Sweden Travel Guide

When I dream about Scandinavia I think of viking ships, brooding castles, salty harbors, deep green fjords, churches, farmhouses, vast lakes, mountains, waterfalls and ferry boats. I had the pleasure of spending time within nature while in Norway and a little in Stockholm while kayaking around the archipelagos.

Sweden was so awesome and such a fun city. I can’t wait to come back soon, here’s some of my favorites of Stockholm!

SIGHTS

Gamla Stan (Old Town)

My favorite part of Sweden was Gamla Stan also known as the Old Town. It had the most beautiful architecture and I loved walking down the cobblestone streets and through the colorful Stortorget Square.

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Nobel Peace Prize Museum

One of my favorite museums in Scandinavia. It was so neat and interesting to learn and read about all the Nobel Peace Prize winners over the years. There were a lot of interesting video clip documentaries and artifacts within the museum. It was located right within the Stortorget Square.

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Vasa Museum

The Vasa Museum is a maritime museum located on the island of Djurgården in Stockholm. The museum displays the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged. The 64-gun warship Vasa sank on her maiden voyage in 1628 and sat for 333 years before being rescued.

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ABBA Museum

Super cute museum about the singing group ABBA. If you’re a fan of anything ABBA, especially Mamma Mia you won’t want to miss this fun interactive site. Lots of opportunities to karaoke to your favorite ABBA song and even dance on the stage to a choreographed ABBA routine.

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Icebar at Icehotel Stockholm

ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL Stockholm is the world’s first original ice bar (built in 2002) and has a constant temperature of -7 degrees celsius (19 degrees fahrenheit). The interior is made out of sculpted ice from the arctic Torne River. The bar has room for up to 60 people. The entry fee includes a cocktail and a visit lasts about 40 minutes. They provide you with a warm coat and thick gloves to wear before you step into the ice room. The ice bar is beautiful and the interior has artistic colorful lighting. When we went there was an ice sculpture throne and pirate’s ship. Each cocktail is served in a glass made of ice. The drinks usually carry a common theme.

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Archipelago Kayaking

Definitely one of the hardest physical activity sports I’ve ever had to do, this gave me such the arm and leg workout. We paddled for so long up and around the islands. The sites were amazing and it was so neat seeing Sweden from afar. It was one of the best unique experiences! I was in a tandem kayak, which was fun.

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Royal Palace

Stockholm Palace or the Royal Palace is the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish monarch. Stockholm Palace is located on Stadsholmen, in Gamla Stan in the capital, Stockholm. It neighbours the Riksdag building.

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FOOD

IKEA Swedish Meatballs & Lingonberry

Haha a classic Swedish place! We love IKEA in the states. IKEA is a Swedish company that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances and home accessories, among other useful goods and occasionally home services. It has been the world’s largest furniture retailer since at least 2008. IKEA will always remind me of my college days since practically my whole dorm room/apt. was furnished by them. I had to try out the Swedish meatballs from here and they did not disappoint, very much comfort food. They’re definitely better than our IKEA food at home.

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Swedish Meatballs (svenska Köttbullar)/Lingonberry

Can you tell this was my favorite dish to eat in Sweden? I had Swedish meatballs at almost every restaurant for dinner. Each place had their own spin on the sauce which was cool to try. Lingonberries are usually served with the meatballs and are sweet, sour and tart. The flavoring is similar to cranberries. Here’s three of our favorite restaurants that served them:

Restaurang Kaffegillet (Gamla Stan)

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Sallys Restaurang & Bar Sidenhuset Pärlan (Gamla Stan)

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We also tried their bolognese lasagna here which was surprisingly good (see above)!

Carpe Diem (Gamla Stan)

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We also tried the fish & chips and bolognese pasta (see above) here which were amazing and delicious as well! Highly recommend this restaurant.

Cinnamon roll (Kanelbullar)

It’s a must to try a cinnamon roll in every Scandinavian country. Each vary slightly and are delicious. They’re sold at practically every coffee shop and perfect for Fika. I love the ones with lots of cinnamon and there’s even some delicious ones with chocolate.

