Where to go and what to do
Copenhagen, a city that inspired author Han Christian Andersen, is a good starting point for your Scandinavian trip. JR, a seasoned traveler shared his thoughts on Copenhagen:
Here’s what I’d do just because Copenhagen is topping my most favorite city list right now. The city is small and charming, and you can see most of it in a couple of days. It’s got a great vibe, a strong culture, and a great walking city. I assume you’re going this summer, and CPH is a great summer city. I’m happy to make some restaurant/activity recs if you end up going. For your flights, makes sure you check Norwegian Air. They are no-frills, LCC (low-cost carrier), so they have good deals and routes to both Copenhagen and Stockholm. They also have a new fleet. Their fares don’t always show up on the OTAs, so check it directly with them.
Copenhagen is walkable, easy to navigate with an excellent public transportation system and plenty of beautiful spots to discover at your pace. Copenhagen is now the leading gastronomy capital of Scandinavia. The coffee and beer scenes are incredible. Claus said:
Copenhagen is really a good place for drinking beer and watching people. The beer scene is very vibrant, with dozens of microbreweries having entered the market in recent years. Mikkeller Bar is a place with world-class beer and a good ambiance, for instance. Ølbaren Mikkeller & FriendsBang & Jensen Ørsted Ølbar are other good choices, but I would just recommend you to walk the streets of the central neighborhoods in Copenhagen and take a pick. This is a city where you should not have any problems to find a good place for beer and people watching.
Coffee and pastry lovers will feel as if they’re stepping into paradise when in Copenhagen. There are coffee and pastry shops on almost every street. When you’re there, try coffee and pastry at the following places:
- Coffee Collective
- The Corner
- Meyers Bageri
- Democratic Coffee
- Espresso House – if you can’t find any of the above, go to Espresso House, the Scandinavian largest coffeehouse chain
When in Copenhagen, check out the following sights:
- Round Tower
- Rosenborg Castle
- Christiansborg Palace
- The Black Diamond
- Royal Library Garden
- Kastellet Military Barracks
- Tivoli Gardens
- Torvehallerne – food hall
Stockholm has over 50 bridges that connect to 14 islands. This vibrant city has beautiful architecture, green parks, and the charming 13th-century medieval town, Gamla Stan. It’s where you’ll see a well-preserved 17th-century warship, sing-along with ABBA’s holograms, and much more. A trippy user suggested the following things to see when in Stockholm:
Most visitors will want to see the Vasa Museum, The Royal Palace, Gamla Stan, the Skansen Open-Air Museum, Stadshuset, and perhaps Abba The Museum. But there are many more museums, galleries, and historical sights & sites.
Vasa Museum is the most visited museum in Sweden. The Vasa ship capsized and sank minutes after it set sail on its maiden voyage in 1628. It is the world’s most well-preserved 17th-century ship; over 90 percent of the vessel is original. Besides Vasa Museum, Trippy user, Tom suggested the following:
Nobel Prize Museum and the fun little cafe on the top floor of the photography museum Fotografiska. The trolleys are fun to ride around, and you might want to take a boat tour of the islands.
If you’re traveling with young kids, Fredrick recommended:
Good venues/museums in town for kids are.. in order Junibacken (Astrid Lindgrens barnsjukhus), Skansen (open-air museum with zoo), and Gröna Lund (theme park) all on the Djurgårdsslätten island. Most people dine out with kids (in strollers). There aren’t any family restaurants per se; I would just stay out of the touristy parts of town (Djurgården, Sturegallerian) on hot days as there are tons of ppl out. We usually go for early dinners, preferably outside.
Erik from Boston wrote:
Start the day by jogging around Kungsholmen (approx 1hour); then, you have seen a lot of the beauty of Stockholm. Then take a walk through the city along Strandvägen and walk around Djurgården. Stop by: Strandvägen 1, for a great cup of coffee, then in the night, visit Stureplan for an exciting nightlife.!
We can tap into the power of a local knowledge here from Martin who lives in Stockholm:
Check out the cozy hipster area of SoFo around Nytorget, then head up Nytorgsgatan to get a fantastic view of Stockholm. You might want to check out the Photography museum Fotografiska. Continue to the historic Old Town Gamla Stan for a coffee a Chokladkoppen or drinks at Pharmarium. Continue to Moderna Museet for some modern art. Catch some sun and go for a plunge in the middle of the city at the small island of Långholmen. There is also a hostel in an old prison, which might be worth checking out as a place to stay.
Yes, you can stay in a prison in Stockholm! Langholmen was a prison that was closed in 1975. Guests can stay in a family cell, double or single cell.
Oslo and beyond
For nature fans, don’t miss Norway, where nature abounds around every corner even in Oslo, the largest city. Besides Oslo, first-time visitors should venture out to the outskirts. Thomas from Oslo said:
I think Norway has a more spectacular landscape, and that can even be seen from the train. For example, the train route Oslo, Bergen, is pretty dramatic and will take you about 7 hours. Bergen and the area around it are worthwhile, and if you rent a car there, it can be gratifying to see and explore the fjords and the high mountains. Do bring an umbrella 🙂 Or you take the trip from Oslo to Bodo in the north so you can enjoy the midsummer nights in the arctic. On the way, you have to transfer in Trondheim since it takes a total of 18 hrs to get to Bodø. So it can be nice to travel first to Trondheim, spent like a day or more there, and then move on. From Bodø, you can then decide to rent a car and explore the wonderful Lofoten Archipel, or drive up to the north and visit Narvikor Tromso. Finally, you can fly back from Bodø or Tromsø to Oslo/Copenhagen. If you take your time, it will be quite a nice trip.
Trippy user Anon agreed. He wrote:
I would pick Norway. By far the most expensive, but by far the most beautiful. With its scenic drives, beautiful Fjords, and, if you go far enough north, the midnight sun. Aurora Borealis, you can only see in the wintertime. I would rent a car and do scenic drives in Norway. Check out the Norwegian Trekking Associaton; they have hundreds of self-service huts all over Norway so you could do some multiple-day hike. There are usually flights to Tromso and Bodo for around 50 Euro one way with Norwegian Airlines, so you could go up for a few days and see the midnight sun. That’s what I am going to do this summer. The most beautiful place in Scandinavia is probably the Lofoten. Go on youtube and watch some videos, google some pictures. It’s incredible.
While in Oslo, don’t forget to visit the following places:
- Norwegian National Opera and Ballet (Opera House)
- Fram Museum – The Polar Ship Fram
- Holmenkollen Ski Museum and Tower
- Norwegian Museum of Cultural History
- Vigeland Sculpture Park
Foods to try in Scandinavia
Food in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway are very similar. When you’re there, try the following:
- Cinnamon buns
- Pickled herring
- Smoked salmon and gravlax
- Smørrebrød – open-faced sandwich particularly in Denmark
- Köttbullar – meatballs especially in Sweden
- Reindeer – Sweden and Norway
- Hot dogs
Where to stay
- CitizenM – close to the central train station and Tivoli Gardens
- Hotel D’Angleterre – luxurious historic hotel
- Radisson Collection Royal Hotel – modern and a short walk from central train station and Tivoli Gardens
- Radisson Blu Waterfront – next to central train station
- Hilton Stockholm Slussen – by the water with views of the harbor
- Hotel Kungstradgarden – historic hotel at the King’s Garden
- Clarion Hotel Oslo – best new hotel located in Barcode and 5 minutes from the central train station
- Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel – close to the central train station
- Citybox Oslo – affordable city hotel close to the central train station