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Fika

Known as taking a “coffee & cake break”, Fika is a concept or a state of mind or an attitude and is a very important part of Swedish culture. Many Swedes consider it essential to make time for Fika every day. Fika is like a social hour where Swedes make time for friends and colleagues to share a cup of coffee (or tea) and usually cake. There’s so many cute coffee shops in Old Town with the best iced coffee drinks and chocolate cake (see below), yum!

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Lejonet & Björnen

Of course it wouldn’t be a Lauren post without my favorite sorbet place. We loved Lejonet & Björnen located in Gamla Stan. The lemon and berry sorbet were amazing!

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LODGING

Clarion Hotel Stockholm

This is the hotel we stayed at in Stockholm and it was the best. Perfectly located in the center of the city and made it super easy to get to and from Gamla Stan. It was nicely decorated, very modern and we loved our stay here. This hotel is huge and has so many floors. There’s a quaint bar downstairs and it even has a gym and spa.

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SOUVENIR

Dala Wooden Horse

Everyone needs to bring one of these hand painted horses home. These are traditional carved painted wooden horse statues and are a classic symbol of Sweden. They can be found all over the town in various sizes and colors. I got one as an ornament to hang on my Christmas tree to remind me of my wonderful trip to Scandinavia.

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BUCKET LIST FOR NEXT TIME

Experience a traditional Swedish massage

Golden Hall at Stockholm City Hall

Katarina Hissen Tower/Katarina Viewing Platform

Copenhagen Travel Guide

I absolutely loved every minute in Copenhagen and thought for sure that Denmark would be my favorite Scandinavian country…that is until I saw Norway, but more on that later. Copenhagen took my breath away…everything was so clean, bright, architecturally beautiful and the food was amazing! So many smørrebrød open faced sandwiches.

Here’s a list of highlights of my favorite things/eats from Copenhagen (not pictured below…the rainbow shots and trying jäger for the first time at Stereo Love Bar in King’s Square, fun times)

Nyhavn Harbor 

#1 on my list – please visit here and enjoy a cute lunch or dinner along this waterfront. It’s slightly touristy, but such a beautiful fun atmosphere with all the colors and boats. I felt like I had stepped into a real life painting. I wish I could go back in time and enjoy this place once more. Probably the most photographed street in Copenhagen.

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Vaffelbageren

Going along with Nyhavn, if you’re walking this iconic street stop at my newest favorite gelato/sorbet place. The outside drew me into the shop alone with the instagram worthy aesthetic. I went back no joke probably three times to get the “Limesorbet Med Jordbær” flavor…it was truly unbelievably good.

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Church of Our Saviour

The best view of the entire city! Super famous for its helix spire with an external golden winding staircase that can be climbed to the very top (400 steps of fun). I’m afraid of heights so this was definitely a scary experience, but so worth it. It’s 90 meters above street level, which is insane. The last 150 steps are outside of the spire and I held so tightly to the staircase so I would minimize my fear of falling.

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Little Mermaid Statue

A lot tinnier in person than I was expecting. The bronze statue was made by Edvard Eriksen as inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale the little mermaid and is displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is 1.25 metres tall and weighs 175 kilograms. The sculpture is about 105 years old.

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Neptune’s Fountain 

A short walk from the Little Mermaid statue along the harbor. Slightly hilly in this park area and also watch out for the bikers.

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Kronborg Castle

Beautiful castle that we saw from our ferry from Berlin on our way to Copenhagen. Known as Elsinore in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

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Carlsberg Brewery 

Taste world famous Danish beer and take the historical tour behind the company. I’m not a big beer drinker, but this one was pretty light and refreshing. I prefer the Somersby Ciders in nice fruity flavors. The collection of beer bottles was huge and it was interesting to see how the beer is made.

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Warpigs 

WarPigs is a big, hip brewpub in Copenhagen’s buzzing Meatpacking District. Has great Texas style American BBQ, which hit the spot after being away from home for so long. They had so many different unique sauces to try. We got the beef brisket and some mac & cheese, yum!

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Cocks and Cows

Found inside the Tivoli Food Hall. These burgers and fries are amazing! We got the cheese n’ smoke burger and twister fries. Twister fries taste just like American curly fries from Jack In the Box.

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Gorms

Another Tivoli Food Hall favorite, not as good as Cocks & Cows though. European style pizza. Ordered the Hawaiian pizza. Pretty standard.

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Amalienborg Palace

Home of the Danish Royal family, the architecture was so ornate and stunning. See the changing of the guards here in the beautiful courtyard. Someday I’d like to come back and tour the inside. Reminds me of when we went to see Buckingham Palace in London.

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Støget Street

Largest shopping street with an abundance of stores and home of Pandora, Lego, Fighting Tiger, Coca Cola (fav. soda) and all other Danish stores. It’s one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets. I had to get myself a Pandora charm where the company originated to commemorate the trip. Another favorite purchase was my new black Rains raincoat. The Rains boutique store was beautifully set up, I felt like I was walking into Nordstrom. Now I can’t wait for it to rain so I can try my new jacket out. Also got to see the flagship store with the Royal family blue fluted mega dinnerware, super fancy and cute. Didn’t have any room in my luggage to take any home, but maybe next time.

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Flying Tiger

Interesting store in Denmark that sells the most unique products to encourage social activity and creativity. The store is meant to inspire and has crazy games, decor, party ware, food, etc. Was super fun to walk in. Plus they sold my favorite candy…sour belts. I could not get enough of these.

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Pølser Carts

These are everywhere. I normally don’t enjoy or like hot dogs, but figured I had to try this famous Danish fare. It’s brightly colored red boiled pork sausage and actually tastes quite delicious. The toppings vary depending on where you get one.

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Royal Opera House 

Famous for the performances and the Hans Christian Andersen stories about him falling in love with one of the ballerinas. Would have been super neat to see a performance here.

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Hans Christian Andersen Statue & Town Hall

This is the main city square and a great meeting point to start before walking up the streets of Støget. Right across from Tivoli Amusement Park.

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Rosenborg Castle & Gardens

Features 400 years of royal art treasures and the Crown Jewels and Royal Regalia. Beautiful rose gardens. We biked to the castle and the grounds were impeccable.

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Lagkagehuset

Had to try Danish pastries and they were very delicious – get the kanelsnegl (aka cinnamon snail or cinnamon roll) and wienerbrød (vienna bread). Located on the main shopping street. Ranked as one of Copenhagen’s top 10 bakeries.

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Christiania

Known as the freetown. An interesting place, definitely not somewhere I’d come again. Very hippie, boho vibes, alternative neighborhood. You’ll be shocked at what you see. This is the only photo I got since you’re not allowed to take any pictures past the main entrance sign. For your own safety, visitors are advised not to film nor photograph in Christiania, especially not in the area in and around Pusher Street, mainly due to the hash dealing, which is illegal in Denmark. Not quite a highlight or favorite, but thought I’d mention it since it attracts so many tourists and visitors. It’s a very eclectic and peculiar place. Don’t come here alone. Christiania is a mix of homemade houses, workshops, art galleries, music venues, cheap and organic eateries, and nature. It is still a society within a society.

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Yellow Houses in Nyboder

Nyboder (English: New [small] Houses) is a historic row house district of former Naval barracks in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was planned and first built by Christian IV to accommodate a need for housing for the personnel of the rapidly growing Royal Danish Navy and their families during that time. Very beautiful to see.

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Gelato Rajiissimo

Didn’t get to try their gelato this time, but they have amazing chocolate dipped churros. Located on the main shopping street.

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Bike Tour

While in Scandinavia rent bikes, it’s the easiest way to get around and see so much of the city in a short amount of time. We saw such pretty views of the city.

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Rundetaarn Tower/ Round Tower

The 17th century tower and observatory Rundetaarn, or the round tower, is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. My 2nd favorite view of the whole city and located right in the center on the main shopping street area.

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Opera House Harbor

The prettiest place to go biking along the waterfront. Such gorgeous views.

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Tivoli Amusement Park 

Saved the best for last, the place that inspired Walt to create Disneyland. I wasn’t keen or crazy on the rides since they were a bit much….definitely more six flags or Knott’s Berry Farm style than Disneyland rides, but nevertheless the grounds were beautiful. The gardens and flowers reminded me of being at Disneyland. The different touches on cultures was very neat to see, my favorite was the mock Taj Mahal. We went when they were celebrating the park’s 175 year anniversary, which was super special. The park is lit up at night, very pretty.

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Had a blast and wonderful time in Denmark, can’t wait to come back soon!

Places to See Next Time:

Christiansborg Tower

Frederiksborg Castle